Teacher Resources

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Teaching Nature Journaling

Introduction to the Nature Journal. Smithsonian in Your Classroom, Fall 2006.  Designed for teachers and applicable to adult learners with examples of research scientists at work.  With a subject as great as all outdoors, nature journals lend themselves to a wide range of expression. Sketches are often the most immediate way to capture the way things look. Deeper, written observations can be the basis for all kinds of creative writing.

FieldJournalLessonPlan for Teachers to use in the field (4th-12th) by U.S. Fish and Wildife Service.

Field Journal Exercises designed by Heather Murphy Field Journal Observations & Exercises designed for the beginner by Heather A. Wallis Murphy. Instructions for seven exercises that can be completed in less than 60 minutes.

John Muir Laws: Nature Stewardship Through Science, Education, and Art.   John writes, Keeping a journal of your observations, questions, and reflections will enrich your experiences and develop gratitude, reverence, and the skills of a naturalist. My work is to share love and connection to nature through art and science and to offer support and guidance on this path. http://www.johnmuirlaws.com/

Drawing Plants with John Muir Laws.  This video series features John Muir Laws who will teach you some basic techniques to help you quickly and accurately draw plants, either for field sketching or careful botanical illustrations. These videos make use of paper models which you can cut out and manipulate to teach yourself the fundamentals of foreshortening leaves and flowers. Following along with your own model is much more helpful than simply watching the videos alone. These videos were sponsored by CNPS and the JiJi Foundation. Watch the videos at the John Muir Laws Youtube channel.

Opening the World Through Nature Journaling: Integrating Arts, Science, and Language Arts  2nd Edition. California Native Plant Society by John Muir Laws Emily Breunig.  An integrated classroom curriculum also useful to adults desiring the learn naturalist observation skills.

Teaching in the Field

Field Investigations: Using Outdoor Environments to Foster Student Learning of Scientific Processes – Developed by Pacific Education Institute Margaret Tudor, Ph.D. and Lynne Ferguson, Co-Executive Directors For Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, North American Conservation Education Strategy Funded by Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Program Multistate Grant

Schoolyard Biodiversity Investigation Educator Guide – An Introduction to Biodiversity Concepts and Outdoor Investigations. A Project of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ North American Conservation Education Strategy Developed by the Pacific Education Institute

Fostering Outdoor Observation Skills – Preparing Children for Outdoor Science and Recreation. A Project of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ North American Conservation Education Strategy.

Teaching about Wildlife- Birds and Mammals

BLM_ID_SagebrushSteppeCards_2017_lowres .  Sagebrush-steppe species photo cards developed by the B.L.M. Includes plants and animals with line drawings and natural history facts on the backside.

Skulls of Alaska’s Mammals Curriculum. Designed for Alaska, most of the featured mammals also are native to Washington State.  Animal skulls are a great tool for teaching about the diversity of wildlife and the special role each animal plays in its natural environment. This guide provides background information on skulls for educators, and hands on activities for students.They will help you introduce students to skull identification, the form and function of skulls, the design of dichotomous keys, and techniques for illustrating skulls. The lessons are written for upper elementary through high school students. Download color photograph printable PDFs to create folded boxes of life-sized mammals here.

Shrub-steppe Wildlife Skull Activities Lesson Plans.  Developed by the University of Arizona Extension, lessons in help students observe adaptions in herbivore, omnivore, and carnivore shrub-steppe species skulls, and then apply critical thinking skills to understand predatory prey relationships.

 Western U.S. Habitat Flashcards . Sets of wildlife photo cards for different habitats including Sagebrush-steppe, Mountains, Conifer Forests, Deciduous Forests, Mountains, Riparian Habitat, Shortgrass Prairie, Wetlands, and Schoolyard.

Teaching about Shrub-steppe

SagebrushEcosystem_Encyclopedia Life History narratives with photos and range maps for 40 animals and plants.  Text includes adaptions to a fire adapted ecosystem.

