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A Note to the Teacher

The John Muir Day Study Guide was prepared to help teachers commemorate John Muir Day each April 21 with their classes, implementing California Education Code Section 37222 . In addition, the guide is produced with the idea that it may be used throughout the school year, integrated with a variety of curriculum topics, to set a tone of caring about our environment. The lesson plans are keyed to match the California Department of Education History-Social Studies Framework (PDF). The goals of John Muir Day and this study guide are:

  • Raise awareness of John Muir as "conservation's exemplar," a person whose values and actions virtually led to the modern environmental movement, and whose vision is still being followed today.

  • Increase understanding through examples of Muir's scientific endeavors and observations. His experiences contain an element of adventure as well as careful scientific observations, encouraging students to learn about their biophysical environment and to understand the impact we make upon it.

  • Take action through illustrating Muir's life and achievements, and helping students to make decisions and solve current environmental challenges in their community, state, nation, and world.

Please listen to your students for their views and interests to guide you, as well. Use the ideas for younger students for the older grades, if they have not been exposed to John Muir before.

Learning about John Muir's life can serve as a launching pad to science-based environmental studies through plant and animal habitats, ecosytems, earthquakes, avalanches, glaciers, geology, weather, biodiversity, and trees, as we discover that, as John Muir said, "When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe."

Above all, we encourage you to personalize this study guide and make it yours. We have incorporated extension ideas in each lesson plan, so feel free to explore John Muir's life and legacy further when your students ask, "When are we going to learn more about John Muir?"

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