We have been proud to work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and over 50 partners from around the West to create resources which help teachers get students thinking critically about the sagebrush ecosystem and ways to protect the diverse species that live there. Ten lesson plans were developed in collaboration with a broad range of partners including federal and state agencies, classroom educators, nonprofit organizations, and ranchers. The lessons and supporting resources have been reviewed by dozens of partners, and the excellent feedback has been incorporated into the revised curriculum.
The FREE resources include:
- Inquiry, Exploration, and Service Learning in the Sagebrush Ecosystem curriculum with 10 lesson plans aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core State Standards
- Sagebrush Ecosystem Trunks created by Audubon Rockies with support from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM); contain hands-on resources including skulls, activities, and books
- Recorded webinars
- “Sagebrush Ecosystems” poster
- Multimedia presentations to support the lessons
- Student-size poster (8.5×11″ version of “Sagebrush Ecosystems”)
Click here for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service sagebrush education resources produced by Rick Reynolds and Engaging Every Student in partnership with over 50 partners from around the West, including Audubon Rockies, BLM, the Nature Conservancy, the Idaho Rangeland Resource Commission, and the states. Research has shown the many benefits of getting students outside to connect with nature, so optional field experiences and service learning opportunities are available.
More Free Sagebrush Education Resources
- FireWorks Curriculum Featuring the Sagebrush Ecosystem
- Wildlife Skull Activities from the University of Arizona Ext.
Skulls of a variety of organisms from the sagebrush ecosystem including pronghorn, coyotes, and ravens are included in the Sagebrush Ecosystem Trunks. The excellent critical thinking activities in this booklet help students better understand concepts such as the adaptations that are observable in the skulls of herbivores, predators, and omnivores.
- Shrub-Steppe Species Cards (S3) by Wenatchee Naturalist
- Greater Sage-grouse Mask Activity created by Rick Reynolds
- “The Sagebrush Steppe” poster from Audubon Rockies
- Conserve our Western Roots poster and postcard from the Sage Grouse Initiative
- The new Healthy Sagebrush Communities poster from the Sage Grouse Initiative; also available as a multimedia story. Learn more about the poster or download the high resolution version.
- The new FireWorks Encyclopedia: Sagebrush Steppe Ecosystem Field Guide from the BLM contains 40 engaging articles written from the points of view of interesting organisms from the sagebrush steppe. They include information about how the organisms are able to survive and raise young in the arid, often harsh environment, as well as how they respond to and adapt to fire. We were happy to edit the articles and see them as an excellent addition to the curriculum to integrate enjoyable nonfiction reading selections and additional sources for student research projects.
- Habitat Cards from Audubon Rockies
These can be used in a variety of activities explained in the curriculum, such as in the creation of food web diagrams and a whole class food web activity. They can also be used simply as fun flashcards to help students better understand the organisms from the sagebrush steppe and a variety of other ecosystems, in memory games, etc.
- Sagebrush Steppe Cards from BLM
A beautiful set of cards showing organisms from the ecosystem which also includes fire information. The cards can also be found in the new “Sammy’s Quest to Save the West” activity book listed below.
- More Lesson Plans / Activities
- From Salmonberry to Sagebrush. Institute for Applied Ecology. Download the complete 300+ page book here:
- Idaho Rangeland Resource Commission (IRCC) lessons & activities
- Invasives: Plants on the Move. Oregon Natural Resources Education Program (ONREP)
- Nature Journaling, BirdSleuth, Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Contains more great ideas for journals, including creating sound maps
- Noxious Weed Education. Montana Dept. of Agriculture
- “Plant Immigrants.” Invasive species lesson from Earth Partnership for Schools
- “Return of the Natives.” Excellent lesson plans on invasive / native plants and more
- “Sage Grouse: Adaptations & Habitat.” Klamath Bird Observatory.
- “Exploring Wildland Fire Educator’s Guide.” BLM
- Earth Partnership for Schools’ process and lesson plans for schools doing ecosystem restoration from Litzsinger Road Ecology Center
- “Fire In-Depth.” National Park Service
- “Fire Wars.” Classroom activities from NOVA
Sagebrush Ecosystem Educational Videos / Films
- Sage-Grouse and the Sagebrush Ecosystem
- “On a Sage-Grouse Lek” (1 minute), The Cornell Lab of Ornithology Bird Academy
- “Lek Cam” (live during lekking season, approximately March to May, 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. Pacific time), U.S. FWS and the Nature Conservancy
- The Sagebrush Sea (53 minutes), Nature, PBS & Cornell Lab of Ornithology
- Short clips from the film on PBS LearningMedia
- The Sagebrush Sea: Behind the Scenes at a Sage-Grouse Display Lek (4:42)
- The Sagebrush Sea: Food Web. Simple online activity to support the film
- “Sage Advice for Sage Lands” (5 minutes), This American Land
- “Sage Grouse” (11 minutes), Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB), Oregon Field Guide
- “Body-popping sage grouse – Nature’s Greatest Dancers” (2:37), BBC
- Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Sage Grouse video library
- Restoring Native Plants video (5:47) and teacher’s guide from This American Land
- Thunder Feathers Sage Grouse (7 minutes), part of the great exhibit from AT Lander Arts & Sciences in Wyoming
(ATLAS) and The Nature Conservancy
- Sage Grouse Biology & Ecology webinar (55 minutes), Sage Grouse Initiative
- School Programs: Learning about Sage-Grouse
- “Sage Grouse In The Schools – Emmett, Idaho” (3:34)
- Thunder Feathers plaster sage-grouse project (1:16), AT Lander Arts & Sciences
(ATLAS) in Wyoming and The Nature Conservancy
- “Borah High kids learn about sage grouse in Owyhee County” (5 min.), Life on the Range
- Ranchers and Others Working to Protect Wildlife
- Jared Brackett – Ranching in a Fish Bowl in Idaho, Sage Grouse Initiative (6:30)
- Operation Sage-Grouse: NWF Connects Youth and Conservation, National Wildlife Federation
- The Sage Grouse Initiative Story (6:46), Sage Grouse Initiative (6:30)
- Saving Sage Grouse: The Wyoming Example (6:44), Sage Grouse Initiative
- Inmates Plant Sagebrush, Institute for Applied Ecology
- SageSHARE Partnership, The Nature Conservancy
- Sagebrush Ecosystem Community (diverse native plants, etc.)
- “Unraveling Sagebrush Community Change to Manage for Resilient Sage Grouse Habitats” (23 minutes), The Sage Grouse Initiative and the Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center
- “Utah Sheep Improve Sage Grouse Habitat” (4:40). UtahAgriculture
- Wildfire in Sagebrush Ecosystems
- “The Sagebrush Community” (1:52). Idaho Fire Info.
- National Interagency Fire Center videos related to fire and sage-grouse:
- “Help This Habitat” (30 seconds)
- “Wildfires and Sage-grouse” (1:03)
- “Standing Up for Sage-grouse” (2:29)
- “Ripples” (1:32)
- “Ranchers hit hard by wildfires; How can we avoid them in the future?” (13:38). Life on the Range
- “Creating Fire Adapted Communities: A Case Study from Colorado Springs and the Waldo Canyon Fire” (12:10). National Fire Protection Association
- “Colorado Wildfire Destroys 1 Million Acres” (2 minute news coverage)
- “Mountain Home ranchers form Rangeland Fire Protection Association” (6:05). Life on the Range
- “Restoring the Land after the Pony and Elk Wildfires in Idaho” (13:33). Life on the Range
Sagebrush Ecosystem Story & Activity Books for Kids
- Sammy’s Quest to Save the West from BLM Idaho
Kids follow Sammy through a story and activities in the Junior Ranger Series that explain how sage-grouse like him and some of the other 350 species in sagebrush lands meet challenges to their survival. Along the way they learn about ways to protect the various species, including helping to protect their lands from wildfires. Mixed-media collages by Antonia Hedrick are a wonderful addition to the book.
- Rockie’s Sagebrush Adventures from Audubon Rockies
Children learn about the sagebrush steppe through the beautifully illustrated adventures of 3 wildlife characters as they learn about the ecosystem and how each of them survives in their habitat.
- Explore Sagebrush Prairie KIDs Activity Booklet from the Project WET Foundation
- Sally Sage-Grouse Explores Idaho Junior Explorer booklet for students in grades 4-6 (and younger) from BLM Idaho
- Seriously Sage-Grouse activity book for elementary students from the Sage-Grouse Initiative
- Native Plants Junior Explorer. BLM
Nonfiction Books, Online Guides, Articles and Apps for All Ages
- Greater Sage-Grouse Field Indicator Guide, Montana Resources Conservation Service
- Backpack Guide to Idaho Range Plants. The University of Idaho Rangeland Center and the Idaho Rangeland Resource Commission
- Pocket Guide to Sagebrush. PRBO Conservation Science
- The Pocket Guide to Sagebrush Birds. Printed guides available from Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory and PRBO Conservation Science
- Plants database. USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
- Montana Sagebrush Guide. Montana Dept. of Fish, Wildlife & Parks (black & white)
- “Cattle Ranchers Join Conservationists To Save Endangered Species And Rangelands”. Forbes
- Sage Grouse Volunteers Lend a Hand on Bequette Ranch. Montana U.S. Dept. of Agriculture
Meet Educational Standards
All of the sagebrush ecosystem lesson plans were aligned to the:
iNaturalist is a wonderful online tool/app to record observations, create field guides, and/or share them with the world!