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The mission of the PEBC
is to be a vehicle for understanding and appreciating the natural
wonders in our own backyards.

Community Education Summer 2014





The Prairie Ecology Bus Center offers a wide variety of classes for ages Pre-K, K-2, and 3-6 in Southwest Minnesota. The programs listed are options available for CE organizations wishing to bring in additional programs. Programs are available where PEBC staff will come to you to present classes in your communities. Community Education Programs vary by season and are available primarily in summer and winter months and change each season. Programs listed are also available to youth groups and organizations.

For a printable copy:Download CE Programs

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Program Name
Gr. 7 - Ad.
Program Description
A Bug's World

We’re going on an adventure to another world! In this place, many of the residents are tinier than your finger nail! These creatures are creepy and they're crawly. They fly and buzz in your ears. Not only are they tiny – they are cool! Join a Prairie Ecology Bus Center naturalist as we visit a bug’s world and learn all about insects, go on a bug hunt and make a funny bug to take home!

*Requires park or natural area to explore. The more wild and unkempt the environment, the better to find a variety of insects. Well mowed arks/campgrounds are more difficult to make use of.

Altered Animals
  Animals are freaks.  They have to be if they want to live!  The world can be a dangerous place and animals have all kinds of weird ways to survive.  Join us for this activity-filled program and see what it takes to make it in the wild.

A Step Back in Time*





Ever wonder what it was like to have to make all the items that were important to everyday living? We take for granted so many things in our lives, like the flip of a switch to turn on a light or, if we run out of butter or soap, we just make a trip to the store and buy more. Homesteaders didn’t have such luxuries. They had to dip candles for light, churn cream into butter, and make soap to wash themselves and their clothes - just to name a few of their regular tasks. Take a step back in time to learn how to make these daily items the old-fashioned way while sharing good company and gain a new appreciation for modern conveniences! Participants will take home hand-made soap and candles. All supplies included.

*Additional supply cost of $4.50/person applies.

Awesome Acro-Bats
  They’re not very handsome. They live in dark places. They can get in our houses. Sounds spooky! But these same critters are very helpful to humans and they can do something that no other mammal can do – fly! Minnesota is home to seven types of awesome bats. You’ll learn all about these mysterious animals, play a bat game, dress like a bat, explore bat artifacts, do a bat craft and more! After this class – you just might feel a little batty – and that’s a good thing! (1 ½ hours)
Awesome Acro-Bats
They’re not very handsome. They live in dark places. They can get in our houses. Sounds spooky! But these same critters are very helpful to humans and they can do something that no other mammal can do – fly! Minnesota is home to seven types of awesome bats. You’ll learn all about these mysterious animals and their beneficial role in our ecosystems, how to attract them to your backyard, explore bat artifacts, bat house designs and more! (1 ½ hours)
Barn Quilt Garden Signs*

Painted, wooden "barn quilts" are popping up across the countryside. You'd love to have one but have no barn, you say? No problem! Join a PEBC naturalist and create a mini version hung on a fence post that you can plant right in your yard. Many designs to choose from and all supplies included. Be sure to wear paint clothes!

*Additional supply cost of $10/person applies. Requires 2 week notice for class numbers in order to finalize supplies.

Blast Off To Fun!*

What do soda, Mentos, Alka-Seltzer, and film canisters have in common? Find out through activities and experiments surrounding the world of Aerospace and Rocketry. We will create our own fizzing, erupting, soaring fun and - weather willing, we’ll launch water rockets outside. We’re gonna have a blast!

*Additional supply cost of $10 for groups up to 15 participants for each age group. (1 ½-2 hrs.)

OPTIONAL: For Gr. 3-6, there is the additional option of having each participant make their own rocket. We can do the program without them, but if you’d like for the participants to make, try out and take home a rocket, we can incorporate that into the class. It requires a 2 week notice for class numbers in order to order the kits. There is an additional cost of $10/participant for the rocket kit and supplies.

