Youth Naturalist Program

Grade 6-10 students who are looking for a great outdoor summer adventure are invited to participate in this unique naturalist-based program in June. The group will enjoy hikes, learning about the ecosystem in which they live and how to care for, protect and restore it. Students will actively explore natural areas along the Platte River in Hamilton and Merrick counties, observing the landscape, plants and animals present. This is an exciting opportunity to gain valuable knowledge about nature and our Nebraska ecosystems and participate in outdoor recreational activities such as kayaking and camping. Campers also have the opportunity to interact with professionals in careers in the natural resources and habitat/wildlife management. These activities are intended to open new doors for students interested in the natural world and help them find new ways to enjoy the outdoors.

Why Participate in the Youth Naturalist Program?

The Youth Naturalist Program has an active, hands-on approach to learning and enjoying nature. This is like nothing you experience in the classroom. You will gain many skills, such as identifying plants and animals on the prairie, learning to grow your own food in a small garden and feeling confident about going on a camping or kayaking trip in the wilderness. You will have the chance to meet those who work in the fields of conservation, natural resources and habitat/wildlife management. You will view the area where you live in a new and exciting way. Students interested in the natural sciences, agriculture, conservation or outdoor recreation are strongly encouraged to participate. Any student interested in spending more time outdoors, hiking and exploring natural areas should participate!

How Do I Participate in the Youth Naturalist Program?

To apply, download and complete the student application found below including parent/guardian signature and a recommendation from one current teacher at school. Completed applications and teacher recommendations should be sent to the Prairie Plains office at the address listed on application form. The cost of the program is $150.00. Scholarships may be available.


Students currently in grades 6-10 are eligible for the Youth Naturalist Program. Students must apply to participate, and we will accept 20 students each year. If there are more applicants than space in the program, we will select students based on their expressed interest in participating in the program and a teacher recommendation.


June 22-26, 2020


Students will be bused to field sites and will meet in the band parking lot located east of Aurora High School to load and unload the bus. 

2019 YNP Photos on Facebook

2018 YNP Photos on Facebook

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