Civically-Engaged Connected Learning

Save The Redwoods

Natural Resource Activism and Writing Through Studying Redwood Forest Conservation

Picture of redwood trees with the sun shining through.

Overview and Context

This lesson-originally designed for grades 4-8-takes place over four months (9 1-hour pre-trip lessons and 4 full days of field trips) in Humboldt County, California, where students spent a semester exploring redwoods and conservation through the Save the Redwoods League curriculum and Wolf Creek Educational Center Lessons.  This lesson also includes hands-on experience through an overnight trip to Wolf Creek and a day trip to Humboldt Redwoods State Park in Weott, California.  This lesson helps students engage in their local environment and spark and interest in conservation efforts.

Although this lesson and included resources focus on Northern California, this could be adapted for another local area such as another local state park.

Related California Standards

Education and the Environment Initiative Principles and Concepts

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  1. Understand conservation and its importance.
  2. Learn about the Save the Redwoods League and how to get involved.
  3. Work in and explore the various ecosystems of Humboldt County.
  4. Inspire kids to want to help preserve their local community


Student work to be assessed:

  1. Save the Redwoods League/Importance of Conservation Presentations
  2. Written Reflections from the Wolf Creek Educational Center lessons/SRL lessons
  3. Post-field trip reflections

Resources and Preparation


  1. Student Chromebooks
  2. Pencils/Student Observation Journals for HRSP field trip
  3. Printouts (see below)


  1. Coordinate with Wolf Creek Educational Center to book field trip
  2. Coordinate with SRL to book field trip to HRSP
  3. Attend a 4-hour SRL curriculum training
  4. Read through SRL and Wolf Creek Lessons, prepare and teach them

Step-by-Step Instructional Plan

March: Introduction to Save the Redwoods League 

  1. What is the Save the Redwoods League? What do they do/how?
  2. Students research different career paths involved in advocacy/conservation
  3. Students create presentations on importance of conservation

April: Wolf Creek Lessons and Field Trip 

  1. Wolf Creek Educational Center Pre-Trip Lessons/Prep (available once you schedule the overnight trip)
  2. Wolf Creek 3-day Trip
  3. Lessons on prairies, streams and redwoods led by park rangers

May: Lessons and Hands-on Practice 

  1. Save the Redwoods League Lessons – Elementary, Middle and HS lessons
  2. WebQuest – Intro to Redwood Ecology via SRL website
  3. Fern Data Collection Lab – measuring ferns/comparing data between seasons
  4. Redwood Forest Under a Microscope – scientific sketching
  5. Silent Sit

June: Field Trips and Reflection 

  1. Field Trip to HRSP in Weott
  2. Field Activities
  3. Post-field trip student survey


Picture of Humboldt Redwoods State Park consisting of many green trees enveloped in fog.


ELL/Below Grade Level

  1. Leveled student groups for lessons and field trips
  2. Graphic organizers
  3. Shortened written assignments
  4. Verbally share ideas as opposed to writing

Accelerated Learners

Extended writing prompts for pre-lessons

Next Steps

  1. Students can continue to explore SRL lessons, there are lots of resources for K-12!
  2. Additional projects/presentations on students’ favorite part of the field trip
  3. Connect students’ hands-on experiences with what they’ve learned in the pre-lessons

Related Resources

  1. Save the Redwoods League Curriculum  (A resource for Place-Based STEM Education in Humboldt County)
  2. Wolf Creek Educational Center (WCEC provides students with educational opportunities in Redwood National and State Parks)
  3. State Parks in the US  (other local state parks for adapted lessons)
This post is part of the Civic Engagement and Civic Journalism collection.