Lesson Plan Feature: Extend Learning from NATURE’s feature on Alaskan bears

Nature’s Fortress of the Bears, airing Wednesday, January 25, at 8pm on WGBY, takes its audience to Alaska to learn how the largest concentration of bears in the world is sustained by a wealth of salmon streams.  The survival of 1,700 brown bears can be an engaging way for students to see nature’s role in the circle of life.

Nature’s website provides Fortress of the Brown Bearsintroduction, the video excerpts Inside the Fortress, A Heroic Return, and A Desperate Mothera map of Tonglass National Forest and additional resources. Browsing the site by animal, you’ll find more on bears from programs such as The Good, The Bad, and the Grizzly, including the following lessons that can be used in conjunction with or independent of Nature episodes/video excerpts:

Dare to Care for a Grizzly Bear (Grades 9-12):  Students discover how human beings have both saved and harmed a species.  By lesson’s end, students are able to articulate the complex and competing perspectives on how to best handle the burgeoning bear population and to describe the multiple factors contributing to the bear’s Yellowstone ecosystem destabilization.

Grizzlies Back from the Brink (Grades 6-8):   Students study the grizzly’s history, its decline in population, and the extraordinary effort made to bring the grizzly back from near extinction.  A variety of websites allow students to gather information about grizzlies and to understand the growing controversy surrounding their prevalence in the American West.

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