Conservation Education

Diane Awbrey, Education Information Coordinator

Conservation education and public outreach are very important to Crawford SWCD. The district offers many hands-on classroom programs covering many conservation topics that meet the Ohio Academic Content Standards.

Generally all of the presentations take 30 to 45 minutes.  The classroom presentations are prepared for single class occupancy, but multiple classes can be combined, with advanced notice. My schedule fills up quickly, and scheduling will be made on a first come first serve basis.

All of our programs are free of charge to any Crawford County school or organization. Below is a listing of classroom and adult programs offered.

Current Selection of Available In-Class Programs

Contact Diane Awbrey:


Grades: PreK-Kinder

  • Soil Sort – This lesson encourages students to think about the differences in soil. We will start the lesson with discussion on why soil is important, and then we will head outside to collect some soil samples. (I will supply samples if your school prefers). The class will be broken into small groups and each group will examine a soil sample to determine where the soil came from, and what it is made from.


  • Soil Salad – This is a reinforcement of the science standard living and non-living.  This is a fun interactive program to teach PreK-3rd about the “ingredients” of soil.


  • Soil Erosion – This program is a hands on approach to learning about soil erosion! Single class booking is required for this program, as students will be grouped into smaller groups of 3-4 students to work with soil, water, and organic materials to create soil erosion with wind and water!

Grades: PreK-3rd

  • Worms – Learn all about “natures recyclers” and the important role they play on Earth. I will read the book “A Diary of a Worm” and we will discuss the facts and fiction of this wonderful story, while learning some true worm facts.  Real worms will be brought to the classroom for close up studying.
 Grade: 4th
  • Weathering and Erosion Escape Room – This program is designed for the 4th grade science standards. Students will work in small groups to decipher codes, answer questions, review vocabulary and more to receive a code to unlock the next box!


Grades: PreK-Kinder 

  • Pond Life – We will read a book about pond life, complete a felt board activity to determine if my felt board friends live in a pond or in the ocean. The goal is to help the students learn about a local habitat and compare it to an ocean habitat. We will touch briefly on the food chain and young and adult animal differences. I have a pond color, cut, paste and counting book to use as a classroom follow up.

Grades: K-6th

  • Water Cycle – Roll the dice and become a water molecule and travel through the water cycle.

Grades: 2nd-6th

  • Macro Invertebrates – This program is like bringing a local stream ecosystem right to the classroom, but with out the mess.  The students will learn what a macro invertebrate is, learn some important tools used in macro invertebrate identification and studies, water quality, and complete a stream assessment form on an “actual” stream.


  • Water Pollution “CSI” – This is for 3rd – 6th grade students based in the 1800’s (great for history class as well).  A killer has swept through the streets of London; hundreds are dead! Through a series of clues, students solve a mystery to discover that water can also produce negative effects for people. We will analyze data to solve water pollution mysteries.


  • Fred The Fish – Fred the Fish will visit the class room to help students PreK-2nd grade have a better understanding of water pollution.

Grades: 3rd-6th

  • Who Polluted the Potomac? – This is a hands on demonstration covering how water in the Potomac River became polluted starting 500 years ago until today. We will cover many types of pollutants made by factories, motorists, families, and more.


Grades: PreK-2nd

  • Butterfly Lifecycle – We will start the lesson by reading a story about the butterfly lifecycle, then we will talk about local butterflies and finish with making a butterfly lifecycle out of pasta.

Grades: PreK-Kinder

  • Bird Beak Buffet – What is a bird? What do you know about birds? We will touch on bird feathers, bones, eggs, nests, and then what they eat and how. This is a hands on program where the students will move through 7 stations trying to use different bird beaks to collect food. For example at one station they will pretend to be a shorebird and use chopsticks to search in the sand to find insects. This is a great adaptation activity. This is an excellent program to borrow for center time!
Teacher with a wild turkey
Grades: PreK-6th
  • Wild Turkey – This is a wonderful program for around the Thanksgiving holiday.  Real turkey props will be brought for the class to view.  The history, characteristics, habitat, and other interest areas of the wild turkey will be covered.

Grades: PreK-6th

  • Pelts – Crawford County native animal pelts are brought in and can be used for hibernation, mammal studies, nocturnal, habitats, carnivore, herbivore, omnivore and specific characteristics to fit your age content standard.  Pelts available are: raccoon, mink, coyote, red fox, grey fox, beaver, opossum, muskrat, and skunk.

Grades: PreK-6th

  • Tracks – This is a great correlation with the Ohio Mammals program.  We have various domestic and wild animal track molds.

Grades: 1st-6th

  • Skulls – We will examine preserved skulls and compare skull features among several animals to explore associated adaptations. This is also a great addition to the pelts or tracks program.

Grades: PreK-6th

  • Bats – This program will take a closer look at the only true flying mammal.  We will cover echolocation, diet, species, and much more! This is a perfect program for around Halloween or any time.

Grades: PreK-6th

  • Frogs and Toads – What is a frog? What is a toad? Are they the same? We will discover the differences in habitats, appearances, where their young are laid, and the life cycle changes. As well as many more interesting facts!

Grades: PreK-6th

  • Dragonflies – This program will inform the class on the body parts, life cycle, and habitat of this very interesting insect.

Grades: PreK-6th

  • Insects – What is an insect? This program can cover many aspects of insects you can choose what will best fit your class studies. I will begin with a description of what characteristics an insect needs to make it a true arthropod, then we will look at some insect pictures and group them in insect or non-insect classes. The end of the presentation is up to you, and here are your choices.

* Go outside for an insect hunt. (I will provide nets and collection jars)

* Dig further into insect lifecycles and then make a lifecycle craft.

