Using Education to Protect Our Species
Protecting Local and Global Biodiversity
When you hear “biodiversity,” you might think of vast rainforests or vibrant coral reefs. But you can also find amazing species anywhere, including right outside your home. From dense urban cities to the rural countryside, plants, animals, fungi and microorganisms all play a vital role in keeping our ecosystems in balance.
Human development has reduced habitats. Meanwhile, climate change threatens the stability of ecosystems around the world. Letting students explore and connect with nature around them helps establish a care ethic that allows them to make positive decisions for the environment as they grow up.
In the end we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand,
and we will understand only what we are taught.
Education about global biodiversity is just the first step to developing stewardship values in students. We must also provide opportunities for students to connect with nature and understand the connectivity of organisms and earth’s cycles. Students need to understand how human behavior affects natural systems and harms our Earth’s species. Most importantly, students need to know what they can do to change that. Embedding these elements in lessons about species and biology can help students understand the scale of the issues and feel empowered to address them.
While people tend to associate biodiversity with science, you can also discuss biodiversity in interdisciplinary contexts. For example, the history of indigenous culture’s relationship with species, the political process of species protection policies, and the role of species in art are all great ways to teach students about the importance of biodiversity and civic action.
Below are some ways you can incorporate biodiversity protection into your Earth Day and classroom plans:
- Plant a pollinator/wildlife garden at your school.
- Designate no-mow zones to allow native plants to thrive.
- Host a Teach-In on species vulnerable in your area.
- Adopt a species (maybe your school mascot needs protection!).
- Write letters to representatives to advocate for species-friendly city/state policies.
- Install bird feeders and bat houses for your local pollinators and collect data about what you see.
- Participate in the Great Global Cleanup™.
- Host a tree planting event (ask your local stores for saplings and supply donations!).
- Conduct an invasive species learning unit and removal project.
Explore our toolkits to help you carry out biodiversity lesson plans, host a teach-in and understand how you and your students can Protect Our Species!
- Protect Our Species Primer and Action Toolkit
- Climate Education Week Toolkit
- Toolkit for Students
- Earth Day 2019 Teach-in Toolkit
- Fact Sheet about Species Loss
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