Exploring Your Environment



Exploring Your Enviroment is a national 4-H project. It features curriculum that will guide you through the project. For a copy contact your County 4-H Office or order online at National 4-H Service Supply. For additional curriculum possibilities, explore the National Directory of 4-H Materials and do a key word search for Environment.

Exploring Your Environment 1
What you can do in this project: explore the four elements of life: sun, air, water and soil; use your senses to explore the environment; connect to the environment through plants and animals; and learn how the environment is affected by pollution.
Grades: 5-7
Resource: 07704, Eco-Wonders

Exploring Your Environment 2
What you can do in this project: explore wildlife habitats and tracking; learn about groundwater; research pollination and how it works.
Grades: 8-10
Resource: 07705, Eco-Adventures

Exploring Your Environment 3
What you can do in this project: explore the world of biotechnology; learn the features of insect creatures; begin to understand biodiversity; and learn what climate has to do with the way we live.
Grades: 11-12
Resource: 07706, Eco-Actions

Exploring Your Environment Leader
Resources: 07707, Exploring Your Environment Helper’s Guide
PUB-CE-456, Education Connection
PUBL-ER-001, Wisconsin Endangered & Threatened Species Laws & List
4H500, I’m a 4-H Project Leader. Now What Do I Do?


Want to learn more about Exploring Your Environment? Try the links below.

Exploring Your Environment Project Training
Many counties hold local training for members and leaders in their favorite project areas, including Exploring Your Environment. Watch your county 4-H Family newsletter or contact your county Extension office for details.

Wisconsin 4-H and Youth Conference
If you’re in grades 8-10, check out the next Wisconsin 4-H and Youth Conference, scheduled each June at the UW-Madison campus. The conference offers educational seminars in most areas of 4-H. Contact your county Extension office for details.

Activity Plans

Learning by doing . . . that’s been the 4-H way for 100 years! Dive into these fun Exploring Your Environment activities. Select a file for a complete lesson plan.

  • PDF Icon Dabbler or Diver? (3 pages, 180KB) Did you know that ducks are grouped by dabblers or divers? This activity shares what those differences are and how to observe these ducks in their environment. This activity is in a game show format that youth will find very interesting.
  • PDF Icon Duck Wing ID – Dabblers (9 pages, 218 KB) This activity explores Dabbling Ducks. These ducks have colored wing patches that help make the duck easy to identify. Using a jigsaw puzzle method- youth will learn how to identify these ducks with the aid of a Duck ID Fact Sheet.
  • PDF file Life In The Sidewalk Cracks (1 page, 36 KB) Compare plant and animal life in different habitats.
  • PDF file Makin’ Tracks (2 pages, 73 KB) In this activity youth in grades 4 and above will learn to make a plaster cast of an animal track.
  • PDF Icon Predator or Prey? Skull Characteristics (4 pages, 120 KB) Do you know which animal is a predator or which is prey? This activity helps you in identifying many of the differences. Using diagrams of different skulls you will learn the physical make up of these animals.
  • PDF Icon Nature Carving (2 pages, 58 KB) Are you an outdoor enthusiast who would like another hobby related to the outdoors? This activity will help you explore nature carving. This activity introduces you to carving for beginners using soap, simple patterns and additional resources.
  • PDF IconNatural Resources Careers – Choosing A Path (2 pages, 90 KB) Natural Resources careers are great options for youth who love the outdoors. There are many areas in Natural Resources including fisheries, law enforcement, wildlife and forestry. This activity helps youth explore their interests in the Natural Resources areas.
  • PDF file Quick Frozen Critters (1 page, 39 KB) An active version of freeze tag based on predator/prey relationships.
  • PDF logo Saldo Island: An Unfair Game (3 pages, 101 KB) Understand the effects of invasive species on the environment.
  • PDF Icon Thinking Like A Mountain (3 pages, 85KB) Aldo Leopold was a Wisconsin scientist who grew to understand the world and the environment around us. One of his concerns related to predator eradication. This activity will take youth through a discussion of whether or not predators should be eradicated.
  • PDF file Whatta Web (7 pages, 201 KB) Simulate animal food chains in a game environment.

County Fair

The county fair . . . what a great time it is! Every summer, families flock to county fairs to see the latest 4-H project exhibits. Exhibiting is a fun and educational way for youth to showcase their project work to judges and to the public. Judging materials are supported by Bill Shaw in memory of his wife, Shirley.

Related Links

There’s so much more to learn in the 4-H Exploring Your Environment Project. Just follow these links!

American Birding Association: Programs for Young Birders
Site with information on contests, camps, scholarships, resources and more for young birders.

Source for information on birding around the country and the world.

Environmental Education for Kids
Program of the Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources, EEK is an electronic magazine for youth in grades 4-8 who want to know more about the great outdoors.

Go Wild With Wisconsin Wildcards
An activity kit from the Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources that includes more than 250 “trading cards,” featuring some of Wisconsin’s plants, wildlife and special places. Great resource for helping Wisconsinites (of all ages) get to know their state and its natural resource issues.

National Audubon Society
Site of the nation’s largest bird conservation organization which has been active for 100 years. You’ll find lots of solid information and ways to get involved

Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy seeks to preserve the plants, animals, and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the land and water they need to survive. On this page you’ll find some fun free stuff to do.

Scientific American
Keep up-to-date information on animals, plants, and the ecosystem. Here you will find lots of fascinating information whether for a research paper, project, of just for fun.

Source for information for backyard birders, including identifying feeding, protecting and photographing wild birds.

Wisconsin 4-H STEM
Resources and links to science, engineering, and technology activities.

World Wildlife Fund
Known worldwide by its panda logo, WWF leads international efforts to protect endangered species and their habitats. Now in its fifth decade, WWF works in more than 100 countries around the globe to conserve the diversity of life on earth.

Project Support

For more information on the 4-H Exploring Your Environment Project, contact the following:

Cooperative Extension Media Collection
This lending library features several resources on wildlife conservation that can be rented.

UW-Extension County 4-H Offices
This is your link to a list of Wisconsin County Extension Offices. Select the county of your choice.