City Habitats

Teacher resource, grades 3–12


Our Cities and Towns are our Natural Habitat

City Habitats is composed of organizations and individuals choosing to reimagine Puget Sound's cities and towns as part of nature. Our mission is to create a movement to bring communities together to turn the tide on one of the most pressing environmental issues we face, an issue that is intricately linked to quality of life in this region: polluted runoff. While some of the materials shared here are specific to Washington State, polluted runoff is an issue facing urban areas around the world. These resources support those looking to teach about polluted runoff and implement school and community-based, green infrastructure solutions.

City Habitats: Newspapers in Education Insert

City Habitats: Transform Your Community to Turn the Tide on Polluted Runoff: This flipping book is the online version of the Seattle Times Newspapers in Education Insert. The insert describes the importance of the Puget Sound ecosystem as well as ways to address polluted runoff and make positive changes at your school, home, and in your community. It includes a wide variety of activities for students as well as inspiration and resources for designing and building a rain garden.

Related Nature Works Everywhere Lessons

  • How Natural Areas Filter Water (grades 6-8): Nature works to filter and release water over time, reducing the amount of artificial treatment needed to filter water and helping to prevent flooding. In this lesson, students learn about the importance of water quality for human health and agriculture.
  • Garden Lesson Plan: Water (all grades): In this lesson, students calculate the permeable surface area of their garden and measure rainfall to determine how much water their garden filters. They also explore the relationship between their garden and water quality in the surrounding watershed.
  • Sustainable Cities: Nature-Based Solutions in Urban Design (grades 9-12): In this set of activities, students are introduced to urban sustainability. They describe their vision of a sustainable city, identify urban challenges, and discover nature's ecosystem services. Students take an active role in their cities by using technology to map, plan, design, and propose a project that incorporates nature-based solutions.
  • Urban Runoff (grades 9-12): This lesson introduces students to the problem of urban runoff and a variety of nature-based design ideas and solutions. Through a school mapping activity, students determine which solutions would be best suited to dealing with urban runoff on their school grounds.

Partner Resources

  • Puget Sound Starts Here Drain Rangers (grades: 3-8): The purpose of the Drain Rangers! and Engineering Solutions curricula and materials is to develop and cultivate an understanding of the serious issues caused by stormwater runoff and to share specific actions we can take to improve water quality. Students utilize problem solving models to replicate the thinking process of engineers addressing polluted stormwater runoff.
  • LID Technical Assistance Manual for Schools (all grades): Sustainability Ambassadors created the Stormwater Master Campus Planning Manual for schools as a curriculum-based engineering, science, and policy guide for how to construct and maintain green infrastructure and other Low Impact Develop techniques on school property.

Published August 2016