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Natural Science Kits 

     Siskiyou Environmental Education Center (SEEC) is proud to offer Natural Science Kits to loan to educators in Jackson, Josephine and Klamath counties. The kits investigate the local ecology of the Klamath-Siskiyou bioregion from birds and mammals to streams and forests. Each kit revolves around student-centered, hands-on activities, and contains unique biological specimens for students to explore.

     Local educators may check out Natural Science Kits for FREE! Kits are reserved on a first come, first served basis and may be kept by educators for a two-week period. The Southern Oregon Education Service District (ESD) courier provides delivery to and from public schools in Jackson, Josephine, and Klamath counties. If the ESD courier does not serve your school or organization, you can pick up and return kits on campus at Southern Oregon University in Ashland. The same is true if you are outside the three-county area served by our program.

     Kits are available during the SOU academic year; roughly October 1st-June 10th. The SEEC office will try its best to accommodate other requests.

To Reserve a Kit:

Please contact the SEEC office at seec@sou.edu

Include the following information in your reservation:

  • Name and contact information
  • School/organization
  • Kit requested
  • Dates needed

Please note that transportation days to and from the school/organization are included in the two week use period.

Kits Available:

Click for detailed descriptions

 

Coming Soon:

The SEEC office and EE students are working hard to create and renovate kits!  Please check back soon for the following kits:

Wetlands

Additional Natural Science Resources:

Binoculars: Eight pairs of binoculars available for class field trips.

SEEC Library: SEEC library contains science texts, nature-inspired novels and essays, educational journals, Master’s theses, educational videos, field guides, and natural science curriculum resources.

School Visits:

Environmental Education Master's students are happy to make classroom visits and presentations! If you would like to request a visit from graduate students please contact the SEEC office at least one week in advance and we will accommodate requests as our schedules allow. 

 


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The Bird Kit contains samples of birds, nests, and mounts of wing, foot, feather, and bill types.  Activities help students understand adaptations that aid bird species with differing lifestyles.  The concept of flight is analyzed, in addition to other topics such as migration and habitat. 

Activities:

  • Build a bird- Understand body, wing, foot, and bill types, as well as habitats
  • Fill the Bill- Explore bird beak adaptations
  • Migration Blues- Reveal importance of adequate habitat for migrating birds
  • Flights of Fancy- Examine how wing shape affects flight
  • Nature Symphony- Make a sound map of the school yard
  • The Feet Have It- Explore bird foot adaptations
  • Feather Flurry – Learn how different feathers are used by birds for different functions
  • And more!                                   

Cool Stuff: 

  • Bird Specimens
  • Bird nests
  • Wing types display
  • Feet types display
  • Bill types display 

Books and Videos: 

  • Eyewitness Books: Eagles and Birds of Prey
  • Nature Scope: Birds, Birds, Birds
  • Song of the Swallow
  • The Birder’s Handbook
  • Sibley’s Guide to Birds
  • Jackson County Habitats
  • The Atlas of Bird Migration
  • Pocket Guide: Songbirds and Familiar Backyard Birds of the West
  • Winged Migration DVD
  • Life of Birds, 3 DVDs
  • How Birds Eat DVD
  • Field Guide to Bird Songs, 4 Audio CDs  

 

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The Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument Kit helps students discover why the Monument has an unusually high level of biodiversity. Located just outside Ashland, the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument includes Pilot Rock, Soda Mountain Wilderness, Hobart Bluff, and a section of the Pacific Crest Trail.  The Cascade and Siskiyou Mountain Ranges converge at this spot, creating a geological and biological “mess.”  The monument contains the highest documented number of butterfly species in the United States. The kit contains activities that explore some of the invasive plants, old growth forests, and geologic complexity found within the monument. The kit is perfect for use either on field trip or in the classroom.  This kit was created in partnership with the Friends of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument and the Bureau of Land Management.

