Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Connect2Texas - Virtual Content Enrichment Programs

TPWD is excited to offer our free, TEKS-aligned virtual learning programs in STEM, social studies, language arts, fine arts, and physical education, as they relate to natural and cultural resource management.

To see our scheduled programs and register go to Connect2Texas and select Texas Parks & Wildlife Department in the program filter.

For questions contact distance.learning@tpwd.texas.gov.

Classroom Resources Texas Parks & Wildlife

Program Options

A Day on the Farm: Exploring the Sauer Beckmann Living History Farm (Recording)

Grades: PreK-5

Experience life on the Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm. When you smell dinner cooking on a wood-burning stove, you are almost here! Park rangers wearing historical clothing work the farm. Daily chores include caring for animals – feeding, milking, gathering eggs, and slopping hogs. Inside the house, cooking, cleaning, and churning need to be done. You might see “family” members weeding the garden, working in the blacksmith shop, or knitting. Seasonal chores include canning and butchering.

A Mathematical Morning with a Marine Biologist

Grades: 5-12

Join Jeff, Sea Center’s Hatchery Biologist, on his morning shift routine. After a brief discussion on Stock Enhancement, you’ll learn how fish spawn, see when the eggs are collected and what happens after they hatch, practice your math skills as we sample & enumerate fry, and get the chance to “Ask a Marine Biologist” all your questions.

All About Bugs, Bugs, Bugs!

Grades: K-2

Join Ranger Debbie as she examines, explores, and explains fun facts about bugs! Bugs can be slimy, beautiful, tiny, squirmy, and graceful. Students will be able to explain how living organisms meet their basic needs, such as food, water, and shelter.

All About Snakes with Ranger Mindy

Grades: K-5

Students learn about snakes and ask questions during this interactive lesson. Students will learn about snakes' habitats, what they eat, and many fun facts.

American Alligators with Ranger Montse at Brazos Bend State Park

Grades: 1-5

Did you know alligators have been around for 37 million years? Or that they hatch from eggs? Brazos Bend State Park is home to the American Alligator and while many people are afraid of them, they are actually incredible animals to see in person, at a safe distance of course! We will review the American Alligator food chain, habitat and adaptations.

Aqua Charades! (Recording)

Grades: K-2

Join Rangers Louisa and Cynthia at McKinney Falls State Park, home of the upper and lower falls - sculpted by years of flowing water! These waters support all kinds of life in an urban environment as well as attract people from across Texas to come splash and enjoy a day outdoors. Together, we'll learn about how animals, plants and people use water, as well as ways to conserve water, through conversation, music, art and theater!

Aquatic Science: What is the Edwards Aquifer?

Grades: K-8

Ranger Theresa talks all about the Edwards aquifers and its importance to the city of San Antonio.

San Antonio’s dependence on the aquifer’s fresh water grew with the city’s population. Locals became concerned about the develop­ment over the aquifer’s Recharge Zone in the 1980s. Water began connecting people around a common cause.

B is for Bison

Grades: K-2

Learn all about Texas State Bison. How big do they get? What do they eat? How fast are they? What important role did they play in helping early settlers? We discuss and view these amazing creatures in the field at San Angelo State Park. Join us in this interactive lesson all about the Texas State Bison.

Batty for Bats

Grades: 4-6

The abandoned railroad tunnel at Old Tunnel State Park is home to up to 3 million Mexican free-tailed bats and 3,000 cave myotis bats from May to October! In this exciting and surprising program, Ranger Nyta will introduce you to the amazing adaptions these and other bats around the world have developed in order to successfully survive and thrive in their environments.

Beach Exploration (Recording)

Grades: 3-5

Galveston Island is home to thousands of people but its sandy beaches and warm Gulf waters are home to untold numbers of living creatures – many of which you never see! The ever-changing environment of shifting sands and tides requires very special adaptations for wildlife to survive and thrive. In this program, students will join Galveston Island State Park staff on a tour to find what critters are living on the shores and under the surf. Participants will seine for marine creatures, see them up close, and learn about the important role they play in this unique ecosystem.

