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New 'Tending Nature' Curriculum Provides Science Resources for Middle School Students

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Produced in partnership between The Autry Museum of the American West and PBS SoCal | KCET, the Tending Nature Curriculum Project features interdisciplinary resources for middle school grades. The resources are designed as both stand-alone individual lessons or a lesson series with a step-by-step teacher guide and teaching tips. This science curriculum is aligned with Next Generation Science Standards for Life or Environmental Sciences. Explore the Tending Nature Collection on PBS’ free curriculum site, PBS LearningMedia.

Featuring clips from the “Restoring the River” Episode, which follows the Yurok, Karuk, and Hupa people of the Klamath River Basin in Northern California, the resources explore the ecosystems of the Klamath River Basin, the problems caused by an unhealthy river system, and the collaborative efforts by tribes, government agencies, and non-profit groups to solve the problem by restoring the river. The curriculum was developed in consultation with the Yurok and Karuk Tribes as well as government agencies and non-profit organizations.

Lesson 1 – The River, Salmon and the People
The first lesson asks how place and people are connected in an environment. Students will learn about Place—the Klamath River Basin and what organisms the river supports—and People—the tribes who inhabit the area. They will preview how problems in a place impact all aspects of an environment and explore how nature—the Klamath and Trinity Rivers and salmon tends to the people and how the people—the local Yurok, Karuk and other tribes—tend to nature.

Lesson 2 – Klamath River Basin Ecosystem
Students will learn about the Klamath River Basin ecosystem, the interaction of living and non-living organisms in the ecosystem and how the impact on one organism—salmon—affects the entire ecosystem(s).

Lesson 3 – Symbiotic Relationships
What is the symbiotic relationship between local tribes, the river, and the salmon? Students will learn about the cultural and ecological relationships between the river, salmon, and local tribes using tribal voices and art.

Lesson 4 – Problem: An Unhealthy River
This lesson dives into the health of the Klamath River and its tributaries, how the river's health impacts salmon and the rest of the ecosystem, including human life. Students will learn about the healthy flow of a river, the lifecycle of salmon, and identify the problems and causes in the Klamath River Basin that impact the rivers, salmon, and the entire ecosystem.

Lesson 5 – Restoring the River Solutions: Collaboration
This lesson explores how collaborative solutions are addressing problems for the river, salmon and the rest of the ecosystem, including humans. Students will review the problems on the Trinity and Klamath River and learn about the solutions being implemented on both rivers to address river problems, salmon problems and the problems for tribal groups.

Tending Nature still from Humboldt County

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