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Through the Eyes of John Muir:

Practices in Environmental Stewardship

by Janice Kelley

John Muir's enduring legacy of environmental stewardship remains strong even 100 years after his death. This curriculum, aligned to both Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards, can be applied in and outside the classroom for students to learn how to see through the eyes of John Muir - as environmental stewards, scientists, historians and advocates. Each lesson is presented within the context of John Muir's own actions. These Standards apply to grades 3 and 4. Most activities are applicable to or can be modified to meet the needs of older students.

This page offers the Table of Contents, and a preview of the book, including the Introduction and Lesson One of the curriculum guide. The full 115 - page curriculum guide is available for purchase in paperback from, or in digital format from the Eyes of John Muir: A Multi-disciplinary Approach to Looking at our World by Janice Kelley

Digital Edition - available from

John Muir is often remembered as an environmental activist, naturalist, and prolific writer. His enduring legacy of environmental stewardship remains strong 100 years after his death. Yet, this essence of Muir represents only a fraction of his life He was a man of many talents, trades and interests. Muir was especially skilled at influencing the influencers - his relationship with President Theodore Roosevelt led to the preservation of millions of acres of forest and wild lands.

This interdisciplinary curriculum guide presents numerous lessons covering a broad spectrum of topics: various aspects of John Muir's life, agricultural and immigrant history, urbanization of farmland, nature-based investigations, storytelling, what makes a healthy forest and more. The curriculum can be used for field studies to conduct at either the John Muir National Historic Site ranch site or other farm site or nature area as an outdoor classroom, and concludes with lessons and practices to help students became stewards of the environment and "champions" in their own community.

Example Activities:

  • Puzzles and readings to introduce students to John Muir's life and accomplishments
  • Study vintage fruit crate labels as part of early California agriculture
  • Interview questions for family histories
  • Community history photo essays
  • Field investigations and explorations
  • Meet a modern day John Muir
  • Learn action steps to take responsibility as environmental stewards
  • John Muir's timeless quotes prompt thoughtful reflection suitable for any age

About the Author: Janice Kelley

Teacher Orientation to the Curriculum:



Purpose of the Curriculum Guide

Chapter One - Introducing: Who was John Muir? - HTML | PDF
Reading Reflections Unit - Online Preview

Lesson One: John Muir Biography - HTML | PDF

  • Study Questions - HTML | PDF - Online Preview
  • John Muir Biography Study Questions Answer Sheet - HTML | PDF

The numerous additional lessons, identified below, are included in the print and digital download editions of the full curriculum Through the Eyes of John Muir.

Lesson Two: John Muir Quotations Reflection Project (5 pages)
Includes Classroom Procedures, Assignment Sheet, Discussion Sample, and a List of Quotations.

Lesson Three: John Muir Timeline (15 pages)
Includes Classroom Procedures and the following activities:

  • Timeline - Selected Highlights of John Muir's Life
  • Puzzles and More (These puzzles meet the Common Core Standards for Third & Fourth Grade: "Key Ideas and Details. 1. Craft and Structure, 4. )
  • Student Bibliography
  • Teacher Resources - Literature, Organizations, and Websites.

Chapter Two - Field Based Activities
Workshops, Investigations and Games
Nature Scene Investigations (NSI)
Trailblazers Station
Meet a Tree
Tree Study Questions
Explore a Special Place
Special Place Questions
Creek Study
Creek Study Questions
Nature Games
Recipe for a Healthy Forest
Agriculture: Past and Present
Agriculture Art
Brief History of Fruit Crate Labels

Chapter Three - Classroom Projects
Summary of Classroom Projects
History and Language Arts Unit

Lesson One: Who am I?
Building Storytelling Skills
Storytelling Decision Map
Story Starters
Ten Tips for Storytellers
Telling Sensational Stories

Lesson Two: People of the past
1880s Child
1880s Child: What do you have in common?
Family History Project
Family History Assignment Sheet & Interview Questions

Lesson Three: Other People, Other Places
Folklore, Legends, Myths and more
Suggested Interview Questions
Folklore, Legends, Myths and More

Lesson Four: Our Changing Community: Community Photo Album Project
Community Photo Album Assignment Sheet
The Changing Alhambra Valley
Science, Conservation and Advocacy Unit

Lesson Five: Meet a Modern Day John Muir
Poster Assignment Sheet

Lesson Six: My Role as a Community Steward

Lesson Seven: Role of Organizations Caring for Wild land And Wildlife
Agency Role Assignment Sheet

Lesson Eight: My Role as a Community Advocate
Advocacy Assignment Sheet

Lesson Nine: My Vision for the Future

Curriculum Guide Bibliography

Acknowledgments: Content of this website and downloadable files has been edited from the original publication Field Trip Curriculum for the John Muir National Historic
Site, written by Janice Kelley, copyright 2012, published by California State University, Sacramento.
Janice Kelley completed the John Muir field experience curriculum guide at the request of and in collaboration with the interpretive staff at the John Muir National Historic Site, as a culminating project for her Masters Degree from California State University, Sacramento. When first published , Through the Eyes of John Muir had a different subtitle: A Multi-disciplinary Approach to Looking at our World.

About the Author

The curriculum Through the Eyes of John Muir was written by Janice Kelley, a professional writer, educator, and storyteller. Janice Kelley applied her professional experience in creating this guide, and holds a Masters Degree from the Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism Administration from California State University, Sacramento. Her personal website is:

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Lesson Plans

© Copyright 2016 by Janice Kelley. Permission to reprint for school purposes is granted to all public and private school teachers. All other rights reserved.
Through the Eyes of John Muir

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