Author Archives: Nissa McKinney

  • Students take a photo of a sample area marked by a pink ring on a rock face.
    Looking for ways to bring education outdoors? Whether you are an environmental educator on a park or forest, a classroom teacher for Pre-K to 12th grade students, or a parent looking for outdoor enri...

    The Outdoor Activity Compendium

  • Collage of the six new scientist cards featured in the blog
    We have a new batch of scientist and engineer cards joining our collection! We love featuring the huge variety of people and careers in the Forest Service. Learn about how they got interested in thei...

    This Just In! New Scientist Collector Cards

  • Two people sit in camp chairs beside a tent and look down towards a body of water where a kayaker is paddling.
    Kids are out of school for summer, vacations and camps are in full swing, and the outdoors are calling! How do we carve out time to enjoy the outdoors and all the benefits it has to offer? Natural In...

    Great Outdoors Month 2024

  • A bee in a pink flower, both coated in pollen.
    National Pollinator Week (June 17-23, 2024) is around the corner, so let’s learn about some ways we can all help native pollinators. Did You Know? Bees aren’t...

    Pollinator Week 2024

  • A prairie dog in a field of coreopsis
    In honor of National Grasslands Week, let’s learn about . . . PRAIRIE DOGS! National Grasslands Week National Grasslands Week (June 16-22, 2024) is designated by th...

    National Grasslands Week 2024

  • Visitors walking up stone steps to exit a cave into a forested area.
    Check your flashlights and put your hard hats on – Cave Week 2024 is coming soon! Celebrated from June 2-8, 2024, Cave Week focuses on caves and karst, unique cave and karst ecosystem...

    Cave Week 2024

  • A fisher on a tree trunk.
    Today is Endangered Species Day. Let’s learn more about endangered and threatened species and what we can do to help them.   Background In the US, the Enda...

    Endangered Species Day 2024

  • An island coastline with clear blue water and a rocky shore in the foreground. A sandy beach and trees are in the background.
    In honor of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islanders Heritage Month, we’re highlighting some of our publications about the research, scientists, and cultures of Hawai’i and the Paci...

    Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islanders Heritage Month

  • Several shorebirds, called red knots, standing on a sandy shoreline.
    In honor of World Migratory Bird Day (May 11), let’s learn about . . . RED KNOTS! Red knots are shore birds that make one of the longest migrations of any bird – more than 9,00...

    Red Knots and World Migratory Bird Day 2024

  • Indy Archer investigates some dandelion flowers on her hike on the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest.
    There’s a lot of exciting research out there about how being out in nature can impact human health. The Natural Inquirer team recently presented at the National Science Teaching Association (NSTA)...

    Bringing Nature to the Classroom

  • Nissa McKinney stands outside next to a wooden walkway.

    Nissa McKinney

    I am a science writer for Natural Inquirer. I work with scientists to translate their research into language that’s easy for students to understand. I used to be a high school English teacher, so I love getting to connect with other students and teachers across the country. In my spare time, I love to sew and knit, travel to new places, and hang out with my two children, my husband, my friends, and my pets – seven cats and one dog!