Working with teachers

The Red Hills region of Southwest Georgia and North Florida is part of a biodiversity hotspot, home to a significant portion of the native longleaf pine forests remaining in the United States, and the birthplace of fire ecology. As part of our long-term strategy to build public support for our conservation mission, we are working with teachers to continue to increase educational opportunities that help students understand that they live in a special place worth protecting.
We started in 2016 with our first “Red Hills Ecology 101” field day for educators to share information about the Red Hills and research Tall Timbers conducts. The field day was well received. However, teacher feedback noted the large obstacle of taking new content into the classroom without a more cohesive plan for engaging students and aligning the content with teaching standards. Thanks to a generous grant from the Archibald Foundation, we were able to hire two teachers for a short period over summer 2017 to develop more formalized lesson plans, now available on this site.

Lesson Plan: Red Hills Food Web

This 1-2 class period lesson includes a food web activity using local species and is intended as a straightforward substitute for textbook food webs. The idea is to help engage students by highlighting the interesting species in our region. They learn what they need to about food webs and explore local ecology.
Opening Video
Play this video slideshow on a large screen in the classroom as students arrive for class to engage them and get them talking about the species they see.
Student Worksheet
2-page worksheet provides students with all of the information for the food web activity and the analysis questions.
Teacher Guide
Provides implementation notes, extension and discussion ideas, assessment items, standards alignment, and a completed version of the student worksheet.

Lesson Plan: Fire Frequency & Biodiversity

This 2-3 class period lesson includes a Claim, Evidence, Reasoning (CER) activity that allows students to explore the relationship between fire and biodiversity in the longleaf pine ecosystem.
Opening Video
6-minute video provides students an introduction to the history of the Red Hills and the role of fire in the longleaf pine ecosystem.
Student Worksheet
2-page worksheet provides the activity description, background information, and data to use in the activity.
Student Activity
Single 8.5 x 14 activity sheet provides organization for writing down answers during the Claim, Evidence, Reasoning activity.
Habitat Images

Short video provides large format color images that can be displayed to supplement images on the student worksheet when not printed in color.

Species Cards
10 species cards and 2 topic cards are an engaging way for students to learn about local ecology and gather evidence to support their claim.
Teacher Guide
Provides implementation notes, extension and discussion ideas, standards alignment, completed version of the CER activity sheet, and a rubric for scoring the writing activity.

Additional Resources

Topic introduction videos

At about 7-minutes long, these videos can be used as background information or to help introduce the topics to students. The videos were produced as a cooperative project between the FSU Learning Systems Institute and Tall Timbers to help share research topics addressed at Tall Timbers with the education community.

Tree ring research and applications for land management
Introduction to prescribed fire and fire-dependent ecosystems.
How technology can be used to aid fire behavior research in fire-dependent ecosystems.
Sampling method for estimating the density of dead trees in a forest ecosystem