Youth Naturalist Program

Students in grades 6-9 who are looking for a great outdoor adventure this summer are invited to participate in the Youth Naturalist Program from June 22 - 26, 2020! During the Youth Naturalist Program, students spend time actively exploring natural areas along the Platte River in Hamilton County and nearby. Through time spent hiking in the prairie, sampling the aquatic life in the river, photographing out in nature or observing and learning about wildlife, students develop an appreciation for where they live and a care and respect for wild places. This is an excellent opportunity to gain valuable knowledge about Nebraska ecosystems and participate in outdoor recreation activities such as kayaking, hiking and camping. Students also have the opportunity to interact with professionals with careers in science, natural resources, conservation and habitat/wildlife management. These activities will open new doors for students interested in these topics and help them find exciting new ways to enjoy the outdoors.

Why Participate in the Youth Naturalist Program?

The Youth Naturalist Program uses an active, hands-on approach to learning about and enjoying nature. Students spend time exploring and learning about the life present in the Platte River and on the prairie. They will have the opportunity to go on a camping trip and kayaking trip as a part of this program. Students will gain many naturalist skills, from identifying animals and plants on the prairie to gaining an understanding of grassland and Platte River ecology. They will meet people that work in the fields of conservation, natural resources, habitat/wildlife management and the arts. Students interested in natural sciences, agriculture, conservation or outdoor recreation are strongly encouraged to participate. Any students interested in spending more time outdoors, hiking, kayaking, camping and exploring these 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 the application form. You will find more information about all this on the Student Application form. The registration fee for this week-long program is $150.00. Financial assistance is available to students that qualify. Scholarships will help cover the registration fee of the program.


Any student presently (2019-2020 school year) in grades 6-9 is eligible for the Youth Naturalist Program. You will need to apply to be a part of the program. We will accept up to 20 students. In most cases we accept all students who apply, however if there are more applicants than we have space for 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


Some of the amazing site we will visit include, Gjerloff Prairie, Sherman Ranch and Bader Memorial Park. 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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