Washington Wildlife

Baby raccoons
Photo by Kristen Hartshorn

Every spring, hundreds of people from all over Washington call customer service at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) because they find baby wildlife and want to know what to do with it. Many of these calls are for baby wildlife who are not hurt and are behaving normally, so why do people think they need help?

This is an integrated unit, teaching key English Language Arts standards through a science lens. Students will be presented with an anchoring phenomenon of a scenario where a community member found baby wildlife and wants to know what to do. As a class, students and their teacher
engage in a research project to determine:

  • What kind of baby wildlife the animal is,
  • Where they live,
  • Who their parents are and how the parents care for their young, and
  • If the baby wildlife needs help.

Finally, students will work in small groups to engage in a research project about another Washington wildlife species, and they will create a wildlife research poster that can be shared with WDFW! Our goal is to help inform communities about how and when people should engage with baby wildlife, and when wildlife babies are better left alone.