In the spring of this year (2020), just before schools across the US were shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a class of curious first graders led by teacher Karen Fundingsland set up a full (paper, glue, and crayon!) rainforest habitat right inside their classroom. 

Here’s their story, photos and some of essays right from the kids: 

Our class was in the middle of a project researching and learning about the rainforest when our school was unfortunately closed for the year due to COVID-19. We had turned our entire classroom into a rainforest, complete with floor-to-ceiling paper trees, plants, and animals, photos and information (don’t worry, the paper from the decorations will be used year after year). It was the kids themselves who actually chose Amazon animals to research — yes, all the way up in our little mountain town of Durango, CO. We learned why it’s important to save the rainforest and all its inhabitants because it affects us all even up here. 

We listened to the incredible sounds of the Amazon to bring our classroom rainforest to life!  Each student chose one amazing animal that lives in the Amazon that they wanted to learn more about and then set out to research and explore that animal’s habitat, diet, predators, protections, families, and interesting facts.  We then spent the next week reading books and learning about why the rainforest is so important and what things are threatening its survival. 

We have tried to continue this fun, engaging and important discussion through distance-learning as we all shelter in place and our students continue to spread the message about saving our rainforests from home.  We wanted to share all that we’ve discovered with you and your great partners and fellow rainforest defenders.  Thank you so much for your help and for the great work that you do!

— Karen Fundingsland. Teacher, Durango, CO

Rainforest Defenders
Rainforest Defenders
Rainforest Defenders

Feeling inspired by Ms. Kasey’s class? We are, too!

If you’re looking to create a learning environment for young people in your life or simply want to join us in protecting the amazing rainforests around the world and their inhabitants, check out our World Rainforest Day digital toolkit that can help any educator get started.

And don’t forget to join us for World Rainforest Day this Monday, June 22nd! We have a full lineup of speakers, films and more all geared towards celebrating and preserving the unique habitats that connect us all.

Tell your own story through a guest blog today!