Revealing Nature's Past

A high-school curriculum for teaching climate-change concepts and an introduction to paleoecology.
Developed from a workshop at the University of Oregon, Department of Geography, 19-21 June 2013.

Funded by the National Science Foundation Grant DEB-1145636

Workshop organizers:
Dan Gavin Ph.D, Project PI
Lynn Songer, Ph.D.
Erin Herring
Ariana White

Note: While the content of the core of the lesson is place-specific (western Oregon), it is being posted online in the hope that it can inspire others to adapt the lessons for other regions. Please send feedback to Daniel Gavin:

Paleoecology, Climate Change, and the Dynamic Character of Landscapes. By Erin M. Herring and Daniel G. Gavin. This PDF file contains background information for six lessons.
  1. Climate Change since the Pleistocene
  2. Forest trees and vegetation types of western Oregon
  3. Tools of paleoecology: coring, sediment processing, and pollen analysis
  4. Developing a pollen diagram from a sediment record
  5. Constructing and interpreting a pollen diagram
  6. Exploring Paleoecological Data Using Web-Mapping Tools
Student Handouts. This contains worksheets and forms needed to complete the lessons.
  1. Key for Identification of Pollen Types for Square Lake Pollen Slides
  2. Pollen counting worksheet
  3. Pollen diagram template
  4. Environmental preferences of the six species used in the pollen diagram of Square Lake
  5. Instructions for "Exploring Paleoecological Data Using Web-Mapping Tools"

Video clip demonstrating how a sediment core is collected using a Livingstone square-rod piston corer (25 minutes). The last five minutes is a detailed explanation of the parts of the Livingstone corer.

Shorter version with narration:

A crude animation of the steps of Livingstone coring

Movies by other groups:

Livingstone piston coring from ice in Minnesota

Coring marsh sediments with a vibracore: