Pre-visit activities:

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Redwood Forest Biodiversity

The Redwood Forest is a special habitat that is home to many species. Biodiversity refers to all of the different plants, animals, and other organisms that live in an area. Each species plays an important role in keeping the forest ecosystem healthy.

The plants and animals that live in the Redwood Forest habitat interact in many different ways. Some plants and animals are food for the others, and some plants may help provide shelter for animals.

Draw lines between organisms that are connected to each other in this habitat. Can you find 10 different connections?
 (Hint: use what you know about producers, consumers, and decomposers!)

Click here to open and print the Redwood Forest Biodiversity activity

Click here to open and print the Redwood Forest Biodiversity activity

Click here to view the answers.Try to think of the possible food web connections before peeking at the answers!

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Decomposition Relay

Fungus, bacteria, and invertebrates are living decomposers that break down natural materials like banana peels and return nutrients to the environment. Materials like plastic are not broken down by decomposers. Instead, plastics are broken down into smaller and smaller pieces by the sun, wind, and waves, but they never completely go away.

Wildlife can be killed by getting entangled in plastic trash or eating trash. There are many ways we can keep wildlife safe from our waste, whether it's by reducing the amount of disposable plastic we use, or picking up trash outside.

Play this game to learn about what we can do everyday to help wildlife! This is a cooperative relay race where your whole team works to beat their own record and match trash with the time it takes for it to decompose.

Here's what you will need for this activity:

✅  Click here to open and print the trash cards and decomposition cards,

✅  Something to mark the start line (cone, rope, hula hoop, etc.),

✅  Timer,

✅  Safe outdoor space to run in,

✅  1-6 players.

Round 1

  • Cut out the trash cards and decomposition rate cards.

  • Spread out all of the decomposition cards on the ground about 100 feet from the start line (or at the other end of the outdoor area). 

  • Players form a line behind the start line. Each player gets 1 trash card to hold, and thinks about how long it might take for that type of trash to decompose in the environment.

  • Start the timer when the first player runs from the start line to the decomposition cards. The player puts their trash card next to a possible matching decomposition card, and then runs back to the start line. The player goes to the back of the line and gets a new trash card. 

  • Then it’s the next player’s turn to run and try to find a match for their card.

  • Stop the timer when all the trash cards have been placed by the decomposition cards and the last player returns to the start line. Write down your team’s time so that you can try to break your record in the next round!

  • All the players gather around the cards on the ground and compare their guesses to the answers. Questions to discuss as a team: Were any of the decomposition times surprising? Why might some materials take longer than others to decompose? How do you feel about this information? What are ways that we can use less disposable plastic and reduce the amount of trash in the environment?

Round 2

  • Repeat the steps in round 1 and try to set a new record. This time, match the trash cards to the correct decomposition cards using what you learned from round 1.

  • When all of the cards have been matched, the players gather around the cards and discuss if any of them need to be rearranged.

  • Play until you set a new record and correctly match all of the cards!

Click here to open and print the trash cards and decomposition cards

Other ways to keep wildlife safe from our waste:

Rain and wind can carry trash into nearby bodies of water. Streams and storm drains can wash trash directly into the ocean. When plastic trash gets into the environment, it can stick around for a very long time and harm wildlife. We can keep plastic out of the environment by reducing the amount of disposable plastic we use in our everyday lives.

Wildlife are also attracted to smells of food in our trash, and can end up eating our foods which are not good for them. They can accidentally eat plastic, or get tangled in packaging like soda rings, plastic mesh bags, and food containers. If they get used to eating food from people, they can get hurt or killed by spending more time around roads with fast moving cars, and backyards with dogs and cats. There are many ways we can keep wildlife safe from our waste!

Try some of these ideas at home, and see if you can think of anything else you can do to help wildlife in your neighborhood!

  • Secure the lid on your trash, recycling, and compost bin: Use a bungee cord, lock, or heavy object like a cinder block.

  • Wash out food containers before putting them in the trash or recycling: Wash out cans, yogurt containers, jam jars, pasta sauce jars, etc.

  • Cut apart items that an animal could get stuck in: Cut soda rings, plastic mesh bags (like what mandarin oranges come in), plastic food containers, etc.

  • Tie plastic bags in a knot or collect them to recycle: Tying used plastic bags in a knot can prevent them from getting blown away in the breeze. Some grocery stores like Safeway accept clean plastic bags for recycling. 

  • Cut the ear loops on disposable face masks before discarding them.

  • Volunteer to pick up trash in your community.

  • Buy less plastic: Swap out plastic products for long-lasting reusable products like water bottles, snack bags, tupperware, cloth bags, and metal straws.

  • Reduce your waste, reuse items, and find out what can be recycled where you live!

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Vocabulary Puzzles

Click here to view the answers. Try to solve the puzzles on your own before peeking at the answers!

