Welcome to a North American temperate forest! As you walk along a shady trail, the forest seems cool and quiet. But it is full of life, from a butterfly flitting over a flower to a gray wolf prowling through the underbrush. Day and night in the forest, the hunt is on to find food—and to avoid becoming someone else’s next meal. All the living things are connected to one another in a food chain, from animal to animal, animals to plants, plants to insects, and insects to animals. What path will you take to follow the food chain through the forest? Will you … Trail a black bear and her cubs? Dive down into a dark river with a beaver? Hunt from a high perch with a great horned owl? Follow all three chains and many more on this who-eats-what adventure!
Lessons and Activities
As we did the research for writing our Follow That Food Chain books, we came across many, many great sites and links to use with students in lessons or learning activities. We’ve pulled together the most kid-friendly ones here; hope it helps you to explore the temperate forest world!
The Habitat or Biome
Temperate forests (maybe my favorite habitat we’ve written about because it’s where we live) are deciduous forests, or forests where most of the trees’ leaves change and fall throughout the year. Temperate forests have four distinct seasons and the trees and their leaves change to adapt to the changing seasons and weather. Read on for more information.
A Walk in the Woods – a virtual forest hike from the University of Illinois Extension (also in Spanish!)
Assignment Discovery: Temperate Forest – a short video
The Food Chain
The Animals (in general)
These are some the creatures in our Follow That Food Chain: a Who-Eats-What Adventure in a Temperate Forest. Click to read, hear, and watch more about them.
Black Bear (Ursus americanus)
Wisconsin DNR on Black Bears - a general information site
National Geographic on Black Bears – fast facts and listen to a black bear cub
The North American Bear Center - loads of short video clips of black bears in their natural environment
Canada Lynx (Lynx canadensis)
Wisconsin DNR on Canada Lynx - a general information site
Ohio Trees – A huge tree index with information, photos and identification guides
Interactive Leaf Key – ID your leaf by using this interactive questionnaire