Wild Warriors Camp Week 1

We just completed the first week of Wild Warrior Camp here at Prairie Rivers of Iowa and it was a blast!  We had 9 campers total for the first week and these 9 wild warriors had the opportunity to experience a great range of things from everyday hikes to the importance of developing a sense of wonder when exploring the great outdoors. The first day they learned about the great Iowa Arboretum and its extensive history as a not-for-profit tree museum and then learned about camping and survival skills with the great help of JAX Outdoor Gear.  We got to taste test some freeze dried food first hand and learn about all the equipment needed to go camping or to survive in the wilderness.  The campers even got to meet some wildlife friends such as a brown bat that has been cared for by the Wildlife Care Clinic.  (photo 1)   The other days, the kids learned how to kayak, archery, how to...
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Wellmark Foundation Awards Grant Funds to Prairie Rivers of Iowa

The Wellmark Foundation and Prairie Rivers of Iowa held a check presentation on July 10th 2014 to celebrate a $49,288 grant to help fund Building a Regional Food System in Boone, Story, and Hardin Counties. The project works with local communities, organizations, and businesses to educate on proper nutrition and healthy foods. By creating a community garden, the project will build local relationships and improve accessibility to home-grown, nutritious foods for area residents.   Building a Regional Food System in Boone, Story and Hardin Counties The school serves over 600 students, 38% of whom are eligible for free or reduced lunch.  The new space will be an outdoor classroom and direct way for youth to learn about nutrition and gardening. The Central Elementary location was chosen partially due to demand.  Ruth Powell, the new Local Foods Coordinator for Central Iowa, began work on the Central Iowa Garden Project in January 2014 that works to improve citizens’ health in Boone, Story and Hardin counties by...
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Attend…or help our summer daycamp

This summer, we are hosting our second summer Day Camp called Wild Warriors Kids Conservation Camp. Our camps provide a unique and authentic learning opportunity for kids. We spend every day outside with experts in areas such as wildlife, plants, survival skills, swimming, photography and more. We will be enrolling up to 32 kids and offering up to five scholarships for children to attend camp that may not have been able to attend without this support. In order to provide this unique experience, it will cost almost $300 per student…will you help sponsor a kid to attend Wild Warriors Kids Conservation Camp this summer? Every day we work to support Iowa’s natural resources and educate Iowans about conservation. We know there are many worthy causes to support, and ask you to consider investing in Prairie Rivers of Iowa. Your donation will go a long way to helping us reach out to educate young Iowans through our Kids on the Byway program about our natural resources. Prairie Rivers of Iowa is a 501(c)3...
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Learning and Exploring the Outdoors

On May 6th, North Tama's 5th graders traveled to Ferguson Timbers in Marshalltown, Iowa to partake in their third and final capstone event of the school year.  The kids are in the midst of their environmental stewardship unit and are learning about the importance of certain things such as water quality.  The day was filled with learning about current environmental issues, the how to's of camping and basic survival skills, and just a general appreciation for the outdoors. The capstone event took place at Ferguson Timbers, an educational area under a conservation easement with Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation.  The area had everything from wooded trails to rolling prairies and even a glimpse of the powerful Iowa River.  It was the perfect place for the kids to interact with the handful of experts that volunteered to share their expertise. Marlene Ehresman is the executive director of the Iowa Wildlife Center and she took the students on a nature hike where she showed the...
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Preserving and Protecting Our Water Resources

In honor of National Water and Soil Conservation Week, Kids on the Byway is dedicating this blog post to one of their partner programs, Upper Iowa University's Environmental Issues Instruction course.  EII is a graduate level course dedicated to teachers and other personnel that addresses how to teach environmental issues for grades K-12.  They do this with the following teaching model:  With this teaching model, the class is able to address multiple environmental issues every year and connect with Next Generation Science Standards as well as the Iowa Core.  This year's issue was focused on preserving and protecting our water resources. According to the Center for Energy and Climate Solutions, "Although much of the discussion about climate change impacts has focused on increases in temperatures and the rise in sea level, changes that impact our nation's water resources could have the greatest impact on society" (2011).   According to the Department of Natural Resources, the major water quality problem in Iowa in nonpoint source pollution,...
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“Disrupting the pink aisle and inspiring the future generation of female engineers”

Goldiebox is a toy company that has developed a set of interactive games and toys that will change how parents will buy toys for their children.  CEO Debbie Sterling was disappointed in the female representation in her engineering program at Stanford which is why she developed Goldiebox.  She hopes that by providing girls with toys that spark inventiveness and a different way of playing that silly gender stereotypes are just that, silly gender stereotypes. Watch this Goldibox advertisement that says it all....
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Artsy Turn on Learning History

During the winter round of the capstone events through the Kids on the Byway Program, Joyce and Bob Ausberger, members of the Iowa Lincoln Highway Association came into Kate Mitchell Elementary 5th grade classrooms to talk about the Lincoln Highway. They brought along artifacts, photos, and many very interesting stories about the history of the Lincoln Highway and its important role in the Westward Movement of North America. They also presented a contest to the students that involved some Lincoln Highway prizes. The contest consisted of the students in those two classes drawing pictures, making art projects, or anything else creative that represented the meaning of the Lincoln Highway. The capstone event was educational, and the students really enjoyed this artful of learning about history. Below is a photo of one of the entries from a Kate Mitchell 5th grade student for the Lincoln Highway contest. Click below to go to the Iowa Lincoln Highway Webpage http://www.iowalincolnhighway.org/ILHA_history           ...
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Getting Kids Excited About Science

According to a poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health, 30 percent of parents with children in kindergarten through fifth grade say that their child's school put too little emphasis on science curricula. There is a need in science education today to "spark learning" and genuine curiosity in young students. Students feel forced to understand and memorize facts instead of figuring out the reason why the answer is that answer. This ignorance of science is one of the main reasons why the Next Generation of Science Standards was developed.  NGSS is a "multi-state effort to create new education standards that are "rich in content and practice, arranged in a coherent manner across disciplines and grades to provide all students an internationally benchmarked science education."  Minnesota teacher Mary Colson, a contributor to the development of the new standards, said that the standards aim to get the students thinking more like a scientist.  Other efforts...
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