Educational Resources

Whether teacher, librarian, youth group leader, family member or community leader, your interest in nature makes a lasting effect on the children in your life.  Expanding a child’s understanding of our natural world helps him or her appreciate nature so that they want to help care for it.

The resources on this website can help you connect children to nature so that they learn to love their land. For an introduction to these resources and to start on a nature journey with your kids, watch this introductory webinar about the Children of Indiana Nature Park.  To have information about the Children of Indiana Nature Park delivered to your inbox, sign up for our e-newsletter.

Thank you for helping reconnect Hoosier kids to nature!

  • Classrooms
  • Teacher Webinar
  • Libraries
  • Families & Youth Groups
  • Funding Resources

Bring Nature Into Your Classroom

With nature as a classroom, there are many opportunities for young learners to demonstrate inquisitiveness, observe sequences or patterns, understand relationships, and evaluate complex natural systems.  These skills are valued in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

This page includes resources to get you started in your classroom, and also may offer some new ideas for those who are experienced in teaching kids about our natural world.
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Nature Center Network Curriculum

These three units for elementary level students were designed for The Children of Indiana Nature Park project by a Cope Environmental Center teacher who routinely teaches in an outdoor environment.  Each unit is designed in accordance with Indiana Academic Standards. Learn about the Nature Center Network curriculum.

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Pollinator Curriculum

The lessons in the pollinator curriculum include the life-cycle of butterflies, the relationship between plants and pollinators, and include a puzzle!  Download the pollinator curriculum.
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Social Studies Units from Ball State University

Caring for our environment is not only a scientific endeavor.  Many social and community factors also affect how we relate to our natural world. These creative social studies units will help young students explore their connection to nature as well as understand how nature benefits their community. Learn about the BSU lessons.
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Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site Settlers and Surveyors Program

The Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site prepares young Hoosiers for becoming owners of land in the Children of Indiana Nature Park through an important history lesson.  The Settlers and Surveyors program brings Harrison family history alive as students learn how pioneers chose the land to settle. Read about the Settlers and Surveyors program that also gives a Nature In-Deed to each participant.
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Nature Lab

Nature Lab gives teachers, students and families everything they need to start exploring and understanding nature around the globe. The Nature Conservancy and its 550 scientists have created Nature Lab to help students learn the science behind how nature works for us and how we can help keep it running strong. The interactive lesson plans align to standards and can be customized for each classroom.

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Indiana State Parks

The Indiana State Parks have developed an elementary school curriculum for exploring Hoosier history through the lens of Indiana State Parks. These units look at hour past and present events at Indiana State Parks link to past and present events in Indiana's history. Lesson plans include a wide variation of topics such as glaciers, land development, the how Indiana State Parks began and continue to grow. Click here to view the Indiana State Park curriculum.
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Additional Educator Resources

Looking to expand the nature-based curriculum offered in or out of your classroom?  Discover additional curricula meeting Indiana Academic Standards, and explore other nature-inspired resources to use in your classroom. For fun and simple and easily printable activities for classrooms, check out this list.

Interested in a math activity?   Check out Math Fun for Students with Nature IN-Deeds.

Children of Indiana Nature Park -- 1.0 Professional Growth Point Available for Indiana Teachers


We’d like to help bring a love of nature to the students in your class.

Classroom time is a great time to connect kids to nature!  With nature as a teacher, there are many opportunities for young learners to demonstrate inquisitiveness, observe sequences or patterns, understand relationships, and evaluate complex natural systems. These skills are valued in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.  On our website, the Children of Indiana Nature Park has resources for educators that include curriculum aligned with Indiana Academic Standards, nature places and activities, plus field trip funding opportunities.

To introduce you to these resources and get you started on your nature journey with your classroom, we have recorded an introductory video about the Children of Indiana Nature Park for teachers. This video speaks to why children need nature, what the Children of Indiana Nature Park is, and how to incorporate it and the Nature IN-Deeds into your classroom!

Bring Nature Into Your Library

Do you have an outdoor space at your library or school that is underutilized?  Do you work with groups of youth?  If you answered yes to either of these questions, your library can help reconnect Hoosier kids to nature!  Here are some ideas to get you started as you help kids learn about our natural world.  And if you are a librarian with ideas to share, please email us at!
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Books to inspire the next generation of conservation leaders!

