MDC training teachers in Discover Nature Schools High School unit at Wurdack MU Extension Center Feb. 23

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COOK STATION, Mo.– The Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Discover Nature Schools (DNS) program is a win-win opportunity for both educators and students.  It provides high-quality science units designed to meet the needs of teachers while preparing Missouri's students to become life-long conservationists through hands-on experiences in nature.  Multiple units are fine-tuned to serve the needs of grade levels from K-12.

Participating teachers will become certified to receive the DNS grant funding for classroom materials and field experiences after completing this workshop.

To help train teachers on the DNS high school unit, Nature Unbound, MDC is holding a teacher workshop Thursday, Feb. 23 from 1-4 p.m. at the Wurdack MU Extension and Education Center in Cook Station.  The comprehensive workshop is free to educational professionals.  Participating teachers will become certified to receive grants to fund transportation and equipment for field experiences away from the school.

Nature Unbound is a curriculum of nine lessons designed for 9th-12th grade students with engaging, hands-on outdoor learning that focuses on wildlife management, ecology, adaptations, populations, interactions, and biodiversity. The curriculum supports Missouri Learning Standards (MLS) in science, particularly life science. 

The lessons include a performance-based assessment for which students apply all knowledge and skills learned from the curriculum to create a natural resource management plan. For this plan, students must provide an overview of the area studied, status and goals of the area, strategies to improve the area, and an assessment plan.

This training introduces teachers to the free teacher and student materials as well as the MDC Teacher Portal and other resources. It prepares participants to teach the lessons and address concerns with structured outdoor activities.

The Nature Unbound curriculum includes the following free materials:

  • Fully colored, illustrated student books
  • Student science notebooks
  • Lesson plans that include outdoor exploration and summative assessments
  • An initial $500 non-competitive school-wide grant for classroom materials and an annual travel reimbursement for field experience.
  • A $250 non-competitive maintenance grant for classroom materials is available after every 3 years of participation in the Nature Unbound program.

Participants should wear close-toed shoes and appropriate outerwear since several of the activities during the workshop will be outdoors.

The DNS Nature Unbound 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 more information, contact MDC Conservation Educator Conrad Mallady at, or 314-577-9555 ext. 76044.

Wurdack MU Extension and Education Center is located at 164 Bales Road, Cook Station, MO, 65449, approximately ten miles south of Steelville.