Young Naturalists stories with teachers guides

Our Young Naturalists series

In the early 1990s, Bemidji Middle School language arts teacher Jack Judkins began giving his students Minnesota Conservation Volunteer magazine to read. The Young Naturalists stories especially appealed to them. So Judkins began building lessons around these educational nonfiction stories. On sabbatical, he made an appointment to meet the magazine's editorial staff. He proposed to develop Teachers Guides to Young Naturalists stories. We said yes, and "Minnesota's Rocky Roots" in the Sep.–Oct. 1995 issue became the first to have an online Teachers Guide. Judkins and MCV staff have been producing Teachers Guides ever since.

Classroom Bulk Order Policy

Current and past Young Naturalists and Teachers Guides can always be [link to YN stories page] downloaded and printed free of charge. However, if you prefer to have the physical magazine in your classroom, Minnesota Conservation Volunteer magazine does accept purchase orders for payment of classroom subscriptions.

The following pricing structure covers the full cost of providing bulk copies.

One-time order: $1.50 per magazine. Annual order (6 issues): $9.00 per subscription. To setup a bulk order, please contact David Lent at 651-259-5347 or david.lent@state.mn.us.

Many schools obtain annual sponsorships from local individuals, service clubs, or parent-teacher organizations to cover a portion or all of the subscription cost. If this support is available to your school, please have checks made payable to Minnesota Conservation Volunteer, and clearly indicate the name of the school on whose behalf the payment is being made. If sponsorship support covers a portion of the subscription, we will provide an invoice for the balance.

Minnesota Conservation Volunteer magazine's Young Naturalists series is designed to engage elementary and middle school students with a wide variety of nonfiction topics on natural science and outdoor life. Each Young Naturalists teachers guide includes ready-made classroom activities. Current and past Young Naturalists stories and guides can be downloaded below.

Download Stories and Teachers Guides

Fawn's First Day:Story Teachers guide Study questions
Learn about the biology and life history of white-tailed deer in Minnesota.

Color by Nature:Story Teachers guide Study questions
Learn how colors found in nature can attract, repel, conceal, warn, and dazzle.

Nature on the Move:Story Teachers guide Study questions
Wild places and creatures will need our help to keep up with climate change.

Outside Shots:Story Teachers guide Study questions
Learn the fundamentals of nature photography from a pro.

Niches for Everyone: Story Teachers guide
Discover how different species find amazing ways to live together.

Raptors in the Neighborhood: Story Teachers guide
Meet three birds of prey that call all be observed close to home.

The Young Naturalists: Story Teachers guide
These youngsters were pioneers in the study of Minnesota's natural history.

Chirp, Croak, Snore: Story Teachers guide
Learn about Minnesota's 14 species of frogs and toads.

Awesome Opossums: Story Teachers guide
North America's only marsupial is becoming more common in Minnesota.

Beetlemania!: Story Teachers guide
Take a closer look at beetles—a wildly diverse group of insects.

Splash: Story Teachers guide
Learn where tap water comes from and what happens to it when it goes down the drain.

Hundreds and Thousands and Millions of Fish: Story Teachers guide
Discover how biologists measure fish populations in lakes and rivers.

Night Fliers: Story Teachers guide
Look into the lives and habits of Minnesota's seven species of bats.

Big, Bold, and Blue: Story Teachers guide
Learn more about the life of the ostentatious, obstreperous blue jay.

Ask a Rock: Story Teachers guide
Discover how a dozen of Minnesota's most famous rocks were formed and where they are found.

Who is Alces alces?: Story Teachers guide
Explore scientific names, from A to Z, for wild things living in Minnesota.

Ojibwe Lifeways: Story Teachers guide
Learn how Minnesota's earliest inhabitants gathered and hunted wild foods to survive.

Little Habitats on the Prairies: Story Teachers guide
Explore the elements that make up a prairie landscape.

Fish in the Zone: Story Teachers guide
Follow the travels of young yellow perch as they grow.

How Do Birds Fly?: Story Teachers guide
Learn how feathers, bones, and a force called lift allow birds to fly in remarkable ways.

Fabulous Fox Family: Story Teachers guide
Follow a pair of red foxes as they hunt and prepare a den for spring and a litter of kits.

Two Eastern Screech-Owls: Story Teachers guide
Follow the lives of a screech owl pair as they hunt, mate, and raise owlets.

Wild Ideas, Wild Inventions: Story Teachers guide
Discover how inspiration for inventions is often found in nature.

Agate Hounds: Story Teachers guide
Learn how agates were formed and discover clues for finding Minnesota's state gemstone.

Minnesota's Wild Anglers: Story Teachers guide
Meet seven Minnesota critters that dive after, scoop, stalk, and chase fish for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Northern Saw-Whet Owl 10-583: Story Teachers guide
Follow the treatment and care of an injured owl.

The Greatest of Feet: Story Teachers guide
Discover the many fascinating adaptations of animal feet.

Who Was George Bonga?: Story Teachers guide
Read about a fascinating but little-known figure from Minnesota's fur-trade era.

Learn to Hunt: Story Teachers guide
Go afield with experienced hunters in search of wild game.

Why is a Bluebird Blue?: Story Teachers guide
Investigate the colorful world of birds.

Life of a Pike: Story Teachers guide
Follow the life of northern pike from egg to adult.

Let's Find Out!: Story Teachers guide
Learn how DNR researchers use scientific inquiry to better understand the natural world.

Forest Builders: Story Teachers guide
Get a better understanding about what life was like in a Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps camp.

Nature's Alphabet: Story Teachers guide
A photographer takes Young Naturalists outside to find natural shapes of letters from A to Z.

Have Fun Painting Ducks: Story Teachers guide
Go to art school with a famous Minnesota wildlife artist.

Nature's Recyclers: Story Teachers guide
Learn about detritivores and decomposers.

Let's Make a Fishing Pole: Story Teachers guide
Discover creative and inexpensive ways to fish.

Sugar From Trees: Story Teachers guide
Learn to make syrup from maple trees.

Ubiquitous Conifers: Story Teachers guide
Explore Minnesota's coniferous tree species and learn why every tree with needles isn't called a pine.

Sweat Pads, Logging Berries, and Blackjack: Story Teachers guide
Learn about the hard life of a cooked in a 19th century logging camp.

Tree Guardians: Story Teachers guide
Learn what it takes to become a Minnesota forester.

A Most Amazing River: Story Teachers guide
Tour the mighty Mississippi.

Spring-to-Life Ponds: Story Teachers guide
Explore the magic of seasonal spring ponds.

The Magic of Morphing: Story Teachers guide
Explore the metamorphosis of insects, amphibians, and mollusks.

Who's That Navigator?: Story Teachers guide
Learn how migratory animals find their way.

The World From a Stump: Story Teachers guide
A young man learns new things by sitting still in the woods for a day while deer hunting.

Counting Critters: Story Teachers guide
Learn how natural resource managers estimate animal populations.

What's in a Bird Song?: Story Teachers guide
Listen to learn which birds are singing and why.

Ants: Story Teachers guide
Learn more about the ubiquitous ant and four of the most common species found in Minnesota.

Hoot, Tremelo, Yodel, and Wail: Story Teachers guide
Young Naturalists explore the life of Minnesota's state bird: the common loon.

Nature's Calendar: Story Teachers guide
Learn about the cycles of plant and animal life in this introduction to phenology.

Wild Engineers: Story Teachers guide
Meet some Minnesota critters that shape their worlds to meet their needs.

Ready, Set, Grow: Story Teachers guide
Big or small, smooth or prickly, all seeds have the same work—growing a new plant.

Let's Outfit a Tackle Box: Story Teachers guide
A tackle box is fun to put together and a prize to keep for years of fine fishing.

Look Down in the Woods: Story Teachers guide
Learn more about some common plants found growing among the trees in Minnesota's forests.

The Hole Story: Story Teachers guide
Meet a variety of cavity nesting birds found in Minnesota.

Lichens: Two Lives in One: Story Teachers guide
Learn about lichens—an interesting partnership of fungus and algae.

George and the Voyageurs: Story Teachers guide
Learn what life was like for a young Voyageur in Minnesota in the early 1800s.

Wild Vision: Story Teachers guide
Discover how different critters see the world.

The Wonder of Water: Story Teachers guide
Learn how water's unique properties allow life as we know it to exist.

Let's Go Camping!: Story Teachers guide
Find tips and tricks for a successful camping trip.

The Parenting Game: Story Teachers guide
Explore how different animals raise their young.

Let's Go Ice Fishing!: Story Teachers guide
Learn some tips and tricks for a successful ice fishing trip.

Let's Go Snowshoeing!: Story Teachers guide
Learn the history of snowshoes and how to enjoy a winter hike using them.

Gallery of Game: Story Teachers guide
Learn where to find game animals by studying tracks, sign, and habitat.

Buggy Sounds of Summer: Story Teachers guide
Learn how and why crickets, katydids, and cicadas make their distinctive sounds.

Let's Go Canoeing: Story Teachers guide
Learn the basics of canoeing, including terminology, techniques, and the different types of canoes.

Special Delivery: Eggs: Story Teachers guide
Discover the fascinating world of eggs and how different birds, fish, amphibians, and insects develop inside them.

The Nature of Feathers: Story Teachers guide
Learn about the different types of bird feathers, how they get their color, and how they help birds fly.

Wired Life: Story Teachers guide
Learn how telemetry helps scientists track and study wild animals.

Mirrors of Minnesota: Story Teachers guide
State symbols help show how much fish, trees, and other natural resources mean to Minnesotans.

Hey, How's the Weather?: Story Teachers guide
Learn about Minnesota's amazing mix of weather.

The Slinky, Stinky Weasel Family: Story Teachers guide
Meet Minnesota's eight mustelid species.

Let's Go Birding: Story Teachers guide
Learn the basics of bird identification.

Hopping With Hares and Rabbits: Story Teachers guide
Meet Minnesota's rabbit and hare species.

Life in a Jar: Story Teachers guide
Explore the fascinating world of the organisms that live in ponds.

Color On, Color Off: Story Teachers guide
Learn about albinism and the role of pigments.

Six Slippery Salamanders: Story Teachers guide
Meet Minnesota's six species of salamanders.

Whoooo's Watching?: Story Teachers guide
Follow the day-to-day adventures of an owl family recorded in an artist's nature journal.

Tremendously Marvelous Trees: Story Teachers guide
Learn what trees are made of and how they grow and reproduce.

Damsels and Dragons: Story Teachers guide
Discover some of Minnesota's species of damselflies and dragonflies and learn about their fascinating life cycle.

Oh Deer!: Story Teachers guide
White-tailed deer are one of five species of deer that either live or used to live in Minnesota.

Fish Sense: Story Teachers guide
Explore how fish perceive their underwater world.

Rocky Roots: Story Teachers guide
Explore Minnesota's diverse geology.