Fourth Grade Environmental Education Program

Fourth grade student records her observations during the Refuge Expedition/Photo Courtesy of Rollin Bannow

"It is enough to open minds; do not overload them. Put there just a spark. If there is some good flammable stuff, it will catch fire."

-Anatole France

  • Program Overview

    All fourth grade students in Pacific County learn vocabulary, wildlife facts and observation skills to become Refuge Explorers. Refuge staff and volunteers from Friends of Willapa NWR visit classrooms to teach hand's-on lessons about the National Wildlife Refuge System, refuge habitats, web of life and change. Each 1-hour lesson brings wildlife samples into the classroom, supports small group learning, and is aligned with academic standards. The program culminates in a field trip to the refuge.

    Watch a video about the education program.

    Review the Program's Key Concepts

  • Lesson 1 - Habitats

    Students get up close and personal with refuge plants during the Habitat Lesson/USFWS Photo

    Students gain understanding about the National Wildlife Refuge System and use “L.A.W.S.” to discover the refuge habitats in their backyard. This hand’s on exploration of how light, air, water and soil support local plant life creates a solid foundation for future lessons.

    Download lesson plan, fact sheets and student workbooks.

  • Lesson 2 - Web of Life

    Students make connections between refuge plants and animals during the Web of Life Lesson/USFWS Photo

    Students continue to hone their observation and critical thinking skills as they are challenged to uncover how everything is connected in the web of life. Students explore the role of generalists and specialists at the refuge and how they can use what have been “left behind” as an identification tool.

    Download lesson plan, fact sheets and student workbooks.

  • Lesson 3 - Change

    Student examines tree rings to test an inference during Lesson 4 of the refuge education program/USFWS Photo

    In the final stage of their “Refuge Explorer” training, students determine how local plants and animals respond to environmental change through the use of facts, inference and experiments. Students learn about threatened and endangered species and the refuge’s efforts to help them. At the end of this lesson, students are given an official request to undertake an expedition to the refuge for the purpose of scientific observations and discovery.

    Download lesson plan, fact sheets and student workbooks.

  • Refuge Expedition

    Student explores the mudflats of Willapa Bay during the Refuge Expedition/Photo Courtesy of Rollin Bannow

    Students apply facts, inference and experimentation to explore refuge habitat, using their senses and recording observations. Near the end of the field trip, students share their “findings” with refuge staff and are reminded that everyone is responsible for the well-being of wildlife at National Wildlife Refuges.

    Download lesson plan and supplemental materials.

  • Volunteer

    A refuge volunteer shares his passion for wildlife during a classroom visit as part of Willapa NWRs Environmental Education Program/USFWS Photo

    Share your love of nature with children. Learn, explore and give back as a refuge environmental education volunteer. Explore specific ways you can contribute…