BWCA Wilderness Kit Curriculum and Components

All of the curriculum and most of the components can be viewed by following the blue links below. For a complete list if the Kit's contents please refer to Appendix C: Materials List.


BWCA Kit Introduction


This section contains the Table of Contents and information on the what is the BWCA Wilderness Kit, who can use it, and how and when it may be used. There is also an overview of the five units and anatomy of a unit to assist with the understanding the structure and layout of the curriculum.




Unit One: What is Wilderness?
This unit focuses on what makes a place a "wilderness." Participants discuss or vote on what particular objects, sounds, and images belong in a wilderness. They are introduced to the National Wilderness Preservation System and the Wilderness Act of 1964. Participants then determine how the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness fits into the criteria of a federally designated wilderness area.


Unit One Curriculum
Vote With Your Feet Signs
Wilderness Act Primer Cards


Unit Two: How Diverse is Biodiverse?


This unit explores the concept of ecosystems. Using teams, participants decide what species survive and thrive in the five ecosystems of the BWCAW. Participants combine their ideas and analyze patterns they notice. The final discussion relates these connections to the importance of diversity within an ecosystem.


Unit Two Curriculum
Biodiversity Boogie Species Cards
Biodiversity Boogie Game Board


Unit Three: The Changing Forest
This lesson concentrates on how forests in the BWCAW change over time. Through role-playing and games participants learn the idea of forest succession and the importance of different disturbances impacting a forest.


Unit Three Curriculum
On the State of Succession Character Cards
A Path Through Time: Station Signs
A Path Through Time: Drought Cards
A Path Through Time: Fire Cards
A Path Through Time: Human Cards
A Path Through Time: Insect Cards
A Path Through Time: Wind Cards
BWCAW Changing Forest Timeline


Unit Four: People of the Boundary Waters
Participants form teams to become "experts" on a particular user group of the Boundary Waters: the Ojibwe; the Voyageur; the Logger; and the Modern Visitor. Teams learn about their specific character's use of, and impact on, the Boundary Waters. Participants then "test" their knowledge in the Paddler's Game!


Unit Four Curriculum
Paddler's Game Board
Paddler's Game Spinner
Paddler's Game Cards
Paddler's Game Wilderness Chance Cards


Unit Five: Leave No Trace
Participants learn how their actions and choices can impact the wilderness as they take an imaginary trip to the BWCAW. After discussing high and low impact choices, participants apply and categorize their decisions in relation to the seven Leave No Trace principles.


Unit Five Curriculum
Only You Can Choose: Game Board
Only You Can Choose: Cleanliness Cards
Only You Can Choose: Forest/Vegetation Cards
Only You Can Choose: Rock Cards
Only You Can Choose: Soil Cards
Only You Can Choose: Solitude Cards
Only You Can Choose: Water Cards
Only You Can Choose: Wildlife Cards




Appendix A: Glossary
Appendix B: Resources
Appendix C: Complete Materials List
Appendices D and E: Wilderness Act of 1964 & BWCA Wilderness Act of 1978
Appendix F: Unit One Extension Two Reference List
Appendix G: Wilderness Passport Cover Sheet