CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) –The Mountain State has amazing wildlife, meaning there are several ways students can get out of the classroom and closer to nature.

The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) offers several learning opportunities for teachers to use in and out of the classroom.

Outdoor classrooms

With outdoor classrooms, the WVDNR can bring students out into the field or bring nature into the classroom. This gives students the chance to “get up close and personal with wildlife artifacts such as furs, skulls, antlers, snake skins and even a live critter or two,” the WVDNR says.

Outdoor classrooms can be customized for each individual class with presentations on nature, wildlife careers and the WVDNR’s Project WILD.

For more information on outdoor classrooms, email Ashley Anderson with the WVDNR.

West Virginia State Wildlife Center

The West Virginia State Wildlife Center offers an outdoor learning experience where visitors can view native animals in a safe environment. Along the center’s 1.25-mile walking loop, there are enclosures for mountain lions, coyotes, wolves, and black bears.

The wildlife center also offers group rates, picnic shelter rentals and tours. For more information, call the West Virginia State Wildlife Center at (304) 924-6211.

Educational trunks

The WVDNR also makes interactive educational trunks for science lesson plans in the classroom. The trunks are filled with books, DVDs, puppets, posters, CDs, puzzles, games and more. In addition, the trunks come with K-6 range lesson plans about birds, bats, mammals, insects, reptiles and amphibians.

The WVDNR loans the trunks to state educators for a $25 refundable deposit. Teachers will get the manual two weeks before the trunk is delivered.

Schools are responsible for returning the trunks after a three-week period.

To apply for an educational trunk, call (304) 637-0245, email, or write to the WV Wildlife Diversity Program and Natural Heritage Program, WVDNR, P.O. Box 67, Elkins, West Virginia, 26241.

To access more resources for students and teachers, visit the WVDNR’s classroom resources webpage.