‘Theme-based’ workshop materials

Off to see the beaver with Discovery’s first Director Cinda Stanek (lower left). Animal sign field trip at Asx‘ée, twisted tree (Eagle River) Harborview Elementary overnight at Methodist Camp, May, 1990.

In the early 1990s, Discovery received federal funding to offer teacher workshops locally and throughout northern-&-central Lingít Aaní. Most were ‘site-based,’ bedrock-to-beavers geography classes, focused on immediate, ‘walkable’ surroundings of each school. But we also offered classes on 5 subjects or ‘themes’ important to Nature Studies—Discovery’s core program for grades 3 through 5..

Nature Studies is still (2021) offered throughout the school year in all CBJ elementary schools, and our programs still focus on seasonally appropriate topics. Autumn, as plants senesce, is a great time to think about seed distribution. Winter is the best season for animal tracking. And in Spring, we welcome back our migratory birds. The other two subjects listed below—natural communities and landforms—are less time-sensitive and can be offered in any season.

Obviously, with over 3 decades experience in nature education since these workshops and materials were first developed, Discovery and partners (Naturebob and Lentfer’s site, for example) now have vastly more resources that teachers can apply to creation of personalized introductory or summary programs complementing their field activities devoted to these themes. We encourage you to pick and choose from the rich array of slides, supporting information, and videos.

But it’s worth harking back to these well-rooted beginnings as you roll out nature programs for today’s youth. Yes, we Discovery naturalists were greenhorns in the early ’90s.’ But we stood, already, on shoulders of the great Southeast observers: Dan Bishop. Greg Streveler. Jim and Mary Lou King. Nancy and Lou Barr. Building outward from these now-historic slideshows, you join a tradition of teacher-scouts, who share the joy of paying attention.

Slideshows summarizing our 5 ‘thematic workshops:


natural communities




In this section

Bones & tracks

Everything is a track (especially a bone) For a recent Discovery staff session—one of those sideways-rainy days when you still…

Mammals of Lingít Aaní

Resources from Discovery’s early days In winter 2021-22, we’re pulling together materials for our Nature Studies naturalists, for units on…

2022 | Richard Carstensen | 23 pages

Nature near the schools: Birds

Powerpoint & script for spring Nature Studies Rainforest is not the first place a birder gravitates to. In breeding season,…

1990 | Richard Carstensen | powerpoint & presenter's script

Nature near the schools: Landforms

Powerpoint & script for Discovery Nature Studies I didn’t come to geology by natural inclination. I was gently nudged by…

1990 | Richard Carstensen | powerpoint & script

Nature near the schools: Natural communities

Powerpoint & script for Discovery Nature Studies One of my educational mentors, a charismatic high school teacher, when hearing of…

1990 | Richard Carstensen | powerpoint & script

Nature near the schools: Tracking

Powerpoint & script for winter Nature Studies Discovery’s winter unit on tracking and sign interpretation (largely on mammals but also…

1990 | Richard Carstensen | powerpoint & script

Nature near the schools: Seeds

Powerpoint and script for fall Nature Studies When I started the Nature Studies program at Harborview Elementary in the late…

1990 | Richard Carstensen | powerpoint & script