LEARN & EXPLORE
  • All life on earth depends on forests. Texas A&M Forest Service strives to educate and inform all Texans on the benefits and conservation of our state's trees and forests. Conservation education is vital to ensuring people of all ages understand and appreciate the importance of natural resources as well as how to conserve them for future generations.

       

     

     + Nature Challenge

    Nature Challenge Logo_Placeholder

    What is Nature Challenge?

     

    Nature Challenge (formerly Texas Nature Challenge) is an interactive platform that connects communities with opportunities to learn, explore, and engage with the natural world. Nature Challenge is part of an initiative of Texas A&M Forest Service, Texan By Nature, Texas Children in Nature, and Texas Parks & Wildlife Department to promote opportunities for all Texans to develop a relationship with natural resource and appreciate their role in keeping natural resources healthy and sustainable.

    The “challenge” in Nature Challenge refers to activities, games, and opportunities to get involved and engaged in the protection and conservation of our state’s vital natural resources.  

    It’s a big job, and our state’s foresters, wildland firefighters, and natural resource professionals challenge YOU to get involved!

     

    How Does It Work?

    Utilizing state-of-the-art geospatial software, the Nature Challenge displays a map of challenges and events across the state.

    Natural Challenge providers (such as nature centers, zoos, non-profits, educators, and state agencies) can propose challenges to be displayed on the map.

    To participate in a challenge, simply click on the challenge in the map or in the challenge list, download the challenge instructions, and get to work!

    Be sure to post about your progress and challenges you have completed on social media with #TexasNatureChallenge.

    Some challenges even offer digital badges for completion.

     

    Earn Badges

     

    Some challenges, or collections of challenges, offer a badge for completion.

    These badges allow you to proudly display of your commitment and dedication to protecting our planet and our state’s natural resources.

    Earn badges by completion the Challenge Progress Report form.

    Mark the challenges you’ve completed, upload your photo (or proof required for the challenge,) and receive your digital badges the email you provide.

     

    Getting Started

     

    VISIT THE SITE TO FIND CHALLENGES

    Use the map or list functions to find challenges near you or in other parts of the state. Click on a challenge for more information and links.

    COMPLETE THE CHALLENGE

    Pick a challenge, download the necessary resources, get to learning! Post your challenge progress to social media with #TexasNatureChallenge

    EARN VIRTUAL BADGES

    Participants can collect badges for completed challenges by filling out the Challenge Progress Report and submitting their creations or photos.

     

    Propose a Challenge (For Providers)

     

    How to Propose a Challenge

                    All challenges submission will be upoaded via the ArcGIS survey platform, called Survey 1,2,3.

                    Challenge Proposal Survey

    Step 1: Come up with a challenge that educates and engages

                    Challenges are no longer limited to location-specific activities.

    Get creative and use resources that you already have.

    Step 2: Specify a challenge completion metric

                    i.e. How can someone prove they have completed a challenge?

                    (Examples: Complete a worksheet, submit a photo, post with a hashtag, etc.)

    Step 3: Submit your challenge using the ArcGIS Survey 1,2,3 Nature Challenge Submission form

    Step 4: Promote the challenge on your website and social media. Provide links to the nature challenge site. #TexasNatureChallenge 

     

    Partners

    Logo for Texas Children in Nature TPWD Logo TxN Logo
     + K-5 Activities

    Tree Activities

    As part of our Texas Nature Challenge, these tree activity sheets will help you experience and learn more about trees.

    Tree TimeTree Search, Leaf Rainbow

    Tree Time    Tree Search   LeafRainbow

     

    Forest Benefits Wheel

    Working forests demonstrate a continuous cycle that provides public benefits. Download the wheel, cut out and put it together to explore the benefits of our Texas forests.

      Forest Benefits Wheel

         

        Dichotomous Key Practice Activity 

        Get started on learning to use a dichotomous key with this practice activity that includes six tree species. After practice with the key, identify several trees at your school or in your community and then create your own dichotomous key for those trees. 

