Kid-Friendly Zone

Natural Inquirer

The Natural Inquirer is a free science journal that brings Forest Service research to middle school students. Through articles and activities that allow students to meet scientists, learn about research processes, and build vocabulary, the Natural Inquirer informs and inspires young minds. The Natural Inquirer also has a sister journal, the Investi-gator, that is written for upper elementary level students.

Scientist Cards

The Natural Inquirer's scientist cards introduce students to Forest Service researchers and a variety of scientific subjects. In addition to describing their work, the researchers reveal their most exciting discoveries and share their stories about becoming scientists. See cards featuring Eastern Threat Center researchers: Johnny Boggs, Erika Cohen, Michael Gavazzi, Qinfeng Guo, Bill Hargrove, Frank Koch, Steve McNulty, Steve Norman, Kurt Riitters, and Ge Sun.

JBoggs_scientist.card.jpg ECohen_scientist.card.jpg MGavazzi_scientist.card.jpg QGuo_scientist.card.jpg WHargrove_scientist.card.jpg FKoch_scientist.card.jpg SMcNulty_scientist.card.jpg SNorman_scientist_card.jpg KRiitters_scientist.card.jpg GSun_scientist.card.jpg


Activity Sheets

Download and print bee-inspired activity sheets targeting elementary-aged children. The activity sheets were developed by the Natural Inquirer team specifically for Bugfest, sponsored by the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. The Southern Research Station partners with the museum to expose the wonders of forest science with more than one million multicultural school-aged children.


Coloring sheets

Bee_planet.jpg Bee_fly.jpg Bee_kayak.jpg Bee_firehose.jpg Bee_pulaski.jpg

Puzzle sheets

Bee_wordwise.jpg Bee_match.jpg Bee_informed.jpg Bee_maze.jpg

Articles and More

The Natural Inquirer presents Forest Service research discoveries just as scientific journals do, but these articles are written just for kids! Middle school students can learn about Eastern Threat Center research from Natural Inquirer articles, and K-2 students can learn more about Center scientists and their research questions from the Natural Inquirer Reader Series.

Natural_Inquirer_freshwater_2015-1.jpg"Green Means Clean! Assessing the Condition of U.S. Drinking Water Watersheds" - Natural Inquirer, 2015 freshwater edition





Natural_IQ_2014_climate_change.jpg"North of the Border: Are Nonnative Species Moving Northward As the Climate Changes?" - Natural IQ, 2014 climate change edition




NaturalInquirer14.png"Did They Make the Gradient? Climate and Stream Temperatures Now and Into the Future" - Natural Inquirer, 2011 climate change edition






Ge_Sun_Meet_a_Hydrologist_NSI_2017.jpgMeet a Hydrologist! - NSI: Nature Science Investigator, Vol. 1, No. 2




NIReader_GeSun.jpgMeet Dr. Sun! - Natural Inquirer Reader, Vol. 1, No. 2






NIReader_QinGuo.jpgMeet Dr. Guo! - Natural Inquirer Reader, Vol. 1, No. 3






Cradle of Forestry Exhibits

Cradle_of_Forestry_exhibit.jpgThe Cradle of Forestry, a historic site in North Carolina’s Pisgah National Forest, is so named because it marks the birthplace of forest conservation in America. In 2014, the Cradle celebrated a new first with the unveiling of exhibits offering interactive opportunities for visitors to learn about climate change and wildland fire in the southern Appalachian region. Children and adults can explore virtual versions of the climate change and wildland fire exhibits, which feature Eastern Threat Center scientists.

Smokey Bear

Smokey_Bear.jpg"Only YOU can prevent wildfires," reminds Smokey Bear. Kids can visit Smokey's website for games and activities and to learn how to be smart outdoors to protect forests.

Smokey_envelope.jpgKids can write letters and send them directly to Smokey Bear via his own zip code! In 2014, the U.S Forest Service and U.S. Postal Service worked together to reinstate Smokey's 20252 zip code, which had been in use since 1964.

More fun and educational resources are available from the U.S. Forest Service Conservation Education program.

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