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Native Prairie Restoration at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute l West Michigan Environmental Education

Materials for Educators

As an environmental education center serving West Michigan since 2001, Pierce Cedar Creek Institute is well-equipped to partner with schools to build science literacy among students and increase their enthusiasm for science education at all levels. With this partnership in mind, the Institute has an online Science Lending Library and an archive of lesson plans for teachers to use in their classrooms. Working together, the Institute and teachers will ensure students have all they need to build bright futures.

Lesson Plans*

Environmental education curriculum materials developed by the Institute's education department for preK-12:

This lesson plan provides students an opportunity to experience the glacial landscape and hydrology firsthand. It has been designed to be carried out at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute, but could be transferred to other locations where the instructor is familiar with the local glacial geology. Prior to the activity, students should be familiar with the fact that Michigan was previously covered by glacial ice sheets and understand the basic water cycle. Materials required are minimal, but a small shovel or soil probe is helpful. A handout that includes the glacial landscape and a watershed can make the concepts and terms more visually apparent.

This lesson explains what science is to preschool and kindergarten students and lets them explore and pretend to be scientists. Students will dress up like scientists and practice using some tools scientists use. This short lesson is a great way to introduce students to the topic of science and the idea of science as a career.

* Please note: All Institute lesson plans are working documents. Contact Dr. Sara Parr Syswerda, education director, at

(269) 721-4434 with ideas for improvement in lesson plans or questions regarding the Science Lending Library. 


Environmental education curriculum materials developed by other sources:

W. K. Kellogg Biological Station Fellow Produced Lesson Plans

Pathways Project Teaching Materials

Michigan Department of Environmental Quality: Environmental Education Curriculum Support (MEECS)

Environmental Education Materials: Guidelines for Excellence

United States Environmental Protection Agency: Environmental Education Materials

Project Learning Tree Curriculum