International Day for Biological Diversity Lesson Plans

Students learn about heroes from all over the world fighting for biodiversity and consider how one person can have a lasting impact on the future. Encourage your students to think about how they too can make a positive impact. Resources for Elementary, Middle and High School Students. 

Biological Diversity Lesson Plan
Credit: MY HERO

Elementary Students

Elementary students watch this animated video “The Ocean We Want To Know,”  which takes them on an adventure around the world to some of the planet’s most exotic ocean locations, singing a song of ocean celebration to the tune of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know.” The story presents stunning facts about the ocean in a fun and unique way, speaking to a young audience.

The Ocean We Want To Know

Produced by:Macgillivray Freeman Films
One World One Ocean's new animated video celebrates the wonders of the ocean with stunning facts about our connection to the planet's lifeline.

Lesson plans about the importance of Kelp organized by grade level.

Students watch The Kelp Lady about marine biologist Nancy Caruso who led the move to replant Orange County's kelp forest.  Lesson plans included organized by grade level. 

Laguna Beach Eco Heroes: Nancy Caruso

Produced by:The MY HERO Project

Nancy Caruso aka "The Kelp Lady" has worked hard to restore the kelp off of the shores of Orange County. (running time 3:22 min.)

THE KELP LADY Produced by the MY HERO Project: TRT 8 min 41 seconds

The Kelp Lady features marine biologist Nancy Caruso, who led the move to replant Orange County's kelp forest. She's also involved in many different causes aimed at replenishing sea life along California's coast.


Elementary Lesson Plan Link

Middle Lesson Plan Link

High School Lesson Plan Link

Resources and Discussion Questions for Middle and High School Students

Rainforest Action

Will Parrinello
In 2020 Nemonte received the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize and was named to Time Magazine’s Top 100, its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

The Story We Want - Episode 1 - Coal and Climate

Dayna Reggero
SPECIAL HERO AWARD - 2021 --Dayna Reggero traveled across America to listen to ordinary women who are confronting fossil fuel industries, climate change impacts, and a culture of extraction.

Muir was a famous California conservationist with a radically non-anthropocentric view of nature. Understanding the world in this way can help us understand the importance of biodiversity.  MY HERO recommends this excellent essay by Harold Wood, Jr. about his hero, John Muir.  This story is available in text with audio so students can listen and read along. Great for ESL/EFF Students!  After reading the essay, take a close look at the portrait by Robert Shetterly of a young John Muir. 

John Muir

By: Harold W. Wood, Jr.

This is an excellent essay about John Muir, the famous California conservationist, and his radically non-anthropocentric view of nature.

John Muir was a naturalist, author, environmental philosopher, and early advocate for the preservation of wilderness in the United States.

By: Robert Shetterly

Rachel Carson is credited by many as the mother of the environmental movement.  She raised awareness of the danger to the environment, as well as health risks, from the use of chemicals. 

MY HERO recommends reading this essay by Wendy Jewell about her hero, Rachel Carson, which is available in text and audio - great for ESL/EFF students. After reading the essay, take a close look at her portrait by Robert Shetterly. 

Rachel Carson

By: Wendy Jewell .

                                Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring,                                         was the mother of the environmental movement.

Rachel Carson raised awareness of the environmental and health risks associated with the proliferating use of chemicals.

By: Robert Shetterly

Discussion Questions

1. How did the belief that all living things are interconnected influence both John Muir and Rachel Carson?

2. What has been the effect of John Muir and Rachel Carson's work on the biodiversity of our world?

3. How are John Muir and Rachel Carson's concerns still relevant today?

4. Why did artist Robert Shetterly include words in the background of his portraits of John Muir and Rachel Carson? What other words or quotes could Shetterly have used in his portrait of John Muir? What other words or quote could Shetterly have used in his portrait of Rachel Carson? 


Learn about Indian author, scholar and environmental activist Dr. Vandana Shiva who works to preserve biodiversity on earth.

Why is the work Dr. Shiva doing important?

How has Dr. Shiva helped protect the world's biodiversity?

Dr. Vandana Shiva

By: David Kemker

Dr. Vandana Shiva works to preserve 

biodiversity for the planet.

Here are two stories to read about heroes working to preserve important ecosystems that are part of the earth's biodiversity. Carlos Mendes worked to protect the Amazon rain forest and Mary Hagedorn works to protect coral reefs.  

Chico Mendes

By: Jeff Trussell

Chico Mendes died a martyr defending the rainforests.

Help Mary Save Coral

By: Amanda Molinaro from Irvine

 Dr. Mary Hagedorn works to repopulate the world's coral.    

Discussion Questions

1. How does the work of Chico Mendez and Mary Hagedorn impact the future of Earth's biodiversity?

2. What character traits do Chico Mendez and Mary Hagedorn have that contributed to their heroic efforts to preserve biodiversity?

3. Who else is working to protect the biodiversity of our world? Share his or her story about the work they are doing with MY HERO.


Thomas Lovejoy is called the "grandfather of biodiversity." Read about him in this exciting newswire story told from the "lungs of the earth"-- the Amazon.

Camp Amazon: Inside the 'lungs of the Earth'

By: Amanda Paulson - CSM Staff writer

Dr. Lovejoy, the "godfather of biodiversity," brings celebrities and scientists to the Amazon to sleep in hammocks and see our biggest environmental crises: climate change and biodiversity loss. 

 Discussion Questions

1. Why is the ecosystem of the Amazon important to the rest of the world?

2. What are the risks of climate change and deforestation to the biodiversity of the Amazon?

3. Why is the work that ecologists like Thomas Lovejoy are doing important? 

4. Who are other scientists and activists working to protect the Amazon's resources? Share their story with MY HERO. 


Listen and Read Along: Story with text and audio

Tuy Sereivathana works to mitigate elephant mistreatment by introducing innovative low-cost solutions and reducing the cutting down of trees that provide a home to the elephants in Cambodia. He has also helped build community schools and developed a curriculum about conservation in order to educate the next generation.

Tuy Sereivathana

By: Used with permission from<br><a href="http://www.goldmanprize.org/2010/asia"...
Tuy Sereivathana is a Cambodian environmentalist who solves conflicts between elephants and people.

MY HERO recommends watching one or more of the following films about heroes working towards protecting the earth's biodiversity.  

A Walk Through The Land of A Thousand Hills

Chema Domenech
Claver Ntoyinkima, a native park ranger, shares the secrets of Nyungwe National Park in Rwanda as he guides us through the forest.

Looking After Our Environment: James Price Point

Produced by:Mark Pearce
Mark Jones speaks out against a gas development complex that spells doomsday for some species living around James Price Point.

Tuy Sereivathana | Cambodia

Produced by:Tom Dusenbery
Tuy Sereivathana, an animal rights hero.

The Arctic Garden

Produced by:Will Parinello/Tom Dusenberry

Caroline Cannon, an Inupiat indigenous leader, takes aim at offshore oil drilling that threatens her people and the biodiversity in the Arctic Sea. (running time 4:18 min)

Climate change and indigenous knowledge: An unknown asset

Produced by:CTA

Habitat for the Endangered

Produced by:Tom Dusenbery

A biologist by training, Rudi Putra is dismantling illegal palm oil plantations that are causing massive deforestation in northern Sumatra’s Leuser Ecosystem. (running time 4:15 min.)

The Story We Want - Episode 1 - Coal and Climate

Dayna Reggero
SPECIAL HERO AWARD - 2021 --Dayna Reggero traveled across America to listen to ordinary women who are confronting fossil fuel industries, climate change impacts, and a culture of extraction.

Last Stand - The Vanishing Caribou Rainforest (Trailer)

Produced by:David Moskowitz
The forthcoming documentary “Last Stand” puts the Caribou Rainforest on the map before it’s too late.

Discussion Questions

1. How do each of the people featured in these films demonstrate that one person can make a difference?

2. How are each of the people featured in these films heroes for biodiversity? What impact have they had on the future of our interconnected world?

3. What heroic character traits do these people exemplify that led them to the work they have done?

4. What concerns do you have about the future of Earth's biodiversity? What can you do? Share your story with MY HERO.

Learning Outcomes:

Students will develop a better understanding of our interconnected world and the importance of a healthy biodiversity.

Students will analyze issues regarding biodiversity today, and how one individual can have a lasting impact on the future.

They have the opportunity to evaluate issues in biodiversity today and create an action plan. 

Learn more about Biodiversity by viewing this TED talk.

My Hero suggested viewing

TED Ed | Why is Biodiversity Important?

An excellent introduction video which explains the three components of biodiversity: ecosystem, genetic and species. Learn about the Amazon rainforest, one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world; coral reefs.



Laura Nietzer

The International Day of Biodiversity lesson plan was created by MY HERO Education Outreach Director Laura Nietzer.

MY HERO Calendars for use in the Classroom

MY HERO's Teachers Calendar Features Lesson Plans and Multimedia Resources

Teachers Calendar
Credit: MY HERO

Learn about a New Hero Every Day of the Year: Use the MY HERO Calendar in the Classroom

Students can share their Hero Essays, Films and Art through our Create Program

How to use MY HERO's Create Program to Publish Stories, Art, Film and Audio for Students

Tutorial for students: Publish written stories, film, original artwork and audio in MY HERO's multimedia library.

Create Program
Credit: MY HERO

Related External Links

PBS Learning Media: Biodiversity
Credit: PBS

Organizer created on 4/10/2019 10:34:48 AM by Laura Nietzer

Last edited 4/16/2024 3:12:14 PM by Laura Nietzer