BLM_ID_SagebrushSteppeCards_2017_lowres .  Sagebrush-steppe species photo cards developed by the B.L.M. Includes plants and animals with line drawings and natural history facts on the backside.

Shrub-steppe food chain species cards– Artist-created flash-cards with native animals and plants of Washington’s shrub-steppe ecosystems.

Shrub-steppe_Habitat_Cards A set of photos and text for a selection of plant and animal species of the intermountain west shrub-steppe ecosystems.

Washington Wildlife by Woodland Park Zoo, Steppe habitats (pg.1-10) and Use this as general background reading, providing a big picture overview for the course. Hardcopy in the Class Loaner Box

Common Shrub-steppe Species 1-page Background Information Cards for 30 different plants and animals. Pacific NW National Laboratory

Conserve Our Western Roots poster, flyers, and postcards that feature the a cut-away view of roots for dominant shrub-steppe plants including sagebrush, bunchgrass, lupine, and annual cheatgrass.

Save Our Western Roots postcard

Save Our Western Roots postcard

Greater Sagegrouse – Sagebrush Ecosystem Curriculum A variety of lessons, visuals, and posters to use to teach about Western U.S. shrub-steppe ecosystems is on this website, hosted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in collaboration with other agencies and non-profits focused on conservation of the greater sagegrouse.

Sagebrush Ecosystems web of life poster

Sagebrush Ecosystems web of life poster

Sagebrush Ecosystem Teacher's Guide (grades 4-12)

Sagebrush Ecosystem Teacher’s Guide (grades 4-12)

Teaching about Noxious Weeds

North Central Washington educators will find useful curricula with The Montana Noxious Weed Education Project for youth grades K-9, The lessons focus on the effects that noxious weeds have on our economy, environment and ecosystems.  This curriculum is comprised of highly visual components to help students remember the types of noxious weeds present in Montana as well as to encourage them to begin to learn how to identify the same plants while out recreating.

With the visual nature in which this curriculum was developed, included in the folder are posters, noxious weed identification and fact cards, 5 Common Core Alligned lesson plans written for grades K-9, illustrations and resource documents.


Grade K-2: 3 Ways to Know Montana Noxious Weeds

Grade 2-3: Life and the Noxious Weed Web

Grade 5-8: Human Interactions and Noxious Weeds

Grade 5-7: Weeds: Unwanted Neighbors

Grade 6-9: Allelopathy & Invasion

Vocabulary List for the Montana Noxious Weed Education Project

USFWS Sagegrouse Initiative Educational Tools For Kids

Sagebrush Ecosystem Curriculum by USFWS

Sagebrush Ecosystem Kids Page by Audubon Rockies

Sage-Grouse Education / Activities for Kids by BLM

Seriously Sage Coloring Book by USDA

Bird Feats by Deborah Richie

Teaching about WA’s East-side Forest Wildfire Ecology

The Fireworks Notebook – 2-page Life History narratives describing species adaptions to fire-dependent habitats for 40 common plants and animals native to Western U.S. forests. By Nancy McMurray, Jane Kapler Smith, Ilana Abrahamson, Brian Kurzel, and Amanda Smith Fire Sciences Laboratory, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Missoula, MT

2-page Life History narrative describing species adaptations to fire-dependent habitats for 2 additional species common in the Wenatchee Watershed:

Antelope Bitterbrush Life History

Grand Fir Life History

Project-based Field Learning

Citizen Science – 15 lessons that bring biology to life, 6-12. Sample Chapter. National Science Teachers Association.

Sustainable Tomorrow A Teachers’ Guidebook for Applying Systems Thinking to Environmental Education Curricula for Grades 9-12. A Project of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ North American Conservation Education Strategy.

Technology for Field Investigations –  Scientist-Driven Technology Practices – Through real world examples demonstrates the power of students undertaking a field investigation focusing on a Species of Greatest Conservation Need in their community. A Project of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ North American Conservation Education Strategy.