NREC November E-News

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Providing professional training and support for educators and volunteers to promote responsible stewardship of our natural resources.

NREC E-news

November 2011

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Welcome new NREC E-news members

The Natural Resources Education Center E-news is sent to your inbox every other month providing updates and information about special events for the following programs at the NREC: Go FishIN, Hoosier Riverwatch, Project Learning Tree, Project WET, and Project WILD.  

For a list of the NREC programs’ workshops view the attached training schedule or the visit the NREC website.  The workshop list and “Other Environmental Education Events” compiled from Indiana and around the country are continuously updated.

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Program Updates . . .

               Go FishIN       

GoFishIN Logo
Workshop Updates
On November 17, we held our final Crew Captain workshop for the year. It was a cold, windy day, but we still went outside to cast for Backyard Bass and caught a few sunfish at Delaware Lake. The hot and humid State Fair seems so long ago!  If you missed your chance to attend a workshop this year, we will be resuming Crew Captain workshops on March 15.  I plan to provide at least one workshop in each corner of the state, so please let me know by email at if you are interested in hosting and/or attending.
The Family Learn to Fish workshops at the NREC this year were very popular and will continue next year.  To help us spread the family fishing workshops across the entire state we will be providing a new workshop called How to Get Families Fishing.  The workshop will be offered two times during April or May (before Free Fishing Weekend) and registration is open to anyone who is interested.

Other Projects
Go FishIN is helping the DNR’s Fisheries section to develop a plan that will better recruit and retain anglers.  I am researching other state’s urban fishing programs in hopes to spawn an urban fishing program in Indiana.  This winter, I hope to update a couple activities from the Crew Captain manual and help at a couple ice fishing events.  If you are a Crew Captain that would like to borrow ice fishing gear, please let me know.

Hoosier Riverwatch Logo

          Hoosier Riverwatch       

Project Preparation this Winter
As the cold approaches, many of you will be hanging up your nets and waders for a few months.  Now is a great time to evaluate your supplies and replenish so you are set when spring arrives.  Further, this indoor time gives us an opportunity to enter our monitoring data from this past year.  Visit, and you are on your way.  If you did not monitor this year, but have in the past, this time is also an opportunity to check out the new database site.  We have also added a DataWatch section, which allows you to view sites and data collected graphically.  You can view and download our new database guide at:  Go ahead and check out your data and your site.  If you do not have a latitude or longitude, you can use the site locator on the “Register Site” tab to figure it out.  Instead of submitting a new site, copy and paste the lat and long into an e-mail to and I will update your site for you.  Same is true for incorrect data, just send me an e-mail with what needs to be corrected and I will do that for you.

          Project Learning Tree        

Focus on Forests is Re-released
The newly redesigned secondary module Exploring Environmental Issues: Focus on Forests has been released.  This module combines the best of two previous modules, Focus on Forests and Forest Ecology into one book for teaching upper middle and high school students about the importance of forests.  Activities in the guide:  Monitoring Forest Health; Story of Succession; Who Owns America’s Forests?; Tough Choices; The Nature of Fire; Forest to Faucet; Forest Invaders; Climate Change and Forests; and Words to Live By.  As always background information is provided.  An Indiana specific supplement to the new Focus on Forests will be developed in 2012.  Look for workshops on this module to start in Spring 2012.


             Project WET                

Curriculum and Activity Guide 2.0
2012 will see the Indiana debut of the Project WET Curriculum and Activity Guide 2.0. Addressing both the most pressing contemporary water issues—such as water-related disasters, water footprinting and water conservation—and classic water science topics like watersheds and the chemistry of water, Guide 2.0 offers fun, interactive, science-based activities for students of all ages. For those of you who have been through a Project WET workshop in the past, you’ll be invited to attend a short session that will introduce you to the new guide (it’s beautiful!) and let you participate in a few of the new activities.  Look for these sessions to be announced in January! 

          Project WILD             

project wild
Christmas Bird Count
Even though our formal programming is over for the year, there is a terrific December tradition worth considering – especially for the beginning birder.  The Christmas Bird Count (CBC), sponsored by the National Audubon Society, is an annual period of intense bird counting by local citizens.  The Northeast Indy CBC will be held December 17, 2011 from 8 AM – Noon.  The event is $5 for participants over 19, and a pitch in follows the count.  For more information, contact John Schaust at 317-208-4021 or by December 14.  CBCs are held throughout the state, so let us know if you need help finding your local CBC.  

Beyond the Projects & Programs

AFWA Conservation Education Toolkit Available

Over the last several years, some of the staff of the NREC has been assisting the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies to develop a Conservation Education Tool Kit.  It is nearly complete and the majority of it is now available to download on their website  From the home page go to “focus areas” then to “conservation education” and finally open the “toolkit”.  The toolkit focuses on wildlife and wildlife conservation, but is applicable to all areas of environmental education.
Content of the toolkit includes:
  • Core concepts of wildlife conservation
  • K – 12 scope and sequence correlating the concepts to content standards and performance expectations in science, social studies, health and fitness
  • Designing and conducting field investigations using inquiry
  • Fostering observation skills
  • Schoolyard biodiversity investigations
  • Landscape investigations guidelines
  • Applying systems thinking to environmental education
  • Outdoor skills education handbook
  • Benchmarks for conservation literacy
  • Stewardship education best practices

Green School Webinar

This past October, the National Environmental Education Foundation ( in partnership with the National Education Association Foundation ( and Green Schools National Conference ( launched the first of a series of three webinars to help educators around the country learn from experts and peers how to green their schools and curriculum. Webinar participants will interact live with national experts and teachers who are transforming their schools for the 21st Century.
Registration is free!  All educators are invited to join the webinar.

Greening the School Yard: Gardens and Habitats - 
Wednesday, December 07 at 7:00 p.m. EST 
  • Eliza Russell, Director of Education, National Wildlife Federation ( will share strategies for first steps in Greening the School by creating schoolyard habitats and highlight the educational advantages.
  • John Schmied, 7th grade science teacher, Bothell, Wash., 2011 Richard C. Bartlett Environmental Education Award Winner ( will share how to utilize schoolyard gardens/habitats as an integrated teaching tool.
  • Karen Kelly-Mullin, Coordinator, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Schoolyard Habitat Program ( will share how improved schoolyard habitats can serve as a resource for native wildlife, interdisciplinary teaching and learning, students’ social development, and the cultivation of environmental stewardship.
Learn more and get access to the archive of our first Green Schools webinar, School Buildings as Green Teaching Tools, at