Fannye A. Cook, Pioneer Conservationist and Scientist Lesson Plan


Mississippi has many natural resources, and good stewardship practices can protect them. This lesson introduces students to Fannye Cook, the person responsible for many acts of wildlife conservation in Mississippi. As a pioneer conservationist and scientist in the early 20th century, Cook recognized serious conservation deficiencies in the state, formulated plans to correct the problem, clearly articulated a vision to raise the public consciousness, and worked tirelessly to establish a comprehensive state conservation program. The state’s award-winning Mississippi Museum of Natural Science, visited annually by thousands of people, stands as a tribute to the foresight and determination of this remarkable woman.


  • Research the life of Fannye Cook 
  • Explore the offerings of the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks 
  • Conduct additional research using inspiration from Cook’s life


Curricular Connections

Mississippi College- and Career-Readiness Standards for the Social Studies

Mississippi Studies: 

  • MS.1.1 - Identify the physical features of Mississippi, including landforms and soil regions. 
  • MS.10 - Analyze the structure and function of local and state government in Mississippi. 

US History: 1877 to Present

  • US.5.7 - Debate the causes and effects of the social change and conflict between traditional and modern culture that took place during the 1920s, including: the role of women, the Red Scare, immigration quotas, Prohibition, and the Scopes trial. 

US Government  

  • USG.7.9 - Trace the obligations of civic-mindedness, including: voting, being informed on civic issues, volunteering and performing public service, and serving in the military or alternative service. 


Grades 8 through 12


  1. Have students read Fannye A. Cook, Pioneer Conservationist and Scientist


  1. Have students discuss the following: 
    • Who was the force behind the creation of the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks? 
    • What were her childhood interests and educational experiences? 
    • What deficiencies in Mississippi did she identify that led her into this type of work? 
  2. Have students spend time on the website of the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks. This can be done in small groups or individually, depending on the availability of computers. Students will note the following and then discuss as a group: 
    • The many programs and services of the department, including the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science.  
    • Any experience they may have had with agencies or programs of the department (the museums, parks, etc.). 
    • How the lives of Mississippians affected by the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks 
  3. Project options: 
    • How did Cook’s gender affect the opportunities she was given in her profession? Look up another trailblazing Mississippi woman, and compare and contrast her experience with Cook’s.  
    • Have students construct a map showing the location of Mississippi’s state parks or the department’s wildlife management areas. 
    • Have students prepare and present information on Mississippi’s endangered species. 


  1. Schedule a class visit to the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science in Jackson.
  2. Invite a representative of the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks to speak to the class.
  3. Have students investigate one of the specific MDWFP Youth Programs: