MDC invites teachers to Discover Nature Schools workshops in Columbia

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COLUMBIA, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) invites teachers from preschool through high school interested in improving conservation education in their classrooms and home-schools to attend free training classes in Columbia.

These Discover Nature Schools workshops will each feature different grade levels on select Tuesdays in May and June at the MDC Central Regional Office, 3500 E. Gans Road in Columbia:

  • Nature Revealed – Pre-K curriculum – Tuesday, May 22, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Nature Unfolds – K-2 curriculum – Tuesday, June 5, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Nature Unleased – Grades 3-5 curriculum – Tuesday, June 12, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Nature Unbound – Grades 9-12 curriculum – Tuesday, June 19, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Nature Revealed curriculum offers preschool teachers and parents the planning tools, activities, and resources to stimulate children’s sense of wonder in nature. Nature Unfolds curriculum introduces young students to the life cycles, seasons, weather, and basic needs of plants and animals, through hands-on activities and a fully illustrated student book.

Nature Unleased curriculum helps elementary students understand ecosystem connections through exploring Missouri’s ponds, forests, and prairies inside and outside the classroom. Nature Unbound curriculum brings high school level students to understand the impact of ecology on Missouri and the world through activities that get students outdoors and exploring around their schools.

“MDC’s Discover Nature Schools program is a wonderful resource for pre-service, formal, and informal educators such as daycare providers, homeschool educators, and school teachers,” said MDC Conservation Education Consultant Emily Porter. “These workshops are a wonderful way to obtain an engaging curriculum to stimulate curious minds right in their own backyards.”

MDC's Discover Nature Schools program helps prepare educators to teach hands-on courses for their grades. Teacher guides are provided at the workshop for FREE, along with additional resources to support the curriculum. MDC provides no-cost curriculum materials to teachers and schools in the state of Missouri. Curriculum materials are available for preschool through twelfth grade and are aligned with Missouri state standards to help teachers and students meet required learning expectations. Approximately 98% of school districts and 40% of schools in the state participate in the program.

DNS inspires students in ways that other programs do not, and test scores prove it. Students in DNS classrooms increased their scores by an average of 28 percent (significantly more than non-DNS students) during the 2014-2015 school year. Additionally, during the last four school years, more than a third of teachers reported a decrease in student behavior issues on the days they taught DNS.

Curriculum guides are filled with age-appropriate activities for children, and teacher guides are based on the Project Construct framework. These courses are MOPD-approved, and attendees can receive ChildCare Aware Clock hours for their time in the workshop. 

Space is limited for these workshops and attendees must preregister at To register, participants must first create a FREE account on the MDC Teacher portal at

Participants should plan to bring a laptop or internet accessible device (if desired), adequate shoes and clothes for going outside, and a sack lunch.

For more information about these workshops, please contact MDC Conservation Education Consultant Emily Porter at 573-815-7901, ext. 2964, or