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Nature Lab by the Nature Conservancy


8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Earth and Space Sciences, Engineering

Resource Type

  • Videos, 23 minutes, 29 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus

Global, North America, United States, USA - Midwest, South and Central America, Illinois, Nebraska, Ohio


YouTube Video

Less Harm on the Farm: Regenerative Ag

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  • This video introduces viewers to three agricultural revolutions that have already happened and the next revolution, which will consist of improving methods to advance climate solutions such as cover crops, conservation tillage, filtration via wetlands, pollinator gardens, green buffer zones, and agroforestry.
  • Students will learn about the modern challenges in agriculture, such as soil depletion, erosion, land issues, water supply, fertilizer runoff, and reducing emissions.
  • Students will see exemplary farms, such as Franklin Farms in central Illinois, the University of Illinois Research Farms, a farm in Ohio, and a farm in Nebraska that uses Traditional Ecological Knowledge from the Mayan people in Central America, and learn about the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico.
Teaching Tips


  • The commentators and experts speak in a friendly manner and provide information in an informal tone, therefore introducing serious concepts with tact and empathy.
  • Students will be engaged with the wide variety of climate solutions that are presented and may wish to take their own actions at the local level.
  • Teachers can download a companion teaching guide that includes lesson plans, standards, a materials list, and extension activities using the link in the description and downloading the "Earth Month with Nature Lab" guide. Guidance for this video is on page 12.

Additional Prerequisites

  • A Nature Conservancy trustee tells the story of decomposing tillage radishes that smelled bad, and neighbors thought it might be a cadaver, so students may have questions about that word.
  • Teachers and students can share the video via social media.
  • Students should understand the importance of carbon sequestration and agriculture's impacts on climate change.


  • Commentators demonstrate an experiment that examines how cover crops protect against erosion, so Science teachers can have students conduct the same experiment.
  • One segment of the presentation focuses on the "three sisters" growing method of Indigenous people, so teachers can show the video and have students research which Indigenous people lived in their areas, as well as the contributions of those people.
  • Another segment shows a farmer and guest tasting various fruits and nuts from the "food forest" growing next to a cash crop field, so teachers may wish to have students write reflections about foods they have grown or seen growing at the local level.
  • The video mentions composting as a climate solution, so students may wish to begin composting at the classroom or school campus level.
  • The video also presents planting a pollinator or food garden as an easy way to help the planet, so teachers can have students plant one near the classroom.
  • Finally, the narrators mention shopping locally for food as another way to help, so teachers may wish to plan a field trip to a farmer's market.
Scientist Notes
This video discusses regenerative agriculture. This includes discussions about the agricultural revolutions and different techniques to make farming more sustainable and environmentally conscious. The video discusses several different techniques which makes it a nice introduction and overview to the topic. The video also is a great addition to lessons and discussions about farming, food, and being environmentally conscious. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-3 Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.
      • HS-ESS3-1 Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, and changes in climate have influenced human activity.
      • HS-ESS3-3 Create a computational simulation to illustrate the relationships among management of natural resources, the sustainability of human populations, and biodiversity.
      • HS-ESS3-4 Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • HS-ETS1-1 Analyze a major global challenge to specify qualitative and quantitative criteria and constraints for solutions that account for societal needs and wants.
    • LS2.C: Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning, and Resilience
      • MS-LS2-C.2. Biodiversity describes the variety of species found in Earth’s terrestrial and oceanic ecosystems. The completeness or integrity of an ecosystem’s biodiversity is often used as a measure of its health. (MS-LS2-5)
    • LS4.D: Biodiversity and Humans
      • HS-LS4-D.2. Humans depend on the living world for the resources and other benefits provided by biodiversity. But human activity is also having adverse impacts on biodiversity through overpopulation, overexploitation, habitat destruction, pollution, introduction of invasive species, and climate change. Thus sustaining biodiversity so that ecosystem functioning and productivity are maintained is essential to supporting and enhancing life on Earth. Sustaining biodiversity also aids humanity by preserving landscapes of recreational or inspirational value. (secondary to HS-LS2-7), (HS-LS4-6)
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Geography
      • D2.Geo.10.9-12 Evaluate how changes in the environmental and cultural characteristics of a place or region influence spatial patterns of trade and land use.
    • Dimension 2: History
      • D2.His.1.6-8 Analyze connections among events and developments in broader historical contexts.
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