Butterfly Bonanza!
P P   Join a Prairie Ecology Bus Center Naturalist to look at one of nature’s most colorful insects, the butterfly.  Butterflies are not only beautiful to look at, but they’re also very helpful.  They help plants to grow food that we depend on to eat. We’ll see how different they look during each life stage.  You’ll get to look at real butterflies, eat like a butterfly, move like a butterfly and even make butterfly art to take home.

Cartooning for Adults





It's a funny world out there, however you look at it. Cartooning is a great way to get your witty
observations of life out of your system and onto paper. You will learn the history and styles of a variety of cartoonists along with basic drawing techniques and will leave with a finished comic of your own creation. No experience necessary! If you’ve ever been curious about the art and science behind some of your favorite cartoons – you’ll certainly enjoy this workshop!

Crazy Art!*




What do vegetables, soap and straws have in common? They’re all used to create fabulous art! You’ll learn the art of making your own veggie inks and explore decorative techniques through stamping and bubble art! You’ll have more than one art master piece to take home and put on display! Wear clothes that can get dirty and be ready for a crazy, artsy, good time!

*Additional supply cost of $10/group of up to 15 participants.

Dream Catcher*

Dream catchers are a fascinating custom of Native Americans. The traditional dream catcher was
intended to protect the sleeping individual from negative dreams while letting positive dreams through. Join us to learn more about the dream catcher and make one of your own. No prior weaving experience required. Once you learn the technique, you’ll be able to create dream catchers of all sizes! All materials provided.

*Additional supply cost of $3.50/person applies. Requires 2 week notice for class numbers in order to finalize supplies.

Find Your Way*

Do you ever have trouble figuring out what direction you’re traveling? Having a compass with you will
ensure that you’ll never get lost. You’ll learn how and why they work through a variety of activities. Then - when you feel like a pro - you’ll put your new found skills to the test with fun challenges in the outdoors!

*Requires access to outdoor area.

Hug-less Douglas





Read the story of Douglas the bear and how he searches for the perfect hug in the forest.  A boulder is too big, a tree is too prickly!  Get ready to have fun as you hug a real bear fur and go on an adventure using your own senses.  Can you find the perfect hug?

Introduction to GPS
It’s treasure hunt time! However, your only clues to finding the loot are a bunch of numbers. What’s a
treasure-hunter to do? Learn how to plug those numbers into a Global Positioning System (GPS) and follow it to the cache! You will learn to perform basic GPS functions and then put that knowledge to the test and see if YOU can find the hidden treasure!
Life Under Your Feet!
  Let's head underground in this fun program! Through a fun storybook and activities, we'll learn all about the animals hiding under the surface. Don't miss this chance to touch real furs and make your own underground animal to bring home!
Nature 101
Are you looking for new ideas for exploring your neighborhood or nearby nature area? You’ll learn all
about the basics of the many curious, cool and crazy plants and animals found in Minnesota! What’s living in your neighborhood will be explored and clues to their whereabouts revealed through a variety of evidence we often overlook (think tracks, lunch leftovers and even scat!). When you complete the Nature 101 class, you’ll be ready to head out on an adventure – even in your own backyard!
Plant Arts*

Mother Nature inspires artists every day with her colors and shapes. Explore your inner artist and make a bouquet inspired by items you find on a nature walk to be arranged in a mason jar vase with a frog lid that you will make. Plus, you’ll learn how to make roses out of a maple leaves to compliment your bouquet! All supplies included.

**Additional supply cost of $3.50/person applies. Requires park or natural area that is not heavily manicured/mowed with picnic tables.

Solar Lanterns*

Tired of the plain old landscape lights to illuminate your yard? Join a PEBC naturalist to make your very
own solar lantern using materials easily found. Once you learn the technique for making them, you can go crazy making oodles more to light your yard and lend a soft ambiance to your nightscape!

