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Lending Library


Butler SWCD has many resources that it can loan out to schools and other groups to further the eudcation on natural resources.


How Long:

Materials in the Butler SWCD’s Lending Library can be borrowed for free for up to 7 days. Materials can be borrowed for consecutive terms, if no one is waiting.


Delivery: Occasionally, an employee of the Butler SWCD office will be near your location and may be able to pickup or drop-off the item. It is the borrowers responsibility to pick-up and drop-off materials.



If you would like to borrow an item, contact the District’s Education Specialist, Lynn White. Please have your calendar ready when you call in order to schedule loan dates.

Kits for Early Childhood

We have many different kits that Prek- 1 grade classrooms can borrow. Several of these kits go along with great activities from Growing Up Wild, a nationally recognized curricula.

Wiggling Worms - An ecosystem in a box! A worm bin is a great classroom resource, and you can borrow ours for 1- 4 weeks. The bin is easy to care for, just bury left over fruit and veg, in their box and make sure their bedding is moist. Bin comes with several great books, including one on the care of the worms.

Seed Need - Children will explore seeds as food for people and aniamls, then participate in a fun activity where they learn about animals dispersing seeds. 

Fishing Fun - Children engage in a dramatic play fishing game and learn about fish and conservation. This hands on lesson allows kids to utilise their math skills measuring fish, and the language skills. 

A Tree For All Seasons -This huge felt board allows children to name plant parts, study the basic needs of plants, and see how trees change throughout the seasons.
Hiding in Plain Site - Students will learn about campflage. This is a great lesson to also introduce your students to the idea of when it safe and unsafe for them to hide.
Kits for Grades 2- 12
water splash
seedlings in soil


MacroInvertebrates: Biological Water Quality Monitoring

Create two simulated streams, one healthy and one polluted, to teach about water polution. Students identify macroinvertebrates (preserved in plastic) to assess the health of the water.


Stream Table

Use this great tool to teach about landfroms, erosion, weathering, water safety and more. Have your students form hypothesis on erosion as the slope changes, etc. Can be used indoors or out, but CANNOT be left outdoors overnight.


Watershed Model: Enviroscape

This model can be used to teach about watersheds, rivers, pollution, impacts on wildlife and more. The model is simple to use, and even has a user guide. Flip through the guide one way and it shows how to discuss pollution sources, flip it the other way and it shows ways we can prevent pollution.The model uses food such as cocoa power as soil, oatmeal as litter, and chocolate syrup as oil, to make this a highly visual and effective tool.


Fred The Fish (Early Childhood)

Students actively participate in this story about a fish that goes on an adventure. Along his journey, Fred sees a lot of pollution. As you read the story, students take it in turn to add the pollution to a fishtank containing a fake fish.


Incredible Journey

Using giant dice, students move as water drops around the water cycle, flowingthrough the atmosphere and lithosphere. This helps students understand that waterdoesn’t always follow the same simple path through the cycle.An extension allows students to see the flow of contamination between the different spheres.


Where Does Water Run?

This great activity combines math and science. Students calculate the area of the school property. Then combining this  information with rainfall maps, they can calculate the volume and weight of the rainwater that lands on the property in one year. The amount of water will astonish your students.


Poison Pump

A killer has swept through the streets of London; hundreds are dead! Through a series of clues, students solve a mystery to discover that water can also produce negative effects for people.Includes maps, clues and victim  descriptions.


Sum of the Parts

You’ve inherited a million dollars and some river front property. Student groups design their own riverfront property, then each group places their “property” together to form a large watershed. Students will learn about the different kinds of water pollution and that everyone’s pollution contribution can be reduced.


Super Sleuths

Students learn about the diversity of water bone illnesses and the role of epidemiology in disease control by searching for others who have been “infected” with the same water-borne illness as they have.


Hitting the Mark

Students investigate the concepts of accuracy and precision in data collection and learn the importance of writing detailed procedures.Groups of students work together find out the best way to make a ball of clay hit a target as accurately and precisely as possible. They then write up their procedure for another group to use to see if they can replicate the results. It is a great activity to release your students imagination while helping them to recognize the limitations in these ideas if we can’t share them.

Rocks, Minerals, Fossils, and Soil


Soils trailer

This award winning educational exhibit 37 ft long trailer can be brought to your school. Find out more.


What Mineral Is It?

Through the use of dichotomous keys (both written and visual) students can identify minerals based on their properties. The students will test for hardness, cleavage, acid, and more. There are multiple samples of 10 different minerals, allowing your students to work independently.


Rock Cycle

A great alternative to teaching the rock cycle from the book. In this activity students will become minerals moving around the rock cycle. Through throws of giant dice, students will have to figure out what happens if they are eroded, or what happens if they are heated and squeezed.


Plate Tectonics

Using maps and historic earthquake data, students plot earthquakes onto a map of the world and examine the patterns produced.



This kit has everything in it that you need to teach students about topographic maps. The students can create landform from a map, and then create a map from a landform. This all helps to make it easier to read maps.The kit also contains a variety of maps (physical, political, and thematic) and also a topographic of your area of the county. This skills activity is highly popular, and although can be used to supplement many standards it has few hard hits.

Forestry and Wildlife


Worm Bin

(all levels) An ecosystem in a box! A worm bin is a great classroom resource, and you can borrow ours for 1- 4 weeks. The bin is easy to care for, just bury left over fruit and veg, in their box and make sure their bedding is moist. Bin comes with several great books, including one on the care of the worms. To borrow this kit we will need to set up a meeting to discuss how to care for this simple ecosystem in a box….. don’t worry, it’s really easy. Let your students imagine run, as they can develop a variety of experiments including whether worms prefer light or dark, if they move faster over rough or smooth, and if bananas decompose quicker with or without worms.



This kit can be used to teach about: Adaptations and How animals change the environment. The kit includes the materials to dress a student as a beaver, a beaver skull, beaver log, books, and much more.  A new addition to this kit are the resources for teams of students to build their own mini beaver dam and test it to see if it holds back water. 


Build a Bug

This kit can be used to teach about: Adaptations. The kit includes the materials to dress an insect and includes different fake mouth parts, tails, gills, and more. The kit also includes a the lesson plan to Stream Bug Simon Says.


Energy Pipeline

Students simulate organic production and energy loss for major trophic levels in an ecosystem in this hands-on lesson. The class acts as a “growth”  assembly line that becomes increasingly complex with each round. After the lesson, students can explain why energy dissipates at each level


Migration Headache

Students become “migrating shorebirds,” traveling between nesting and wintering habitats. Along their journeys they experience some of the threats that affect the survival of migratory shorebird populations. After this activity, students will be able to:
■ Define the term migration.
■ List three limiting factors that can affect the populations of migrating shorebirds.
■ Classify these limiting factors as natural or human-caused.
■ Predict the effects of habitat loss and degradation on populations of shorebirds.

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