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Bellevue Public Schools

p>Bellevue Public Schools is the third largest school district in Nebraska. The district’s student enrollment is approximately 9,800. Educational programs are offered to children birth to age 21 and include 37% military dependant, 26% students qualifying for free/reduced lunch, and 22.58% minority students.

The district currently offers five types of programs for early childhood children and their families including: Early Childhood Center, Nature Explore Classroom, Partners for Parents, Home-based Special Education and Preschool. Bellevue Public Schools serves approximately 1,500 children per month in the various early childhood programs. The Nature Explore Classroom is located north of the Bellevue Public Schools Welcome Center (1600 Highway 370). Each early childhood program incorporates learning about nature within the curriculum and the outdoor classroom enhances and enriches this experience. For more information visit the website at


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The Early Childhood Consortium of the Omaha Area (ECCOA) is the Early Learning Connection partnership supporting training, technical assistance and consultation for caregivers, parents, teachers and staff in home, center and school based programs serving children birth through age eight in Cass, Douglas, Sarpy and Washington counties.  Early Learning Connection Partnerships are expected to work collaboratively with local partners in the region to ensure that a comprehensive array of early childhood professional development activities are planned and implemented throughout the region that are responsive to the needs of local providers serving children birth through grade three.  ECCOA is supported in part by a grant from federal CCDF, and a grant from Part C and Part B, 619 IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) administered by the Nebraska Department of Education provided to assist collaborative efforts promoting high quality, affordable, accessible training for all those who work with children and their families.  To learn more about ECCOA, visit

Green Hearts Institute for Nature in Childhood


Green Hearts Institute for Nature in Childhood (Green Hearts) is a nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to restoring and strengthening the bonds between children and nature. While based in Omaha, we work nationwide — speaking, writing, teaching, and consulting about the importance of nature-based play and how it can be restored to our children’s lives. Green Hearts is also currently designing its first unique facility: a children’s nature center to be located in Papillion, NE, in partnership with the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District.

Green Hearts was founded by Ken Finch, who has over 35 years of experience with environmental education, nature centers, and children’s museums. Our work depends upon contributions and earned income, and we always welcome new supporters. We share our offices with the landscape architecture firm, Big Muddy Workshop, Inc., which is kindly donating space for Green Hearts’ operations. To learn more about Green Hearts, please visit our website. For more information visit the website at

Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo


The mission of Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo encompasses education, conservation, research and recreation. Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo has experienced amazing growth in the past 50 years; however, one thing that remains unchanged is the Zoo’s commitment to Omaha and the surrounding metro area.

Education and recreation are strong focuses for Omaha’s Zoo. With 130 acres of zoological and botanical garden space visitors can enjoy being active outside while learning about the strong connection between the health of our planet with animal and plant kingdoms. Exploration at the Zoo is fun for individuals of all ages and is accessible for wheelchairs, motorized carts or strollers. Additionally, many exhibition spaces are open year-round for enjoyment during any season. For more information visit the website at

Hitchcock Nature Center


Hitchcock Nature Center is located in the heart of the globally significant Loess Hills and harbors some of the largest remaining prairie remnants in Iowa. The exhibit gallery in Hitchcock’s Loess Hills Lodge is the perfect place to begin your exploration of the Loess Hills landform. Here, visitors will be able to take a 3D tour of the entire 1,003 acre preserve in our mini-theatre, simulate raptor wing motions, and explore curiosity cove, a hands-on learning are for children of all ages.

