• Mount Rainier peeks through clouds, viewed across subalpine wildflowers and glacial moraine.

    Mount Rainier

    National Park Washington

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  • Nisqually to Paradise delays and Kautz Creek area closure.

    Road construction from the Nisqually Entrance to Longmire. Expect a 30-minute delay, Monday through Friday. Beginning May 29 to mid-July, all services at the Kautz Creek parking and picnic area are closed through the week. Limited parking on Sat & Sun. More »

  • Melting snow bridges and high streamflows create hazards for hikers, skiers, and snowshoers

    Be aware of hidden- and potentially fatal- hazards created by snow bridges and high streamflows on Mount Rainier. More »

The TwiLIFE Zone

Mount Rainier from the Moraine Trail at Paradise.
The biotic (living) elements found (or not found) in an environment like Mount Rainier's alpine ecosystem are influenced by abiotic (non-living) factors such as temperature, wind, water flow, rock type, and soil.
NPS, Steve Redman
Overview: In this inquiry-based activity students will conduct a field study of four different environments as they focus on sunlight, soil, rock types, temperature, wind, water flow, plants, and animals in each environment. By comparing different environments, students will consider how nonliving elements influence living elements in an ecosystem.
Grade Level:
5 - 8
Objectives: Students will describe similarities and differences they observe in the non-living (abiotic) and living (biotic) components in four life zones.

Students will identify ways that abiotic components of an ecosystem affect biotic components.

Lesson Plan:
The TwiLIFE Zone - word, 53KB
The TwiLIFE Zone - pdf, 754KB
Resources: The TwiLIFE Zone Brainstorming Questions
The TwiLIFE Zone Data Sheet

Did You Know?

Floyd Schmoe, Mount Rainier's first full-time Park Naturalist.

Floyd Schmoe was Mount Rainier's first full-time Park Naturalist. In 1923, he launched the park's "Nature Notes", a series of writings on various park-related topics. There are hundreds of editions of the notes in the park's collection, all of which are accessible through the Mount Rainier History & Culture webpage: More...