Activities:

  • Biodiversity – Converging Regions – Learn what regions come together to make our area one of the most diverse places in the country
  • Crossing Corridors – Demonstrate the use of corridors using an outdoor game
  • Invasive Plants of CSNM – Take a look at invasive species and how they have spread over the monument
  • Geology Journey – Use compasses to navigate to stations on a map that talk about the geology of the area
  • Back in Time: History of a forest – Study the history of a tree using large wood ‘cookies’
  • Butterfly Bingo – Learn about the high diversity of butterflies on the monument using a Bingo game
  • Cultural Ecology - Help your group survive by correctly identifying and collecting resources that Native Americans used for food, medicine, shelter, clothing, and tools.

Cool Stuff:

  • 8 large wood ‘cookie’ cross-sections
  • 15 compasses
  • Coyote and Pacific Fisher pelts
  • Rock samples
  • 20 Butterfly information sheets and pictures
  • Butterfly lifecycle diagram

Books and Literature:

  • Butterflies of the Pacific Northwest
  • Butterflies through Binoculars – The West
  • CSNM maps
  • CSNM posters
  • CSNM Butterflies Informational Brochures
  • Invasive Plants information 

 

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The Endangered Species Kit focuses on endangered species from local butterflies to African elephants. Activities introduce concepts such as ecosystems, habitat fragmentation, and carrying capacity. The kit also includes US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Cargo for Conservation, information about endangered species, and examples of illegal trade in endangered species. 

Activities:

  • Cargo for Conservation – Use USFWS confiscated items to identify endangered species, explain why we should protect them, and discuss how we can help prevent the illegal use of endangered species
  • Carrying Capacity – Explore the meaning of carrying capacity by pretending to be black bears in a class game
  • What is an Ecosystem? – Discuss and observe ecosystems and endangered species that are local to our area
  • Match that Ecosystem – Test your memory and ability to match species with their ecosystems
  • Responsible Resource Use  - Define renewable and non-renewable resources and demonstrate proper management of these resources
  • Forest Fragments - Understand how habitat fragmentation impacts sensitive species through an outdoor survival game
  • Dune Grass and the Plover – Learn about invasive species, competition, and their impact on a threatened bird species                       

Cool Stuff: 

  • Endangered butterflies display
  • 24 confiscated items from USFWS
  • Python snake and wallaby skin
  • Lizard and turtle hide
  • Snake skin shoe
  • Ladies Whipsnake shoe
  • Turtle boot
  • Crocodile and Cobra purse
  • Caiman belt
  • Lizard wallet
  • Seashell owl sculpture
  • Coral necklace
  • Ivory carving
  • Ivory bracelet & necklace
  • Elephant bracelet
  • Seashell necklace and earrings
  • Walrus key chain
  • Turtle hair comb
  • Musk pills and tiger-bone plaster
  • Rhino horn

 Books:

  • Bird Conservation: Issue 14
  • Nature Conservancy: July/August 1998
  • Misc. endangered species brochures and information  

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 The Fire Ecology Kit introduces the concepts of plant and animal adaptations to fire, the role fire severity plays in plant diversity, how Native Americans traditionally used fire, ways people can protect their homes from fire, and the ways people interact with, and talk about, fire.

Activities:

  • Fire Stations - Introduce the concepts of fire ecology
  • Plants and Fire: Identify strategies of survival in fire ecosystems through plant adaptations
  • Animals and Fire: Introduce when animals return to a burned environment
  • Native Americans and Fire: Read two articles about how Native Americans use fire
  • Fire Wars video: Shows fire ecology concepts and discusses fire policy
  • Fire Scars: Read a story about a fire-affected tree and examine tree cookies from a fire-scarred tree
  • Fire Severity: Act out different fire severities and analyze the fires' effects on the plant community
  • Fire Messages: Take a critical look at pamphlets about fire 

Cool Stuff:

  • Open and closed Knobcone cones
  • Ponderosa pine bark
  • Fire-scarred tree ‘cookies’ (cross-sections)
  • Directions and maps to local fire sites
  • Fire Wars DVD
  • Large maps and images of local forest fires
  • Classroom posters 

Books and Publications:

  • Fire: Friend or Foe
  • Wildfires by Seymour Simon
  • The Ecology of Fire
  • Fire in Oregon’s Forests
  • Wildfire: study guide
  • Managing for Wildlife and Forest Health 

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The Forest Ecology Kit contains activities, field guides, and samples for helping students understand the complex ecology of local forests. 

