Lesson Plans Lesson Plans

Wabanaki Studies: Out of Ash

Brittany Cook, Maine Historical Society, Cumberland County


3-5, 6-8, 9-12

  • Science & Engineering -- Life Sciences
  • Science & Engineering -- Earth & Space Sciences
  • Science & Engineering -- Engineering, Technology, and Applications of Science
  • Social Studies -- Civics & Government
  • Social Studies -- Personal Finance & Economics
  • Social Studies -- Geography
  • Social Studies -- History

2-3 days

  • Pre-1500
  • 1500-1774
  • 1775-1850
  • 1851-1920
  • 1921-today
  • Arts
  • Civics & Citizenship
  • Community
  • Economy
  • Environment/The Land
  • The People/Peopling of Maine

This lesson plan will give middle and high school students a broad overview of the ash tree population in North America, the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) threatening it, and the importance of the ash tree to the Wabanaki people in Maine. Students will look at Wabanaki oral histories as well as the geological/glacial beginnings of the region we now know as Maine for a general understanding of how the ash tree came to be a significant part of Wabanaki cultural history and environmental history in Maine. Students will compare national measures to combat the EAB to the Wabanaki-led Ash Task Force’s approaches in Maine, will discuss the benefits and challenges of biological control of invasive species, the concept of climigration, the concepts of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and Indigenous Knowledge (IK) and how research scientists arrive at best practices for aiding the environment.

  • Students will be able to identify the ash tree population’s significance for Wabanaki people and the State of Maine with regard to the environment, economy, and traditions.
  • Students will make informed projections on the effectiveness of current biocontrol methods for combatting an invasive species, and the methods for preserving cultural traditions in the “short, medium, and long term.”

Can be paired for grades 3-5 with MHS lesson plan "Stewarding Natural Resources."

Download Lesson Plan

A resource developed by Maine Historical Society with support from Jane's Trust