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        3-5, 13+

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        Oregon | Activity 8.10: Land Competition

        Students watch a video about the conflict in the Oregon Wildlife Refuge, and learn how the federal government and the ranchers involved in the conflict view the issue of land ownership. They then write a letter to the editor about a public land space they enjoy.

        Lesson Summary

        Students watch a video about the conflict in the Oregon Wildlife Refuge, and learn how the federal government and the ranchers involved in the conflict view the issue of land ownership. They then write a letter to the editor about a public land space they enjoy.

        This lesson is part of "Great States: Oregon | Unit 8: Modern Oregon & State Symbols." In this unit, students will consider Oregon’s natural and cultural heritage, as well as the state’s current day strengths and challenges. Students also learn about the state’s symbols and their meanings.

        Time Allotment

        15 minutes

        Learning Objectives

        Standards: 

        4.11: Identify conflicts involving use of land, natural resources, economy, and competition for scarce resources.

        Supplies

        Directions

        1. Explain to students they’ll be watching a video about a land dispute between Western ranchers and our country’s federal government.

        1. Play the video, Armed Ranchers Occupy Oregon Wildlife Refuge in Protest | PBS NewsHour. [5:14]

        1. Discuss the issue together as a class. Clarify for students that the land that the Bundys and their militia were standing off on has been federal land since 1908. They were taking a stand about the values they believe in (privatization of land rather than federal ownership) in that space.

        1. Explain that federal land is public land for all to enjoy. Ask if students enjoy any government or publicly-owned spaces such as parks, wildlife refuges, playgrounds, etc. Explain that a wildlife refuge is a designated sanctuary that protects animals from hunting, predators, and other threatening circumstances. Refuges have been established for big game (bison, elk, etc.), small game, birds, and more; they protect species at risk of extinction.

        1. Also, explain that the federal land does take up hundreds and hundreds of acres—vast amounts of space that the people in the video would rather see controlled locally by citizens rather than the federal government. They would like to have a say in what is done with the land.

        1. Distribute the Land Competition: Letter to the Editor handout to students. If students have never heard about a letter to the editor before, explain the concept: sometimes when people want their voice and opinion heard, they explain their argument in a letter, which they send to the local newspaper. Sometimes the editor will choose to publish it in the newspaper so that other citizens can be informed of the issue and learn that viewpoint.

        1. Have students write a letter to the editor about their use of a public land space and their opinions on who should have a say about the contested land.

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