Options to Connect with Nature from Anywhere

Virtual Ecosystem Explorations (VEE) (All grades!)

These live interactive experiences focus on exploring Missouri native ecosystems while building inquiry and other 21st-century skills! Students actively engage with nature as they observe, discuss and reflect on the nature around their home, school, and at Shaw Nature Reserve. Virtual Ecosystem Explorations are customized to be grade-level appropriate and support many Missouri Learning and Next Generation Science Standards.

  • Group Size: minimum 15 students
  • Fee: FREE
  • To Register: call (314) 577-9539 or email jdockins@mobot.org.
  • Other Details: Each VEE class consists of 2 parts:
    • An optional pre-program activity introducing students to Shaw Nature Reserve, DBOC education staff, and the skills students will practice throughout the program
    • A one-hour live virtual visit with Shaw Nature Reserve focusing on developing observation skills, asking testable questions, making evidence-based explanations, and sharing ideas to investigate and understand native Missouri ecosystems 
  • Prior to programming, Reserve Education staff will work with teachers to arrange access to the school’s preferred video platform and determine grade-level appropriate program components to support their classroom curriculum.

Virtual Ecosystem Exploration (VEE) Class Descriptions:

Nature Observations in the Wetland

tree trunk chewed on by beaverNature Observations fosters connections with the natural world while strengthening students’ observation skills. During this program, students use scientific curiosity prompts to make observations, ask questions, and connect nature discoveries to previous experiences and knowledge. Alongside DBOC staff, students practice applying these science practices as they work together to solve Shaw Nature Reserve mysteries and virtually explore and make sense of a native Missouri wetland ecosystem.

Nature Journaling in the Glade

Leaf comparison drawings Encourage your students to slow down and notice the natural world around them! In this VEE class, students gain experience using words, sketches, and measurements to record their observations, ideas, and questions about nature. Alongside DBOC staff, students practice scientifically-focused nature journaling while virtually exploring the Reserve’s glade ecosystem and discovering some of the unique plants and animals who live there.

Nature Tracking in the Forest

Animal foot prints In this VEE class, students investigate in and around their home or school as well as virtually in the Nature Reserve’s forest for wildlife and wildlife track and sign. Students collect and evaluate evidence to develop explanations about what wild animals are present in the area and how they are interacting with the other living and non-living parts of the forest ecosystem.


Nature Buddies Letter and Picture Program (Grades 1–5)

boy writing outdoorsIn this nature-themed pen pal program, students will be paired with a Shaw Nature Reserve volunteer to share what they see outside of their window at home, near their school, or in their neighborhood. Students will write about or draw what they observe and send it to their Nature Buddy and their Nature Buddy will do the same. Program will be 4 weeks, but can be extended.

  • Group Size:  8 to 30 students
  • Fee: No fee
  • To Register: call (314) 577-9523 or email kbryan@mobot.org.

Storybooks and Nature (PreK–K)

Join us for short (10–15 minutes) nature lessons based on stories to learn about Missouri plants and animals. These programs will be recorded and the teacher will receive a link to the video.

  • Group Size: 8 to 30 students
  • Fee: No fee but registration required.
  • To Register: call (314) 577-9523 or email kbryan@mobot.org.