MDC hosts Discover Nature Schools Kindergarten teacher training workshop Feb. 28 at Powder Valley Nature Center

News from the region
Saint Louis
Published Date

KIRKWOOD, Mo. — The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) invites teachers to attend a Discover Nature Schools (DNS) teacher training workshop for Bears through the Seasons, the kindergarten DNS science unit.  This program provides teaching materials and grant funding to help field trip costs.

The workshop will be held Tuesday, Feb. 28 from 12 – 3:30 p.m. at Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center in Kirkwood.  The workshop is free of charge for educators.  The nature center is located at 11715 Cragwold Road, near the intersection of I-270 and I-44. 

MDC’s DNS program provides no-cost curriculum units to teachers and schools in the state of Missouri. Curriculum units are available for preschool through 12th grade and help teachers and students meet required state learning standards. The DNS program continues to be very popular and is being used within school districts throughout Missouri.

“The Discover Nature Schools program is an excellent way to connect students of all ages with the benefits of outdoor learning and provides a place-based, experiential approach to science education focusing on plants, animals, and ecosystems in Missouri,” said MDC Conservation Educator David Bruns.

Bears Through the Season is designed specifically for kindergarten students. This curriculum is aligned to all Missouri Learning Science (MLS) and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) including the four components of Earth and Space Science, Physical Science, Life Science, and Engineering and Technology Science.

This curriculum follows the four seasons with four seasonal units and 23 lessons. All lessons are anchored in the life cycle of Missouri black bears and their habitat. The lessons use the 5E instruction model of Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate and Evaluate.  They tie into Missouri-focused phenomena and investigate questions such as “What lives in my schoolyard?”, “How do bears get their food using pushes and pulls?”, and “Why do plants grow in different places?”

The teacher training introduces teachers to the free student guide and teacher guide as well as the MDC Teacher Portal and other resources. It will prepare teachers to teach the lessons both indoors and outdoors and address any concerns with outdoor-structured activities. Participating classroom teachers who are certified following training receive the DNS Kindergarten Teacher Kit and funding to transport students on their field experience outside of school grounds.

The workshop is free but advance registration is required.  To sign up, teachers should visit the MDC Teacher Portal at and register through their existing accounts.  To set up a new account, go to

For questions, contact David Bruns at, or 314-301-1506, ext. 4212.