Ever wonder which books inspired today's conservation leaders when they were young? Together with our friends at the Indiana Children & Nature Network, we compiled a list of children's books that have inspired Indiana conservationists. Click here to find the list, and promote these books to motivate youngsters to care for our lands!
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Ideas for a Nature-Themed Week

Reconnecting kids to nature is fun!  Libraries can participate by 1) hosting a theme week in which nature and Indiana parks are the focus, 2) using this Children of Indiana Nature Park website to host a “Deeding Day”, printing a personal deed for each participating child, and 3) encouraging people to visit local parks.  Download a flier with ideas to get you started, then tailor the event to your library! Also, check out this list of fun printable activities! If you want to highlight the importance of pollinators, check out these lessons and activities.
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Partner for a Nature-Themed Event

The Nature Center Network and The Indiana Children and Nature Network are resources that can support you as you organize a nature-themed event for your library.  Learn more...

Bring Nature Into Your Family and Community

The outdoors is a wonderful place to just be a kid!  Kids who spend time outdoors are happier, healthier, and more confident.  Outdoors, there are many opportunities for children to be inquisitive, see patterns, and learn about relationships between living things.  Perhaps most importantly, the outdoors is a place to explore and have fun!

As a trusted adult in your kids’ lives, there are many ways that you can help connect children to nature.  The most important thing is to show the kids around you that you care for nature.  Here are some ideas to get you started.

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Know the Benefits of Getting Kids Outside

The scientific data show what many of us know intuitively:  nature is good for people!  The Children & Nature Network is collecting research and promoting best practices to help get children connected to the outdoors.  To learn more about the benefits of getting kids outside, visit the robust Research Center of the Children & Nature Network.

Start a Conversation with Your Kids

Help your child(ren) claim their deed, visit their spot in the park, and learn about Indiana’s plants and wildlife - all from this website.  Ask them what questions they have, and then help them discover more about their favorite topics.  Adults don’t have to know all of the answers, but we can be there help our kids ask and explore the questions that they have!
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Get Outside!

Plan a family or group trip to The Children of Indiana Nature Park.  If Centerville is too far, visit one of the parks of the Nature Center Network to find nature near you! When you get there, use these fun prompts from Cope Environmental Center to engage your kids with the natural world! If you are ready to roll up your sleeves to love your park, check out the Volunteer Opportunities on our Outdoor Fun page to care for the land at The Children of Indiana Nature Park or  your local nature center.  For more ideas

Can’t Get Outside? Bring Nature Indoors

For those rainy, cold, or sick days that keep you inside, you can still continue learning about nature from indoors with these ideas and activities that include a matching game, a maze, and a Nature Invitations game all designed to help learn more about our native species!

Need funding for your Field Trip or project?

Resources are available to help get your kids outside! Below are several grant opportunities for funding your educational nature field trips or hands-on projects.
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Indiana Native Plant Society (INPS) Letha’s Fund

Indiana Native Plant Society (INPS) Letha’s Fund is available for school and youth group trips to experience nature in an educational context. Youth-initiated activities that bring them in closer contact with nature are also eligible for funding. Preferred groups are those with the least access to expe­riences in the natural environment. Click here for information about the INPS Letha's Fund.
Indiana Natural Resources Foundation

Indiana Natural Resources Foundation

The Discover the Outdoors Fund (Tom Huck Memorial Fund) can help pay for school field trips that include outdoor education and interaction with our natural world. Grants are available to assist public, private, parochial, or home school educators in taking field trips to Indiana's State Parks and Reservoirs. These field trips engage students in learning about Indiana's fish, forest, wildlife, or natural habitats and their conservation.
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Target's Field Trip Grant

Target recognizes that some of the best learning opportunities happen outside of the classroom.  Target's Field Trip Grant can help take your students outside. Grants are awarded to schools in all 50 states. Click here for information about the Target Field Trip Grant.
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Wild Ones Seeds for Education

Wild Ones' Seeds for Education grant program can help teachers and students to enhance their schoolyards with butterfly gardens, nature trails, prairies, woodland wildflower preserves, and similar projects. These projects enrich the learning environment and provide aesthetic and environmental benefits. By planning, establishing and maintaining such projects, students learn valuable life skills – including patience and teamwork. Cash grants under $500 are available for plants and seeds, and in-kind donations from Nursery Partners can help stretch these dollars. Wild Ones can also help locate experts and information specific to your area.  Learn more about Wild Ones' Seeds for Education.

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Captain Planet Foundation™

Captain Planet Foundation™ invests in high-quality, solution-based programs that embrace STEM learning and empower youth to become local & global environmental change-makers. Educators, both K-12 classroom and informal, who are interested in receiving support for students to design and implement hands-on environmental solutions are eligible for project funding.