Bite Size Research

Grades: 4-6

Is this fish a carnivore, herbivore, or omnivore? Where does it fit in the food web? These are some of the questions marine biologists may ask when they’re trying to learn more about ocean life. But how do they answer these questions? By dissecting and examining the contents of a fish’s stomach, scientists can learn more about a specific fish species and their role in an ecosystem. Now it’s your turn! During this program, participants will identify and test a hypothesis using model black drum and alligator gar stomachs.

Coastal Crypsis (Recording)

Grades: 2-5

It's not always easy living in the deep blue sea, and many marine organisms depend on disguise for survival. From camouflaged flounder, to counter-shaded sharks, to mimicking anglerfish, different species of marine animals employ different forms of crypsis. Let's take a closer look at the ocean and uncover these masters of disguise.

Coastal Science Investigation

Grades: 4-12

TPWD's Coastal Fisheries Kills and Spills Team are marine biologists that are trained to determine the probable cause of large scale fish kills in Texas bays and the Gulf of Mexico. During this program, we'll meet up with members of the Kills and Spills Team to act as fish crime scene investigators at a real fish kill. By using environmental clues like dissolved oxygen, salinity, and water samples, we'll be able to figure out whodunnit.

NOTE: We will be showing video and images from a real fish kill. Students will see fish at various stages of decomposition.

Cowboy Christmas: Music and Poetry (Recording)

Grades: PreK-1

Bring your best singing voice! Whether you just got off a cattle drive or a car ride, sit back and relax with us for cowboy Christmas music and poetry.

Crabs: Structures and Functions

Grades: 3-5

There are many species of crabs that call the Texas Gulf Coast home. During this program, we'll learn about what makes a crab a crab. Then, we'll dive a little deeper into specific adaptations different crab species have that allow them to survive in the environment. If we're lucky, we may even have a few special (crabby) guests!

Desert Ecosystem Wonders: Springs of Franklin Mountains

Grades: K-5

Join Ranger Lydia as she hikes and observes the diverse ecosystem of Franklin Mountains—one of the largest parks in Texas near El Paso. Students will be able to observe the way organisms live and survive in the Franklin Mountains ecosystem. What will we see along the trail?

Diamondback Terrapins - The decline of America's only brackish water turtle (Recording)

Grades: 3-5

Diamondback terrapins, America’s only brackish water turtle, faced a severe population decline in the late 1800s. At the time, turtle soup was a popular dish, and terrapins were nearly hunted to extinction. Join Sea Center Texas to learn how careful conservation planning saved this species from demise. We’ll learn all about the terrapin’s biology, life cycle, and habitat, as well as the current threats to the population. You’ll even get to meet Sea Center’s resident terrapin, Truman!

Did you hear that? - Otoliths and their functions (Recording)

Grades: 4-8

Come to our lab to discover the 'ear' bone in fish and decipher the story it tells us. Learn with Brian and Jo as they find these bones and uncover the life history of a sea explorer. Adventure awaits.

NOTE: We will be doing a dissection of a fish during this program.

DIVING into Science


Join Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's Artificial Reefs Program to get a fish-eye-view of the artificial reefs along the Texas coast! Learn about how we monitor these ecosystems with minimal impact on their inhabitants.

DNA and Fisheries Management (Recording)

Grades: 7-12

Venture into the TPWD Coastal Fisheries genetics lab and see how the team uses information at the cellular level to answer management questions about fish and invertebrates in marine systems.

Drought's Hidden Impact: Unveiling the Ecological Consequences

Grades: 3

Join Ranger Josie at Lake Corpus Christi State Park and learn about the impact of drought on animals inside the park and the ecological consequences.

