Aug 21

Picture yourself in a misty wooded forest, with towering conifers creating an imposing canopy and ground squirrels exploring the damp earth below. Not too far away, you might hear the crash of the Pacific Ocean, and above your head you might hear the call of a bald eagle.

Young coast redwood growing next to mature specimen

Where is this place, you ask? It’s the temperate rainforest of the Pacific Northwest, the featured ecosystem in our newest ARKive Education lesson all about temperate rainforests. Developed with support from the Weeden Foundation, ‘Temperate Rainforest in the Pacific Northwest’ encourages 7-11 year olds to get hands-on and explore their local environment, food webs, and the differences between living and non-living things. By comparing their findings with the Pacific Northwest region in the USA, students discover the many features of the Pacific Northwest that make it unique, and investigate how this ecosystem is changing as a result of human influence.

Supported by amazing photos and videos from the ARKive collection, students will uncover the diverse range of species that inhabit the temperate rainforests of the Pacific Northwest, including some rare and threatened ones.

‘Temperate Rainforest in the Pacific Northwest’ also incorporates an overarching conservation theme highlighting how human behaviors are threatening the region’s wildlife. Industries such as logging and housing construction are examined, and students are given the chance to suggest solutions to these conservation issues in the classroom.

To welcome our newest education resource to the ARKive website, we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to take a tour of some of the different species that call the Pacific Northwest home.

Night chaser

Red fox vixen head profile


An active nocturnal hunter, the red fox roams the temperate rainforest in search of small mammals and invertebrate prey. Although it’s only roughly the size of a small dog, it’s actually the largest species in the genus Vulpes.

Wise wood

Lawson's cypress

Lawson’s cypress thrives in the moderate temperature and high precipitation that characterizes the temperate rainforest. Amazingly, this conifer can live for as long as 560 years!

Whistling Washingtonian

Washington ground squirrel in habitat

After hibernating for seven to eight months of the year, the Washington ground squirrel emerges to seek food such as flowers, roots, bulbs and seeds.  A unique characteristic of this small mammal is its call, which is a soft, lisping whistle.

Mountain frogs

Adult Cascades frog

During the warmer months, the Cascades frog dwells in wet mountain habitats such as marshes and bogs, but during hibernation, it might actually be found in the mud at the very bottom of ponds.

High-flying hunter

Bald eagle landing

An iconic American symbol, the bald eagle can be found soaring above the temperate rainforest. This species is an impressive hunter, and is even capable of capturing birds the size of geese during flight!

Visit ARKive Education to download ‘Temperate Rainforest in the Pacific Northwest‘ and explore our fun and inspiring collection of lessons, games and resources.

Hannah MacMillan, Intern, Wildscreen USA