Connecting Children to Nature

Connecting Children to Nature


NRDs play an important role in outdoor learning

LINCOLN, Nebraska – Since their inception, Nebraska’s Natural Resources Districts (NRDs) have organized projects and programs to educate both youth and adults about conservation and natural resources.

According to the Children and Nature Network, time in nature during childhood and role models who care for nature are the two biggest factors that contribute to environmental stewardship in adulthood.Austen Hill, Papio NRD

Many districts host or participate in natural resources festivals, teacher workshops, classroom presentations, field days, camps and more. Districts also host educational competitions like Land Judging, Range Judging and the Nebraska Envirothon.

In addition to educational events, NRDs often support learning efforts with classroom grants, sponsorships, and scholarships. The Nebraska Association of Resources Districts (NARD) Foundation was established to support programs for youth interested in natural resources and provides funding for Nebraska FFA programs, the Nebraska Ag Youth Institute, the Nebraska LEAD Program and many more.

“Many NRDs offer regular opportunities for Nebraskans to experience the outdoors with fun educational lessons that incorporate forestry, water and wildlife,” said Dr. Orval Gigstad, NARD president and Nemaha NRD director. “These hands-on outdoor experiences ensure that children grow up with meaningful connections to nature.”

Each NRD varies on educational events, so contact your local NRD to see what is offered in your district!

Check out the following upcoming educational opportunities being hosted across the state by various Natural Resources Districts:

  • Aug. 11 – Coffee Lakeside series featuring fireflies, Lower Platte North NRD (Wahoo, NE)
  • Aug. 12 – Nocturnal Night, Lower Platte North NRD (Wahoo, NE)
  • Aug. 17 – Wildflowers & Wine, Lower Platte North NRD (Wahoo, NE)
  • Aug. 24 – Junior High Field Day, Upper Loup NRD (Thedford, NE)
  • Aug. 26, 30, 31 – Visit with NRD staff from across the state to learn more about groundwater during the Nebraska State Fair Largest Classroom Days (Grand Island, NE)
  • Sept. 10 – World O! Water Festival, Papio-Missouri River NRD (Omaha, NE)
  • Sept. 21 – Wonderful World of Water, Upper Elkhorn, Lower Elkhorn, Lower Niobrara and Lewis and Clark NRDs (Pierce, NE)
  • Sept. 21-22 – Earth Jamboree, Little Blue NRD (Lawrence, NE)
  • Sept. 22 – Rainwater Basin Conservation Day, Tri-Basin NRD (Wilcox, NE)
  • September – Range Judging Regionals and State Competition (Statewide)
  • October – Land Judging Regionals and State Competition (Statewide)

To join in the 50th anniversary celebration and follow the Natural Resources Districts’ special activities throughout 2022, visit and follow #Since1972 on social media.