The American Prairie Field School is pleased to announce the launch of its fourth year of educational programming aimed at getting kids outside and into nature. The Field School uses the Central Montana prairie as a living laboratory to inspire the next generation of scientists, conservationists, and stewards of the land and our planet.

During the 2022-2023 school year, over 500 students from across Montana attended Field School programs, which are comprised of no-cost education programs for grades K through 12, with residential or day programs available depending on grade. The STEM curriculum, developed in partnership with the Montana Outdoor Science School (MOSS), connects students with experts and research scientists from Smithsonian Institute and American Prairie. Subjects vary and include natural and human history, astronomy, plant biology, wildlife ecology, and geology. All programs align with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

While the residential program offered in May is full for this year, there is still room available for students to attend the Field School’s day programming at the American Prairie National Discovery Center at 302 W. Main in Lewistown, Montana this spring.

 “Last year, we had 14 school groups attend day programming at the NDC, including kindergarten classes from Lewistown and schools as far away as Cooke City,” said Dusty Rixford, Field School Education Coordinator at American Prairie. “Seeing the kids get excited about the prairie ecosystem, and learning why it’s so important to this region is the best part.”

This day-long field trip is free of charge for grades K-12 and Montana public schools are eligible for reimbursement for travel costs.

Students learn about a variety of topics, such as keystone species, birds of the prairie, skulls and furs, camera traps and tracks, plants and ethnobotany, and traditional native games. Registered groups are paired with an American Prairie expert to guide the visit, and a transportation stipend is available for schools to cover travel costs including gas and lodging. Programs are scheduled during National Discovery Center business hours, unless special arrangements are made. Registration is requested a minimum of 30 days in advance of visit.

Again this year, four Montana middle schools will take part in the Field School’s residential program. This multi-day program gives Montana middle school students (grades 5 through 8) the opportunity to spend three days and two nights in the field under Montana’s big prairie skies. Using Antelope Creek Campground near Zortman, Montana, as a backdrop for learning, students are exposed to the full diversity of ecological, cultural, and historical elements unique to the Northern Great Plains. Each class has a maximum of 20 students, and meals, lodging, and a busing stipend are provided for participating schools. Groups have a 5:1 instructor-to-student ratio and students stay in climate-controlled cabins. While this year’s roster for overnight programming is full, please use the contact info below to be added to the waitlist or receive information on the 2024-2025 school year.

View the new promotional short film on the Field School below:

For more information and to register, contact Education Coordinator Dusty Rixford: