Whitebark Pine in Fire Education

Creative, interactive activities from the FireWorks educational program are available to help children learn about whitebark pine, its relationship to fire, and threats to its future. Materials can be borrowed from a FireWorks trunk (availablility) or downloaded from the website. For suggestions on teaching techniques, see the FireWorks Curriculum.

Encourage research skills and creativity of elemetrunks woodpeckerntary and middle-school students as they present a drama illustrating whitebark pine ecology. Each student adopts the character of a plant or animal, presents the character to the class with a mask or costume, and plays the role of the character in a drama developed by the class. Instructions are in the curriculum, pp. 150-156. Download reference materials for students to use.

Have elementary and middle-school students puzzle out the trunks feltecology of whitebark pine in relationship to neighboring forest communities. The 11-piece jigsaw puzzle describing whitebark ecology looks simple—until you see that the puzzles for lodgepole pine and ponderosa pine ecology are cut on the same template! Students can only solve this 3-dimensional puzzle successfully if they know the ecology or interpret the clues provided on puzzle pieces. Instructions are in the curriculum, pp. 162-165. Download the puzzles for printing.

Tell the whitebark story with the help of preschool and primary students. Have them help you illustrate the story using felt figures representing residents of whitebark ecosystems. Students enjoy the tactile nature of the activity, taking responsibility for a particular plant or animal throughout the story, and creating sound effects for weather and fire. Instructions are in the curriculum, pp. 157-161. Materials can be borrowed from a FireWorks trunk or assembled using these directions.

If you would like to learn more about the FireWorks program, consider attending a teacher workshop. Check the online schedule or contact Ilana Abrahamson (, 406-329-4831).


SYMBIOSIS: Clark’s Nutcracker & Whitebark Pine

Check out this TED ED video: Symbiosis: A surprising tale of species cooperation