Clean Rivers Education – Resources about Riparian Habitats and Biodiversity

Photo shows class of students on a dock in the middle of a pond on a rainy day
A riparian habitat includes the land next to water. Learn more about Pacific northwest wildlife that need healthy riparian habitats.

Local Resources


Riparian Habitat Slides

Use these slides to introduce habitats and the five elements that all animals need to survive in their habitat: food, water, shelter, space, and air. Pair this with the Explore Whitaker Ponds video and the Fantastic Habitats worksheet.

Fantastic Habitats: Create Your Own

Students create their own animal and consider what type of habitat it lives in.

I Notice, I Wonder Photo Collection

This activity focuses on the scientific practices of making observations and asking questions. Students view images from riparian habitats and complete an activity focused on observation skills. Adapted from Lawrence Hall of Science’s Beetles Project. Also see accompanying teacher's guide.

I Notice, I Wonder Template

Use this template to encourage students to make observations, ask questions and create connections. Pair this template with some of the videos listed below!

Wildlife of Portland

Check out wildlife that call Portland home. This poster is organized by aquatic, grassland, forested, and urban habitat species. Poster includes actions to protect watersheds and wildlife.


Explore Whitaker Ponds (6 min)

Join Clean Rivers educators on a virtual visit to Whitaker Ponds Nature Park. Learn about habitats and find clues that riparian animals call Whitaker Ponds home. Pair this video with the Riparian Habitats, the I Notice, I Wonder Collection and the Fantastic Habitats activities above. 

Life at a Beaver Dam in Gresham, Oregon (4 min)
With images from day and nighttime, see the variety of wildlife that use the habitat created by beavers. From sparrows to otters, Great Blue Herons to deer and coyotes, life near a beaver dam is active! Created by City of Gresham watershed scientist Katie Holzer and nature photographer Caz Zyvatkauskas.

Night Moves: Beavers and Nutria Build a Dam (3 min)
Watch beavers and nutria build a dam at Smith and Bybee Wetlands in Portland. By Metro

Critter Camera at Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge (three, 20-second videos)
Catch a glimpse of beaver at work, otters enjoying a meal, a great blue heron fishing, and more. Much of the footage shows wildlife at night — when many of the hundreds of species that call the refuge home are most active.

Whitaker Ponds Wildlife Cameras
Students from Alliance High School at Meek teamed up with the Columbia Slough Watershed Council's Slough School and placed wildlife cameras around Whitaker Ponds. Check out Alliance High School's guest blog post about the project and their Whitaker Ponds Wild! trail cam videos.

Slough School: Habitats Lesson (15 min)
The Columbia Slough Watershed Council's Slough School program has a YouTube channel called Today on Slough School. This video is a lesson on habitats with a focus on habitats of Oregon.

More Resources


Deep Look

Deep Look offers ultra-HD wildlife and nature videos created by KQED San Francisco and presented by PBS Digital Studios. These short videos offer a great way for students to consider how animals use unique adaptations to survive in their habitat. Pair these videos with the I Notice I Wonder template.

Nature Lab

Nature Lab is the Nature Conservancy's youth curriculum platform. Find videos, teacher guides, student activities and educator support videos.

  • Nature Lab Virtual Field Trips (time varies)
    Visit different biomes from around the world, from America's deserts and temperate rainforests, to China's great forests, and to the coral reefs of Palau. Geared for slightly older students (5th-8th), but customizable for all ages.
  • Urban Habitat: Biodiversity in our City (4 min)
    This video showcases the role of gardens as miniature ecosystems in our cities.

Mystery Science

Mystery Science is a subscription-based online science curriculum. Lessons are aligned to Next Generation Science Standards and combine video and hands-on activities, many that can be done at home. Check to see if your district has a subscription!

Web Resources

Links for Animal Research and More