Friday, April 22, 2016

Iowa Monarch Conservation and Citizen Science Workshop

Friday, May 6th, 12:30-4:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 7th, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30-p.m.
Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge (9981 Pacific St, Prairie City, IA 50228)

Public participation in science helps scientists answer big questions. Learn how to participate in several monarch butterfly citizen science programs and help researchers learn more about this incredible insect. The University of Minnesota Monarch Lab, in partnership with the Monarch Joint Venture, will instruct this workshop in conjunction with local Iowa habitat experts.

Register at: Cost: $20 Accommodations: Lunch will be provided on May 7th. Small snacks and drinks will be provided throughout the workshop.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Apply for a GreenWorks! Environmental Improvement Grant

Project Learning Tree offers grants up to $1,000 to schools and youth organizations for environmental service-learning projects that link classroom learning to the real world. Students implement an action project they help design to green their school or to improve an aspect of their neighborhood’s environment.

The projects partner students with their whole school, local businesses and/or community organizations, and provide opportunities for student leadership. The funds can be used by students to implement recycling programs at their school, conserve water and energy, establish school gardens and outdoor classrooms, improve a forest, or restore a natural habitat, for example.

Submit your completed application and W-9 online. Login or create an account, click “Apply for a Grant,” then follow the prompts to complete your submission. You will receive an automatic confirmation email through this system.  The deadline to apply is September 30, 2016 -- Funding will be distributed in December 2016.

Grant Requirements
  • Applicants must have attended a Project Learning Tree training
    either online or in person.
  • The proposed project must involve service-learning.
  • The proposed project must demonstrate student voice.
  • The proposed project must involve at least one community partner.
  • The proposed project must secure at least 50% matched funds (in-kind acceptable).
  • Grants must be completed in one year

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Iowa Science Standards Summer Institutes: Supporting Classroom Transitions

Since the adoption of Iowa’s new science standards in August 2015, Iowa educators have been engaged in learning about the structure, foundations, and conceptual shifts of the new standards.
The Iowa Department of Education is sponsoring day-long science institutes June 15-17, 2016. With national and state science education leaders, participants will engage in three-dimensional science learning experiences and will explore various resources and instructional practices that support the standards.
Where: West Des Moines Valley High School
Times: 8:00AM-4:00PM (tentative times)
Each day will be focused on content and pedagogy for specific grade bands. Participation in this event assumes knowledge of the structure, foundations, and conceptual shifts of the standards; districts needing this overview of the standards should contact their AEA science consultants.
There is no registration fee but registration is required for planning purposes. On-line registration is now open:

Registration June 15 
elementary school
Registration June 16 middle school
Registration June 17 high school

Cost: There is no cost to attend. Participants or their districts are responsible for any expenses incurred such as meals and mileage. There are a variety of off-site lunch locations near West Des Moines Valley High School. Lunch will also be available each day through West Des Moines Nutritional Services for $3.50/person.


Monday, March 28, 2016

Taking STEM Outside: WILD Project-based Learning in Your Schoolyard

June 13 & 14, 2016 (100% attendance required for credit)
8:00 am - 4:30 pm
Guthrie Center Elementary School (900 North 4th Street, Guthrie Center)
Registration Deadline: June 8, 2016
Registration Fee: $60 (includes materials and 1 license renewal credit); or $135 (includes materials and 1 EDMA graduate credit)
Electronic Registration

Learn how outdoor projects, exploration, and investigations provide fantastic opportunities for project-based learning that addresses Iowa Core Science Standards. We will demonstrate how to bundle your favorite
Project WILD and Aquatic WILD activities with field investigations to create project-based learning units. Much of this “flipped” professional development will be spent creating your own path through a host of nationally developed and tested resources to engage your students in authentic inquiry through modeling, discussion, and practice using your school yard or a local natural area and your classes as the framework.
Participants should bring a laptop or notebook, information about their school site or a nearby natural area, their science standards (and/or other relevant standards), and relevant curriculum resources for use with workshop activities. Teaching partners/groups are encouraged to facilitate planning/implementation of projects. The registration fee includes materials.
For more information, contact:; 515-494-3891.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Teaching with Primary Sources in the Science Classroom Webinar - March 17

This webinar will explore how an inquiry-driven analysis of a primary source can engage students, establish meaningful contexts for learning and doing science, and build literacy skills.

Using historical primary sources, science teachers can create learning experiences for students grounded in authentic, open-ended problems. To answer those problems, students conduct research as part of a sustained inquiry process and share solutions and products beyond the classroom.

This event will be recorded and a link will be available as soon as possible after the event.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Free Seedlings for Iowa Schools from Trees For Kids

To celebrate Earth Week next month, the Trees for Kids program is offering free seedlings to schools and communities across Iowa.

Each school building and community may order one free custom packet consisting of 200 bare-root seedlings, 50 each of four selected species. Recipients are not required to plant their trees during Earth Week (April 17-23, 2016), but must have them planted before May 31, 2016.

To take part in this offer, schools and communities need to complete a simple application form and return it to the Trees for Kids program via email or postal mail by April 1, 2016. The application form can be found at by clicking on “Trees for Kids Earth Month Celebration.”

Schools and communities receiving packets will be asked to email at least one photo of the trees being planted and a short paragraph indicating where and why they were planted.  No other requirements are necessary to receive the free trees.

The Iowa-grown, native trees and shrubs provided by the State Forest Nursery are naturally adapted to Iowa’s weather and soil extremes. Trees provide many benefits including wildlife habitat, environmental protection in the form of improved energy efficiency and water quality. They are vital hosts to pollinators and provide seasonal beauty to our landscape. Planting trees has been a traditional way to celebrate Earth Day since its beginning in the 1970s.

Schools and communities can create their own custom packets or select from a variety of recommended specialty packets, such as:

  • Fall Color –Trees and shrubs with vibrant fall color
  • Fastest Forest – Great along streams and wet areas, these grow at least 3 feet per year
  • Pollinator Packet – Provides vital host species for butterflies and other pollinators
  • Privacy Packet – Great to use as a visual barrier or along a fence line
  • Spring Flowers – Create spring color with these flowering shrubs and small trees
  • Storm Resistant Packet – These trees resist breakage from wind and ice storms
  • Wild Edible Packet – Enjoy an edible landscape
Photos and information about various packet species can be found at seedlingcatalog. The seedlings are between 8 and 24 inches, depending on the tree or shrub species. Size requests do not apply to this program. Order early for best species selection.

The Trees for Kids and Trees for Teens grant programs are funded by Iowa Department of Natural Resources Forestry Bureau, MidAmerican Energy, Black Hills Energy, Alliant Energy, Iowa Bankers Association, Trees Forever, Iowa Tree Farm Committee and the Iowa Woodland Owners Association.

For more information about ordering no-cost Trees for Kids seedlings, contact Laura Wagner, DNR Trees for Kids Coordinator, 515-725-8456 or