Teaching and education resources for K-12

Learning about these special open landscapes called rangelands can be as amazing as learning about rainforests and oceans: like these vast systems, rangealands are also essential to global biodiversity and the delicate balance of life on earth.

Rangelands are unique because they are generally dry ecosystems, so they are best described as the world's hot and cold places where the vegetation is dominated by grasses, forbs, mosses and lichens, cactuses, shrubs and sparse trees. A closer look at rangeland landscapes reveals that they are home to many of the world's most interesting plants, along with a host of mammals, birds, amphibians, and insects, with abundant fishes in adjacent waters.

So many aspects of our everyday life can be traced back to rangeland landscapes, from the clean water we drink, the food we eat and clothes we wear that are sourced from livestock, to the open spaces we enjoy through outdoor activities, to the energy resources and mineral-sourced products we consume. Families and communities across the globe are sustained by working these natural landscapes through careful stewardship of livestock. 

The following resources were compiled by partnership member institutions (North American) and this is by no means an exhaustive list. They have been carefully selected for high-quality content that draws upon the many aspects of the principles of rangeland ecology, such as native plants, soil resources, ecoregions, watershed function, wildlife habitat, and disturbances such as fire, invasive plants, grazing, mining, energy development and climate change. Many function as stand-alone sources, but we encourage educators to pair these ecology concepts along with broader management concepts related to the tools available to improve and sustain rangelands through the use of prescribed fire, managed grazing, weed control methods, and restoration practices.

North American Teaching Resources

Western Rangeland Teacher Resource Guide

Region: Western U.S. and Canada
Grade level: 9-12

Developed by the University of Idaho and the Idaho Rangeland Resource Commission, this guide is targeted at grades 9-12 and contains lecture materials, student note guides, readings, and indoor and field lab activities. It's an excellent grab-bag of resources that you can tailor to meet your needs. The University of Idaho also offers a dual-enrollment Rangeland Principles course using similar materials.

EBIPM High School Curriculum

Region: Western U.S. and Canada
Grade level: 9-12

EBIPM, or ecologically-based invasive plant management, is a USDA-Agricultural Research Services program focused on strategies to restore rangelands that have been invaded by annual grasses and protect them from future degradation. This guide is designed to highlight challenges facing Great Basin rangelands and demonstrate some of the scientific fields of study related to rangleland ecology and invasive plant management. Includes videos and discussion ideas, case studies, activities, readings, and pre- and post-tests.

Sagebrush Ecosystem Curriculum

Region: Western U.S. and Canada
Grade level: 4-8+

Created in cooperation with the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, this teacher resource guide includes lesson plans that aim to engage students in thinking critically about sagebrush steppe ecosystems, from the diversity of stakeholders to wildlife, such as sage-grouse, who inhabit these rangelands. The curriculum ties lessons and activities to the Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core State Standards.

Resources by State/Province or Entity

Alberta Grasslands - A World at Your Feet

BLM Teaching Resources

Hands on the Land Educator Resources

Idaho Rangeland Resources Commission - Lessons and Activities

Montana Rangelands, Getting to Know the Pieces

National Association of Conservaiton Districts - Stewardship Program

National Wildlife Federation - Lesson Plans

Oregon Native Plant Curriculum: From Salmonberry to Sagebrush: Exploring Oregon's Native Plants

Sage-Grouse Initiative - Conserve Our Western Roots

Texas – Welder Wildlife Foundation - Rangelands Curriculum