Iowa Nature Resources

Finding Nature Experts


Contact your local county conservation board.

Iowa Association of Naturalists (IAN):

Iowa Lakeside Laboratory: Contact Jane Shuttleworth, Education Coordinator via email


In addition to area naturalists, think about people you may know who are engaged with nature, such as bird watchers, mushroom hunters, hunters, fishermen, bee keepers, gardeners, etc.

Use school-wide emails and social media to let colleagues and friends know what you are investigating and ask for suggested resources. You might find experts and resources you may not have thought of or known about otherwise!

Free Educational Materials

FREE Natural Resources Booklet Series from IAN (topics such birds, mammals, insects, prairies, wetlands, trees, , fish, geology and fossils and MORE: download FREE

Prairie Posters, Books, Educational DVDs:

Weekly posts/phots of Iowa Natural History: email full name and address to Carl Kurtz at

Field Site Locations for Nature Study

For County Parks:

For State Parks:

For City Parks: Contact your local city hall or website

Consider also: local gardens, nurseries, fish hatchery, farms

Early Childhood Nature Web Resources

An Iowa-based early childhood environmental education resource full of nature related activities, information, art projects, games, music, and movement. See also Facebook Page:

Children & Nature Network
The Children & Nature Network is leading a movement to connect all children, their families, and communities to nature through innovative ideas, evidence-based resources and tools, broad-based collaboration, and support of grassroots leadership.

National Wildlife Federation – Connecting Kids and Nature
An organization devoted to connecting children and youth with nature, inspiring children through Ranger Rick magazine, working with educators to get kids learning outdoors, and helping parents find new ways to engage their children outside.

Nature Explore
A division of The Arbor Day Foundation working with advocates like you to transform children’s lives through research-based outdoor classroom design services, educator workshops, and natural products.

Nature Find
A searchable database for finding amazing nature places and events throughout the U.S.

Nature Rocks
Nature Rocks, from The Nature Conservancy, offers parents tools and tips like activity and nature finders, downloadable kits and guides, and information about the benefits of nature.

Sharing Nature Activities
Sample activities from Joseph Cornell’s book Sharing Nature with Children.

Iowa Department of Natural Resources Blogs

Iowa Department of Natural Resources Classroom Resources:

Web Resources

Iowa Insect Resources: (great pictures, information, and identification resource), (easy to use with great pictures), and (for dragonflies and damselflies).

Iowa Reptiles and Amphibians:

Iowa Fungi:

Iowa Birds: , (to mentor children’s interest in birds), and (Iowa Ornithological Union).

Suggested Books and Field Guides

Books to use in the classroom:

Field Guides

  • Birds, Insects, Butterflies and Mammals: Kaufmann Field Guides to North America by Kenn Kaufmann.
  • Reptiles and Amphibians: A Field Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Iowa by Jeffrey B. LeClere
  • Prairie Flowers: Wildflowers of the Tallgrass Prairie: The Upper Midwest by Sylvan T. Runkel and Dean M. Roosa