Activities:

  • Tree Identification- Use a dichotomous key to identify commonly occurring native trees in the Rogue Valley
  • Drawing Succession- Understand the successional process
  • Succession and Habitat Diversity – Understand the 5 successional stages and learn about habitat diversity
  • Studying Succession Through Forest Exploration – Collect data on a local forest and determine what successional stage it is in
  • Likable Lichens – Identify different lichens and their relationships with their environment 
  • Forests for All - Faced with various scenarios, students must decide the best way to harvest trees in an area to protect the local surroundings
  • What's Going On?  - Play a short class game to learn about how everything in a system is connected
  • Let's Eat! - Role play the trophic levels of a system to learn how producers, primary consumers, secondary consumers and decomposers interact
  • Forever Trees - Learn about sustainable harvesting and practice your math skills in this fun harvest simulation game

Cool Stuff:

  • Lichen specimens
  • Forest Succession Photographs
  • Tree Identification Cards
  • Diameter Tape
  • Increment Tree Borer 

Books:

  • Discovering Nature: Ancient Forests
  • The Tree in the Ancient Forest
  • In a Nutshell
  • Discovering your Life-place: a Fist Bioregional Workbook
  • How the Forest Grew
  • Field Guide to Old-Growth Forests
  • Peterson’s Guide to California and Pacific Northwest Forests
  • Atlas of Oregon Wildlife
  • Pacific Coast Tree Finder
  • Jackson County Habitat Guide  

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The Geology Kit explores our planet from the perspective of its geologic structure. The kit allows students to learn experientially, enabling them to understand concepts such as the rock cycle and the characteristics of our regional geology. The student kits that are included afford students the opportunity to key out rock types that are common to the Rogue Valley.

Activities:

  • Classroom Collection - Collect rocks, identify and label them for a classroom collection
  • Rock Cycle Adventures - Explore the rock cycle
  • Rocks of the Rogue Valley - Use student kits to key out 8 local rock samples
  • Earthquake Safety – Use websites to research local Earthquakes and safety measures
  • Name That Soil – Take a look at what makes up soil and how soils differ
  • How Old is Old? – Explore historical geological events on Earth
  • Grow a Crystal – Explain how crystals are formed and use sugar water to make your own 

Cool Stuff:

  • 14 Student Study Kits with 8 rocks each and a key
  • Mineral Streak Collection
  • Fossil Samples
  • Common Minerals and Rocks Collection
  • Oregon Caves Map
  • Crater Lake and Lava Bed Maps and Information
  • Geology of Jackson County Crossword 

Books and Videos:

  • Volcano: Nature’s Inferno, VHS
  • Geology of Jackson County
  • Incredible Earth
  • Discovering Volcanoes
  • Discovering Crater Lake
  • Peterson First Field Guides: Rocks and Minerals
  • Golden Guide: Geology
  • Project Earth Science
  • Geology Crafts for Kids
  • Roadside Geology of Oregon
  • Stone Wall Secrets
  • And more! 

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 The Insect Kit explores the diversity of insects common to our region using a mounted specimen collection.  The collection parallels the activities which explore adaptations that insects use for survival such as camouflage, mouthparts, and behavior. The kit is designed for use in the field utilizing detailed observational and insect collection techniques.

Please note that the insect kit cannot be shipped via ESD courier due to the fragile nature of the specimens. The kit must be picked up at SOU.

Activities:

  • Camouflage: Where Are They Hiding? – Learn how insects use camouflage for protection and see several examples
  • Busy, Busy Bees - Describe how a honeycomb is built and the purpose of the “bee dance”
  • Make a Pooter! - Make a collecting device to safely catch insects
  • Learning mouthparts - Understand mouthpart specialization
  • On the Move – Understand leg types and their function for insect survival
  • Flutter and Fly – Identifying wing types and wing function
  • Amazing Antennae – Understand the use of insect antennae
  • By Gall-y – Look at the function of galls and identify different types
  • Insect Puzzle - Assemble this large insect puzzle to begin learning insect anatomy
  • Insect or Spider? - Learn about the similarities and differences between insects and spiders
  • And more! 

