Earth Stewardship

Earth Stewardship

Students putting wood chips in at the base of a large white pine tree to protect its roots


Overall Goal

Students learn through inquiry and hands-on learning how to assess an environmental issue created by our human impact and plan and develop solutions through restoration and repair.

Grade 7 Curriculum Connections

Sustainability and Stewardship

  • Human activities have the potential to alter the environment. Humans must be aware of these impacts and try to control them.
  • assess the impacts of human activities and technologies on the environment, and evaluate ways of controlling these impacts

Structure and Function

  • analyze personal, social, economic, and environmental factors that need to be considered in designing and building structures and devices;
  • design and construct a variety of structures, and investigate the relationship between the design and function of these structures and the forces that act on them

Program Description

Environmental impacts upon our trails and natural environment require restoration and repair. Students reduce their ecological footprint by completing an earth repair or environmental project. These projects allow students to get outside, explore, inquire, and come up with solutions to restore or repair natural areas affected by our human impact at SOES.

Students become environmental stewards as they roll up their sleeves to get into the mud and get involved in solving a real environmental problem on site at SOES. After working using tools and superior strength, students can stand back and admire their work. Many are left with a feeling of accomplishment for a job well done, for helping reduce our ecological footprint on the forest and for assisting future classes in the enjoyment of the wilderness here at SOES.

Projects may include repairing trails through erosion control. This could mean digging a trench to drain water away from the trail, putting in a channel or culvert to divert water. Students have helped build steps to reduce erosion and make a trail safe to walk on. It can also include gardening and greenhouse projects. Talk to your SOES staff member about the projects that are available. Many are weather and resource dependent.

Success Criteria/Learning Goals

1.  Students will demonstrate an understanding that we need to take care of this earth in order to maintain what we presently use.

2.  Students will explain how humans have impacted the environment we live in.


Pre-Trip Activity
  • Earth Repair Project - Student Worksheet - (Make a copy and edit to your liking - click 'Slide'/Edit Master). This worksheet can be a pre-learning activity where students are sent a picture of an SOES space and determine what the problem with the area is and create possible solutions. As a follow-up activity back at school, students can examine their schoolyard and look for signs of damage due to overuse, erosion, lack of green space, litter etc. Students will define the problem, look at possible solutions, construct a solution and evaluate their results.
Next Step Environmental Action
  • Eco League - Get involved with EcoLeague, “a youth empowerment program that challenges and motivates students across the country to help save the planet through school and community based sustainability action projects.”


This activity can be done in fall and spring


Students building a rock and wood staircase on one of our worn out trails

Students using shovels to lift a large rock into place for drainage on a trail

Students working together to move a wheelbarrow of wood chips for repairing a trail

A drainage pipe dug in by students to divert water from the trail