Jeffers Foundation


A brief overview of some of what Jeffers Foundation is doing

School Gardens

A Garden for Every School

A 'Growing' Phenomenon

As creative educators look for new ways to teach students sound environmental principles as well as good nutrition, gardens offer an excellent solution. We surveyed the state looking for high-quality programs. The result was over three dozen videos and case-studies to help you learn from the best. [more]

Jeffers Workshops

Jeffers Workshops

Team Teaching with Mother Nature

Jeffers primary purpose is to help youngsters learn sound principles of Environmental Stewardship and to love and understand their natural world. Jeffers workshops exist for that sole purpose. One of Jeffers guiding principles has always been to help Teachers do their job more effectively without adding cost or additional work. [more]

The Calendar in the Classroom

Calendar in the Classroom

Learning from Nature's Own Classroom

Recognizing what a great resource the Minnesota Weatherguide Environment™ Calendar is Jeffers partners with Freshwater Society, the publisher of the calendar, to put the calendar and calendar based lessons in elementary classrooms throughout the state. With the help of an instructive video, the lessons are presented to the elementary teacher in such a way that she/he is comfortable teaching their students real science. [more]

GO Cards

GO Outdoors

Enhance Your Child's School Experience While Having Fun Outdoors

Jeffers director, Sil Pembleton, has for many years been helping teachers and parents enhance children's educational experience by showing them the benefits of going outdoors to discover and learn. The ring bound "Go" cards developed for families suggest convenient and practical outdoor activities for helping children realize their full potential all the while having fun. [more]

The Outdoor Classroom

The Outdoor Classroom

Where Nature Enhances Learning

Jeffers Foundation believes children learn better, are healthier, more manageable, and perform better on tests when they learn experientially out of doors. The Outdoor Classroom is a three part video on DVD created by Jeffers and available free of charge to help parents, teachers and administrators realize how important and how easy team Teaching with Mother Nature can be. [more]



Integrating Environmental Education

Jeffers collaborated with teachers from the Prior Lake/Savage Area school district to develop a series of morning meeting type EE lessons which are standards-based and presented in a ring-bound card format that is easy to manage. Included with the cards is a "how-to" CD which also includes indexes and supporting materials. Teachers across the state are enthusiastically using this program to Integrate Environmental Education into every class day. [more]

Jeffers Journal

Jeffers Journal

Chairman Paul's Fabulous Idea Takes Root & Blossoms

Early in Jeffers journey, Chairman Paul (Oberg), in support of a Foundation goal to help educate young persons, recognized that a key learning activity is for students to make observations and to systematically record them. Chairman Paul realized that most of these observation / recording exercises were done using single sheets of paper, many of which were easily lost. He envisioned a "science notebook" which could become a permanent part of each student's primary education. The Jeffers Journal is his realization of this dream. [more]

WRAP - Waste Reduction Awareness Program

WRAP - Waste Reduction Awareness Program

WRAP is a Jeffers initiative to assist elementary schools to reduce lunchroom waste. 31 Minnesota schools were recognized with WRAP awards for reducing waste. Jeffers and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency collaborated to aggregate information and case studies with the goal that schools complete the WRAP Self-Assessment and visit the WRAP web pages to find the resources necessary to improve their waste reduction / education efforts.

Jeffers Junior Naturalist Program

Jeffers Junior Naturalist Program

Character Development through Service Learning

Jeffers Foundation has observed that the child who goes outdoors to do something meaningful for someone else is a happier, healthier and more sucessful student. The Jeffers Junior Naturalist program has been designed to give children from third grade on opportunities to participate in service learning activities in their schools and communities. For those wishing to make an EE program, this is a great culture builder. [more]

McColl Pond Environmental Learning Center

McColl Pond Environmental Learning Center

Like Minds + Diverse Means = LEEDS GOLD Facility

A primary Jeffers goal is "productive partnerships" where the synergy of like minds and diverse means produces a result that is more than the sum of the parts. Jeffers' partnership with the City of Savage, MN began with a collaboration in providing EE opportunities for the students in Glendale elementary and developed into a major grant toward the building of McColl Pond environmental learning center, a LEEDS GOLD certified structure. [more]



Connect to an Active Lifestyle

Unplug! Have fun outdoors together!
Jeffers Foundation makes getting outdoors easy: Two or three clicks at FamiliesOutdoors.Org will lead to the perfect outdoor activity! [more]

Jeffers Pond

Jeffers Pond

Nature Preserved a Special Place to Enjoy and Share

Robert (Bob) Jeffers owned very attractive land in Prior Lake. An important element of this land is a hilly, wooded portion which also contains a small, deep lake or pond. Before his death Bob wished that this property be developed such that this beautiful, natural area be preserved for public enjoyment of nature and educational purposes. Such is Jeffers Pond. [more]

See all Programs, Partners and Projects →

A teaching resource for use in the classroom (updated weekly).

Weekly Phenology

Third Week of January
The persistent duet hooting by pairs of great horned owls, heard... Read More


Morning Stars
Saturn starts the new year at Solar Conjunction, and ...
Read More

Provided by the Freshwater Society


EPA Presidential Honors Awardee Anna Dutke
EPA Presidential Honors Awardee Anna Dutke

The Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators (EPA Region 5) winner Anna Dutke, Jeffers Pond Elementary in Prior Lake, MN.

The EPA honored award-winning educators and honorable mention recipients at a series of events in Washington, D.C. recently. Through this program, the EPA honors the remarkable work of educators in the field of environmental education and stewardship.

The Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators program recognizes innovative educators who bring environmental education into their classrooms through hands-on, experiential and inspirational approaches.

Anna Dutke, a long time enthusiastic Jeffers Foundation advocate and partner developed a nature based preschool option and piloted it for the Circle of Friends Preschool in Prior Lake. The pilot was designed to align the preschool with the Prior Lake-Savage Area School district-wide E-STEM initiative.

She helped establish a "buddy class" partnership with the 5th grade, where the preschool and 5th grade students meet weekly to engage in activities and lessons that integrate environmental education along with the preschool and 5th grade curriculum and learning standards.

Anna formed a Family Nature Club with her colleagues that provides free, monthly gatherings for families at one of the school district's outdoor learning centers, where family members conduct activities that foster and support exploration, stewardship and nature play. Anna also co-leads her school's Jeffers Junior Naturalist Program that is geared toward 3rd grade through 5th grade students who want to be leaders in environmental education and stewardship.

School Garden Grants

Anna received a Presidential award plaque and an award of $2,500 to be used to further her professional development in environmental education. The Prior Lake school district will also receive an award of $2,500 to fund environmental educational activities and programs.

Jeffers Foundation Congratulates Anna Dutke for her pioneering work in Environmental Education and Stewardship!

Wish Dream Believe

Here it was the end of a hot summer day in July I was filled with happiness (and exhaustion) from... Read More


Jeffers Foundation makes available programs and products free of charge to workshop participants.

Jeffers Shares

From its very inception, one of the guiding principles of Jeffers Foundation has been to help teachers share sound principles of environmental stewardship with their students in such a manner as to leverage teacher prep time and effort all the while offering programs and products at no or very low cost. In fact when teachers attend one of our workshops, they will receive a number of supporting items (determined by the nature of the workshop). What Jeffers requests is that teachers share with Jeffers and hence with others, their experiences so that other teachers may benefit from what is learned.

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