DNR Camps

Dear Missouri Schools,

The information on this Web page is to help your school district makes plans to visit one of our beautiful Missouri State Parks. Please know that the education and interpretation staff will assist you along the way because we want to provide a lasting outdoor experience for your students.

The department is committed to teaching environmental stewardship through a broad understanding and appreciation for Missouri’s natural, cultural and energy resources. Webcasts and lesson plans are developed with this goal, along with attention to state standards. Each lesson includes experiments, information about Missouri, and questions/answers for a review or assessment. Students will learn about careers through the webcasts of the DNR speakers- the archaeologists, engineers, environmental scientists, geologists, architects and interpreters just to name a few.

When students return to their school and community, we hope they spend more time in the outdoors and know that they can make a difference in preserving and protecting Missouri’s resources. To ask further questions about the DNR Camps, please contact the DNR environmental education office at environmental.education@dnr.mo.gov.

DNR Expo at Lake of the Ozarks State Park - Oct. 20, 2011


Camping is fun with DNR CampsTo sign up for a DNR Camp, follow these easy steps:

1. Choose your Missouri State Park group camp.

2. Read about the DNR classes.

3. Read about the State Park interpretative programs.

4. Choose an additional opportunity for camp.

5. Click on DNR Camp Button to request more information.

If you have any questions, please contact environmental.education@dnr.mo.gov

Group Camps     

Babler Memorial State Park- 100 campers
Crowder State Park- 120 campers
Cuivre River State Park- 420 campers
Knob Noster State Park- 310 campers
Lake Ozark State Park- 419 campers
Mark Twain State Park- 75 campers
Roaring River State Park- 100 campers

DNR Classes

  1. Environmental Emergency Response
  2. Missouri Geological Survey
  3. Hazardous Waste Program
  4. Land Reclamation
  5. Soil and Water Conservation
  6. Solid Waste Management Program
  7. State Historic Preservation Office
  8. Our Missouri Waters: Water Quality, Water Resources, Stream Team and Drinking Water

Environmental Emergency Response
The “responders” will display and demonstrate several tools and equipment that are used to respond to land and water petroleum spills. “Watch Out for that Spill” is a hands-on presentation that gets the attention of students!

Division of Geology and Land Survey
Our state geologist and his staff know their rocks, minerals, fossils and so much more about our wonderful planet Earth!  During this session learn how our geologists create geologic maps, research earthquakes, evaluate the causes and repercussions of sinkholes and landslides and investigate hazardous waste sites.  See how the department’s geologists send cameras into water wells to make sure the water is safe to drink. Learn about how the state land surveyor and his staff protect and maintain Missouri’s survey corners.  Learn how researching maps, records, boundaries and other historical documents is an everyday occurrence for the land survey staff.

Hazardous Waste Program
When hazardous waste is mentioned, most have images of yellow barrels full of green, bubbling goo. Though that may be the case every now and then, it isn’t always easy to spot.  Many people drive past a hazardous waste site or a former hazardous waste site every day. There could also be hazardous waste inside your house or pocket (cell phones!). This session would examine what exactly is hazardous waste – and what it isn’t. It will look at some of the different types of hazardous waste and how the department cleans up these sites/spills. It will show how former hazardous sites across Missouri have been cleaned and turned into something beneficial.

Land Reclamation
Each year, the department’s Land Reclamation Program receives federal funds to reclaim abandoned coalmines. Most, if not all of these non-coal shafts were from historic lead mining. Mineshafts can suddenly open up in what are now residential areas. In this session, we will study Webb City Elk’s Lodge Shaft Reclamation Project in Jasper County, Missouri. You will see how a dangerous mineshaft was made safe by constructing a steel reinforced concrete plug over the shaft opening!

Soil and Water Conservation
Soil is among Missouri’s most valuable natural resources.  It performs many vital functions in the environment. Plant and animal life above and below the surface of the soil depend on it for survival. The department helps protect Missouri’s soil resources by promoting good farming techniques to help Missouri farmers prevent soil erosion and keep our waters clean. Soil is also saved and streams are kept cleaner when builders and developers use good practices to keep it from washing away in storms. By caring for soil and water resources together, the department helps to preserve the environment and also helps improve the economy.

Solid Waste Management
Solid wastes include paper, cardboard, wood, plastic, metal, glass, food and even sewage sludge! These things do not disappear when they are thrown into a trash bin and hauled to a landfill. Eventually, it will become too expensive, both environmentally and socially, to throw away so much and to bury our natural resources in landfills. The mission of the Solid Waste Management Program is to ensure that solid waste is managed in a way that protects both public health and the environment. Recycling, reducing and reusing will be the focus of this course taught by the solid waste experts at the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Learning opportunities that promote an understanding and personal responsibility to help reduce the amount of waste generated in Missouri.

During this session, we will talk about scrap tires, illegal dumps, tire fires, recycling of scrap tires and ways to prevent illegal dumps in the future.  We will also tie in energy and air to the presentation. We will discuss vermicomposting, how to get started, details of feeding, bedding and what to do when the compost is ready.