*Additional supply cost of $3.50/person applies. ( 1 1/2 hour program)

Ssssslithering Science of Snakes!
When you mention snakes to people, many may think of scary, slimy creatures. But snakes aren’t slimy at all! Like most reptiles, they are covered with scales that keep them nice and dry.  They also protect them and help them move! During this program you will learn to hear, see, eat, and breathe like a snake.  We’ll also debunk many of the myths surrounding these misunderstood animals as we explore little-known – but super cool – facts.  Each participant will receive a booklet on MN snakes to take home.
Stars Of The Night: Cool Constellations*

Star light, star bright, wish I may, wish I might, have this wish I wish tonight. Well, have you ever
wished you knew more about the stars? Here’s your chance! Learn how stars are formed, what the

*This program can be done indoors in the daytime or at night. If at night, program should be scheduled close to a new moon when it is darkest and located in a park away from city lights as much as possible.

Tromp and Stomp Nature Romp

Get ready to tromp around, get down and dirty, and connect with nature in this fun exploration of the wilderness right outside your door! Did raccoon and his friends really have a party in the woods last night? What's down that big hole? You'll take a guided nature stroll and learn all about the forest's secrets in this wild program.

**Requires sizeable park or natural area to explore.

Turtles, Terrapins, & Tortoises
  Who carries a house on its back, likes to sun themselves on a log and can hold its breath underwater for a long time?  Why a turtle, of course!  Many people think turtles are slow, but some are very fast and not all have a hard shell!  You’ll meet real turtles and learn all about what they and their turtle cousins in Minnesota like to eat, where they live and more!

Who Eats Who?





It's a predator-eat-prey world out there! You gotta eat, and if you're an animal, there's just so many delicious ways to do so! Some zero in for a sneak attack. Others smell 'em out, dig 'em out or just plain out-run them. Join a PEBC naturalist for a wild time as you become both predator and prey and learn just who is eating who through energetic games.

*Need access to gym or outdoor area.

Wildlife Webcams
The Web has become a wonderful place to observe wildlife from home. The key is to know where to
look. Join a Prairie Ecology Bus Center naturalist to learn about the many live-streaming nest, den and
trail cameras available and the animals they record. You will have the opportunity to explore artifacts of
some of the numerous creatures featured on these cameras and will leave with new knowledge of the
wild world just outside your door!

K - 2 & 3 - 6 programs are 2-2.5 hours in length.
Pre-K programs are 1 - 1.5 hours in length and designed for children ages three to five.
Adult programs are suitable for both teens and adults. Any program listed as Pre-K - 6th would be considered as "families" program. Programs with multiple checks for ages are tailored to each age grouping. If you choose to advertise it as being open to all the ages marked, we will target the middle age group for the activities to be conducted. Otherwise, classes can be advertised for a single age range.

**It is recommended that a parent/caregiver accompany
each pre-school child during the program.**

Please do not register students outside the
recommended age/grade ranges for the programs!

Program rates: $90 plus $0.565/mile mileage for locations within 60 miles of Lakefield (non-bus programs). Program rate is $100 plus mileage for programs 60-100 miles from Lakefield. These are non-Ecology Bus programs. Ecology Bus programs are listed on our website (see note at end of chart).

Programs with an extra ( * ) behind the title may have an extra materials supply charge for activities/crafts, require access to outdoor spaces or gymnasium, or may require a park/natural area setting.
Simultaneous or consecutive programs on same day will only have one mileage rate applied.  Simultaneous programs not always available.
(Please note, mileage rate subject to change, up or down,
in response to current fuel costs at time of program.)



Ecology Bus programs are also available for outdoor field trip classes. Separate fee applies for Bus programs. Programs run 2.5-3 hours each and Bus can hold up to 32 passengers. If you have questions on these programs, need more information or would like to register, please call 507.662.5064 or e-mail us at:

Report any website problems to:
Prairie Ecology Bus Center