Nature Reach

Nature Reach


Working out of PSU’s Biology Department since 1985, we have a commitment to providing natural history and environmental education outreach programming to school and community groups.

The Mission of PSU’s Nature Reach Program is to provide quality environmental education for all while fostering an appreciation for and connection to animals and our natural world.

You won’t find another entity in this region that can do what we do here at PSU Nature Reach. We go to directly to classrooms with live animals, we provide summer programming, we help teachers become better educators, and we provide valuable, real world training to college students who want to go into careers from veterinary medicine to wildlife management. We provide opportunities for transformational experiences through hands-on learning.

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Nature Reach is only partially supported by PSU. We primarily depend on program fees, grants, and especially generous donations. View endowment brochure

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Updated Summer Camp Information


A message from the Nature Reach Director, Delia Lister

Due to the global pandemic, we will not be able to do in-person camps this summer. However, virtual camps will be offered to those who have already signed up.  

  • The cost of camp will not change, and we will certainly refund the full amount to anyone who wishes to cancel. Just let me know by Tuesday, May 12th (dlister@pittstate.edu). 

  • The virtual offering will include a camp kit and at least one Zoom Session with the kids, depending on the camp. I will happily do a porch delivery to Pittsburg addresses and can arrange a pick-up or shipping option for those that are out of town.

  • The dates of camps will roughly be the same. As long as the companies I use to purchase supplies get items shipped to me on time, the plan will be to get the items pulled together and delivered the week before each camp session. We will have our Zoom sessions on the day of the Kindergarten Camp you signed up for or 3 days over the course of the 1st-3rd grade camp.

  • As of today, 5/5/20, our July Pre-K Summer Reading program is still on, but that could change.

  • We are all living in a new world. I really hope this goes as smoothly as possible, but I hope we all give each other a break if there are a few hiccups along the way.  Again,  I am so very sad we cannot meet face to face as I know this is certainly a highlight of summer for me as well as for many kiddos!

Summer Day Camp Program and Reading Program


Summer Camp Nature Reach

Virtual 1st - 3rd Grade Camp

$70/student, 15 students max

For the same price of traditional camp, you will get a specially curated camp kit for your camper complete with instructions, necessary supplies*, basic equipment (which could be used beyond camp), and a few surprises! Your camper will have a chance to meet in at least three Zoom sessions** with Nature Reach Director, Delia Lister, as well as the other campers for instruction, virtual live animal encounters, and have time for show and tell!

*Parents will need to supply a few basics: markers/crayons, paper, Elmer’s glue, scissors 

**Parents will need to give permission to have a live Zoom session where students will see each other and the instructor. Parents will likely still have to help their kids on some activities/crafts.

Kindergarten Camp 2020

Virtual Kindergarten Camp

$15/student, 20 students max

For the same price of traditional camp, you will get a specially curated camp kit for your camper complete with instructions, necessary supplies*, and a few surprises! Your camper will have a chance to meet in a Zoom session** with Nature Reach Director, Delia Lister, as well as the other campers for instruction, a virtual live animal encounter, and have time for show and tell!

*Parents will need to supply a few basics: markers/crayons, paper, scissors, Elmers glue, empty 2-liter plastic bottle. Parents will also likely still have to help their kids on activities/crafts.

**Parents will need to give permission to have a live Zoom session where students will see each other and the instructor.

reading_to_prek_biology

Pre-K Summer Reading Program - CANCELED

The Pre-K Summer Reading Program camps have been canceled. 

During these 30 minute sessions, 3-5 year olds are invited to join us in reading a story featuring an animal or group of animals. After the story, children are introduced to a LIVE animal and other animal artifacts featured in the story. 


On-Campus Programs


Live Animal Tour

Cost: $3 per student
Maximum group size: 30

The tour features our LIVE animal collection on the beautiful Pitt State Campus. Presentations typically run 50 minutes.

*See Brochure Description

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Raptors, Birds of Prey Assembly Program

Cost: $100
Maximum group size: 150

During this 45-50 minute program the presenter will use LIVE birds to demonstrate how these powerful hunters of the sky have intrigued humans for years.

*See Brochure Description

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Free programming to area schools

Thanks to a generous donation we are currently able to offer FREE on-campus and off-campus programming to area schools! Contact us to find out if your school qualifies.

Contact us

Off-Campus Programs


Natural History Reserve and Raptor Tour

Cost: $90 per program + transportation
Maximum group size: 30

Your group will get a chance to see our famous raptors at home! We will talk about how these animals survive in the wild and their importance to the natural world. The tour will also include a brief introduction to strip mining and the wildlife common to the area.

