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The City of Portland, Oregon

Environmental Services

working for clean rivers

Phone: 503-823-7740

Fax: 503-823-6995

1120 SW 5th Ave, Suite 613, Portland, OR 97204

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Riparian Habitats and Biodiversity

These resources support NGSS 2-LS4-1; 3-LS4- Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity.


Local Resources

Icon for worksheet Worksheets

Riparian Habitat Slides (slide deck)
Use these slides to introduce habitats and the five elements that all animals need to survive in their habitat: food, water, shelter, space and air. Pair this with the Explore Whitaker Ponds video and the Fantastic Habitats worksheet.

Fantastic Habitats: Create Your Own (student worksheet)
Students create their own animal and consider what type of habitat it lives in.

I Notice, I Wonder Photo Collection (student worksheet)
This activity focuses on the scientific practices of making observations and asking questions. Students view images from riparian habitats and complete an activity focused on observation skills. Adapted from Lawrence Hall of Science’s Beetles Project. Also see accompanying teacher's guide.

I Notice, I Wonder Template  (student worksheet)
Use this template to encourage students to make observations, ask questions and create connections. Pair this template with some of the videos listed below!

Icon of video Videos

Explore Whitaker Ponds (6 min.)
Join Clean Rivers educators on a virtual visit to Whitaker Ponds Nature Park. Learn about habitats and find clues that riparian animals call Whitaker Ponds home. Pair this video with the Riparian Habitats slide deck, the I Notice, I Wonder Collection and the Fantastic Habitats worksheet.

Night Moves: Beavers and Nutria Build a Dam (3 min.)
Watch beavers and nutria build a dam at Smith and Bybee Wetlands in Portland. By Metro

Critter Camera at Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge (three, 20-second videos)
Catch a glimpse of beaver at work, otters enjoying a meal, a great blue heron fishing, and more. Much of the footage shows wildlife at night — when many of the hundreds of species that call the refuge home are most active.

Slough School: Habitats Lesson (15 min.)
The Columbia Slough Watershed Council's Slough School program has a YouTube channel called Today on Slough School. This video is a lesson on habitats with a focus on habitats of Oregon.


More Resources

Icon of video Videos 

Deep Look offers ultra-HD wildlife and nature videos created by KQED San Francisco and presented by PBS Digital Studios. These short videos offer a great way for students to consider how animals use unique adaptations to survive in their habitat. Pair these videos with the I Notice I Wonder template.

This is Why Water Striders Make Terrible Lifeguards  (3 min.)
Learn how water striders "walk" on water and how they capture and eat other critters that can't.

The Amazing Underwater Tape of a Caddisfly (3 min.)
Watch and learn how a caddisfly makes its shelter. 

A Baby Dragonfly's Mouth Will Give You Nightmares (4 min.)
Learn how the dragonfly has a special lip that helps it get its food. 

California Floater Mussels Take Fish for an Epic Joyride (4 min.)
Learn how freshwater mussels use the gills of fish for shelter and food during their larval stage.

Peregrine Falcons are Feathered Fighter Jets, Basically (4 min.)
Learn about the adaptations that help Peregrine Falcons find and eat their food.

Nature Lab 
Nature Lab is the Nature Conservancy's youth curriculum platform. Find videos, teacher guides, student activities and educator support videos.

Nature Lab Virtual Field Trips (time varies)
Visit different biomes from around the world, from America's deserts and temperate rainforests, to China's great forests, and to the coral reefs of Palau. Geared for slightly older students (5th-8th), but customizable for all ages.

Urban Habitat: Biodiversity in our City (4 min.) 
This video showcases the role of gardens as miniature ecosystems in our cities.

Mystery Science is a subscription-based online science curriculum. Lessons are aligned to Next Generation Science Standards and combine video and hands-on activities, many that can be done at home. Check to see if your district has a subscription!

How many different kinds of animals are there?
Focuses on biodiversity and classification.

Plant and Animal Secrets
Focuses on the needs of plants and animals for survival.

Power of Flowers
Focuses on plant life cycle and heredity.


Icon for website Web Resources

Links for Animal Research and More

All about Birds
Identification help and life history information for North American bird species from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Exploring Diverse Birds
A family science lesson plan about bird diversity. Includes a slide show and activities from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology K-12 Education.

Beast Box
Make your own music by mixing wild animal voices with beatbox loops. From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology Bird Academy.

Oregon Wildlife
From the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, facts about Oregon mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and marine life.

Turtles Species of Oregon
A fact page about turtles species of Oregon from the Oregon Native Turtle Working Group.

Pocket Guide to the Bees of Portland
Xerces Society and Portland Parks & Recreation. Images and descriptions of 15 common bees of Portland.

Make a mason bee house
The Pacific Beach Coalition shows you how to make a mason bee house using recycled materials.

Meet the Pollinators
From the University of California, this website has information about beetles, butterflies, bees, bats, and more.

What’s Good in My Hood
An urban community workbook that guides users through a 5-unit investigation of their neighborhood. From Akiima Price/the New York Restoration Project. Watch NYRP's video.

Nature Lab Resources for K-5
From the Nature Conservancy, videos and lessons cover how dirt works, the role of pollinators, how nature filters water, and more.

North American Association for Environmental Education Grades 3-5 Resources.
Resource guides, lesson plans, and teaching activities.