Environmental education takes a holistic and objective approach to inspiring youth to one day make informed, responsible decisions regarding ecological issues. This method goes beyond the scope of your field trip to the Cradle of Forestry in America Heritage Site or any other environmental education facility. Your trip to the Cradle helps reinforce NC curriculum standards for your grade level, but the real impact is when we come together and create this environment for students as soon as they step into the hallways and until they leave them. Here we offer a few links for activities and classroom-friendly lessons you can do prior to and after your trip to Pisgah National Forest.
Pre- / Post – Trip Lessons and Activities
Natural Inquirer Resources:
- Bee a Scientist Coloring Book (PreK-2)- This downloadable coloring book features a bee engaging in different types of science
- Letter to a Local Scientist/Environmental Group (Grades 4-6) – Have students find a local scientist or environmental organization that they can write a letter to with 4 questions they would like to ask. This lesson is adapted from Natural Inquirer’s Generic Lesson Plan page
- Invasive Species (Grades 3-5)- This “Wooly Bully” monograph introduces students to an invasive species in our local environment and how it is impacting the flow of water. Doing this in the classroom setting corresponds well with the “Green Invaders” activity we offer at the Cradle, which highlights species of invasive plants.
- Global Climate Change issue, article “Flow down!” (Grades 6-12)- In this article, long term research based out of Coweeta offer a solution when forest management, climate change, and streamflow all intersect.
- Nature Science Investigator (Grades 4-8)- Introduces students to some of the scientists who work in outdoor environments.
Citizen Science Resources:
- Great Backyard Bird Count– Every February, Audobon puts on this citizen science project. You can work with a local partner to get your students involved in their own schoolyard. This activity goes along well with “Risky Business” offered here at the Cradle for Grades 4-6 that highlights neotropical migratory birds.
- Caterpillar Count! (teachers)- 2018 citizen science project that the Cradle of Forestry is participating in. This project will be incorporated with older students in Arthropod Hunt and Who Eats Who and Where programs for the 2018 season.
- Monarch Mission (Grades K-12)- Lessons put together by the National Wildlife Federation and LEGO’s Community Fund that follow NGSS curriculum standards.
US Forest & National Parks Service Resources:
- Every Kid in a Park Pass (Grade 4)- Work with your students to earn their EKiP pass that gets them and their families in for free to hundreds of public land use sites across the country!
- Hands on the Land (Grades K-12)- The Cradle is one of ~200 partners of this National Environmental Education Foundation organization. Check out their teacher resources page for a variety of educational materials.
- Smokey Bear (Grades K-8)- Smokey Bear is the USFS fire prevention symbol. There are lots of activities that you can do with your kids in the classroom.
- Junior Duck Stamp Conservation Program (Grades K-12)- The USFWS education team put together a number of resources for bird conservation including an annual art contest.
- EnviroAtlas Interactive Map (Grades K-6)- Zoom in to your school or the Cradle of Forestry and use the analytical tool to see how features determine the path of a raindrop, or look at the elevation profile of your trip to the Cradle. Pair this tool with the EnviroAtlas Educational Materials for your grade level.
- Surf Your Watershed (Grades 6-8)- An interactive tool by the Environmental Protection Agency to find more information about your specific watershed; including research, water quality, data, volunteer efforts and more.
Other Science Resources:
- Google Earth (Grades 3-5)- Give your students a better sense of place and as they make their way through Pisgah National Forest to the Cradle of Forestry.
- Nature Journaling (Grades K-8) – Have your students make a nature journal that they can fill in throughout the year. Examples of topics they can journal about can be found on the Project Learning Tree website.
Social Studies Focus:
Cradle Created Resources:
- Cradle of Forestry “Forest Story” video (K-12)- This classic film use to play daily at the Cradle of Forestry Heritage Site. Watch this video with your students prior to your visit to introduce them to our story and names of key persons.
- Living with the Forest Teacher Guide (Grade 3)- PDF handout with background information, pre-, post-, and optional on-site activities. (being updated-temporarily unavailable)
Other Social Studies Resources:
- Blue Ridge National Heritage Site (teachers)- This website features photos, stories and more about Blue Ridge music, agriculture, Cherokee heritage, natural heritage and craft heritage.
- Natural and Cultural Resources TV (Grades 3-5)– “Frontier Life” talks about day-to-day lifestyle of colonists and is similar to things we talk about in our “Living with the Forest” and “Gumshoes in the Pink Beds” programs. This YouTube channel also provides other video resources you can view in the classroom.
- Mountain Heritage Center (K-12)– Western Carolina University provides educational experiences for a wide range of ages centered on mountain heritage.