Eco Underground - FREE

by  Zion National Park

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The inner workings of Zion’s rich ecosystems begin in the dark depths of the underground world. This 45-minute program introduces students to the building blocks of our ecosystems (algae, bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and fungus) and teaches students about biological soil crust and it's importance at Zion National Park and around the world.
Students learn about human impacts to biological soil crust, particularly in the Southwestern United States. They then engage in a critical thinking problem solving activity that asks them to come up with a management plan for a particular impacted area. They present their ideas to the rangers and their class, and receive feedback

Program Rating

   based on 4 evaluation(s).
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About This Program


Multipoint: $0.00
Multipoint Premium: $0.00
View Only: 0.00
View Only Premium: $0.00
Point to Point: $0.00
Point to Point Premium: $0.00
By Request: $0.00
By Request Premium: $0.00



45-60 minutes

Target Audience

Education: Grade(s) 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Minimum participants:

No minimum

Maximum participants:

There is no maximum, but for optimum interactivity, we suggest no more than 30 students.

Primary Disciplines

Career Education, Problem Solving, Sciences

Program Delivery Mode


Booking Information

Registration is not currently open. Check back in January 2023 for information regarding January-April 2023 learning opportunities. Please contact us at zion_education@nps.gov for more information.

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Receive this program and 9 more for one low price when you purchase the CILC Virtual Expeditions package. Learn more

For more information contact CILC at (507) 388-3672

Provider's Cancellation Policy

Zion National Park appreciates cancellations within 48 hours. Prior to our program we require a short equipment test. Our distance learning coordinator will contact you to schedule this short test.

About This Provider

Content Provider logo


Zion National Park

Springdale, Utah
United States

Zion National Park is a place with massive sandstone
cliffs, narrow slot canyons, unique wildlife and plants, and a rich history.
Students learn about Zion National Park, the National Park Service, and the
unique ecosystems and history of the southwest as they interact in live time
with a uniformed ranger. Our free programs cover a variety of topics that bring
curriculum to life. 

Registration is not currently open. Check back in January 2023 for information regarding January-April 2023 learning opportunities.

Zion Education

Program Details


-This program begins with a brief overview of the National Park Service and Zion National Park, as well as the other NPS sites in the southwest.
-We then discuss algae, bacteria, viruses, protozoa, fungus
-Students will then learn about biological soil crust its benefits to the ecosystem through video and images
-We will then discuss the impacts that human activity can have on biological soil crust
-The class will then be divided into groups and given an activity sheet documenting a current problem facing natural resources in the southwest, and be given a chance to create a management strategy. Students will present their ideas to the class.
-Time will be saved at the end for questions.


Students should come away:
• Naming the five types of microorganisms that are found in Zion’s soils
• Understanding the microorganisms and other components making up biological soil crust
• Explaining the role of biological soil crust as the foundation of Zion’s ecosystems
• Modeling the interactions between the different microorganisms in the soil
• Designing a way to reduce human impact on biological soil crust and the ecosystem at large

Standards Alignment

National Standards

HS-LS2-7 Life Science
HS-LS4-6 Life Science
HS-LS1-2 Life Science
HS-ESS2-5 Earth Science