Classes and Certifications


(Be sure to visit the new museum website at

Coming Spring 2015, the Center's website will be

Early Childhood Environmental Educator Certification for Spring 2015

Young children are natural scientists. They possess an inherent curiosity about what they see, smell, hear, feel, and taste. Fostering that curiosity is the key to helping children develop a lifelong love of nature and a sound foundation for environmental literacy. Students will participate in Inquiry activities stemming from prominent themes in Early Childhood Earth, Life, and Physical science standards, such as Animal and Plant Adaptations; Sun, Moon and Stars; Seasons; Rocks; Fossils; and Animal Behavior. Upon successful completion of requirements, participants will receive a certifcate for Early Childhood Environmental Educator through the Center for Environmental Education.

This two-credit hour course will be taught by Julie Robinson, Early Childhood Specialist and Environmental Educator at the Hefner Museum. While this course is tailored to Early Childhood Education majors, students from diverse disciplines who have a passion to encourage young children to develop a sense of place, an awareness of nature, and ultimately a love of learning more about the Earth are welcome.

There is no additional cost for the Early Childhood Evnironmental Educator Certificate.

If you are interested or have questions, please contact Julie Robinson at or 513.529.4618.


Classes taught at the Robert A. Hefer Museum of Natural History:


ZOO 311/630D Vertebrate Zoology is a four-credit course to explore the biodiversity of vertebrate animals with emphasis on Ohio vertebrates. This course is team taught by Drs. Donald Kaufman and Michael Secrest. The goals of this course include:

* to identify and name selected Ohio vertebrates

* to appreciate the form and function of vertebrates

* to distinguish the biological features and characteristicsof the major groups of vertebrates

* to use dichotomous keys to identify vertebrates

* to learn and discuss the natural histories of selected Ohio vertebrates

* to develop an awareness of conservation issues of Ohio's endangered and threatened vertebrates

The course combines discussions, inquiry lessons, laboratories, and local field trips. Students will receive Ohio field guides for major vertebrate groups furnished by the Ohio Division of Wildlife, Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) . Field trips will be used as "hands-on" experiences to reinforce classroom lessons.

Required field guides: Peterson Field Guide Series: Freshwater Fishes, Amphibians and Reptiles, Eastern North American Birds, and North American Mammals available 2nd semester at Miami Bookstore

Special Note: It will be beneficial for the students to have access to binoculars for the outdoor field trips. However, do not purchase binoculars specifically for this class.


ZOO 477 Undergraduate Environmental Fellows, offered for Honor Students, is a project sponsored by Miami University's Center for Environmental Education. This course is team-taught by Drs. Donald Kaufman ad Michael Secrest. Undergraduate Environmental Fellows will accomplish the following in this two semester class:

* identify a local ecological site for future restoration by MU students

*develop a plan for environmental education at the site

*establish the site as a service learning project for future honors students, undergraduate fellows, and students interested in certification in natural history and environmental education


Botany/Zoology 351 Environmental Education: Focus on Natural History is a four-credit course designed for students interested in learning more about natural history and to prepare students for teaching about the environment in non-traditional settings, such as nature centers, zoos, arboreta, and museums. The goals of this course include:

* to present a comprehensive overview of the region's natural history

* to encourage a greater respect for and understanding of our natural world and our place in it

* to provide the background information, presentation skills, and creative activities necessary to teach natural history in informal settings.

The class will emphasize knowledge about natural history and the environment, as well as, methods to convey that information to the public. The course consists of inquiry labs, group discussions, and field trips. Students will receive an instructional overview of an aspect of the region's natural history and develop the skills necessary to teach natural history in informal settings. Field trips will be used as "hands-on" experience in observing and teaching about nature.

Upon successful completion of course requirements, field, and inquiry experiences for Botany/Zoology 351, students will be eligible to apply for Certified Environmental Educator through the Environmental Education Council of Ohio (EECO).

For more information on these courses, you may contact:

Dr. Donald G. Kaufman 513.529.4617
Dr. Michael Secrest 513.529.6085


See what's happening at the Hefner!

Student in Botany Zoology 351

BIO 311

BotZoo 351 class walking at Indian Creek