State Historic Preservation Office
How does an old building equal a natural resource? How do you “recycle” a building? The math for this problem lends itself to preservation of the buildings we have in Missouri. We all need to know the history of Missouri architecture so that they hold on to the treasures of our state! In this class, you will learn more about historic preservation and its value in preserving history in our state. During this session, we will examine the history of techno-economic and cultural adaption in Missouri.  We will cover the following years: Paleo Indian – 13,500 years ago through Archaic, Woodland and Mississippian Societies ca. 1300 A.D. We will describe the historic weapons and the history of these weapons. Students will learn about Missouri history through posters describing the history of arrowheads. The department’s archeologist will show the students a spear, bow and arrow and an atlatl and discuss how man hunted for food with the historic weaponry.  Students will be allowed to throw the atlatl!

Our Missouri Waters with Water Quality, Water Resources, Stream Team, and Drinking Water.
We are all linked together through water, but how do we become good stewards of our water? Students will learn about the Department of Natural Resource’s role in the dams of Missouri, erosion control, stream teams and drinking water when requesting this class. 

Dam Resources
Missouri has the third largest number of dams in the nation! This comes with a responsibility to develop emergency action plans and inundation studies for Missouri communities. Students will learn about inundation studies and get hands-on experience by estimating an inundation area for a dam near their community. Upon completion of their inundation map, the students will be shown the actual area affected by viewing a department prepared inundation map. They will examine how this information is used to help plan for actions to be taken in case of an emergency.

Water Protection Program
What we drink and where we swim has been a national focus since the Clean Water Act of 1972, the primary federal law in the United States governing water pollution. The Water Protection Program will present a Project WET activity called the Incredible Journey. This lesson will help students gain a hands-on understanding of the complexity of the water cycle as they simulate themselves moving through the cycle as a water droplet. A short seven-minute video will visually introduce water quality and types of nonpoint point source pollution that will be discussed as the wrap-up for the activity. All of us can create a positive impact to our waters and the environment. By creating rain gardens, lawn management plans that reduce fertilizer runoff, filter strips, and other best management practices (BMPs) we all can implement can start to create a positive affect towards reducing a water body’s impairment.

Brain Gauge
Students divide into two teams. When the leader shares a question about water, the group is allowed to confer and then run to the Brain Gauge board to pour water into the challenge cup. The team who fills their cup with water first is the winner!

Stream Teams of Missouri
More than 80,000 volunteers monitor water quality in the streams and lakes of Missouri. In this course, students will learn how to monitor a stream or lake, define and identify watersheds and learn about their management. The Missouri Stream Team Program is a partnership between the Department of Conservation, Department of Natural Resources, the Conservation Federation of Missouri and the citizens of Missouri.

Interpretive programs at Missouri State Parks

  1. Adaptations
  2. Astronomy
  3. Campfire
  4. Nature walk
  5. Silent hike
  6. Teambuilding
  7. Tents
  8. Top Ten at the Park

What animals and plants can you find in a Missouri State Park? Does the animal or plant survive because of a structural or a behavioral adaptation? We will use study skins, live specimens and mounts to look at these two types of adaptations, discuss how chance and selection created these adaptations and how this might help the species survive. The “rules of the park” protect our 95-year-old Missouri State Parks!

Students view the night sky with and without a telescope. The amazing sky may feature Mars, Andromeda Galaxy, Hercules Globular Cluster, Milky Way and various constellations. As an extra bonus, students will talk about sky myths from various cultures.

Students gather around the campfire to enjoy S’mores and stories about the outdoors- no scary tales!

Nature walk
Students are led by a naturalist on an outdoor day hike. They learn to recognize poison ivy, Virginia creeper and several kinds of Missouri trees and plants.

Silent Hike
Students love this! They are individually challenged to walk about 100 meters at night.

Students are led by a state park naturalist and learn to depend and enjoy each other! Games like standing on a 12 x 12 tarp and flipping it over together, or being connected to another person and learning how to work together to be released!

Students learn from the best! They work in groups of four to set up and take down a four-man tent. It is a good exercise in teambuilding too!

Top Ten at the Park
What are the top ten concerns about visiting a Missouri State Park? Students will learn about the wildlife of the park, the rules created to keep safe and why they should bring their families back to a Missouri State Park.
The interpretation staff for the parks brings a great understanding of the science and geography of each park’s environment.

Additional opportunities at Missouri State Parks

  1. ORT
  2. Composting
  3. Service-learning project

Additional Opportunities

ORT: ORT is an old nautical term for solid food waste at sea. Students will measure their food waste after each meal at DNR Camp. It will be amazing to see the results!

Composting: Students learn how to compost food waste from the Solid Waste Management Program at the Department of Natural Resources. 

Service Learning Project: Schools can set up a service-learning project at the group campsite. Each Missouri State Park welcomes volunteer help with their projects. Maintenance from the park will oversee the work of the students, with the help of the teaching staff from the school.