Hawaiʻi’s plants, animals, and landscapes can be windows for students to learn about science and ecology in a way that is place-based. Below are several ways that the Division of Forestry and Wildlife (part of the Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources) can help you and your students connect with nature. You can also find this information in our Educator Resources flyer.
Classroom Presentations and Field Trips
Our outreach staff are available to visit your classroom (in person or virtually) to talk about topics including wildlife, native plants, invasive species, watersheds, wildfire, hunting, and more. We can also work with you to find field trip opportunities, including guided hikes or service learning activities. Use our contact form to connect with us to request a presentation or service trip.
Department of Education teachers can also schedule events with us through the ClimbHI.org education portal.
Explore Hawaiʻi From Your Classroom with Virtual Field Trips
We’ve developed a number of virtual field trips in native ecosystems and special places that you and your students can explore at your own pace. Each tour uses a series of 360˚ photos that allow you to walk through and look around the areas we manage. Within each 360˚ photo there are hotspots users can click to learn more about plants, animals, ecology, and history. Project the virtual field trip on a big screen to take a trip as a class, or let students explore on their own devices. Our tours are at dlnr.hawaii.gov/dofaw/virtual.
Learn More: Videos, Species Profiles, Places Pages, and Conservation Topics
Use our content as supporting materials in creating your own lesson plans. DLNR produces educational videos ranging from 30 seconds to hour-long documentaries about natural resources in Hawaiʻi, available at dlnr.hawaii.gov/dofaw/education/videos/.
We’ve also developed:
- Species profiles for native birds (including audio of bird songs), plants, and insects
- Educational StoryMaps that dive deeper into the science of conservation topics like watersheds, climate change, fencing, and more
- Place pages that describe specific Natural Area Reserves, Forest Reserves, Wildlife Sanctuaries, and Game Management Areas across the state.
You can find these resources at dlnr.hawaii.gov/dofaw/education/learn/.
Activities: Crafts, Coloring Books, and Games
For more hands-on classroom activities, elementary and middle school students may enjoy our paper crafts and coloring books featuring native species. Our downloadable printouts allow students to make finger puppets, masks, and headbands so they can engage in creative play that features native forest birds, insects, and plants. We even have a downloadable board game about Hawaiʻi’s ʻōhiʻa tree, all available at dlnr.hawaii.gov/dofaw/education/activities/.
Professional Development: Project Learning Tree
Project Learning Tree is an award-winning, internationally recognized curriculum for environmental education. We provide free training for educators who want to expand their knowledge of environmental education and gain access to high-quality less
on plans designed around Next Generation Science Standards and tailored for pre-K, elementary, middle, and
high school students. Sign up for a workshop or our eNews letter to hear about upcoming events, at dlnr.hawaii.gov/dofaw/education/plt/.
Schools can also register to be a PLT GreenSchool and request a PLT GreenSchool workshop.
Teacher Guides and Place-based Curricula
A Teacher’s Guide To Nēnē- Our Endangered State Bird: This resource provides teachers with the necessary background information to connect 4th and 5th grade students to learning more our state bird, the nēnē. Teachers can use this guide to engage student in learning activities that are both rigorous and relevant covering topics like nēnē behaviors, population growth, and diet.
A Teacher’s Guide to Endangered Birds of Hawai‘i: As part of our rich natural heritage, the native birds of Hawai‘i can be a fascinating topic of study. By exciting your students’ curiosity to learn more about these birds, you may open the door to a new opportunity for discovering more about the diverse and colorful wildlife Hawai‘i has to offer. The activities presented in this guide are designed to raise students’ awareness so that as concerned citizens they may help to prevent further loss of Hawai‘i’s unique and endangered bird species. Use the Printable Activities (Grades 3-7) and Coloring Book Fact Sheets (Forest Jewels Coloring Book) together to expand student knowledge of our native forest birds.
Project Aloha ‘Āina: The Moanalua Gardens Foundation (MGF) developed this curriculum for 4th grade students. While some of the curriculum is specific to the Moanalua ahupua‘a, this curriculum can serve as an example for educators looking to design content for their area.
Hōʻike o Haleakalā: Hōʻike o Haleakalā is a multi-disciplinary, science-based environmental education curriculum designed to help sustain the native Hawaiian landscape and culture by helping students establish and deepen connections to the land and the culture it supports. The Hōʻike curriculum supports State of Hawaiʻi high school educational standards, particularly in the science disciplines. Each activity is correlated to state science standards, offering educators a way to fulfill educational requirements using local ecosystems and issues as a context. These materials help bring science home for students while fostering a strong science background and critical-thinking skills. Hōʻike o Haleakalā is a downloadable curriculum for High School. Although it uses specific examples from Maui, many can be easily adapted for other islands.
Hawaiʻi Prevents Wildfire: The Hawaiʻi Wildfire Management Organization (HWMO) has developed a set of activity books to teach students about wildfire in Hawaiʻi and ways to be firewise. Educators can download materials from the HWMO website or request paper copies using the the order form at the following link: https://forms.gle/HA38zC6KaF7HfGGX9. Materials include:
- Keiki coloring sheets (2 sheets) for preschoolers
- Grade K-2 activity books
- Grade 3-6 activity books
- Coloring placemats
- Classroom posters
Books & Posters Available to Educators
Forestry & Wildlife and partners have produced a beautiful, photo-rich book that tells the ecological stories of our islands. Wao Akua: Sacred Source of Life is available for the general public at $18.95, and available to educators at $13.25, a 30% discount. To order a copy, contact our Statewide Administrative Office or email Josh Atwood, Information & Education Coordinator. Please make payment by check, as we cannot currently accept credit cards.
Forestry and Wildlife also has a wide selection of educational posters to decorate your classroom walls with native species information. These teaching tools are available to educators in Hawaiʻi at no cost. Posters are available at most Forestry and Wildlife branch offices, or by mail from the Statewide Administrative Office. Use our contact info here to request posters.
Available posters include the following:
A Healthy Forest = Fresh Water
Hawaii’s Wetlands: Mauka to Makai
PEP: The Plant Extinction Prevention Program
Landscape Industry Council of Hawai’i: Buy Native