Ecology/Conservation
Protecting the Earth for future generations takes first learning about our planet, the environment, and how the ecosystem works. Get ecology teaching tips, project ideas, and more.
Things to See & Do in Oregon
Crater Lake National Park
Crater Lake is widely known for its intense blue color and spectacular views. During summer, visitors may navigate the Rim Drive around the lake, enjoy boat tours on the lake surface, stay in the historic Crater Lake Lodge, camp at Mazama Village, or hike some of the park's various trails including Mt. Scott at 8,929 ft. Diverse interpretive programs enhance visitors' knowledge and appreciation of this national park, 90% of which is managed as wilderness. The winter brings some of the heaviest snowfall in the country, averaging 533 inches per year. Although park facilities mostly close for this snowy season, visitors may view the lake during fair weather, enjoy cross-country skiing, and participate in weekend snowshoe hikes.
Oregon Coast Aquarium
Located in Newport, the Oregon Coast Aquarium is one of the largest in the country. The Oregon Coast Aquarium exhibits coastal dwellers from the well known to the virtually unknown; in all, nearly 200 species of marine mammals, birds, fish and invertebrates. Encounter sharks, rays, and other denizens of the deep as you immerse yourself in Passages of the Deep, the Aquarium’s 200-foot clear underwater tunnel that snakes through three ocean habitats. With large viewing windows built into the floor, you’ll enjoy nearly 360-degree views of wolf eels, rockfishes, giant octopuses, bat rays and a variety of sharks.
Oregon Zoo
The Oregon Zoo in Portland is a 64 acre park with about 1,029 specimens representing 200 species of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates. Of these, 21 species are endangered and 33 are threatened. The zoo's botanical garden has more than 1,000 species of exotic plants, including Firebird Heliconia, Pelican Flower, Ground Orchid.
California National Historic Trail
The California Trail carried over 250,000 gold-seekers and farmers to the gold fields and rich farmlands of California during the 1840's and 1850's, the greatest mass migration in American history. Today, more than 1,000 miles of trail ruts and traces can still be seen in the vast undeveloped lands between Casper Wyoming and the West Coast, reminders of the sacrifices, struggles, and triumphs of early American travelers and settlers. More than 240 historic sites along the trail will eventually be available for public use and interpretation. The trail passes through the states of Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Oregon, and California.
Wildlife Safari
Wildlife Safari, the only drive-thru wild animal park in the Pacific Northwest, is located in Winston. Exotic animals roam freely over 600 acres of grasslands and wooded areas, much as they would in their native habitat, while you the visitor are on safari in your own car. Animals include lions, giraffes, rhinos, and many more.
John Day Fossil Beds National Monument
Within the heavily eroded volcanic deposits of the scenic John Day River basin is a well-preserved fossil record of plants and animals. This remarkably complete record, spanning more than 40 of the 65 million years of the Cenozoic Era (the "Age of Mammals and Flowering Plants") is world-renowned. Located near Kimberly, Oregon.
Fort Clatsop National Memorial
This site commemorates the 1805-06 winter encampment of the 33-member Lewis and Clark Expedition. A 1955 community-built replica of the explorers' 50'x50' Fort Clatsop is the focus of the park. The fort, historic canoe landing, and spring are nestled in the coastal forests and wetlands of the Coast Range as it merges with the Columbia River Estuary. The park is located approximately 5 miles south of Astoria, Oregon.
Oregon Caves National Monument
Oregon Caves National Monument is small in size, 480 acres, but rich in diversity. Above ground, the monument encompasses a remnant old-growth coniferous forest. It harbors a fantastic array of plants, and a Douglas-fir tree with the widest known girth in Oregon. Three hiking trails access this forest. Below ground is an active marble cave created by natural forces over hundreds of thousands of years in one of the world's most diverse geologic realms. The park service provides cave tours for a fee. Located near Caves Junction, Oregon.
Activities & Experiments
Arbor Day National Poster Contest
Join over 74,000 fifth grade classrooms and home schools across America in the Arbor Day National Poster Contest. The theme chosen will increase your students’ knowledge of how trees produce and conserve energy. The free Activity Guide includes activities to use with fifth grade students to teach the importance of trees in producing and conserving energy. These activities correlate with National Science and Social Study Standards. The Guide also includes all of the information you need for poster contest participation.
How I Teach a Large Family in a Relaxed, Classical Way: Science
Family style learning is a great way to tackle lots of different subjects, including science.
Handbook of Nature Study
Based on Charlotte Mason's method of education, this website offers ideas and resources for incorporation nature study into your homeschool.
ExploraVision
ExploraVision is a competition for all students in grades K-12 attending a school in the U.S., Canada, U.S. Territory or a Department of Defense school. Homeschooled students are eligible to enter. It is designed to encourage students to combine their imagination with their knowledge of science and technology to explore visions of the future. Teams of students select a technology, research how it works and why it was invented, and then project how that technology may change in the future. They must then identify what breakthroughs are required for their vision to become a reality and describe the positive and negative consequences of their technology on society. Winning ideas have focused on things as simple as ballpoint pens and as complex as satellite communications. The student teams write a paper and draw a series of Web page graphics to describe their idea. Regional winners make a Web site and a prototype of their future vision.
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Featured Resources

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Field Trips: Bug Hunting, Animal Tracking, Bird-watching, Shore Walking
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