family hiking in the outdoorsby Ser Anderson, Teaching Naturalist

We are all facing a lot of uncertainty and fear right now. The spread of coronavirus and our personal and government-mandated attempts to slow that spread are impacting our lives in large and small ways. There are a lot of challenges to navigate, from how to pay the bills to what to do with the time spent in isolation, especially if that isolation involves kids.  

Fortunately for our mental health and for keeping ourselves and our kids entertained, we can still get outside and we can still learn and engage with the organizations in our communities that are dedicated to nature and science education.

Even as events and regular programming are getting canceled, organizations around the state, country, and even the world are producing new material and highlighting or making available to larger audiences materials they already have to help keep us learning and engaged while in isolation. However, it can be difficult to find some of these resources if you don’t know where to look.

So here is a list of some of the resources we here at the Montana Natural History Center have found and enjoyed, with a focus on what organizations here in Montana have to offer. Click here for our resources page, which we are continuing to update as we hear of new educational opportunities.


Montana Natural History Center – Missoula, MT

Starting Tuesday, March 24, at 10:30 a.m. MST, we are hosting NatureWebs! – weekly free nature and science webinars through ZOOM for grades 3 – 5. We will also soon be providing free ID Naturalist subscriptions, which provide interactive video lessons introducing and modeling journal prompts to help students discover their naturalist self.

Previously available resources:

  • MNHC YouTube channel: educational videos including our Evening with a Naturalist conversations and our fun Science Shorts
  • Field Notes: short essays on Montana’s natural history recorded on Montana Public radio, available in both in text and podcast form
  • Montana Naturalist Magazine: back issues available for free download including great articles and Get Outside Guides for younger readers and families

Missoula Butterfly House and Insectarium – Missoula, MT

Beginning with their first Facebook Live Animal encounter on Wednesday, March 18, Missoula Butterfly House and Insectarium is hosting unique Virtual Animal Encounters Wednesdays at 11:00 a.m. and Fridays at 3:00 p.m. MST through the end of March and possibly beyond. Watch live on Facebook or later on Facebook or through their website. Each video will be accompanied by fun, family-friendly activities to do at home.

Other resources:

  • What’s Buzzin’: short blog posts cataloguing fun arthropod sightings over the seasons here in Montana 
  • Notes from the Lab: more in-depth life-histories of some of the animals the Insectarium works with

spectrUM Discovery Area – Missoula, MT

Since March 16 and continuing as long as their discovery area is closed, spectrUM is releasing videos about their science exhibits, activities, and things you can try at home, available from their website and their Facebook page.

ExplorationWorks! – Helena, MT

Exploration Works has recently started releasing a new video series called Science @ Home with Sara! which is available on their Facebook page as well as their website. They also have instructions for how to do several of their TinkerLab activities at home available as PDFs. 

Montana Outdoor Science School – Bozeman, MT

Over the last several days, the Montana Outdoor Science School has been sharing links to activities and other educational resources on their Facebook page. Their instructors are also live-streaming on Facebook multiple times a week to offer engaging science content for families at home.

Montana Audubon Center – Billings, MT

The Montana Audubon Center is posting Daily Get Outside Challenge Posts on their Facebook page and encouraging everyone to share photos of their adventures.

Wise Wonders Children’s Museum – Billings, MT

Wise Wonders has a fun YouTube channel featuring videos of some of their exhibits and some experiments/activities you can try at home.

ZooMontana – Billings, MT

ZooMontana is starting to post fun videos of and with their animals on their Facebook page. On their website, they have a Meet Our Animals page that provides fun facts about the animals at the Zoo. Their Executive Director, Jeff the Nature Guy, has a YouTube channel that shows off cool animals, fun crafts, and interesting nature facts.

Outside Montana

YouTube Channels


Well-known National Organizations

Museum Virtual Tours


Citizen Science

Resources for Educators and Parents


These are certainly not the only resources available. Feel free to share your favorite resources so we can keep adding to this list by emailing

Stay safe, stay healthy, and keep exploring!