Visitors can also enjoy many unique low-impact recreation opportunities such as hiking, camping, picnicking, bird watching from our 45’ observation tower, star gazing, or simply enjoying nature. Throughout the year, special public programs are presented at Hitchcock that are designed to engage nature lovers of all ages. Visit our website to learn more. For more information visit the website at

Lauritzen Gardens


Lauritzen Gardens is an urban oasis of beauty and tranquility. This 100-acre botanical garden, comprised of several outdoor garden areas, creates a living museum of unique four-season plant displays, maintained to the highest standards consistent with environmental stewardship. The visitor and education center includes the 5,000-square-foot floral display hall, a café, gift shop, horticulture library, classrooms, banquet areas and a community room. Lauritzen Gardens is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the café serves lunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Admission to Lauritzen Gardens is $7 for adults, $3 for children ages six to 12 and free for members and children younger than six years old. Lauritzen Gardens is conveniently located in the beautiful riverfront hills at First and Bancroft Streets and is close to the Henry Doorly Zoo, Rosenblatt Stadium and the Old Market. For more information, visit or call (402) 346-4002.

Native American Indian Education for the Omaha Public Schools

The department of Native American Indian Education for the Omaha Public Schools is committed to helping Native American students and their families find ways to enjoy nature and to develop a greater connection with the traditions of our ancestors.

Nebraska Game and Parks Commission


The mission of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is stewardship of the state’s fish, wildlife, park, and outdoor recreation resources in the best long-term interests of the people and those resources.

To accomplish that purpose, the Commission plans and implements its policies and programs efficiently and objectively; maintains a rich and diverse environment in Nebraska’s lands and waters; provides outdoor recreation opportunities; manages wildlife resources for the maximum benefit of the people; and attempts to help Nebraskans appreciate their role in the natural world.

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission lands include State Parks, State Recreation Areas, Wildlife Management Areas. The agency also oversees the management of fish and wildlife for wildlife watching, hunting, fishing and trapping. For more information, visit


Our Vision Statement: To advocate for high quality early childhood care and education for children and their families.

Our Mission Statement: The Omaha Association for the Education of Young Children is committed to building a strong foundation for our community advocating for affordable, high-quality childhood care and education for young children and their families. This goal is achieved by increasing the number of nationally accredited programs available to families and by providing professional development opportunities for early childhood educators. To learn more e-mail us at

Omaha Children’s Museum


Since its inception in 1976, Omaha Children’s Museum has been a special place where children can challenge themselves, discover how the world works and learn through play. The mission of Omaha Children’s Museum is to engage the imagination and create excitement about learning. The museum’s permanent exhibits include Charlie Campbell Science & Technology Center, Creative Arts Center including the Karen Levin Artist-in-Residence Studio and Imagination Playground. In addition to its permanent exhibits, Omaha Children’s Museum offers educational programs, traveling exhibitions, field trips, outreach programs, summer camps and early childhood programs. For more information visit

Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District

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THE MISSION of the Papio-Missouri River NRD is to wisely Conserve, Manage and Enhance our Soil, Water, Wildlife and Forest Resources for the benefit of all citizens of the District.

Nebraska’s Natural Resources Districts were created by the Nebraska Legislature and began serving the people of the state in 1972. The legislature combined 154 special purpose resource management entities, including county soil and water conservation districts, drainage districts and watershed boards into 24 NRDs. In 1989, this number was reduced to 23 NRDs through a merger of the Papio NRD and the Middle Missouri Tributaries NRD. Districts are unique to Nebraska. No other state has a system for managing its natural resources identical to our NRDs.

NRDs are multi-county governments organized along major watersheds with broad responsibilities to protect and enhance our state’s natural resources. Major Nebraska river basins form the boundaries enabling the NRDs to respond best to local needs.

Elected boards govern districts. Much of the funding for resources management programs and projects come from property taxes generally amounting to less than two percent of property taxes collected in the area served by the district.

Partnerships built between NRDs and other resources management agencies – both state and federal – have strengthened the overall conservation effort. Nebraska’s Natural Resources Commission, Game and Parks Commission and Departments of Natural Resources and Environmental Quality work closely with natural resource districts. Our federal government partners often include the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and Farm Services Agency. Others such as the US Army Corps of Engineers, Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service also join NRDs to effectively address local needs.

For more information visit the website at