The Department of Natural Resources has free educational opportunities to help educators looking for a fun way to integrate Michigan’s unique flora and fauna into their curriculum, while still meeting required educational standards.

New this year, the Go Wild for Michigan’s Wildlife program is open to kindergarten through fifth-grade educators. Teachers can share the wonders of Michigan’s wild inhabitants with young learners to build appreciation for these unique species and the places they call home with these lessons and classroom materials. Materials include lesson plans, wildlife posters for the classroom, and sets of “Go Wild for Michigan’s Wildlife” critter cards for students.

Beginning its third year, the A Year in the Life of a Michigan Black Bear program is available to sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade educators. Throughout the school year, students will learn about the life cycle of the Michigan black bear, general black bear biology and behavior, and how the DNR manages and maintains a healthy black bear population. Additionally, over the school year, classrooms will get to “follow” a bear through its seasonal movements by using actual data points from a radio-collared Michigan black bear.

Beginning its second year, for ninth- through 12th-grade educators, is the Elk University – Educating Tomorrow’s Wildlife Managers program. Elk University is designed to fit into teachers’ busy semester while meeting educational standards and touching on Michigan history, forest management, elk biology, wildlife disease and social considerations for wildlife management. Students will learn how the DNR manages and maintains a healthy elk herd for current and future generations.

Educators must register by Sept. 30 in order to obtain the program materials for A Year in the Life of a Michigan Black Bear and the fall semester of Elk University – Educating Tomorrow’s Wildlife Managers.

Educators also should register for the Go Wild For Michigan’s Wildlife program by Sept. 30. Sets of the critter cards for students are limited and will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. An electronic copy of the critter cards will be provided to those who do not receive hard copies.

To register for these programs, fill out the online registration form. To learn more about these and other wildlife education and outreach opportunities, please visit and click on “Wildlife Education and Outreach.” Explore additional DNR education and outreach opportunities and resources at

Registration for K–12th-Grade Wildlife Programs Now Open for Michigan Educators was last modified: August 15th, 2016 by Karen Elford