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Beaver Ecology

Class Details

3 Hours

4th Grade to Adult


How do beavers influence Sawmill Creek?

Students will participate in a beaver dress-up activity that illustrates the physical adaptations of the beaver. A hike along Sawmill Creek offers an excellent opportunity to observe the effects of beaver activity on the environment. Students may encounter dams, lodges, cut trees, canals, drags, or food caches. A skit of fur trade era characters offers insight into human and beaver interaction in the past. Discussion will help students understand the beaver’s role in the present.

Lesson Plan


  1. All living and non-living components of an environment interact with one another to form an ecosystem.
  2. Beavers possess certain physical and behavioral adaptations to be successful in and change their environment.
  3. The natural environment has many obvious and subtle impacts upon human history and culture.


  1. Define physical and behavioral adaptations.
  2. Identify physical and behavioral adaptations that allow beavers to survive and utilize their environment.
  3. Recognize and interpret the evidence of beavers’ signs such as dams, lodges, canals, food caches, etc.
  4. Trace the history of the fur trade era and describe how beavers and humans interact in modern times.
  5. Evaluate how the beaver influences the ecology of both forest and aquatic ecosystems.