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Guest Blog: Natural Inquirer in Your Visitor Center

Visitors at Wisconsin’s Daniel R. Obey Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center can hear the shanties of long-ago fur trappers, see the vibrant greens of the surrounding Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, and feel the fibers of traditional yarn weavings.

Now, they can also learn about the Natural Inquirer, the Forest Service’s science education provider.

Center volunteer Dick Florence studies Natural Inquirer issues cover-to-cover. He then helps parents, students, teachers, and other visitors select materials to pique their interest.

“I made a display with a brief description of the Natural Inquirer,” said Susan Nelson, formerly the center’s interpretive services specialist. “He points to this daily as he’s promoting the journals.”

A man holds a Natural Inquirer and stands next to a poster display about the program.
Dick Florence, volunteer at Wisconsin’s Daniel R. Obey Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center, poses with a poster about Natural Inquirer products. USDA Forest Service photo courtesy Susan Nelson.

Visitor centers can tailor their materials to fit in with their settings and audiences:

Famous place for caves? Stock the Caves and Karst edition of Natural Inquirer.

Are there lakes and rivers? Hand out copies of the Freshwater edition.

Lots of 4th graders using their Every Kid Outdoors pass to visit national forests, parks, lands, and waters? Order NSI: Nature Science Investigator, an outdoor activity booklet they can use on their travels.

Need something for the littlest ones? Check out our series of Readers for pre-K through 2nd grade.

Parents who need a break? Hand out one of the Natural Inquirer coloring books.

Whether you’re stocking a visitor center, hosting educational events, visiting local schools, or running a classroom, Natural Inquirer products can be enjoyed by anyone, anywhere. And they are all free!

A Forest Service booth at the Pollinator Festival in Washington, DC, in 2018. FS employees man the booth and speak with visitors.
Forest Service employees include Natural Inquirer materials at their booth for the National Pollinator Festival in Washington, DC.
Margaret Gregory holds a copy of a Natural Inquirer monograph at the booth at NSTA 2024 in Denver.

Margaret Gregory

As a technical writer-editor for Forest Service Research and Development, I translate science into terms that people can understand and use. I do this through stories, webinars, webpages, and any other manner people request! I live in Nebraska, home of...