Educational Programs

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Guided tours of the Prairie Nature Center are available to groups or individuals throughout the year; however, we do request advanced notice as to when you would like to have a tour. The Prairie Nature Center also offers a Powerpoint slideshow on the plants that are found in our prairie habitat. Our educational programs may be offered at your site or classroom but also at our eight-acre Nature Center. Please note that our programs are free but we do accept donations, our programs meet the current science curriculum requires laid out by the state of Ohio for grades K-12, our programs are adaptable to meet your needs or time restrictions and all of our programs are grounded on activities and thereby are fairly "hands-on" learning. All activities hosted on the Ohio State Marion campus will be conducted outdoors. We have a wide variety of program topics for you to choose from. To see the programs, click on the heading once, click on the heading a second time to close.

Life Science...

• Nature Walk

Targeted Grade: All
Seasons Offered: May - October
Length of Program: 45 Minutes

Explore all the Prairie has to offer during this walk around the prairie. You’ll learn about plants and their historical significance while discovering the habitat for grassland birds and insects. The walk can be adapted to suit your objectives- just let us know!

• Sensory Sensation

Targeted Grade: K-2
Seasons Offered: May - October
Length of Program: 60 Minutes

Students will use their senses to explore the Prairie. Let’s see, hear, smell and feel nature! Includes an outdoor walk around the prairie. Children’s senses will be hard at work as they listen to the birds, look for insects, smell the flowers and feel a variety of natural objects.

• Pond Life

Targeted Grade: All
Seasons Offered: May - October
Length of Program: 90 Minutes

The pond is a great place to explore a whole new world! Students will examine this underwater world by collecting and studying its creatures. Older students will observe with microscopes.

Animals...

• Animal Homes

Targeted Grade: K-2
Seasons Offered: May - October
Length of Program: 45 Minutes

Where do the animals live? What kind of shelters do they have? Explore the Prairie in search of animal homes and compare their needs to our needs. Compare your home to theirs and see how your needs are different.

• Animal Habitats

Targeted Grade: 3-6
Seasons Offered: May - October
Length of Program: 45 Minutes

How do animals choose where to live? Explore animal habitats at the Prairie and examine the components of a habitat. Learn how habitat loss can cause species endangerment, and the ways you can help protect animal habitats.

• Adaptions for All!

Targeted Grade: K-4
Seasons Offered: May - October
Length of Program: 60 Minutes

How do animals survive in the wild? How are their bodies built to help them thrive? Let’s explore animal adaptations like bird beaks, coloring and defense mechanisms.

• Bug-o-logy

Targeted Grade: K-2

Seasons Offered: June - OctoberLength of Program: 60 MinutesExplore the world of insects! Learn about the parts of an insect, create an insect craft, and try to collect insects at the Prairie! You’ll even learn how to dance like a bee!

• Insects

Targeted Grade: 3-6
Seasons Offered: June - October
Length of Program: 60 Minutes

Explore the world of insects! Discover the parts of an insect, and learn about metamorphosis collect and compare insects.

• Skins & Skulls

Targeted Grade: All
Seasons Offered: All Year
Length of Program: 60 Minutes

Did you ever wonder how a deer pelt feels or what a raccoon skull looks like? What does an animal’s food preferences have to do with their teeth? Participants will explore the skins and skulls of native Ohio wildlife.

Plants...

• Our Plant Pals

Targeted Grade: K-2
Seasons Offered: May - October
Length of Program: 60 Minutes

Investigate the importance of plants to all animals including humans; learn plant parts and their jobs, and all about how seeds move

• Plants

Targeted Grade: 3-6
Seasons Offered: May - October
Length of Program: 60 Minutes

Let's explore all the plants at the Prairie! We’ll learn about classifying plants & their life cycles. How are they different? How are they similar? 

• Watch Me Grow!

Targeted Grade: K-4
Seasons Offered: All Year
Length of Program: 60 Minutes

Plant seeds of native plants and watch them grow! Each student will plant seeds to take home. Includes an outdoor walk learning about plant parts.

• Spend a Day in the Life

Targeted Grade: All
Seasons Offered: May - October
Length of Program: 60+ Minutes

What do we do during a normal work day at the Prairie? Spend some time with us and learn about how we tend to the prairie. Hands-on activities could include removing invasive species, transplanting, collecting seeds, and many other tasks.

Conservation Caretakers...

• Recycle It!

Targeted Grade: K-3
Seasons Offered: May - October
Length of Program: 60 Minutes

• Be Resourceful!

Targeted Grade: 4-6
Seasons Offered: May - October
Length of Program: 60+ Minutes

Learn about nonrenewable resources, resource depletion, recycling, how to prevent energy waste and litter, and how you can make more ecologically sound choices.

Interconnected Web of Life...

• Landscape Exploration with EnviroScape Models

(Water Pollution, Wetlands, Hazardous Materials or Waste Management)

Targeted Grade: 3-6
Seasons Offered: May - October
Length of Program: 60 Minutes

Choose one of these three-dimensional models that allow students to watch and demonstrate how pollutants enter our water, the benefits and uses of wetlands, proper disposal of wastes or different types of landfills. Choose one or all four!

• Web of Life

Targeted Grade: 3-6
Seasons Offered: May - October
Length of Program: 60+ Minutes

Learn about the interconnectedness of our world. We’ll study food webs, how energy flows through the ecosystem, and the relationship between consumers, producers and decomposers. Advanced lessons explore topics such as carrying capacity, niches, and bioaccumulation.

• Producers, Consumers and Decomposers

Targeted Grade: 3-6
Seasons Offered: May - October
Length of Program: 60+ Minutes

Hike through the Prairie and learn about producers, consumers and decomposers. Use those terms to classify organisms along the way.

• Spend a Day in the Life

Targeted Grade: All
Seasons Offered: May - October
Length of Program: 60+ Minutes

What do we do during a normal work day at the Prairie? Spend some time with us and learn about how we tend to the prairie. Hands-on activities could include removing invasive species, transplanting, collecting seeds, and many other tasks.