         

         

        Smokey Bear Activities

         Flat Smokey        

         

        Meet Flat Smokey! Color and cut out Smokey Bear and choose one of the adventures below. Download Flat Smokey  (Descagar Flat Smokey en Español.)

        1. Teach a family member Smokey's five rules for fire prevention.  

        2. Write your own story with Smokey and then act out one of the parts of your story.  

        3. With the help of an adult, identify what your family can do around your home to reduce your risk of wildfire. Your parent or guardian may have to help research ideas here: Prepare for Wildfires - Protect Your Home.  

         4. Go for a walk around the neighborhood and enjoy the trees and nature that Smokey Bear helps protect.  

        5. Choose your own adventure!

        Try this Home Adventure Bingo game. 

         Bingo At-Home Adventure

         

        Wildfire Activities

        Fire Triangle

        Learn about the three things a fire needs to burn with this Fire Triangle activity.

        Embers Intrusion Worksheet                  

        Learn about how to protect your home from wildfires with this Ember Intrusion Checklist and Home Safety Checklist.  

          Kid's Home Checklist

        Test your knowledge of wildfire with this Wildfire Crossword Puzzle

        Wildfire Crossword Puzzle

         + Educator Resources

        Logo for Texas Project Learning TreeProject Learning Tree is an award-winning environmental education program designed for teachers and other educators. PLT uses the forest as a window into the world, engaging the next generation of America's leaders and decision makers. Find resources and professional development on the Texas PLT website.

         

         

        Logo for Tree Trails

        Tree Trails is a project for students, by students, to celebrate trees. Enhance outdoor classrooms at schools, nature centers and public parks by creating an education trail focused on trees. Access lesson modules and the mapping program on the Tree Trails section.

         

        Logo for Smokey Bear

        As an educator, you can introduce a whole new generation of children to Smokey Bear and his message of Wildfire Prevention. Check out a variety of materials to easily integrate into your curriculum on Smokey Bear’s website.

         

         


        Educator Workshops

        Texas Project Learning Tree offers workshops for all grade level educators throughout Texas. Check our calendar or offer to host one at your facility.

        Teacher Conservation Institute is a week-long workshop held in East Texas which uses the forest to teach environmental education.

        Tree Identification

        The Trees of Texas website hosts a wealth of information from tree biology, a tree dictionary to a way to explore Texas Ecoregions

        Envirothon

        Envirothon is an intense high school team competition set up to enhance students’ environmental literacy and enable them to make informed decisions regarding the environment.

        Texas Forestry Museum

        Tour the Texas Forestry Museum in Lufkin or participate in grade-level programs correlated to TEKS. They offer traveling trunks that are available for checkout, as well as an extensive video library.

        Natural Inquirer

        The Natural Inquirer is a middle school science education journal created so that scientists can share their research with middle school students. Each article tells about scientific research conducted by scientists in the USDA Forest Service. It is available in both English and Spanish.

         

         + Connect with Nature

         

        Now, it's easier than ever to get your family out and connect with nature with one of these exciting programs:

        Nature Challenge


        Nature Challenge Logo_Placeholder


        There's a lot to do to protect and conserve our state's natural resources, water, and wildlife. It's a job for everyone!

        Try out two challenges you can do anytime, anywhere: Tree Time and Tree Search

        Tree Time    Tree Search


        Nature Rocks

        Nature Rocks Logo

        Nature helps make kids healthier happier, and smarter. Nature Rocks Texas helps you find nature-based places, activities and events in your area.

        Logo for Texas Children in Nature

        Texas Children in Nature is a grassroots network working to connect children and families with nature in Texas.

         

        Discover the Forest

         

        Visit the Discover the Forest website to get ideas of where to go and what to do in your forest.

         

         + Posters

        The Trees of Texas Poster

        Texas State Tree - PecanThe colorful Trees of Texas poster walks you through how to identify the state tree of Texas—the pecan tree. For more information on tree identification, visit our Trees of Texas website.

         

        Tree Cookie Parts

        Tree Cookie

        Print the Tree Cookie Parts mini-poster for your investigation of tree parts using tree cookies.