Wildlife Education and Outreach
The following programs have been developed to fit current state standards and help educators incorporate Michigan's wildlife into the classroom!
Go Wild for Michigan's Wildlife Curriculum (Kindergarten through 5th grades)
Share the wonders of Michigan's wild inhabitants with young learners to build appreciation for these unique critters and the places they call home with these lessons and materials for your classroom. Materials include four lesson plans, wildlife posters for the classroom, and sets of Go Wild for Michigan's Wildlife Critter Cards for students. (Note: sets of the Critter Cards for students are limited and will be distributed on a first come, first serve basis.)
Program information, including electronic copies of the Teacher Guide and Critter Cards, is provided via email to eligible teachers who register.
This program is free of charge and open to K - 5th grade educators in Michigan. Please register by September 30.
Michigan’s Wondrous Wetlands and Waterfowl Curriculum (6th, 7th and 8th grades)
Michigan’s Wondrous Wetlands and Waterfowl was developed for 6th, 7th and 8th grade students and will give students and teachers an appreciation and knowledge of the vital importance of our local wetland ecosystems.
In six lessons, students will expand their knowledge of Michigan’s waterfowl species, waterfowl biology and life cycles, and wetland and waterfowl management and history in Michigan. Students and teachers are encouraged to explore a local wetland, if possible, as part of this learning experience! If a field trip is not practical, a virtual field trip experience is included in the curriculum.
May is American Wetlands Month – prepare your students for this great celebration by teaching them all about Michigan’s Wondrous Wetlands and Waterfowl this spring!
Educators are asked to register for this classroom program by March 30. Materials will be provided via email to eligible educators.
A Year in the Life of a Michigan Black Bear Curriculum (6th, 7th and 8th grades)
Educators, are you looking for a fun way to integrate Michigan's unique flora and fauna into your curriculum while still meeting the educational standards required? You and your class have an opportunity to begin an adventure that will allow you to experience A Year in the Life of a Michigan Black Bear!
Throughout the school year, students will learn about the life cycle of the Michigan black bear, general black bear biology and behavior, as well as how the DNR manages and maintains a healthy black bear population. You and your students also have the opportunity to track movements of a Michigan black bear throughout the school year!
An Educator Guide with seven lessons, including activities, maps, and videos, are emailed to eligible teachers who register.
This program is free of charge and open to all interested 6th, 7th and 8th grade educators in Michigan! Please register by September 30th.
Year in the Life of a Bear Contest
Once your classroom participates in A Year in the Life of a Michigan Black Bear program, it will be eligible to participate in the Year in the Life of a Bear Contest. Classes will use what they have learned about bears to interpret or tell the story of a year in the life of a Michigan black bear. Classes can retell the actual journey of the bear they followed or get creative and use the information they've learned over the year to interpret a typical bear's activities throughout a year. The contest winners will be awarded prizes for their classroom! Prizes are provided by the Michigan Bear Hunters Association (MBHA) and the Michigan DNR. The top 3 presentations will be featured on the DNR website and the class will be awarded a certificate of recognition!
Elk University Curriculum (9th through 12th grades)
The elk success story in Michigan is truly special and unique. Elk University - Educating Tomorrow's Wildlife Managers, designed to fit into your busy semester while meeting educational standards and touching on Michigan history, forest management, elk biology, wildlife disease, and social considerations for wildlife management. Students will learn about how the DNR manages and maintains a healthy elk herd for current and future generations.
Registered 9th-12th grade educators will receive an electronic Educator Guide, with activities and videos, sent to their email.
This program is free of charge and open to all interested 9th-12th grade educators in Michigan. Please register by September 30th for the Fall Semester and January 30th for the Spring Semester!
More Wildlife Resources for Teachers
- Celebrate Bats in your Classroom
- Black bear lesson plans, adapted from the Project Wild Curriculum:
- External Wolf Education Resources:
- The International Wolf Center, located in Ely, MN, has a variety of wolf related teaching tools available. Visit their educator resource page for live video conferencing, kits, curriculums and data sets for tracking wild wolves!
- BirdSleuth K - 12 - education resources from Cornell Lab of Ornithology
- Monarchs in Michigan
- Invasive Species
- Michigan Natural Features Inventory has information on Michigan's rare plants and animals as well as other great information!
- Information and resources for creating wildlife habitat.
- Citizen Science Projects
- DNR Videos
- BioKIDS is an online resource for field guides, species profiles, downloadable curriculums and resources on animals and biodiversity for kids and teachers!
- More DNR education and outreach opportunities.
For questions about our materials, please email: DNR-Wildlife@michigan.gov