Fintastic Sharks and Where to Find Them

Grades: 4-6

Join two field biologists to learn all about how we catch and learn about the sharks of Texas! This program will cover how and why we sample for sharks, how to identify Texas' most common types of sharks, and the remarkable adaptations that help sharks thrive in their environment!

Fish Life History Comparisons (Recording)

Grades: 6-12

How is a red drum different from a Southern flounder? How are these fish different from salmon? During this program with TPWD Coastal Fisheries Biologist Dr. Lindsay Campbell, we will go through how these fish differ at different life stages and why those differences help them adapt and live in their particular habitats.

Fish Morphology: Form & Function

Grades: 4-7

Did you know that the shape, forms, and structures of a fish can influence how it eats, hides, and swims? With real fish specimens and an aquarium tour, we will learn how a fish’s unique adaptations impact its behavior and lifestyle

Freezing Fish on the Texas Coast (Recording)

Grades: 5-12

Winter storm Uri of February 2021 impacted millions of Texans, including many marine fish and turtles. This program will highlight the severity of the freeze on Spotted Seatrout and Sea Turtle along the Texas Coast.

From Hatching to Catching - Get to know Sportfish

Grades: 1-3

Through games, worksheets, art projects, story time, and discussion, students will learn the life cycle of a fish and why sportfish are raised at Sea Center Texas. Students will also learn the history of fishing, and how fishing is both culturally and scientifically important.

From Shovels to Science (Recording)

Grades: 7-12

Join Sea Center technician, Jonathan Daigle, to learn what it's like to work at a fish hatchery. In this program, Jonathan will show what it takes to raise and release Spotted Seatrout and Redfish for Stock Enhancement.

Getting to Know the Bats in Caprock Canyon State Park (Recording)

Grades: 4-6

Let's get batty and learn about the bats that occupy the Clarity Tunnel at Caprock Canyon State Park. Clarity Tunnel is an abandoned railroad tunnel located on the Trailway of Caprock Canyons State Park. It was built in the late 1920s and was included in the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. Up to 500,000 Mexican free-tailed bats inhabit Clarity Tunnel from late April through mid-October.

Gobbling the Gulf

Grades: 4-7

Did you know that your favorite food is full of energy? Did you know that energy flows between all living things? Join Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's Sea Center staff to learn how all creatures are connected through the food chain. Be prepared to learn some cool science, play some games, and watch a video of Sea Center’s fish at feeding time!

Gulf Habitats: Virtual Aquarium Tour

Grades: 4-7

Join biologists at Sea Center Texas for a virtual aquarium tour. We'll learn about different Gulf of Mexico marine habitats, the species that live in each unique coastal environment, and the adaptations that help them survive. Students will see real-life examples found at our aquarium.

House Hunters: Bird Edition

Grades: 3-5

Follow along as two orioles try to find their perfect nest in the spring. Students will discover the diversity of nests that Texas birds build, where they’re located, and why they build them. We’ll talk about bird adaptations, habitat, and behavior, too!

How Are Fossils Formed? | Identifying Fossils w/Ranger John (Recording)

Grade: 5

Ranger John Identifies the fossils found at Government Cayon SNA. How are fossils created and how did we discover them?

Huecos: The Curious Lives of Vernal Pools (Recording)

Grades: 3-5

Celebrating World Water Week

Seasonal rains in the Chihuahuan Desert not only bring necessary water to our region, but also support life in this dry environment. Students will learn what huecos are and why they are important features at the park, for both humans and wildlife. We will also talk about and build a hueco ecosystem that supports organisms, such as fairy shrimps and toads!

In the Field Day with TPWD: Bag Seining

Grades: 4-12

Join Coastal Fisheries biologists live from the field! During this program, students will watch as biologists collect bag seine data, discover different species found in our bays and learn about how and why TPWD manages coastal resources.

