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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 Winter 2015





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
3 Bears

Goldilocks wasn't the only one to be curious about the three bears. We're not talking about Papa Bear,
Mama Bear, and Baby Bear either. We will be learning about the polar bear, the brown bear, and
Minnesota's very own black bear. Find out what their "bear" necessities are and if they all really are the
big meanies some make them out to be.

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!
Camouflage Critters

Animals and people hide things for various reasons. Animals in nature hide their young to protect them
from predators. Pirates hide stolen treasure to protect it from being stolen yet again. One of the most
effective ways to hide something is by "camouflaging" it. Mother nature is full of creatures that are
experts when it comes to hiding! Join this fun class to explore the amazing ways animals use camouflage
to survive!


Imagine that the phone rang and you went to answer it leaving your pop can on the counter. When you
get back, there was a strange note beside the can and your pop was nowhere to be seen. How can you
solve the mystery of this crime scene? Join a Prairie Ecology Bus Center naturalist to think like a
detective and learn super-sleuthing skills! Participants will learn how to lift fingerprints, analyze
components of ink pens to see which one was used on the note and solve a mystery or two!

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.

Holiday Extravaganza!*

Tis the season for celebrating with friends and family. Music, crafting, and merriment will fill the air. Join
in some holiday cheer while exploring your creative side! Participants will take home a variety of crafts.
This can get messy so wear clothes that can get a little dirty!
*Note: We need use of an oven or a microwave.* Additional supply cost of $2.00/participant!






Sometimes the most interesting pieces of nature can also be galled “gross!” If you dare to join a Prairie
Ecology Bus Center naturalist, you’ll discover cool things such as how that awful skunk smell is an
amazing defense tool and the slime used by slugs is fascinating transportation! Plus, by getting the
scoop on poop, you will learn that scat is where it’s at! And finally, a grossology course just wouldn’t be
complete without a little blood and bugs. By the time you’re done, we hope we’ve changed your
“ewww’s” to “aahh’s.

Kitchen Science
The kitchen is a great place to explore science. There are many things you can mix together to get a
reaction. Join a PEBC naturalist to learn how to create kitchen magic using some basic supplies like
milk, vinegar, baking soda and more! We’ll build a lava lamp, create volcanoes, make ooblek among
other fun combinations that ooze, fizz, swirl and erupt! The opportunities for fun are endlessM
Additional supply charge of $1/participant. Should be in a non-carpeted room.
Legend of the Rainstick*
  Discover native rainstick legends from many cultures and learn how, when and where they are used.
You'll hear the magical Legend of the Rainstick story and learn how to create, decorate and play your
very own tropical instrument. Many cultures use rainsticks to summon the rain as part of their
ceremonies. We just like the cool rain sounds you can make with this fun instrument! You won't want to
miss this chance to take the comforting sound of rain home with you to listen to the sound of rain trickling
down from the tops of trees whenever you want! Additional supply charge of $1.50/participant
Nature's Nightlife
While we’re tucked away in bed, the outdoor nightlife is just kicking into high gear! In the safety of
darkness and coolness of night, critters of all kinds venture out to find lunch, look for mates, search out
new territory and explore the neighborhood. Humans might go “bump” in the night, but not the nocturnal
animals! Learn how nighttime animals are specially adapted for seeing, hearing, smelling and feeling
their way through the darkness. Being outside after the sun goes down might seem spooky but join a
PEBC naturalist and find out why we think it’s quite spectacular!
Now You See Me, Now You Don't

Camouflage is how animals blend in with their environment. Animals can use it as a way to stay safe-
but not all camouflage is the same! Mother Nature has really amazing ways to help animals hide,
confuse predators, show their moods, change with the seasons, scare predators away and more! We’ll
explore many ways that animals hide in nature through hands-on activities and artifacts that will help
deepen your child’s comprehension of the natural world!

Phenology Fun*

Phenology is the study of the cyclical nature of biological events as they relate to climate and season.
Over time many people have kept track of events that have happened to create books like the Farmer’s
Almanac. Join us to learn about the art and science of phenology and the creative, fun ways you can
journal your observations to keep track of our natural events as they happen each year.
Additional supply charge of $1/participant for journals

Sounds of Spring
Hooray! The first day of spring is March 20! Ribbit, ribbit – that’s one of the many sounds we might hear
this spring as frogs and toads come out of their winter homes. Trickle, trickle. Spring brings warmer
weather which melts any snow and ice which trickles through streams and rivers. Chirp, chirp. Spring
brings birds who are busy making nests and laying eggs. Folk who spend a lot of time in the outdoors
understand that there are certain sounds that herald the coming of spring. Join a PEBC naturalist to
learn more about these special sounds and we’ll go exploring to see what we can hear!
Square Foot Gardening

Not every yard is the ideal spot for gardening. Some yards are too shaded, some have poor soil, and
some are oddly shaped. With square foot gardening, you can grow the same amount of vegetables in
only 20% of the space that a single-row garden would take up. Join a PEBC naturalist to learn a new
way of gardening that not only saves space, but saves on water and work!

Science of Building

In nature, all animals are quite the architects - including humans. Come join PEBC naturalists to learn
how we use nature to give us clues how to build and create new materials that make our daily lives
easier. Participants will get a chance to ply their building skills and create their very own structure out of
materials provided. Get ready to explore the science of “buildings” and have fun!

Strange Minnesota Creatures
  When it comes to the strange and unusual, you don’t have to look far to find it! Minnesota has its own
collection of odd and unusual creatures. Mother Nature has provided us with some very weird, very
strange wild neighbors! We are home to North America’s only marsupial and also our only poisonous
mammal! Not only that, we have our very own walking pincushions and animals whose teeth never stop
growing! Find out which ones top the list as the weirdest critters and see if any of them live near you!

Water, Water Everywhere!





Water is almost everywhere on our planet but only about 1% of it water we can actually use for drinking.
Truth be told, we also use that same drinking water for much more than quenching our thirst. Without it –
we wouldn’t be able to live! Learn how and what we can do to help conserve this water through fun
games, an art project, and more!

Weasels and Mink and Others that Stink
In the animal world, there are there just happens to be one particular family that smells. Some of them
downright stink! Weasels, mink, and even skunks, belong to this special group of carnivores. You will
learn more about these odorous critters through zany activities and games. Make sure you wear your
Wild About Wolves
  From Little Red Riding Hood to the Wolf Reintroduction in Yellowstone, wolves capture our imaginations.
Wolves have awed and inspired us and can instill fear, even hatred, in others. Learn about the amazing
lives of these creatures through games, activities and exploring wolf artifacts like a wolf pelt, skull, tracks
and more. We're sure to have a "howling" good time!
Winter Birds
    P   Some animals hibernate, some migrate, and others die; which leaves the tough and hardy to brave the
winter season! Even though there is a blanket of snow covering the ground and temperatures are cold,
there are still many animals out and about. Among the brave are our avian friends. Join us to learn what
feathered friends stick around for the winter and how we can help them.
Winter's Beauty
    Winter is a time of year where people tend to want to stay inside. Get out explore with us the true beauty
in winter. The colors, textures, and smells of the cold months will sure excite you no matter how young or
old. Get a chance to test your artistic hand at creating a painting of what we see. Please wear clothing
that you can get paint on.

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 or other specific requirement.
Simultaneous or consecutive programs on same day will only have one mileage rate applied.  Simultaneous programs not always available.
Contact PEBC at 507-662-5064. Visit for information on other PEBC programs.



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. For descriptions of Ecology Bus programs, please visit the PEBC website at, click on "programs."