Grades: 3rd-4th

  • Lifecycles – Students will sort out various stage cards to complete a lifecycle. We will determine is it  complete metamorphosis, an incomplete, or just a lifecycle. Traits will be compared for the young to adult to find similarities and differences, we might even play charades and act them out for the group! 

Grades: PreK-6th

  • Ohio Owls – Take a closer look at Ohio owls and learn all about these interesting nocturnal raptors. Topics covered will be species differences, feathers, vision, hearing, habitat, and many other great facts.

Grades: 2nd-6th

  • Owl Pellets – Owl pellet dissection can be scheduled for extended study of owls and their food chain. 

Grades: PreK-6th

  • Bald Eagles – This program is all about our National symbol the bald eagle. Once an endangered species, learn about the exciting comeback of this majestic bird. I have some interesting props to share with your class; a taxidermied bald eagle replica on generous loan from Bloomfield’s Taxidermy, replica talons, egg, nest and wing span.

Grades: 3rd-6th

  • Wildlife CSI – Oh No! There has been a murder!! Who killed the Eastern Cotton tailed Rabbit? Students will look over the crime scene, hear clues from an eye witness, interview the suspects, and try to solve this mystery!

Grades: 3rd-6th

  • Feather CSI – Students will look over the crime scene to find the suspect and animal killed! This program students will incorporate mapping, measuring, language arts and analytical and some creative thinking to solve this crime!  

Grades: 3rd-6th

  • Ohio Wildlife Timeline – Ohio has a rich and varied history when it comes to its wildlife. Our state has seen wildlife species and habitats come and go for more than 200 years. This hands on lesson students will read timeline cards and change the face of Ohio as the years go on with both sad and successful outcomes. 


Grades: PreK-6th

  • Celebrating the Corn Harvest – Learn how corn is grown, harvested, and what products are made from corn.

Grades: 1st-2nd

  • From Farm to Lunch Box – Students will work in small groups to learn what a healthy lunch choice would be and then we will dig deeper and learn the farm – production – transportation – store – lunch box chain for these favorite lunch choices! 

Grades: K-1st

  • Livestock Live – Our office will bring young livestock animals to your school. This is a wonderful experience for the students, they will learn what the animal is, what it eats and what products we get from them. This program is held in September or October on even numbered years.

Grades: K Only

  • Chickens!!  – Our office along with OSU Extension will be teaming up to bring your students a program all about chickens! This program will help students have a better understanding as to why and how we raise them, products, lifecycle, body parts and there will be a live chicken to interact with!

Conservation-Natural Resources:

Grades: PreK-3rd

  • We All Need Trees – This will cover the various tree parts, structure, uses for humans and animals, and products that are made from this great natural resource.

Grade: 5thEscape Room

  • Ecosystem Escape Room – This hands on program is designed to cover the 5th grade learning standard on ecosystems! Students will work in small groups to solve the clues  to figure out a code to move to the next box! It will be focused on learning all about a  local ecosystem, covering definitions, environmental impacts, food web, and more! Plan for a 45 minute session to complete this escape room! 
Grade: 3rd
  • Renewable and Non-renewable Energy Sources Escape Room – This program is designed for the 3rd grade science standards. Students will work in small groups to decipher codes, answer questions, review vocabulary and more to receive a code to unlock the next box!

Grades: Kinder-6th

  • Recycling – This program is about the 3 R’s! Reduce – Reuse – Recycle! Will cover what we can recycle in Crawford County, ways to reduce and reuse, and the importance of all 3.       

Grades: 3rd-6th

    • Who trashed the Camp?? Recycling – This program will teach and test the students knowledge on what can and should be recycled in Crawford County. This program is a hands on group based puzzle/problem solving mystery! 

Grades: 4th-12th

  • GPS  – Crawford SWCD received a grant from the Ohio Farm Bureau to purchase 12 units to be used for education. These hand held units can be used to teach students all about GPS technology. I will bring the units and show the students how to use them and then they will use them in a high tech scavenger hunt!

Please contact me if there is a topic that you would like me to present on that is not listed.  Most programs can be made to fit any age group. I can be contacted at Crawford SWCD, 3111 State Route 98, Bucyrus, OH 44820 or (419)562-8280.

Other  School Opportunities:

Grades: 9th-12th

  • Envirothon – The Envirothon is a multi-disciplinary, environmental problem solving culminating in a series of annual competitions.  Teams of five high school students (grades 9-12) train and compete in the areas of soils, forestry, wild life, aquatics and current environmental issues at regional, state, and national levels.

2024 Current Environment Issues Topic: Renewable Energy for a Sustainable Future 

                                                    2024 Envirothon Dates:

                        Area 1: Wednesday April 24, 2024 – Allen County

                        State: June 3 – 5 – Hocking College, Nelsonville, Ohio 


Area 1 Envirothon Website ~ View past tests and results. 

Grades: 9th-12th

  • High School Forestry Workshop and Contest – Started in 2009 this event consists of learning sessions in the morning covering tree identification, timber cruising and general forestry, the day concluded with testing stations.

            2024-2025 School Year Contest will be held September 19, 2024 ~ Camp Michael, Bucyrus.

Adult Opportunities:

    Our adult programs are free to any Crawford County group or organization, most programs will run 20 – 45 minutes and can be presented to fit your time schedule. Additional conservation topics available upon request.

  • Drainage 101 – Basics of drainage, rural and urban.
  • Current Agricultural Issues – Livestock, manure and other conservation practices.
  • Wildlife – Ohio Bats, Ohio Owls, Wild Turkey and local mammals.
  • SWCD Services – What we do – Educational and Technical.

Storm Water Education Programs Brochure