Introduction to Bats - Their Habits and Habitats

Grades: 3-6

The abandoned railroad tunnel at Old Tunnel State Park is home to up to 3 million Mexican free-tailed bats and 3,000 cave myotis bats from May to October! In this exciting and surprising program, Ranger Nyta will introduce you to the amazing adaptions these and other bats around the world have developed in order to successfully survive and thrive in their environments.

Joining the Movement: Earth Day in Texas State Parks (Recording)

Grades: Prek-5

April 22 marks the 52nd anniversary of the first Earth Day. Ranger Lauren at McKinney Falls State Park shares many ways you can take the Earth Day Pledge. From helping clean your local Texas State Park, recycling, using reusable water bottles, and turning off lights when it's not in use.

Lit By Fire

Grades: 2-5

Join Ranger Walt for a history of candles in 19th century Texas, including a candle making demonstration! The program will incorporate history of technology and social history with a how-to instruction for those who would like to make candles of their own.

Marine Invasive Species (Recording)

Grades: 5-12

Lionfish, tiger shrimp, brown algae, oh my! Invasive species threaten our ecosystems and the people who rely on them. This presentation will cover the basic ecology of invasive species and look to the future of how scientists predict the subsequent invaders.

Natural Observations

Grades: 3-5

Discover how interdisciplinary nature journaling can connect your students to the outdoors, strengthen their observational skills, promote data collection, and help them make connections. Nature journaling helps students build transferable skills with no artistic expertise required! This program will include opportunities for students to journal and make observations virtually through photos, videos, and live nature webcams, facilitated by a ranger. Each student should come prepared to write and draw observations during the program, either using their own paper and pencil, or the provided worksheet. Coloring utensils are welcome but optional!

Ocean Commotion (Recording)

Grades: 3-4

Dive into the world of oceanography and explore the chemistry, biology, and conservation of the deep blue sea. Put on your lab coat and join me as we explore pH, salinity, and other aspects of seawater chemistry.

Oceans of Chemistry (Recording)

Grades: 8-12

Chemistry students will get to see how concepts they are learning in their classes relate to the real world in this presentation by Texas Parks and Wildlife hatchery technician, April Russell. They will observe how technicians and biologists at a state-of-the-art fish hatchery use basic chemistry concepts and chemical reactions to help with the delicate balance of fish rearing and pond management.

Reading Ranger: Bats & Their Basic Needs

Grades: K-2

It is the spring season! That means migratory bats are on the move. Join Ranger Arlyne for a story about the life of a bat. Students will learn about where bats live, how bats find their food, and the role bats play in a food chain.

Reading Ranger: Alamo Across Texas

Grades: Pre-K-1

When a drought dries up his perfect river home, Alamo, the alligator finds a new place to live. Join Ranger Nicholas at Garner State Park for this Reading Ranger read-aloud. At the end of the program, have students illustrate a picture of what drought did to Alamo's home.

Reading Ranger: Buzzing with Questions!

Grades: K-2

Insects are awesome animals. Join a park ranger for a story reading about entomologist Charles Henry Turner. Students will learn about Turner’s curiosity and persistence as well as the basic parts of an insect, differences between insects and other “bugs”, and the diversity among insects.

Reading Ranger: Frankie the Free-Tailed Bat (Recording)

Grades: 4

Join Frankie the Bat as she discovers life as a bat and explores new territories with her mom during migration.

NOTE: Available in Spanish.

Reading Ranger: Names and Phases of our Moon (Recording)

Grades: K-6

People have looked up at the Moon for generations. Join Ranger Arlyne for a reading of Once in a Full Moon, written by Carolinda Goodman and illustrated by Mariia Luzina, about the different names a moon is called throughout the year. Students will learn about the Sun as a light source, how the Earth and Moon move, and moon phases.

Reading Ranger: The Mushroom Club (Recording)

Grades: 3-6

Squishy, slimy, and stinky! Explore the alien world of mushrooms with a ranger. Students discover and learn about fungi through a fun book about hiking and mushrooms.

