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Home > Education > Habitat Education Activities and Resources

Middle School Native Plant Habitat Restoration Education Activities

With a focus on our Pacific Northwest native ecosystems, these hands-on lessons readily complement science-based activities such as the creation of a native plant habitat garden. The curriculum, coupled with the development of a habitat garden, provides for powerful learning and restores valuable habitat for native plants and wildlife. Guidelines for creating a habitat garden may be found at Middle School Native Plant Habitat Garden Restoration Project.

Suggested seasonal timing for teaching the activities (PDF)
Overview of teaching time and materials (PDF)

Native Plant ID Activities

Activities (PDF) Description
Ancient Knowledge Discuss ID skills historically and in our modern world; see samples of ethno-historic materials important to use today.
Native Plants & People Why are native plants important to people? How did people evolve with the plants? What is ethnobotany?
Gaining Knowledge What is a native plant? Which plants are native or non-native? Are all non-native plants ‘bad’? How many native plants do you know? How many do I want to know by the end of this unit?
Plant Scramble Game Plant memorization game using samples of plant materials to correctly identify plants.
Plant Observation Skills Develop observation skills/terminology (a basic taxonomy activity).
Seasonal Native Plant ID Walk Use school grounds to learn key field characteristics for deciduous trees.
Leaf Rubbings and Taxonomy Make leaf rubbings and use observation skills to describe a leaf.
Native Plant Posters Create posters about specific native plants with information for ID, ecology, and wildlife habitat value.
Plot Plant Assessment Assess a plot in a natural area (at any stage of restoration) for existing plants.
Dead or Dormant Understand that not all plants die in winter, and gain knowledge about the difference between a dormant plant, a dead plant, and an herbaceous perennial.
Ethnobotany Survival Story Learn about historic uses for some of the plants studied in the project and then enact a ‘story’ finding key plants for their survival.

Native Plant Communities

Activities (PDF) Description
Ecosystems of Washington the Rain Shadow Examine the effects of weather patterns, make a drawing of rain shadow effect, discuss.
Plant Community Slide Show Watch an overview of plant communities in Washington, with an emphasis on plant communities of the Westside Lowland Forest.
Plant Community ID Walk Walk the school ground to identify plant community types using information learned from slide show.
Plant Community Herbarium Collection Collect portions of plants that show key field characteristics helpful for identification, press them for future use in identification, in ID booklets, for the plant community poster, and/or the ecosystem poster.
Plant Community Poster Use herbarium plants, color pictures and plant lists to create plant community posters based on key indicator plants.
Ecosystem Poster Use Plant Community poster and research the known wildlife for your region for this plant community type. Add pictures of these animals to the Wildlife Posters below.
Plant Community Design - Plant List Use Plant Community posters as a model to create a plant list needed to restore a particular plant community.

Wildlife Habitat

Activities (PDF) Description
Habitat Components Game What are the components of habitat? Identify components of habitat as represented by natural objects.
Wildlife Sign Learn to notice signs of wildlife.
Wildlife Assessment Visit a natural area and identify wildlife that is present.
What’s for Dinner How are plants important to all animals?
Wildlife Posters Select from a list of wildlife species in the region and create posters that show habitat, range, food sources and predators (food pyramid). Use the poster to create a plant list for habitat restoration beneficial to the specific wildlife species.
Wildlife Habitat Design Use templates to create a wildlife habitat garden for an imaginary site.
Create Wildlife Habitat Feature Create wildlife habitat by building a brush pile, water feature, feeding stations, etc. from designs included in the Starflower Garden Steward Manual, Gardening for Wildlife or other.
Extensions Monitor activities, continue wildlife assessments, create habitat features etc. Invite guest speakers, visit zoos, schedule Wild Wise presentations, etc.

Native Plant Propagation

Activities (PDF) Description
Native Plant Seed Propagation Discuss plant propagation and see some of the techniques used to grow native plants.
Seed Propagation Activity Learn how to grow native plants from seeds.
Native Plant Propagation Learn how to grow native plants from cuttings.
How to Plant a Native Plant What’s the best way to transplant propagated materials for nursery stock or field planting?
Laying Out for Native Plant Designs Use sample planting plans to create a final layout for planting the propagated materials.

Suggested seasonal timing for teaching the activities (PDF)
Overview of teaching time and materials (PDF)

Through the Washington Native Plant Society, these middle school educational activities are available for educational use without charge. All the materials listed were developed by the Starflower Foundation as it worked with middle school students through the Habitat Garden/ Restoration Project at the Environmental and Adventure School in the Lake Washington School District. The goal of the project and materials is to help people better understand and appreciate a Northwest native plant community and its value to wildlife and people.

The native plant education materials provided on this page were developed by Starflower Foundation.