Lewis and Clark Animal Discovery Journal


Lewis and Clark may be best known for mapping a water route to the Pacific Ocean, but did you know they also made significant contributions to science?  When we study this famous expedition we combine our history and science lessons to learn more about the birds and animals native to the American West by creating an Animal Discovery Journal.

Lewis and Clark Animal Discovery Journal

Lewis and Clark – The Journey

In 1804 President Thomas Jefferson appointed Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to lead the Corp of Discovery on a journey from Missouri to the Pacific Ocean.  Lewis and Clark were sent to explore the American West in order to map a water route for commerce.

Due in large part to Jefferson’s fascination with science and nature, Lewis was also instructed to take detailed notes of plants and animals encountered on the trip, especially those not yet known in the “East” (United States).  During the journey more than 170 plants and 120 animals were observed and documented by the Corp of Discovery.

Many of the birds and animals Lewis and Clark encountered on their journey are now symbolic of the American West including bison, prairie dogs, mountain goats and more.


Members of the Corp of Discovery kept journals documenting every aspect of their travels.  They encountered many animals never before seen by scientists in the United States, therefore they took very detailed notes of these creatures to share with researchers back home.  They would observe the animals in their natural environment and often capture animals for more detailed study. 

Their journal entries would include:

  • Information about when and where the animal was encountered
  • Description – including measurements (size and weight), coloring, skin/fur/feathers, unique markings, etc.
  • Habitat – where the animal lived, what it ate, what it used for shelter, etc.
  • Notes – interesting observations or findings about the creature and a detailed drawing


Animal Discovery Journal

We have created Animal Discovery Journal pages to document our research about some of our favorite animals found in the American West.  You can print these pages to create your own journal.  Be sure to gather the same information Lewis collected (description, habitat and interesting notes/observations) and don’t forget to add your own drawing too!  There are pages for 24 mammals and birds including:

Lewis and Clark Animal Discovery Journal
  • American Beaver
  • Bighorn Sheep
  • Black Tailed Prairie Dog
  • Brown/Grizzly Bear
  • Coyote
  • Mountain Goat
  • North American Porcupine
  • Red Fox
  • Yellow-bellied Marmot
  • Black-billed Magpie
  • Double Crested Cormorant
  • Great Horned Owl
  • Pacific Loon
  • Ruffed Grouse

Download your FREE Animal Discovery Journal pages HERE!

Here are a few online resources to aid your research:

We hope you enjoy your journey of animal discovery! 

iHN Autumn Hopscotch 2013

Want more educational activities and advice on a wide variety of subjects? Make sure to check out this Blog Hop, hosted by iHN.