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Going Green!

When we learn about wildlife, we also learn about how our choices and actions affect other people and the environment.

Going Green means making choices that have a positive impact on the Earth!

Eco-Heroes are leaders, activists, and change-makers of all ages who recognize a problem in their community and take action to work toward solutions. By spreading awareness of an issue and engaging with their community, Eco-Heroes grow their team of change-makers and multiply their positive impact. 

Read the following problems and think of a solution to help each one.


Plastic soda rings can get stuck around a wild animal’s head and cause a lot of damage. What can you do to help?

As an Eco-Hero, I can:


Sea Turtles may mistake a floating plastic bag for a jellyfish, one of their favorite foods. Eating the bag can make the Sea Turtle very sick. What can you do to help?

As an Eco-Hero, I can: 


The Northern Spotted Owl’s home is in redwood forests. Many redwood trees are being cut down by people. The loss of their habitat has made the Northern Spotted Owl threatened. What can you do to help?

As an Eco-Hero, I can: 


When we learn about wildlife and the environment, we find more solutions to have a positive impact. Every time we choose to Go Green, other people see our actions and may decide to follow our lead.

As an Eco-Hero, I can be a leader and set an example for others to follow by: 

Draw Your Self Portrait in Nature!

Being an Eco-Hero starts with learning more about something you care about. Your interest in learning about wildlife and how to protect what you care for means you are an Eco-Hero! Draw a picture of yourself doing something you love to do in nature!

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Post-visit activities:

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Eco-Hero Stories and Solutions

Every year, 8-16 year-olds share their stories of environmental activism for a chance to win the “International Eco-Hero Youth Award” from Action for Nature.

Meet some of the Eco-Hero award winners, and then check out their tips for how to take action and have a positive impact where you live, whether it is actions related to wildlife, climate change, public health, environmental and social justice, or another issue that affects your community.

Meet Rylee, age 12, from Hawaii, USA.

Rylee is the 2020 First Prize winner of the Eco-Hero Youth Awards! Over the years, she’s cleaned up several tons of plastics and trash from Hawaii's beaches. She organizes beach clean-ups specifically for kids, and partners with other organizations to encourage youth to participate in their events. “I love what I do!” says Rylee. “Every single program or project I create is sparked by a passion I have or experience I've gone through that called for change."

Video clip is 2 minutes long.

Meet Kedar, age 10, from Pennsylvania, USA.

When Kedar found out that pollinators are on the decline, he wanted to learn how to help. He learned about pollinator gardens and decided to create an App “Pollinator for a Pet” that teaches people how to plant native pollinator gardens and make a positive impact on our environment. 

Video clip is 2 minutes long.

Meet Ivanna, age 12, from Atizapán De Zaragoza, Mexico.

When Ivanna saw an essential ecosystem near her home being polluted, she spread the word to get signatures to petition the authorities to clean up their mess. “It is like a lake full of life and it broke my heart to see it almost dying,” says Ivanna. “My mom told me that anyone, even me, can open a petition and make a difference. I've learned that I can make something for my town and for nature."

Video clip is 2 minutes long.

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You are invited to participate in the

Cleanup Challenge!

Every year on the International Coastal Cleanup Day in September, people all over the world team up to clean up trash from beaches. In 2018, more than ONE MILLION people volunteered and collected over 23 million pounds of trash across 22,300 miles of beaches, coastlines and waterways in 122 countries in a single day! That's 97,457,000 individual pieces of trash!

Every single person who helped to clean up the beaches made a positive impact on the environment and helped wildlife. The hard work of all the volunteers added up to make an even bigger positive impact, showing that every little bit of help counts! 

We don't have to wait for the next International Coastal Cleanup Day to get started cleaning up our environment. Every piece of trash we pick up in nature and throw away is one less piece of trash that could harm a wild animal. 

We can have a positive impact to help wildlife survive and thrive in their habitats, everyday. 
We can start today!

Here's what you will need:

✅  An adult,

✅  A pair of gloves,

✅  A bag to put trash in.

  • Begin your Cleanup on your next adventure outdoors, whether it is around your neighborhood, in a park, in your yard, or somewhere in nature. Put on a pair of gloves, get a trash bag ready, and with an adult begin your search for litter. Look for tiny trash, plastic trash, paper trash, and collect it in your trash bag. 

Caution: Be safe and do not pick up any trash that looks SHARP, RUSTY, HEAVY, OR ICKY GOOEY DISGUSTING. Do not pick up a bag of doggie doo doo either! Tell an adult where you see any of these off-limits trash items.

  • Keep track of how many individual pieces of trash you pick up. Challenge yourself and your adult to pick up 10 pieces of trash. If that was hard to do, you might be in an environment that is pretty clean! If it was super easy to find 10, then increase your goal to 20.

  • Take a picture of the trash you collected! Share a photo of your total haul or any particularly interesting trash with your class. (Did it wash up on the beach after floating in the ocean for 60 years? Is it obviously from a UFO?)

  • At the end of your Cleanup adventure, throw away your collected trash in the proper bin. If you were wearing disposable gloves, throw those out too. If you were wearing reusable gloves like garden gloves, put them in the laundry basket to be washed. Finally, wash your hands, and feel proud for having made a positive impact on your environment!

  • How might your positive impact grow and multiply if you did the Cleanup Challenge a second time this week? What if you did it every time you go out into nature? What if you asked friends or family to try the challenge?

Click here for ideas from Kids National Geographic on how to organize a Cleanup Day in your neighborhood!

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Make Your Own Wildlife Poster!  

You can help spread awareness about an incredible local wildlife species by creating an educational poster to display in your neighborhood!

Contact your local library, community center, grocery store, cafe, or school to display your poster on their bulletin boards!

Take a look at this partial list of wildlife that live locally in the San Francisco Bay Area to get some ideas of an animal to focus on. These animals are all vertebrates, but feel free to focus on an invertebrate, too! 🦋You can choose a species from this list, or choose a different species that lives in your region.

  • Acorn Woodpecker
  • American Crow
  • Anna’s Hummingbird
  • Barn Owl
  • Bewick’s Wren
  • Black Oystercatcher
  • Brown Pelican
  • California Quail
  • California Towhee
  • Common Raven
  • Cooper’s Hawk
  • Double-Crested Cormorant
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Great Egret
  • Great Horned Owl
  • Hermit Thrush
  • House Finch
  • House Wren
  • Mourning Dove
  • Northern Flicker
  • Northern Spotted Owl (threatened)
  • Osprey
  • Red-tailed Hawk
  • Ridgeway Rail (endangered)
  • Rough-legged Hawk
  • Scrub Jay
  • Snowy Egret
  • Spotted Towhee
  • Steller’s Jay
  • Turkey Vulture
  • Western Bluebird
  • Western Grebe
  • Western Gull
  • Western Screech Owl
  • Western Scrub Jay
  • White-breasted Nuthatch
  • White-crowned Sparrow
  • Wood Duck
  • American Badger
  • Belding's Ground Squirrel
  • Black-tailed Mule Deer
  • Bobcat
  • Botta’s Pocket Gopher
  • California Kangaroo Rat
  • California Pocket Mouse
  • California Sea Lion
  • California Vole
  • Bottlenose Dolphin
  • Coyote
  • Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel
  • Gray Fox
  • Gray Whale
  • Harbor Porpoise
  • Humpback Whale
  • Jackrabbit
  • Little Brown Bat
  • Long-tailed Weasel
  • Muskrat
  • North American Beaver
  • North American Porcupine
  • Northern Elephant Seal
  • Northern River Otter
  • Pacific Harbor Seal
  • Raccoon
  • Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse (endangered)
  • Sea Otter
  • Sonoma Chipmunk
  • Steller Sea Lion
  • Striped Skunk
  • Virginia Opossum
  • Western Grey Squirrel
  • Alligator Lizard
  • California King Snake
  • Common Garter Snake
  • Desert Tortoise (threatened species)
  • Northern Pacific Rattlesnake
  • Northern Rubber Boa
  • Pacific Gopher Snake
  • Western Fence Lizard
  • Western Pond Turtle (species of concern)
  • Western Skink

  • California Giant Salamander
  • California Newt
  • California Red-legged Frog
  • California Slender Salamander
  • Sierran Treefrog
  • Western Toad

  • Bat Ray
  • California Golden Trout
  • California Halibut
  • Coho Salmon (endangered)
  • Great White Shark
  • Leopard Shark
  • Pacific Herring
  • Steelhead Trout (threatened)

Wow, that's a lot of species. And that's not even all of them! 

Now you can begin researching your chosen species and creating your poster. Make sure to show a drawing or photo of the animal on your poster, and include the following information: 

  • Habitat (where does the animal live?)

  • Physical appearance (what does the animal look like?)

  • Diet (what does it eat?)

  • Lifespan (how long does this animal typically live?)

  • Adaptations that help the species survive

  • Ecosystem role (what is the job of this animal within its habitat? Think about the food that it may eat, or if this animal is prey for other animals.)

  • Common problems that this species faces. Are any of these challenges human caused or increased by humans? (ex. disease, habitat destruction, pollution, lack of food, etc.)

  • Why this species is so wonderful and what we can do to care for and protect it and its habitat.

Have fun learning about and teaching about a wonderful wildlife species!

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Volunteer Opportunities

That's the end of our post-visit activities!

 We hope you had fun!

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You can open and print the Ways to be a Wildlife Hero idea bubbles that appear throughout this page by clicking below!

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Spanish version

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