Cool Stuff:

  • 15 Student Study Kits, each containing:
    • 1 box of crayons
    • Small pad
    • Insect cube
    • Beetle stick
    • Insect Gall
    • Magnifying Lucite Box
    • Golden Guide to Insects
    • Life Cycle and Insect Parts Diagram
  • 8 insect collections of major insect orders
  • Magnifying jars and hand lenses
  • Buzz words - word search 

Books and Videos:

  • Incredible Insects
  • Bug Watching with Charles Henry Turner
  • Entomology
  • I wish I were a Butterfly
  • Bugs of Washington and Oregon
  • Outside and Inside Spiders
  • Eyes on Nature: Spiders
  • Microcosmos DVD
  • Insect Defense DVD  

 

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The Mammal Kit contains a pelt and skull collection of common mammals.  Tracking activities help sharpen students' senses outside, making them more aware of subtle signs that reveal the variety of animals that we live with. 

Activities:

  • Keying Tracks –Introduce methods needed to identify animal tracks
  • Casting Tracks – Make your own permanent track replicas
  • Sand Tracks Detective Game –Improve observational skills, perception, and problem-solving skills in detecting mammal tracks
  • Neat Feet –Look at mammal habitats and calculate how much weight their feet support
  • A Skull to Match –Introduce different mammal skulls and their varying teeth
  • Dental Detectives –Identify different types of teeth and how they are used
  • Bat and Moth Activity –Learn about nocturnal animals and important functions of bats
  • And more! 

Cool Stuff:

  • Animal Scat Molds
  • 11 Mammal Skulls (Beaver, Bobcat, Raccoon, Coyote, etc.)
  • 9 Mammal Skins (Cougar, Red Fox, Bear, Ermine, etc.)
  • Track Cast Replicas
  • Animal Information Sheets
  • Bat wall poster
  • Mammal tracks wall poster 

Books and Videos:

  • America’s Neighborhood Bats
  • Animal Tracks of WA and OR
  • National Audubon Society’s: First Field Guide
  • Peterson’s First Guides- Mammals
  • Nature Scope- Amazing Mammals
  • Skulls and Bones
  • Discovering Marine Mammals
  • Scat, Tracks, and Other Animal Signs
  • Native American Animal Stories
  • Animal Tracks f the Pacific Northwest
  • Jackson County Habitat Guide
  • Eyewitness Mammals, VHS
  • Bats: The True Story, VHS

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 The Plants of the Rogue Valley Kit introduces the diversity of plants found in this region. Activities include plant identification through dichotomous keys, a plant press, and specimens of leaves, cones, and tree cookies to investigate. 

Activities:

  • Tree Identification – Learn and identify common trees in the area
  • Riparian Plants – Learn and identify common riparian plants
  • Plant Magic – Understand how plants adapt to a certain area and see examples outdoors
  • Plant Parts – Learn basic parts of a plant and their functions
  • Flower Parts – Identify flower parts and their functions
  • Plant Press – Collect and preserve your own plants!
  • Likable Lichens – Identify lichen types and describe symbiosis
  • And more! 

Cool Stuff: 

  • Plant Press
  • Tree ‘cookies’ (cross-sections)
  • Lichen Specimens
  • Leaf shapes display
  • Cone Samples 

Books and Videos:

  • The Lorax
  • Pacific Coast Tree Finder
  • Pacific Coast Fern Finder
  • Trees to Know in Oregon
  • Mac’s Field Guide to Pacific Northwest Trees
  • Peterson’s Pacific States Wildflowers
  • How Leaves Change
  • Common Native Roadside Wildflowers
  • Eyewitness: Trees VHS
  • Eyewitness: Plants VHS

 


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HerpKit

The Reptiles and Amphibians (Herpetology) Kit is our new kit designed to explore characteristics and life histories of both reptiles and amphibians and also conservation efforts that are currently taking place for this vulnerable group of animals.

