A student looks up at the forest canopy in Olympic National Park

Olympic Sense of Place

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NatureBridge's environmental science educators lead interactive online sessions designed to introduce the unique ecosystems of Olympic National Park with a focus on its landscapes, organisms and the history of the people who have called the Olympic Peninsula home for thousands of years.



Two NatureBridge educators lead each 40 to 60 minute session as presenter and host using a video conference platform such as Zoom. Attending teachers participate as chaperones who observe and assist students as needed. Interactive technology tools may include Prezi, Jamboards, breakout sessions and participant polls. NatureBridge educators will provide teachers with information to share with students who are unable to attend.

Session 1: Community Building 40-60 minute live session

Students will meet NatureBridge educators and work as a group to establish community norms and guidelines. Students will engage in team-building activities that help to create a fun and safe learning space to share and interact for future lessons. Students will learn introductory information about Olympic National Park, such as geography, ecosystems, human history. Students will participate in a land acknowledgement of the traditional tribes of Olympic as well as the students' home communities.

Session 2: Intro to Olympic Life Through the Rainshadow 40-60 minute live session

Beginning at Ruby Beach’s Pacific coastal tidepools, educators lead students on a journey to the top of Mount Olympus and beyond to learn about the rain shadow effect that makes it possible for dramatically different ecosystems to flourish within a few miles of each other in Olympic National Park. Abiotic, biotic and cultural components (ABCs) of ecosystem are introduced with opportunities for students to identify ABC’s in a variety of ecosystems. Interactive instructional techniques are used to increase student engagement and to promote connections with their peers while gaining a true sense of place in Olympic National Park.

Session 3: Build an Ecosystem 40-60 minute live session

Building on students’ understanding of ABCs and diversity within ecosystems, small groups of students design their own ecosystems influenced by factors such as elevation and proximity to water that impact the abiotic, biotic and cultural features of their ecosystem.



Students will: 

  • Build confidence sharing ideas and interacting working with others in a virtual classroom. 
  • Learn how striking patterns of rainfall in and around Olympic National Park’s central mountains contributes to its unique ecosystems. 
  • Understand the cause and effect of relationships that create diversity in Olympic National Park’s ecosystems.
  • Identify the three components that define specific ecosystems.
  • Describe how populations affect the organisms living in the variety of ecosystems.
  • Have a variety of opportunities to participate in a learning community with their peers.

NGSS Standards

Disciplinary Core Ideas: LS2- Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics; LS4- Biological & Evolution: Unity and Diversity, 

Practices:  Planning and Carrying out Investigation, Developing and Using Models

Crosscutting Concepts: Cause and Effect; Patterns, Systems and System Models, Stability and Change, Energy and Matter


Materials needed

Access to a computer, tablet or other online learning compatible device. Notebook, pencil/pen, computer, bowl of water and towel.

Adult Expectations

At least one teacher will be present throughout each live online session. Other adults may attend by invitation from the teacher or group coordinator. All attending adults must complete NatureBridge’s Participant Registration Form in advance of the session. 

It is the responsibility of attending adults to support student learning and safety during large group instruction and small breakout sessions by following the expectations listed below. 

  • Support students in staying on task. 
  • Address discipline concerns, while allowing students to be engaged and answer questions on their own. 
  • Demonstrate a positive attitude and model inclusive behavior.
  • Communicate with the group’s NatureBridge educator about the educational plan and offer constructive feedback when appropriate.

Schedule this Program

We successfully piloted our first season of Distance Learning programs this fall and will resume programming in February 2021. If you would like more information about a Distance Learning program for your class, please fill out the form below and our outreach team will be in touch with you in January to discuss your interest in more detail. 

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