Conservation Capsules

The environmental science and natural resource conservation education programs are available as a self-contained Conservation Capsule (Capsule). Conservation Capsules are offered at no cost to Prince William County, City of Manassas Schools Districts, home schools, private schools, and other groups located in Prince William County.

Most Capsules come with a lesson plan and resources to round out your classroom curriculum. Conservation Capsules may be borrowed for up to one week and will be delivered to your school via School Courier (for public Prince William County schools only) or you can make other arrangements to pick it up.

You may check out any of the capsules regardless of grade level designations. Please keep in mind when requesting a capsule that our capsule program is on a first come first serve basis.  We will try our best to meet your needs.

COVID Update

Yes, capsules are still available to all educators in Prince William County and the City of Manassas (including homeschoolers!). We ask that you consider doing the capsule live or filming it and then sharing the video with your other teachers. All capsules will be cleaned between uses.

As we will not be using the school districts courier, you must make arrangements for pick up and drop off of the capsules at our office. 

To Reserve a Capsule, click here or e-mail pwswcd with the following information:

  • Name of Capsule

  • Dates (please provide 3 dates in different weeks; many times other teachers will be requesting the same capsule for the same week. We will try our best to select your first date, on a first come first serve basis. We also ask that you try to give us 2 weeks notice for a capsule request, as we'll need time to make sure the capsule is in order)

  • Name of School

  • Name of Teacher

  • E-mail address and phone number for teacher, along with best time to call

  • Grade(s)

  • Estimate numbers of teachers, classes, and students that will be using the capsule.

Our Conservation Capsules is like a library system. We ask that you please return all capsules you use in the condition in which they were received, make sure all pieces are dry and clean, and return the capsule on its due date, regardless of any unanticipated inconveniences. That way, it will be ready for use by the next teacher/school. Our capsule schedules get very tight during the school year, so it's hard for us to grant extensions. Thank you for your understanding and participation in our Conservation Capsules program!

Our Conservation Library includes the following Capsules (click on the title for more information):

A Drop in the Bucket: 6th Grade & up  (resource capsule only, no lesson plan included)

By estimating and calculating the percent of available fresh water on Earth, students understand that this resource is limited and must be conserved.​

Animal Adaptations: 3rd & 4th Grades  (resource capsule only, no lesson plan included)
This program allows for students to investigate the adaptations birds make in order to survive. It is an interactive program that presents various types of birds and their beaks, and the reasons why the beaks are the way they are through hands on demonstrations. 


Build an Ecosystem: 2nd, 3rd and 4th Grades
Students learn about the dependency between living and non-living components of a temperate forest ecosystem. They experience the basics of species interdependency within the ecosystem and its various habitats.


Food Chains/Webs: 3rd & 4th Grades  (resource capsule only, no lesson plan included)
Students explore the terms food chains and webs through interactive games explaining the relationships between animals and plants in aquatic and terrestrial food chains. ​


Incredible Journey: 2nd, 3rd & 6th Grades
Students use the roll of the die to travel through nine stations representing the stages of the water cycle.


Introduction to Natural Resources: 1st Grade
Students will identify natural resources (plants, animals, water, air, land, minerals, forests, and soil). They will observe objects in their environment and determine what natural resources were used in their production.


​Land Beneath Your Feet: 6th & 9th Grades
The students will be introduced to the geology of Virginia. They will examine how the landforms they see and use today developed over millions of years.​

​​Plants of the Powhatan: 2nd Grade
The students will be introduced to the plants native to the Coastal Plain and Piedmont regions of Virginia. They will examine the role plants had in sustaining the Powhatan and the role these native plants currently have in sustaining and enhancing biodiversity in our ecosystem.


Regions of Virginia: 4th Grade
Students will learn the different regions of Virginia displayed on a large canvas map. The students will label the map and determine the agricultural products and major industries of each region​.

This capsule is not available for the month of October.


Soils: 3rd Grade
This is an interactive program where the students will rotate through different stations exploring the types, importance, layers, and other aspects of soil. Students will create a soil profile card, and discuss soil conservation.​


Tree Talk: 1st, 2nd & 4th Grades
The students will investigate and understand the role trees play in a system as a living thing with multiple functional parts, as well as the reproductive systems and other function each part of the tree contains.​


Water Cycle: 2nd & 3rd Grades
Through hands on activities students learn about the three different states of matter, the water cycle and importance of fresh water. ​


Watershed Enviroscape Model: K-Adult
Students will learn about downstream pollution and how it affects local waterways through this interactive model.​

When borrowing this capsule, please make sure everything is dry and clean before packing it up. Make sure to return all loose items, such as the cows, dogs, fencing, houses, vehicles, sprinkles, plug, etc.

NEVER pack the capsule up wet, as it will make things moldy. Do not re-open holes in the watershed model; the holes are blocked to prevent water from draining underneath. Thank you!


Weathering and Erosion: 2nd & 5th Grades
Students will take part in activities demonstrating chemical and physical weathering, as well as wind and water based erosion.