Enjoying Iowa's Natural Resources During Covid-19

Although people are social distancing and businesses remain closed, there are still lots of natural resources related activities that can be done to stay active and entertained during this challenging time. The Natural Resource Stewardship team has gathered many ideas and suggestions on this page to make it easy to find fun things to do.

Learn to identify Iowa's plants and animals

Going outside and exploring nature can be far more interesting when you know what species are living around you. Check out these resources to learn how to identify the plants and animals that you may find throughout the state.

When you are out exploring Iowa's natural areas you may find some invasive plant species. Check out our Invasive Species in Iowa page to learn how to identify some of the common invasive plants in Iowa and how you can help protect our native habitats by removing them or preventing their spread.

Identifying animal tracks can be another way to discover new things about Iowa's wildlife. The Tracking Wildlife article from the ISU Extension Words on Wellness blog talks about identifying tracks and links to an Iowa DNR resource on animal track identification. The Mammals of Iowa Field Guide is also a good resource for identifying tracks of Iowa's mammals.

Build something for the birds, bats, or bees

Learn about natural resources from home

Find a new natural area to explore

There are many great places in Iowa to get outdoors and enjoy nature. Go out and discover a new area near you but checking out the following websites:

Iowa Outdoors also has a video of Iowa State Parks by Air and a "Trail-in-a-Minute" video series where you can see great places in Iowa from your home.

Fun activities for homeschool

Check out the collection of outdoor exploration activities for kids put together by Iowa 4-H, which include directions for the following:

  • Take an adventure walk where the flip of a coin determines if you turn left or right at an intersection. Bonus scavenger hunt list included.
  • Signs of Spring: listen to a short audio-book about bears and hibernation and go for an outdoor scavenger hunt.
  • Conduct a soil erosion experiment to learn how to conserve topsoil and increase water quality.
  • Outdoor art: collect rocks and decorate them with messages of kindness
  • Collect leaves and flowers to create fabric art with their natural pigment.

Join the gang of Harmony Brook Watershed as they explore Iowa's outdoors and natural resources in this fun, entertaining puppet show from the folks at Water Rocks!