science education

Exploring Nature Science Education Resource:

Life Science, Earth Science, and Physical Science Resources for K-12

Making a Nature Trail Guide

Making a Nature Trail Guide

Three Easy Trail Guides You Can Make:

1) 3-Panel Guide

Simple, 3-panel (2 fold), 8.5” x 11” sheet of paper, 2-sided guide.

(Folded size - 8.5” x 3.5”)

This size guide can hold a minimum of text, a small map and a small number of species illustrations or site descriptions. It is easily photocopied for sharing with other classes. It can be kept on the computer and updated as things on the trail change over time.

2) 4-Panel Guide

Simple, 4-panel (2 fold), 8.5” x 14” sheet of paper, 2-sided guide.

(Folded size - 8.5” x 3.5”)

This size guide can hold slightly more text, a small map and species illustrations or site descriptions. It also can be photocopied for sharing with other classes and kept on the computer and updated as things on the trail change over time.

3) 8-page Booklet Guide

A booklet formed from folding 2 - 8.5” x 11” sheets in half and staple bound in the middle.

(Folded size - 8.5” x 5.5”)

This size guide provides more room for text, map, species and site descriptions. It also can be expanded to 12 pages by adding another sheet of paper. It can be printed and staple bound fairly inexpensively by a local print shop and is the right size for easy trail handling.

Making a Nature Trail Guide

Be Sure to Include information About Trail Etiquette

It’s important to talk to students about how to behave on a nature trail. Being outside with a group of other students can bring out the wild side of kids. It’s sunny, they are out of the classroom and energy runs high. It’s helpful to talk to them up front about what kind of things they should and should not do on a nature trail.

The “should NOT do” list:

  • Do not damage plants, animals or insects in any way.
  • Do not litter.
  • Do not pick plants, even for a collection.
  • Do not pick up sticks to carry (they end up poking someone).
  • Do not damage trail signs.
  • Do not put any plant in your mouth.

The “should do” list:

  • Listen to directions.
  • Notice all the plant names and try to identify things you see.
  • Let the teacher know if you see anything interesting.
  • Enjoy being outside!

Citing Research References

When you research information you must cite the reference. Citing for websites is different from citing from books, magazines and periodicals. The style of citing shown here is from the MLA Style Citations (Modern Language Association).

When citing a WEBSITE the general format is as follows.
Author Last Name, First Name(s). "Title: Subtitle of Part of Web Page, if appropriate." Title: Subtitle: Section of Page if appropriate. Sponsoring/Publishing Agency, If Given. Additional significant descriptive information. Date of Electronic Publication or other Date, such as Last Updated. Day Month Year of access < URL >.

Here is an example of citing this page:

Amsel, Sheri. "Making a Nature Trail Guide" Exploring Nature Educational Resource ©2005-2017. November 22, 2017
< http://www.exploringnature.org/db/view/1122 >

Exploringnature.org has more than 2,000 illustrated animals. Read about them, color them, label them, learn to draw them.

cheetah, tiger, panda, fox, bear, cougar