Riparian Zone Curriculum

This course was a collaborative effort between the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association and UVM’s Lake Champlain Sea Grant program.

What is the Abenaki relationship to plants growing alongside Lake Champlain? How do Abenaki tribes today continue to practice this relationship, and how do they cope with invasive species that are taking over the Lake Champlain Basin? This curriculum will not only address these questions but also allow you to practice restoration ecology at your own pace, to help assist your local ecosystems. This highly flexible program utilizes video, posters, DIY projects, field trips, and PowerPoints which can be adapted for different age groups. See links to Lesson Plan PDF, PowerPoint, activity directions, video, and supplementary materials below.



Poster with images of leaves. The text says, " DIY Seed Paper. Have you noticed your local river or stream  isn't as green as it used to be? Help restore Lake Champlain water basin by planting your seed paper in your local riparian zone.

DIY Seed Paper: Restoration Ecology for Kids! This video was created for a lesson plan that Lina Longtoe Schulmeisters created for the Lake Champlain Sea Grant program, as a collaboration between Sea Grant and the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association. In the original lesson plan, instructors would take their classes out to gather some goldenrod or staghorn sumac to create traditional dyes similar to what the Abenaki would use when creating textiles. However, a contemporary solution would be to blend whatever berries are in season and boil the juices (allowing them to cool after, of course) for more vibrant color.

*This process is adapted from NASA’s Climate Kids instructions.

Abenaki Uses of the Riparian Zone – In this video, Master Fiber Artists John Sheehan and Vera Longtoe Sheehan, will teach you how the Abenaki use plants that grow near the shoreline to create art supplies and see them harvest cattails.

Supplemental Materials

Riparian Zone Cross Word Zone

BROAD-LEAVED CATTAIL, Typha latifolia L: Plant Guide. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS).

Hybrid Cattails (Typha x glauca). Mary Penney, Stewardship & Habitat Program Coordinator, New York Sea Grant and Matt Distler, Ph.D., SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry.

CANADA GOLDENROD Solidago canadensis L: Plant Fact Sheet.United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS).

PHRAGMITES: Questions and Answers: What is Phragmites? (Phragmites australis). U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Gulf of Maine Program. This link no longer exists. The content is now available at

Poison Sumac – Poisonous Shrub.

Poison Ivy, Oak, and sumac — The Basics. Web MD.