 Activities:

  • Amphibians vs. Reptiles – Rotate through stations that compare the skin, life cycles, eggs, and examples of amphibians and reptiles
  • Extraordinary Ectotherms – Use thermometers and look at infrared photographs to find out what it means to be an ectotherm (cold-blooded)
  • On the Defensive – Look at pictures of awesome defensive mechanisms that amphibians and reptiles employ
  • Frog Life Cycle Board Game – Play your way through a frog’s life cycle in this interactive board game!
  • Find that Frog - Use home-made instruments to imitate frog calls in an outdoor hide-and-seek-type listening game
  • You: The Frog Biologist! - Search for frog ‘egg masses’ hidden around the classroom and use that number to calculate the frog population
  • Origami – Instructions for your class to make paper reptiles and amphibians

Cool Stuff:

  • Snake skin
  • Turtle shell
  • Frog life cycle stages display
  • Picture ID cards of reptiles and amphibians in our area

 Books and Videos:

  • Life in Cold Blood DVD
  •  Peterson’s First Field Guide: Reptiles and Amphibians
  • The Magic School Bus Gets Cold Feet
  • The Frog Alphabet
  • Science Nature Guide: Amphibians and Reptiles
  • A Look Inside: Reptiles
  • First Field Guide: Amphibians
  • The Snake Dictionary

 


 The Water Conservation Kit provides resources for teaching wise water use. The kit includes picture books, videos, curriculum guides, and activities for conserving water at school and at home. Use this kit alongside our Water Quality Kit or Watershed Kit to explore how water affects us all.

The Water Conservation Kit was created by and located with the Bear Creek Watershed Education Partners. Please contact Bear Creek Watershed Education Partners to reserve this kit. 


 

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SEEC offers three Water Quality Kits that teach students how to test water for pH, nitrate, phosphate, and dissolved oxygen, and explores how these indicate the water quality. 

 Each kit contains the following HACH Water Quality Testing Kits:

  • Bromthymol Blue pH Test
  • Dissolved Oxygen Test
  • Nitrite Test
  • Chloride Test
  • Phosphate Test

 The Water Quality Kit and Water Conservation Kit compliment the Watersheds Kit and can be used to create a comprehensive, place-based water unit.

 


 

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 watersheds kit 1

The Watersheds: Salmon & Streams Kit is divided into four parts: watersheds, macroinvertebrates, water quality, and salmon. Students have many opportunities to get hands-on experience learning about water flow through the ecosystem, water quality, and how these affect macroinvertebrates and salmon in our streams.

Activities

  • Model Watersheds - Create models of watersheds with paper mache and topographic maps
  • WatershedsJust Passing Through – Explore how water moves over landscapes with an outside game
  • Macroinvertebrate Sampling - Design a field survey, collect and identify aquatic macroinvertebrates, and determine the health of the stream site
  • Pollution Tag - Understand stream macroinvertebrate’s varying tolerance levels to pollution
  • Salmon Scales – Get an up-close look at salmon scales and determine the fish’s age
  • Salmon Life Cycle Class Game – Act out the salmon lifecycle and calculate salmon survival
  • Fish Prints - Learn external anatomy by making a fish print
  • Salmon Dissection – Learn internal anatomy by dissecting a real fish! Contact Cole M. Rivers Hatchery to receive fish specimen

Cool Stuff:

  • Watershed maps
  • Field Box with materials for macroinvertebrate sampling
  • Salmon replicas for making fish prints
  • Egg/alevin/fry display
  • Microscope slides of salmon scales
  • Salmonid Lifecycle and Local Species Presentation
  • Dissection kit

Books and Videos:

  • Guide to Pacific Northwest Aquatic Invertebrates
  • Field Guide to the Pacific Salmon
  • Salmon Stream
  • Discovering Salmon
  • The Magic School Bus Goes Upstream
  • A Last Wild Salmon VHS
  • Rogue Fly Fishers: Rogue Summer Steelhead VHS
  • Stream Keeper VHS