Mountain Men and the Beaver

Time: 45-60 Minutes

Grades: 3-12


This virtual field trip teaches what happens when human history and conservation converge. Your students will learn about the life of mountain men, what it was like on the frontier, and how trapping impacted beaver populations. This program features mountain man artifacts from the 1800s, artifacts from the beaver hat industry, and beaver biofacts.

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Mountain Men and the Beaver:

Our Mountain Men and the Beaver program is a fantastic way to teach your students about the impact that humans and industry can have on animals and conservation! This program covers multiple aspects of one larger topic, the beaver hat industry. 

One aspect of this topic, that we will examine, is how the beaver hat industry led to the near extinction of the beaver in Europe! We’ll discuss how popular this fashion craze was, and what happened to the beavers because of it. 

Next, we’ll discuss how the collapse of the beaver populations in Europe led to wide scale trapping in the new world; this is where the mountain men come in. Your students will learn what it was like to be a mountain man in the 1800s. We’ll discuss their everyday life, the dangers they faced, and how they helped create the trails that were later used by immigrants. Your students will see beaver traps, mountain man clothing, weapons, and other artifacts from this important time period. 

Finally, we’ll discuss how this wide scale commercial trapping almost led to the extinction of the North American beaver, too. Your students will learn how a small fashion change in Europe (the move from beaver hats to silk hats) not only saved the beavers but ended the mountain man lifestyle! 

This virtual field trip is unique and incredibly interesting! Request a program today! 

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