Public Lands Curriculum

Public Lands Curriculum

Public Lands Curriculum_v2.0_cover

Our “Public Lands in the United States" curriculum aims to build connections between people and America’s natural landscapes, which are visited by millions of people each year to relax, engage in ceremonial activities, recreate, connect with nature and escape the stresses of everyday life.

But beyond that, we want people to have a complete and accurate understanding of the history and context surrounding these places and the movement to protect public lands. We especially want to reinforce the knowledge that the public lands we love today were once Indigenous lands, and that the actions taken to "conserve" them have sometimes been exclusionary, insensitive or engineered to benefit only a privileged few.

Once we understand our public lands and their history, we can pay that knowledge forward into dialogue and policy decisions that are equitable and inclusive.

This curriculum is yours to use free of charge and we encourage you to apply it however the information best supports your programs and roles. If you choose to opt in to receive communication about the curriculum, we will contact you regarding the following:

  • Notification of updated curriculum material
  • Requests to complete brief surveys regarding curriculum use and feedback
  • Invitations to join training and feedback webinars

We will never use your information to deliver or solicit non-curriculum related communication. 

The curriculum is a living document and we welcome ideas on how the information could better support your work. Please reach out to us with any questions or feedback by emailing [email protected].  

Download The Full Public Lands in the United States Curriculum

The contents have been broken down by module for easier download below:

Module 1 - What Do We Mean by Public Lands?

Main Takeaways:

  • Federal public lands belong to everyone.
  • United States public lands are managed under many different departments within the federal government.
  • Lands can be under different designations and managed according to different goals and objectives

Download: Full module Reading Lesson plansTeaching materials

Module 2 - How did Public Lands Come to Be?

Main Takeaways:

  • American public lands were created within the context of complex social and historical movements and mindsets.
  • A more complete understanding of public lands requires acknowledgement of the Peoples and cultures who have been negatively affected.

Download: Full moduleReadingLesson plansTeaching materials

Module 3 - Case Studies in Connection with Land and Water 

Main Takeaways:

  • Although some stories have often been buried and ignored, all Americans have connections to the land, and all play an important role in conservation.
  • By sharing stories, we give can voice to those who have been silenced and can begin to understand how history plays a role in the many ways that people connect to public lands.

Download: Full module ReadingLesson plansTeaching materials

Module 4 - Public Lands Benefits, Threats, and Current Issues

Main Takeaways:

  • Public lands offer many ecological, social, and economic benefits.
  • There are many threats and issues affecting public lands today.

Download: Full moduleReadingLesson plansTeaching materials

Module 5 - Call to Action: What Can You Do for Public Lands?

Main Takeaway:

  • Everyone can advocate for the protection of public lands.

Download: Full ModuleReadingLesson plansTeaching materials

VIDEO: Introduction to our public lands curriculum