Nature Conservation

“I have learned you are never too small to make a difference.”

Greta Thunberg, environmental activist
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This free ESL lesson plan on nature conservation has been designed for adults and young adults at an intermediate (B1/B2) to advanced (C1/C2) level and should last around 45 to 60 minutes for one student.

Conservation is the practice of protecting natural areas so they can be used in a sustainable way by humans. This differs slightly from preservation, which is the protection of natural areas from human activities. Conservation helps to promote biodiversity, tackle environmental problems, and protect natural resources. We owe it to future generations to conserve areas of natural beauty so they can enjoy them as much as we do today. In this ESL lesson plan on conservation, students will have the opportunity to discuss and express their opinions on issues such as what nature conservation is, why it’s important, and how we can all help to protect natural areas.

This lesson plan could also be used with your students to debate these issues for Earth Day, which takes place in April, World Environment Day, which takes place in June, or World Nature Conservation Day, which takes place in July. For more lesson plans on international days and important holidays, see the calendar of world days to plan your classes for these special occasions.

For advice on how to use this English lesson plan and other lesson plans on this site, see the guide for ESL teachers.


Reading activity
Before the English class, send the following article to the students and ask them to read it while making a list of any new vocabulary or phrases they find (explain any the students don’t understand in the class):

National Geographic | Conservation

The article explains what conservation is, and why it’s so important to establish protected areas. At the start of the class, hold a brief discussion about what the students thought about the article. What do they think about the issues raised in the article? Do they agree with what was said? Can they think of any ways they might disagree with the content of the article?

Video activity
To save time in class for the conversation activities, the English teacher can ask the students to watch the video below and answer the listening questions in Section 3 of the lesson plan at home. There are intermediate listening questions and advanced listening questions so teachers can decide which would be more appropriate for their students. Check the answers in the class.

The video for this class is called “How to Save Our Planet” by WWF International which looks at some of the environmental problems human activities are causing the planet, and some possible solutions.


The focus in the class is on conversation in order to help improve students’ fluency and confidence when speaking in English as well as boosting their vocabulary.

This lesson opens with a short discussion about the article the students read before the class. Next, the students can give their opinion on the quote at the beginning of the lesson plan – what they think the quote means and if they agree with it. This is followed by an initial discussion on the topic including the most beautiful natural places on Earth, human activities that are threatening natural areas, and organisations that are dedicated to nature conservation.

After this, students will learn some vocabulary connected with nature conservation such as wetland, woodland and tree hugger. This vocabulary has been chosen to boost the students’ knowledge of less common vocabulary that could be useful for preparing for English exams like IELTS or TOEFL. The vocabulary is accompanied by a cloze activity and a speaking activity to test the students’ comprehension of these words.

If the students didn’t watch the video before the class, they can watch it after the vocabulary section and answer the listening questions. Before checking the answers, ask the students to give a brief summary of the video and what they thought about the content.

Finally, there is a more in-depth conversation about conservation. In this speaking activity, students will talk about issues such as what governments should do to protect natural areas, which countries have good and bad reputations with regards to nature conservation, and how our grandchildren will think about the way we treated the planet.


After the class, students will write about their opinion of nature conservation. This could be a short paragraph or a longer piece of writing depending on what level the student is at. The writing activity is designed to allow students to practise and improve their grammar with the feedback from their teacher. For students who intend to take an international English exam such as IELTS or TOEFL, there is an alternative essay question to practise their essay-writing skills.


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