Reading Ranger: The Secret Life of the Little Brown Bat (Recording)

Grades: PreK-2

Texas State Park Ranger reads this simple story that demonstrates the importance of these bats to our lives. Appropriate vocabulary introduces relevant concepts. Beautiful illustrations and read by a Texas State Park Ranger.

Reeling in Redfish (Recording)

Grades: 4-8

Redfish are one of the most popular sportfish in Texas. Whether you are fly fishing, using live bait, or artificial plastics, fisherman love to catch and eat this delicious fish. Join in to learn more about this popular fish, how to identify them, where they live, and what Texas Parks and Wildlife does to ensure there is a healthy fishery for present and future generations of fishermen.

Renewable and Non-renewable Energy Resources (Recording)

Grades: 3-6

Ranger Sarah over at Sheldon Lake State Parks discusses how renewable energy resources are used inside the park. Through observations, what can you see at Sheldon Lake being used as renewable energy sources?

Restore the Reef (Recording)

Grades: 6-12

For a number of different reasons, many oyster reefs along the Texas coast have become severely damaged. Learn a little about the ecological importance of oysters while discovering how and why TPWD restores our oyster reefs in Texas.

Saltwater Fish Hatcheries (Recording)

Grades: 8-12

Take a behind the scenes tour of a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's Marine Development Center in Corpus Christi, TX. Learn about how and why hatchery biologists raise red drum, spotted seatrout, and flounder to release into the Texas bays.

Seagrass Science

Grades: 4-6

In this program, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's Coastal Fisheries biologists will take students below the water's surface to learn about marine flowering plants. Students will get the opportunity to view each of the five types of seagrass that live in the shallow Texas bays and learn why seagrass is such an important habitat for marine critters and people who live in coastal areas.

Shark Fun Facts! (Recording)

Grades: 4-6

Which shark is the fastest? What about the biggest? How do sharks find their prey? During this program, we'll take the time to answer each of these questions while also discussing the many unique adaptations sharks have that make them successful predators.

"Spat"-tacular Oysters

Grades: 4-6

For eons, oysters have nourished our bodies and communities. In this deep dive into learning, we will learn about why oysters are important and why we should protect them.

Seminole Canyon Archeological Site: A Window into the Past (Recording)

Grades: Prek-4

Walk back into time at Seminole Canyon and learn about how the indigenous people lived. Hosted by Jessica Hester and Jack Johnson, we learn how native people adapted to the Texas landscape. What is an earth oven, what did they eat and what are pictographs? How did these native people meet their basic needs in the past? We answer these questions in this TEKS-aligned video.

Texas Blind Salamanders (Recording)

Grades: 6-8

Learn about the unique karst underground cave environment of Texas blind salamanders and how they have adapted to be uniquely fit for it. We will also talk about two special salamanders who helped us learn that they can regenerate their legs! Topics also covered will be endangered species, habitat conservation, and how human activities affect this special environment.

Texas Pollinator BioBlitz - In the Field with Migrating Monarchs (Recording)

Grades: K-2

Join Park Ranger Craig Hensley from a field of milkweed plants inside Guadalupe River State Park. In this pre-recorded program, he will look for eggs, larvae, and adult Monarch Butterflies to show students. In addition, he’ll discuss the life cycle (metamorphosis) of the Monarch as it relates to its migration in general and through Texas in Spring and Fall; its relationship with the milkweed plant; mimicry and warning coloration; predation; and the milkweed plant as its mini ecosystem.

The Big Thicket - Investigating the Ecosystem of Southeast Texas

Grades: K-5

Join us as Ranger Alex highlights the incredible diversity of both plants and wildlife. Ranger Alex will examine evidence that living organisms have basic needs such as food, water, and shelter. Inside Village Creek State Park, Ranger Alex will identify various plants and animals that interact with living and nonliving things.

