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Photo by Henry Schneider via Unsplash

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Nature Lab


6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Earth and Space Sciences

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - Midwest, Minnesota


YouTube Video

Peatlands 101

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  • This short video describes the unique wetland ecosystem of peatlands and discusses their value and the ecosystem services they provide.
  • Through watching this video, students will understand how peatlands prevent flooding, filter water, combat climate change, and support biodiversity.
Teaching Tips


  • This video has beautiful footage of peatlands and features narration by the ecologists who work and care for a peatland in Minnesota.
  • The narrators do an excellent job explaining how peatlands impact other connected ecosystems and climate change, effectively conveying the ecological benefits of peatlands.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Learners should be familiar with the terms carbon sink and a wetland.
  • Learners should understand how ecosystems are connected and can influence each other.


  • Before watching the video, ask students to define a wetland and describe different types of ecosystems that are wetlands.
  • Consider building a model peatland and testing its water and carbon storage capabilities using materials like shoe boxes, leaves, grass, soil, sponges, and clay.
  • Have students watch the video in groups and research examples of peatlands in different countries (most are primarily in the Northern Hemisphere).
  • To conclude a lesson on peatlands, have students write an essay on the ecosystem services provided by peatlands.
Scientist Notes
This video resource from The Nature Conservancy introduces peatlands and their role in the larger ecosystem. The video uses the Sax-Zim Bog in Minnesota as a backdrop. The narrators present peatlands as vital habitats for many animal and plant species, including some carnivorous plants, and highlight their role in preventing flooding and improving water quality. The video stresses how peatlands are enormous carbon sinks that can store carbon for thousands to tens of thousands of years. The resource closes with a call to value peatlands for their numerous ecosystem functions. This video has breathtaking views of the Sax-Zim Bog and interviews with researchers and naturalists. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • HS-ESS2-6 Develop a quantitative model to describe the cycling of carbon among the hydrosphere, atmosphere, geosphere, and biosphere.
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • MS-LS2-3 Develop a model to describe the cycling of matter and flow of energy among living and nonliving parts of an ecosystem.
      • MS-LS2-5 Evaluate competing design solutions for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6.2 Interpret information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and explain how it contributes to a topic, text, or issue under study.
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