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America's Wildlife:Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

An educational curriculum based on the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation


New Informal Activities!

Due to numerous requests from our partners and to help commemorate 75 years of Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration programs , we have just released a collection of new activities that teach important wildlife conservation concepts in an informal setting. These three stand-alone activities are perfect for zoos, museums, summer camps and so many more non-traditional academic environments. They can even be used as extension activities for the regular classroom unit. Click on 'Download this Unit' located at the bottom of the page to access these new resources.

Curriculum Overview

The struggle to preserve America's wildlife is an amazing tale of national and natural history. It is a story of what we can accomplish when we work together toward a common goal. This curriculum will help you bring this story to your students.

The curriculum is intended for high school science and social studies classrooms. It consists of five interactive lessons set to state and national standards.

Lesson Summaries

  • Lesson 1 - Students view an introductory PowerPoint presentation which provides a historical overview of the near
    decimation of wildlife in the United States from the settling of our continent up to the early 20th century – “the darkest hour.”
  • Lesson 2 - Students view the second part of the PowerPoint which provides an overview of the conservation movement as it moves from wildlife's "darkest hour" to the model of wildlife conservation we recognize today.
  • Lesson 3 - Students review major historical events and develop a timeline to analyze their influence on the conservation movement.
  • Lesson 4 - Students research selected individuals who championed conservation in North America and develop a presentation.
  • Lesson 5 - Students examine contemporary wildlife issues and consider the future of wildlife conservation in the United States in general and specifically in their state.

Suggested Grade Levels

High School Science and Social Studies classrooms

Time Frame

14-19 days (45 minutes each day)

Essential Questions

These are just some of the questions that students will explore and understand over the course of this unit:

  • What resources appear to be endless today and how do we use and regulate those resources?
  • Who owns wildlife and what responsibilities come with that ownership?
  • How does our understanding of wildlife science influence wildlife management and wildlife law?
  • How are wildlife management and conservation funded and what would happen to wildlife if those funds were lost?
  • What specific actions by various U.S. citizens shaped wildlife conservation?
  • How did human attitudes toward natural resources evolve from exploitation to stewardship?
  • In what ways can individuals take action to affect positive change?
  • What are some conservation challenges that wildlife face today? What are possible solutions to today’s wildlife conservation issues?

Arizona Department of Education Standards

Although each lesson includes the specific performance objectives addressed, the following strands are covered:

Subject Strand Lessons
1 2 3 4 5
Science 1          
2 x   x x  
3 x x x   x
4 x x x   x
Social Studies 1 x x x   x
3   x   x  
4 x x     x

Download This Unit



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