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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


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A Brand New Website coming soon!!

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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.

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Program Name
Gr. 7 - Ad.
Program Description
Awesome ANT-ics*

Have you ever wondered what the world looks like to an ant? Using a microscope, you will get the chance to find out! Join a Prairie Ecology Bus Center naturalist to discover what social animals the ants
are and their interesting habits and abilities. If humans could do what ants do, it would be like having super powers! Come find out why!
*Prefer a park setting or natural area to explore but not required.

Brilliant Bees
  In summer, bright colored flowers decorate the landscape - a pollinators paradise! Bees are just one of the many tiny visitors that plants need to attract and help with the pollinating process. How do bees carry pollen from plant to plant? How do bees communicate where the flowers are to other bees? What do they do with the pollen when they get to the hive? Join us to learn how to do a "waggle dance" and more as we discover the life of these super cool insects!





Explore the wild world of insects with your little bug as you look through magnifying glasses and swing nets to explore our fields. Flip over logs, pick through tree bark and investigate the soil to find some of nature's tiniest and most important creatures. This is outdoor learning at its best for your tiny tots. Guardians must accompany children.
*Prefer a park setting or natural area to explore but not required. The more wild and unkempt the
location, the better to find a variety of insects.

DIY Pallet Repurposing*
Wondering what you can do with those salvaged wooden pallets? Come join in on the fun of a do-ityourself that reuses them! In this Make 'n Take class, you will create your own pallet flower box that you
can use to decorate your house, potting shed, patio or other place of honor! Also, explore creative ideas
to reuse some of the many everyday items that are found all around us. All materials provided - wear
clothes that can get dirty. *Limited to 10 participants so sign up early!
*Additional supply cost of $5.00/person applies. Requires 2 week notice for final class numbers.
Endangered and Threatened in MN

Did you know there are over one hundred endangered and threatened animal and plant species in Minnesota? Discover what it means when an animal or plant is on the endangered, threaten or concerned species list. Join the Prairie Ecology Bus Center naturalist for a closer look and learn what we can do to help through fun games and activities!

Fairy Gardens*

Fairies are shy and will disguise themselves as flowers when they are feeling a little mischievous. They
will play tricks; like to move things around in the garden or hide things for a good laugh. Fairies love to dance and play so if you build a garden for them you might catch a glimpse of them! By using your imagination you can create a fairy garden with a PEBC naturalist that will add magic to your living space!
*Additional supply cost of $12/person for materials

Fantastic Flyers*
    From feathers and skin to flapping and gliding--birds, bugs and even some mammals are rulers of the sky. We will explore the magic and mystery of flight. Pefect for the little ones who are able to be at the park without mom or dad. If not, guardians are more than welcome to accompany their child. Dress for the outdoors. *Prefer a park setting or natural area to explore but not required.
Five Alive Senses
    Although senses are important to most humans, senses are vitally essential to an animal! While we use
our senses every single day, animals have developed many strange and wonderful ways to utilize their natural abilities much better than we can! See if your sniffer is as keen as bear’s. Which animal is superior at seeing up to a mile away? Don't miss this touchy-feely, sniffy-smelly, chirpy-croaky, fun-filled class with activities using your sensational senses.
Fireside Foods*
Campfire food goes way beyond hotdogs and roasted marshmallows! Join us to learn fun and creative ways to cook using a Dutch Oven, roasting sticks, foil, and pie irons to create a mini-feast so be prepared for taste-testing! Wear closed-toed shoes and dress for the weather. (**Note: Requires a site that has
campfire ring for use)
*Additional supply cost of $20/group of 10 participants. Need one week prior notice of class numbers.
Floats and Fins and Things That Swim
      Explore what sinks, floats or swims in the water. Try finding a frog or spotting a turtle as we explore the world of creatures that swim. We'll enjoy hearing fishy stories and make a fishy magnet you can take
Frogs n' Toads
    Ribbit! Who made that sound? Was it a frog? Or a toad? How can you tell? Have you ever wondered if a
toad can give you warts? Come join in on the fun activities we will do to learn all about the exciting dual
lives of these amphibians. And, of course, we will explore the difference between frogs and toads!
Garden Barn Quilt 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.






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!

Herpetology 101




Let's explore the world of reptiles and amphibians! That's what Herpetologists do! Come meet some of
Minnesota's own "herps!" You'll become fast friends with a live turtle, come nose to nose with a snake,
meet a secretive salamander and more as you meet these critters and learn about their unique lives
through fun activities.

Insects and Other Things That Bug Us*

It's that time of year when the creepy crawlies are back once again -SO- insect hunting we will go! Join a Prairie Ecology Bus Center naturalist in finding out which insects are truly insects and which ones are
imposters. We'll explore the area for those that fly, creep, dig, crawl, jump, dive and more! Dress for the
*Prefer a park setting or natural area to explore but not required. The more wild and unkempt the
location, the better to find a variety of insects.

Let's Get Dirty!

No person should graduate from childhood without the experience of playing in the mud! Getting dirty is
sometimes one of the "costs" of making learning a fantastic experience! This class not only encourages
up close inspection of wet soil, we'll learn all about why dirt is so important as we dig holes, find worms,
and search for animal tracks. We might get a little dirty, too!

Mammal Mania





What makes a mammal a mammal? Explore skulls, feel pelts, check out tracks and learn what makes a
mammal unique. You'll have a chance to growl like bear or hop like a bunny in fun games and activites
as we investigate the many amazing mammals native to Minnesota.

Nature Photography
If you have an interest in wildlife or nature photography there is a good chance you have seen an image at
some point that has completely taken your breath away. Maybe it was a photograph of a sweeping landscape
washed in the golden light of the dying afternoon sun or close-up of some small natural miracle that you had
never noticed before that moment. You might even have asked yourself, “How did they do that?” Grab your
camera, whether it's a point and shoot or your Smartphone and join a PEBC naturalist for some nature photography!
Outdoor Survival*
  We humans have a tendency to put ourselves into potentially risky survival situations. Even though we
are not all campers, there are still good skills that everyone should learn. Would you be prepared to use
the resources around you to stay alive in a survival situation? Have you ever wondered if it is possible to
survive without water? With the help of a Prairie Ecology Bus Center naturalist, explore the tricks of the trade while acquiring the skills of surviving in the wilderness!
*Prefer a park setting or natural area to explore but not required.
Rockin' Reptiles and Awesome Amphibians
Investigate our cold-blooded friends that scamper, croak, and slither. Through nature exploration, games,
and crafts we will have a blast. Perfect for the little ones who are able to be at the program without mom
or dad. If not, guardians are more than welcome to accompany their child!
Secrets of Sundials

Sundials are the most ancient forms of telling time. Many centuries ago people were telling time by how the sun moves around the earth. Join us in the learning how the sun can help you tell time and take your very own sundial home.

What's In The Water?

Have you ever been swimming in a lake and swallowed some water by accident? Have you ever
stopped to think what might have been in the water you just drank? All sorts of really cool critters live in our lakes besides fish! Join a PEBC naturalist to learn about many smaller creatures you may not see very often that make their homes in the water, providing food for hungry fish, frogs, birds and bugs! A close up look at these live wriggling, diving, swimming, darting critters will reveal their man exciting adaptations and strange behaviors!

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:

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Prairie Ecology Bus Center