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  • Nature Reach Travels to YOUR Classroom!
  • Topics Available:

Cost: $90 per program + transportation (.54/mi)
Maximum group size: 30

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Where the Buffalo Roamed: Animals and plants have been used by humans as symbols for centuries. Students will learn about Kansas state symbols illustrated by live and preserved specimens. (If scheduling to coincide with Kansas Day, please submit requests early.)

Rainforest Adventure: The most diverse habitat on Earth is the tropical rainforest. Find out why this habitat is important globally, and learn more about the people and animals that call it home.

Life Cycles/Structures: (Growing up, digging down, standing out, and blending in) Here we discuss the life cycles of insects and other animals including amphibians as well as how their colors, limbs, and skeleton allow them to hide, stand out, hop, skip or jump!

Animals with Class: Animal classification is the emphasis here. This program will discuss the difference between vertebrates and invertebrates. Students will also learn the characteristics of the major vertebrate groups (mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish).

Creatures of the Night: This program focuses on those animals that are active at night. Using live animals (owl, snake etc...) we will discuss the special adaptations these animals have to help them survive a nocturnal existence.

Amazing Animals: Why do some animals have spots? Why do some animals hunt at night? It's called adaptation! Using live and preserved specimens, we will explain how diversity in color, size, shape and behavior help creatures survive. Hiders, fliers, stinkers and bluffers Insects probably affect humans more than any other group of animals. Learn more about these interesting animals as we discuss their anatomy, classification and behavior using live and preserved specimens. (This program includes a powerpoint presentation)

Hiders, fliers, stinkers, and bluffers: Insects probably affect humans more than any other group of animals. Learn more about these interesting animals as we discuss their anatomy, classification and behavior using live and preserved specimens. (This program includes a powerpoint presentation.)

Creepers, Slimers, and Things That Slither: You either hate them or you love them, but either way, reptiles and amphibians are very important to our world. With the aid of live specimens, we will compare and contrast amphibians and reptiles and discuss their role in nature.

Raptors, Birds of Prey: These powerful hunters of the sky have intrigued humans for years. Students will be amazed as they get a close look at these live predators, learn about their importance and learn why many are in need of our help. (Also available as an on-campus assembly program.)

The Web of Life: Where do living things get their energy to survive? Learn about animal food habits by looking at live specimens, skulls and teeth of carnivores, herbivores and omnivores, and explore how every living thing is dependent on food chains.

Special Topics

Cost: $90 per program + transportation
Maximum group size: 30

If you would like to see another presentation topic, don’t hesitate to ask. We can usually accommodate special topics.

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So, What Are We All About?


Our Vision is to Help Create a Citizenry that: 

  • Understands the process of science
  • Is environmentally literate
  • Treats animals and their environments in a respectful and responsible way
  • Promotes healthy, responsible, and sustainable practices at home and in their community
  • Has a connection to the outdoors in multiple and meaningful ways

Our Goals are to:

  • Spark an interest in science and the environment
  • Provide quality, nature-based environmental education programing to the surrounding region
  • Provide academic resources, hands-on experience, and inspiration for students
  • Encourage engagement in the outdoors

Found an Abandoned or Injured Animal?

If you find an abandoned or injured wild animal in this area, contact the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism at (620) 231-3173.

Nature Reach is no longer a licensed wildlife rehabilitation facility. We cannot take in injured or abandoned wildlife. 

The closest rehab facility in Operation Wildlife.

Resources for Pitt State Students


Are you a PSU student interested in working with animals? Would you one day like to work at a zoo, nature center, museum, or state/national Park? If so, this might be the perfect place for you to get hands-on experience! We typically offer 5-7 volunteer and/or paid student worker positions each year. You can potentially even earn course credit. Download an application or stop by 328 Heckert-Wells Hall.

Other Resources and Contacts


Teacher Workshops and Resources
  • Teacher Workshops
  • Resources for Teachers
  • Professional Resources
  • Natural History Reserve

Working closely with the Kansas Association for Conservation and Environmental Education (KACEE) we conduct teacher in-service workshops using nationally recognized materials from Project WILD, Project WILD Aquatic, Project Learning Tree, and Project WET. We can also customize a workshop for your group or site. Visit http://www.kacee.org/workshops to find upcoming workshops. They are held all over the state, but we co-sponsor at least one per year. 

For more information visit: Natural History Reserve

Nature Reach Office

Delia Lister
Department of Biology
328 Heckert-Wells
Pittsburg State University
1701 South Broadway
Pittsburg KS 66762
Phone: 620-235-4727

Contact us