Forest Ecology

__Curriculum Theme__________

Forest Ecology

Outdoor Education Curriculum

Students will explore the Colorado forest ecosystem and discover the interdependent relationships between living and nonliving components. Students will learn about the many intriguing organisms that are native to Colorado’s forests and will understand how their unique traits help them survive and reproduce in their environment.

During the winter, students will investigate how specific traits help animals survive in a cold and snowy environment. Students will search for clues such as tracks and scat to infer what wild animals call the forest their home. Students may even get to observe wildlife firsthand!

Environmental Exploration

Students explore forest ecology through sensory-based activities, engaging games, and inquiry-based learning. Groups can prioritize one of the following topics, which will provide a lens through which to view forest ecology through specific, standards-based activities:

Adaptations Organisms that live in the forest have unique traits that help them survive and reproduce in their environment.

Habitats The Rocky Mountains have many different ecosystems and habitats that are determined by elevation and weather.

Fire and Human Impacts Humans have had a wide variety of impacts on Rocky Mountain ecosystems, and wildfires are changing in nature and frequency due to changes imposed on ecosystems by humans.

Program Standards: NGSS-5-LS2-1 NGSS-MS-LS2-3 NGSS-HS-LS2-6

Environmental Issue: Wildfire & Forest Management

Students will learn about fire ecology and forest management. Students will understand the impacts, both negative and positive, of fire on the landscape. Through a place-based approach, students will examine the history of wildfire management in both Colorado and the United States and how it affects the current methods of management. This program teaches students to think critically through the lens of science to understand the social and environmental complexities of wildfire and forest management.

Program Standards: NGSS-MS-LS2-5 NGSS-HS-ESS3-3 NGSS-HS-LS2-7