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John Muir Day Study Guide

"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe."
-- John Muir, 1838-1914

The academic focus of the John Muir Day Study Guide (scroll below for each grade level) is History - Social Science.
Please see the following for additional Muir-inspired lesson plans for other academic subjects.

More Standards-Aligned John Muir Lesson Plans

The John Muir Day Study Guide was prepared to help teachers commemorate John Muir Day each April 21 with their classes. California teachers are encouraged to recognize John Muir Day by statute (see below), but people all over the world celebrate John Muir's Birthday on April 21! 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. It can be used outside of California as well as within, since only the fourth grade unit is California-specific.

If you live outside of California, we suggest you use the Sixth Grade John Muir Geography Cards and the Places Important to John Muir page to find out if Muir ever traveled in your state or country, and then you can create a lesson plan for your own geographic location.

Each chapter of the John Muir Day Study Guide is available FREE for downloading in Adobe Acrobat file format (necessary for graphic-intensive pages), and in standard Web HTML (for text portions) below.

John Muir Day - April 21

Celebrating a Lifetime of Conservation

The Governor annually shall proclaim April 21st to be 'John Muir Day'

- California Government Code Section 6714.

John Muir Day:

(a) April 21 of each year is designated and set apart as John Muir Day, a day having special significance pursuant to Section 37222.
(b) On John Muir Day, all public schools and educational institutions are encouraged to conduct exercises stressing the importance that an ecologically sound natural environment plays in the quality of life for all of us, and emphasizing John Muir's significant contributions to the fostering of that awareness and the indelible mark he left on the State of California.

- California Education Code Section 37222.1/
(Added by Stats. 2010, Ch. 241, Sec. 4. re-numbering Code from Education Code Section 37222 (a)(2) and (b)(2).)

Days having special significance:

(a) On each day designated and set apart as a day having special significance, all public schools and educational institutions are encouraged to observe that day and to conduct suitable commemorative exercises.
(b) It is the intent of the Legislature that the exercises encouraged by subdivision (a) be integrated into the regular school program, and be conducted by the school or institution within the amount of time otherwise budgeted for educational programs.

- California Education Code Section 37222.


This guide produced under the auspices of Sierra Club California and the California Department of Education.

This updated on-line version of the Study Guide contains the instructional text from the paper document. In addition to this text, there are materials of a graphical nature that are to be used in the suggested activities. These are available in Adobe Acrobat PDF format and are linked to the appropriate units. Furthermore, there are Acrobat files for each unit -- available at the bottom of each unit page -- as well as a single file for the entire Guide. The purpose of these on-line, hyper-text documents is to give you a good idea of what's in the Study Guide. If you want to use (a unit of) the Guide, then download the PDF files that are most useful to you. (Please note - links in the PDF documents may no longer work)


Unifying Concept: John Muir, explorer, scientist, and author, studied ecosystems worldwide and expressed his views, helping establish the modern environmental movement.

2001 Update

A Note to the Teacher

Schoolwide Activities

Kindergarten - Grade 1 : John Muir: Long Ago and Now

John Muir showed he cared about nature by writing, drawing, and speaking to others.
  • Sort Natural Objects
  • Listen to Stories
  • Make a Booklet about John Muir

Grades 2 - 3 : John Muir: One Person Who Made a Difference

John Muir had many experiences which gave him the vision to save wilderness areas.
  • Make Observations
  • Write in Journals
  • Make a Booklet about John Muir

Grade 4 : John Muir in California

John Muir, an immigrant to California, encountered environmental problems and found solutions.

Grade 5 : Speaking Out for Conservation

John Muir, an immigrant to the United States, spoke out about his experiences and his visions for conservation.
  • Read Examples of John Muir's Work
  • Compare John Muir's Life to Our Own Lives
  • Write About Nature Persuasively

Grade 6 : John Muir: Around the World in 76 Years

John Muir traveled around the world to compare and contrast natural phenomena and to speak out about preserving ecosystems.

Grades 7 - 9 : John Muir in Yosemite

John Muir's vision led to the establishment of the National Park System.

Grades 9 - 12 : John Muir's Vision Lives On

John Muir's vision for the preservation of an ecologically sound natural environment persists today.




The Study Guide in Adobe Acrobat Format

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