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Hiking for Habitat (FBCEC)

TopicLaboratory and Hands-on Activities - General
Laboratory and Hands-on Activities - Physical Activity
Outdoor Skills - Hiking
Wildlife - Mammals
Participants will reinforce their knowledge of habitats by listing the components of a habitat and different animals that might use the area as habitat. They will try to find habitats for several animals found in the Ozarks.
Recommended SettingOutdoors
LocationFred Berry Conservation Education Center, Yellville, AR

Education Program Coordinator, 870-449-3484


Duration45 minutes - 1.5 hours
Suggested Number of ParticipantsUp to 24
Special Conditions
Weather permitting
  • Identify the four elements of a healthy habitat.
  • Apply what is known about healthy habitats to real animals and their specific habitat requirements.
Key Terms*




Drawing and writing materials

Large sheet of paper or dry erase board

“Mammals of Arkansas” trading cards

Animal information posters and books


Habitats supply the basic needs for survival: food, water, shelter and space. While all animals need these elements, some species have different needs such as different amounts of water or space, different types of shelter or foods. The more diverse a habitat is, the more different species can live there. Observing habitat characteristics can indicate what wildlife lives there.

  1. Make sure participants can explain what habitat means. Ask them to name the four elements of a healthy habitat: food, water, shelter and space. List the elements across the top of a large piece of paper or dry erase board.
  2. Ask them to name several animals they might find around the education center. Record the answers down the side of the paper or dry erase board.
  3. Let each participant, or a group of three or four, choose an animal from their list.
  4. Ask the participants to use the trading cards, posters and books to find what their animal needs to have a healthy habitat.
  5. Have them list the answers on the paper or dry erase board.
  6. Take the participants on a discovery hike where they will look for areas where their chosen animal might find suitable food, water, shelter and space.  Have them describe the area in a journal entry, explaining how the habitat meets each need. Participants may also map or illustrate the area they have described.
  7. Bring all together to share what they discovered on their hike.

Pass out Arkansas Game and Fish habitat sheets and stickers. Tell participants to place the animal stickers in locations on the sheet that represent appropriate habitat for each animal. Participants may color the sheets. (Note: There are six different habitats pictured in this set, and the six can be joined into a large puzzle.)

  • Name the key elements of a healthy habitat.
  • Describe the ideal habitat for a cottontail rabbit.


  • Benyus, Janine, M. (1989). The Field Guide to Wildlife Habitats of the Eastern United States. Simon & Schuster, NY.
  • Stetson, Emily (2004). Kids’ Easy to Create Wildlife Habitats for Small Spaces. Williamson Books, Nashville, TN.



Habitat – an arrangement of food, water, shelter or cover, and space suitable to animals’ needs

Ozarks – a physiographic, geologic, and cultural highland region of the central United States covering much of the south half of Missouri, an extensive portion of northwest and North central Arkansas and extending westward into northeast Oklahoma and extreme southeast Kansas; although refered to as mountains, the region is actually a high and deeply dissected plateau