Macroinvertebrates-Forests and Freshwater - This activity is best done in late spring, summer, or fall. Use small fish-tank nets to scoop macroinvertebrates from freshwater. Collect samples of soil and organic matter from the forest floor. If you place these samples in a funnel (or plastic bottle cut in half, with the lid off) and shine a light at the top of the sample for a few hours the macroinvertebrates will tend to crawl out the bottom of the funnel. Put a jar there to collect them. Don't forget to check the funnel regularly, since being under the light for a long time can stress the macroinvertebrates, and treat the macroinvertebrates with respect! Return the macroinvertebrates and samples to where you collected them when you are finished.
These materials focus on selected Alaskan species that are threatened, endangered, or at risk. Learn about wildlife population dynamics, the factors that may place species at risk, and efforts by people to help wildlife species recover.
These curriculum materials are focused on Alaskan species that are managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with particular emphasis on those found on islands and shorelines included in the Alaska Maritime Wildlife Refuge as the means to highlight important science and social studies concepts. The teaching packet is designed to help you introduce the concepts of "biodiversity" and "endangered" to your students in a hands-on interactive way.
Short-tailed Albatross (endangered) Kittlitz's Murrelet (candidate species for listing) Aleutian Shield Fern (endangered) Pribilof Rock Sandpiper (vulnerable) Aleutian Canada Goose (recovered species) Northern Sea Otter (Southwestern Alaska population, candidate for listing)
Section 1 introduces the concept of biodiversity and habitats - key elements in the survival of plants and animals in ecosystems around the world.
Section 2 introduces you and your students to the Endangered and Threatened species of Alaska, with a few key species selected as focal points.
Section 3 provides activities to help you and your students explore some of the factors that contribute to changes in population size and population dynamics. Activities focus on extinction, carrying capacity and counting populations.
Section 4 includes activities that look at human and natural events that can have a catastrophic impact on species and human interventions that have had both positive and negative effects on local populations.
Section 5 is focused on special stories about endangered species and on successful recovery efforts by wildlife management agencies. Here you will have an opportunity to do a fun puppet show about extinction and lead your students through two flannel board stories about recovery efforts for the Aleutian Canada Goose and the Short-tailed Albatross.
The Resources section includes appendices with information on the Endangered Species Act, and Coloring Pages for younger students.
Additional information and activities about the threatened Steller's Eider and the endangered Spectacled Eider can be found in the Alaska Sea Duck Activity Guide.
Field Trip Support
Field trip programs on this topic can be arranged at the Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center in Homer, Alaska, where a multi-media teaching kit will be located. More information about the Visitor Center education programs is available at http://www.islandsandocean.org.
Curriculum and Activity Guides
NEW CoastWatch Curriculum - Updated and Expanded in 2014
CoastWatch activities for sandy and muddy beaches and datasheet.
Life on the Beach: among friends and anemones. 20-minute video introduces concepts of intertidal ecology and beach etiquette. Geared for grades 4-8 with accompanying teacher guide. Available for loan to teachers and group leaders participating in Alaska Coastal Ecology field trips or purchase from Alaska Sea Grant
Beluga Wetlands Ecology Field Trip packet (sent to participating teachers)
Wynn Nature Center Resource Guides (Paperbound):Birds, Animals, Forest Ecology. Also Common Birds of Wynn Nature Center and Common Plants of Wynn Nature Center brochures.-Contact us if you would like a guide
During this time of school closures and physical distancing, CACS is committed to sharing resources. We want to help you and your kids engage in science learning and outdoor exploration! We are working quickly to make as many relevant lesson plans and activity sheets (think scavenger hunts, etc.) available to you. During the next few weeks, CACS education staff will continue to refine existing activities and lesson plans so they are more useful in this sort of homeschool context, so check back frequently if you can!
CACS is committed to helping teachers and informal educators stay current in the field of science and environmental education. We sponsor or instruct classes for teachers and environmental educators that combine classroom instruction and field trips. Classes that have been offered in the past include Teacher/Informal Educators Workshops in Project WILD/Project Learning Tree, WOW! Wonders of Wetlands, Invasive Plants of Alaska, and Coastal Monitoring/Environmental Stewardship. The courses are accredited by the through the University of Alaska Anchorage and typically are offered for 1 credit. Check back here for upcoming workshops in 2015-2016.
The Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies has developed, or partnered with other agencies to develop, several activity guides and curriculums. In addition, we have planning guides, science content guides, and other educational media to help teachers prepare for a field trip to one of our facilities or integrate exciting, hands-on environmental education activities into their classroom. All activities in our guides are aligned with Alaska State Science Standards.
CACS has developed Sea Ducks of Alaska Activity Guide that explores sea ducks, their biology, and conservation issues. Lessons are hands-on and aligned with Alaska State Standards. A sea duck education kit is also available for loan from CACS and has all of the resources needed to conduct the activities including a collection of sea duck decoys that students can handle, observe and use as a learning tool.
Our Endangered Species Activity Guide also has an educational kit that can be checked out from CACS and includes a selection of puppets that can be used for the Endangered species puppet show to introduce the amazing story of the recovery of the Aleutian Canada Goose.
The Alaska CoastWatch Activity Guide was developed to help educators incorporate stewardship of our coastal resources into their classroom. It includes activities that range from the basic level of exploration and discovery of intertidal biodiversity to data collection and research on marine invertebrates. Background on beach etiquette as well as conducting a CoastWalk/Marine Debris Clean-up are also included. Updated and more comprehensive Alaska CoastWatch Curriculum.
The Weed Wackers: Invasive Plants of Alaska Activity Guide was developed to help educators engage their students in the emerging study of invasive plants in coastal, boreal and arctic ecosystems of Alaska. It includes activities that explore the biology and impact of invasive plants, contributes to current research, and investigates the role of humans in both the spread and prevention of invasive plants in Alaska. CACS offers teacher training workshops throughout Alaska on this curriculum with the support of the US Forest Service.
Teaching Kits Available for Check-Out
Call 907-235-6667 to reserve kits. Kits may be checked out for up to 10 days, check-out renewal available by phone.
Coastal Monitoring Kit
Pre-trip and post-trip activities for beach walk with data collection
Kit includes Alaska CoastWatchCurriculumGuide, a collection of shells, models of organisms, 6 quadrants, 100m transect tape, 2 tide tables and stopwatch, 6 clipboards, 10 binoculars, garbage bags, CoastWatch datasheets, video, Beach Explorations CurriculumGuide, biodiversity cards, books.
Sea Ducks of Alaska Kit
Hands-on activities on sea duck adaptations, their role in marine and freshwater food webs, and conservation issues surrounding the health of the sea duck populations in Alaska.
Kit includes Sea Ducks of Alaska Activity Guide, a class set of binoculars, 8 sea duck models, books, pamphlets, powerpoint presentation on CD. Travelling Alaska Sea Duck Display also available.
Endangered and Threatened Species of Alaska Kit
Activities focus on selected Alaskan Species that are threatened, endangered, or at risk, factors that may place species at risk, and the importance of biodiversity. Species of focus include Short-tailed albatross, Kittlitz’s Murrelet, Aleutian Sheild Fern, Pribilof Rock Sandpiper, Aleutian Canada Goose, and Northern Sea Otter.
Kit includes Endangered Species of Alaska Activity Guide, puppets, and books.
Weed Wackers: Invasive Plants of Alaska Kit
Activities explore the biology, impacts, and identification of invasive plants in Alaska. Three curriculum units allow students to explore the biology of invasive plants, conduct experiments on invasive plants modeled after real experiments being conducted by scientists in Alaska, and integrate social studies to explore the human role in the spread and prevention of invasive plants in Alaska.