The Brandwein Institute Board members are working to gather nature-inspired resources to support families, students, and teachers during this period of uncertainty and social distancing. Time spent in nature is one of the best ways people will stay physically and mentally healthy in the next weeks and months to follow.
For Families and Educators
Here is a list of a few vetted resources to help support nature-inspired activities and projects that can be done at home guided by parents or online by teachers. Remember, it’s beneficial for kids just to be outside in concert with nature.
Identify Birds with Merlin
The free Merlin app, provided by the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, gives instant help for identifying birds. Answer three simple questions about a bird you are trying to identify and Merlin will come up with a list of possible matches. Merlin offers quick identification help for all levels of bird watchers to learn about the birds across the Americas, Europe, Asia and Australia.
Bird Cams – Observe Birds From Around The World Live
The Cornell Lab Bird Cams connect viewers worldwide to the diverse and intimate world of birds. The site makes bird watching an active experience, sparking awareness and inspiration that can lead to conservation, education, and engagement with birds.
What Tree Is That?
From the National Arbor Day Foundation, this illustrated, step-by-step process makes it easy to identify a tree simply by the kinds of leaves it produces.
Tree Identification Field Guide
This free downloadable field guide to trees contains wonderful photos and explanations to help you identify trees.
Brandwein Nature Learning Preserve Outdoor Learning Activities
These include “Observing Bird Behavior” and “To Know A Tree,” as well as how to keep a nature journal. While designed to be performed by teachers and students in the Brandwein Nature Learning Preserve, they may also be used in almost any outdoor environment that contains flora and fauna. The activities were authored by Brandwein Fellows, veteran science teachers who use the outdoors as a learning lab for student field investigations.
“Earth School” launches to keep students connected to nature in the time of COVID-19 This is a a free educational platform for environmental adventures available to teachers, parents, students, and curious global citizens.
National Wildlife Federation has some content that might be of interest to all as well:
The activities below, funded and supported by the National Science Foundation and National Science Teaching Association, are readily available for families and teachers to use during this time of social distancing.
- Free Educational Activities from TERC
- Online Learning Resources from the Concord Consortium
- Classroom Resources from the National Science Teaching Association
- Toolkit for Informal Educators from the GLOBE Program
Having trouble getting access to internet at home? https://www.internetessentials.com/covid19
Other activities for families and teachers:
- NOAA science activities that kids and families can do at home
- 30 Virtual Field Trips
- New Project Learning Tree guide that lists climate education resources
- Free resources for families, kids, and teachers with downloadable pictures and activities from the Biodiversity Heritage Library