The Fascinating World of Fossils in Texas State Parks (Recording)

Grades: PreK-5

Did you know that Monahans Sandhills State Park had fossils? Columbian Mammoth, to be exact. What do these fossils tell us? Scott, a curator for Texas State Parks, discusses how these fossils were formed and found. Texas State Parks has tons of fossils throughout our parks, and today we learn all about the Fascinating World of Fossils in Texas State Parks.

The Great Divide: Early Development of Redfish (Recording)

Grades: 7-12

Come along while we follow the journey of a Red Drum fish as it develops from microscopic egg to 30-pound adult. Your students will experience a real-world application of early development and the importance of food webs in the life cycle of marine organisms through videos and images taken by a Texas Parks and Wildlife fish hatchery technician. The presentation will review topics covered in high school biology courses, including gametogenesis, zygote formation, mitosis, meiosis, DNA, life history stages, food webs, and more! Presented by a former high school teacher, this will be a great review for end of year exams! Also included will be an optional pre-session activity, notes page, and post-session quiz.

The Wetland Waters of Estero Llano Grande State Park

Grades: K-3

Did you know you can tell if wetland waters are clean or polluted by looking at the organisms that live there? Join Rangers John and Kat as we test the waters right here at Estero Llano Grande. We will be viewing organisms under a digital microscope to see who lives here and determine if we have a healthy, non-polluted wetland environment at the park.

Under the Stars: South Llano River State Park's Mesmerizing Night Sky (Recording)

Grades: 3-5

Join Ranger Lorissa at South Llano River State Park and learn what is a dark night sky. What is a Bortle rating? How can you view the Milky Way? This short video is a perfect introduction to dark night skies and how telescopes are used to see things in our galaxy.


Grades: 1-5

Upcycling is an exciting way to recycle paper, plastic and metal items into beautiful crafts. We'll share ideas for making Valentine's Day decorations and gifts using what we found from our clean up at McKinney Falls State Park.

Weathering, Erosion, and Deposition w/Ranger Stewart (Recording)

Grades: PreK-5

This short video provides direct instruction on the key vocabulary words weathering, erosion, and deposition. What is the relationship between erosion and weathering? What does deposition have to do with erosion? Join us as we visit Copper Breaks State Park to learn all about Weathering, erosion, and deposition, led by Ranger Stewart at Copper Breaks State Park.

What Can We Say About the Scianidae?

Grades: 4-6

Learn about what makes up the drum family and their unique adaptations to their environment.

What Swims and Crawls in Sabine Lake?

Grades: 4-12

Join the Sabine Lake Marine Lab aboard the RV Sabine on a lake trawl sampling trip.

What Swims and Crawls in San Antonio Bay?

Grades 4-6

Biologists from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's Coastal Fisheries Division collect data about what types of fish, shrimp, crabs, and other marine life live along the Texas coast using different types of sampling gear (primarily different types of nets!). During this program, your students will connect with our biologists LIVE from San Antonio Bay as they collect their routine samples. Students will observe marine biologists in the field and assist them with collecting data and identifying fish.

Whodunit? Solving Animal Mysteries

Grades: 2-5

Visit several “crime scenes” to discover how nocturnal animals change the environment we share with them. Learn about common nocturnal animals that live in Texas and their adaptations that help them survive. Your students will also find out where they are most likely to find nighttime wildlife where they live.

Wonderful Wetlands!

Grades: 4-7

A healthy wetland habitat should be teeming with tadpoles and exploding with insects. Let's dip into the wetlands at Sea Center Texas to see what creatures we can find. We'll examine some invertebrates under the microscope, use identification charts to determine what species we find, and analyze the health of the environment based on our discoveries.

Content Disclaimer
The views and opinions expressed are those of the contributing members of Connect2Texas and do not necessarily represent the views of the Education Service Center Region 11. While some content is deemed appropriate for various curriculum standards used by viewers nationwide, most content providers make an effort to tie their content to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS).


Connect2Texas is a service of the Education Service Center Region 11.