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National Wildlife Week for Educators

The following resources and activities from National Wildlife Federation, its Affiliates and Partners are designed for educators to teach about the connections between water and water and the shared need of people and wildlife for clean water. Learn about over 50 species of wildlife in the U.S. and fun and informative lessons and activities you can do with your students.

National Wildlife Week 2014-Wildlife and Water web graphic

 

National Wildlife Week 2014 Educator Resources:

If you have any questions about National Wildlife Week, contact nationalwildlifeweek@nwf.org.

 

 

National Wildlife Week PosterNational Wildlife Week

Download the National Wildlife Week poster for 2014! It features wildlife with a close relationship with water, including the Hawaiian monk seal, river otter, whooping crane and blue crab. Download your Poster now >> 

 

Conservation Council for Hawai‘i Poster

Conservation Council for Hawaii 2014 poster thumbnailThe Conservation Council for Hawai‘i has produced a beautiful educational poster about the Hawaiian monk seal. Please visit the CCH website for additional educational posters about Hawaiian wildlife, ecosystems and culture. 

Download the front of the poster >> 

Download the back of the poster (educational resources) >>

 

 

 

Lessons and Activities

More lessons are being added soon!

Grades K-2

 

Grades 3-5

  • A Year in the Life of a Grizzly Bear (3-5): Students learn about the first year in the life of a grizzly bear cub through the seasons. 
  • Exploring Your Watershed (3-5): Students learn about watersheds and explore their own watershed. 
  • The Great Swamp Debate (3-5): Students analyze writings on an environmental controversy surrounding the Great Swamp.
  • Adaptations (2-4): Students learn about how animals are adapted to living in water. (Activity from the National Aquarium)
  • Chesapeake Bay Explorations (4-8): Students learn about the oyster, how oysters help keep the Chesapeake Bay clean, and some solutions to the recent drop in oyster populations. (Activity from the National Aquarium)
  • Coral Reefs (5-8): Students learn how coral eats, grows and is affected by pollution. While some of the activities are designed for a visit to the aquarium, there are several that can be done independently (Activity from the National Aquarium)
  • Life in a Pond (K-5): Students observe a local pond or aquatic ecosystem and study the wildlife that utilizes the pond/aquatic ecosystem for its habitat. (Activity provided by the Alabama Outdoor Classroom Program, a partnership between Alabama Wildlife Federation, the Alabama Cooperative Extension System and the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources)
  • Big Fish, Little Fish (3-12): Students will learn firsthand about predator-prey relationships in an aquatic ecosystem as they pretend to be bass (predators) and bream (prey) in this physical activity that highlights the energy flow in a food chain. (Activity provided by the Alabama Outdoor Classroom Program, a partnership between Alabama Wildlife Federation, the Alabama Cooperative Extension System and the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources)
  • Water Words (3-12): Students create a list of words that name or describe water and then use these words as they write about water.  (Activity provided by the Alabama Outdoor Classroom Program, a partnership betweenAlabama Wildlife Federation, the Alabama Cooperative Extension System and the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources)

 

Grades 6-8

  • Fowl Play (6-8): Students use wildlife study techniques to uncover the cause of a decline in a wood duck population. 
  • Grizzlies in Our Backyard? (6-8): Students take on the roles of different groups involved in a grizzly bear conservation issue. 
  • Investigating Water Quality (6-8): Students gather data on water quality and surrounding habitats near their school and use the information to produce a habitat assessment report. 
  • Chesapeake Bay Explorations (4-8): Students learn about the oyster, how oysters help keep the Chesapeake Bay clean, and some solutions to the recent drop in oyster populations. (Activity from the National Aquarium)
  • Coral Reefs (5-8): Students learn how coral eats, grows and is affected by pollution. While some of the activities are designed for a visit to the aquarium, there are several that can be done independently (Activity from the National Aquarium)
  • Big Fish, Little Fish (3-12): Students will learn firsthand about predator-prey relationships in an aquatic ecosystem as they pretend to be bass (predators) and bream (prey) in this physical activity that highlights the energy flow in a food chain. (Activity provided by the Alabama Outdoor Classroom Program, a partnership between Alabama Wildlife Federation, the Alabama Cooperative Extension System and the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources)
  • Water Words (3-12): Students create a list of words that name or describe water and then use these words as they write about water.  (Activity provided by the Alabama Outdoor Classroom Program, a partnership between Alabama Wildlife Federation, the Alabama Cooperative Extension System and the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources)   

 

Grades 9-12:

  • Investigative Reporting (9-12): Students investigate the status of and issues surrounding endangered species. 
  • Planning Your Research (9-12): Students research marine mammals and learn how they are protected. 
  • Wild River Dam Dilemma (9-12): Students adopt the roles of people with different points of view in a controversy surrounding a proposed dam.
  • Big Fish, Little Fish (3-12): Students will learn firsthand about predator-prey relationships in an aquatic ecosystem as they pretend to be bass (predators) and bream (prey) in this physical activity that highlights the energy flow in a food chain. (Activity provided by the Alabama Outdoor Classroom Program, a partnership between Alabama Wildlife Federation, the Alabama Cooperative Extension System and the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources)
  • Water Words (3-12): Students create a list of words that name or describe water and then use these words as they write about water.  (Activity provided by the Alabama Outdoor Classroom Program, a partnership between Alabama Wildlife Federation, the Alabama Cooperative Extension System and the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources)   

 

Grades 1-12

  • Watershed Moments—a booklet for educators about life in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, with activities for grades 1-12, including an activity about the hellbender salamander.  (Activity from the National Aquarium)
 

 

Educational Resources

 

 

National Wildlife Week Webinar

Water and Wildlife Webinar
Our live webinar about National Wildlife Week took place on February 19th.

View the webinar recording >>

(Note: The webinar recording will take some time to load, during which time you will see a black screen. It requires Adobe Flash player.)

The webinar highlights resources for educators, parents, students and others interested in wildlife. Learn from experts about this year's featured species and come away with ideas for teaching about and celebrating wildlife during National Wildlife Week. The webinar featured presentations from the following wildlife experts:

  • John K. Jackson, Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist with the Stroud Water Research Center, gave a presentation on aquatic macroinvertebrates, using the lifecycle of the mayfly as one example. He talked about aquatic food webs and the importance of aquatic macroinvertebrates in water quality monitoring. He spoke about Stroud Water Research Center's water testing kits and additional resources for educators.
  • Kimberly Terrell, Ph.D., Wildlife Biologist with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, spoke about the biology and conservation of and threats to hellbender salamanders, and how to introduce climate concepts to students.
  • Brenda Archambo, President of Sturgeon for Tomorrow, presented on the biology, conservation, and factors affecting the decline of lake sturgeon. She provided many educational resources on sturgeon and suggested ways people can take action to help save the sturgeon.
  • John B. French, Jr., Ph.D., Research Manager at the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, told us about the natural history of the whooping crane and the USGS’s work to restore whooping cranes to North America.
  • Thomas Serfass, Ph.D., Professor of Wildlife Ecology in the Department of Biology and Natural Resources at Frostburg State University and with the Marine-Estuarine and Environmental Science Program at the University of Maryland, gave a presentation about the North American river otter—its biology, conservation, current reintroduction projects and efforts to use the appeal of the river otter as a way to draw public attention to the need for aquatic conservation.
  • Rachel S. Sprague, Ph.D., Hawaiian Monk Seal Recovery Coordinator with NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service, gave a talk about how NOAA Fisheries is using Hawaiian monk seal recovery issues and challenges (current issues and real-world problem solving) for education.
  • Ryan Fikes, Staff Scientist with National Wildlife Federation’s Gulf Restoration Campaign, spoke about three wildlife residents of the Gulf of Mexico—sea turtles, brown pelicans, and blue crabs—and past and current threats they face (including after-effects from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill).

View the webinar recording >>

 

 

Citizen Science Opportunities

Amphibian Migrations and Road Crossings –The New York Department of Environmental Conservation is asking for help to identify and map road crossings where migrating salamanders and frogs are vulnerable. This information can then be used for community planning and for groups of volunteers interested in starting "crossing guard" programs for the breeding season. Over time, they can use the data collected to learn whether the period of spring migrations may be shifting due to climate change.
 
Cornell Lab of Ornithology – Looking for a citizen science project related to birds? The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has a variety of citizen science program to choose from for different ages, interests and seasons.

FrogWatch USA – The Association of Zoos and Aquariums invites individuals and families to learn about the wetlands in their communities and volunteer to help conserve amphibians by reporting the calls of local frogs and toads. 

Great Swamp Stream Team (http://www.greatswamp.org/WaterQual.htm) – Volunteers for the Great Swamp Watershed Association monitor the health of New Jersey’s Great Swamp.

Hoosier RiverWatch – Indiana Department of Environmental Management, Watershed Planning and Assessment Branch trains volunteers in how to conduct water quality monitoring.

Illinois RiverWatch – National Great Rivers Research & Education Center at Lewis and Clark Community College sponsor this program, which trains volunteers to conduct habitat and biological surveys, including the collection and identification of macroinvertebrates that serve as bioindicators of water quality.

Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary – Offers numerous opportunities for participating in citizen science, including herp surveys, bird surveys and a stream watershed study at the sanctuary in Lothian, Maryland.

Journey North – Track wildlife migration and seasonal change with your students or family. K-12 students can track the coming of spring through the migration patterns of monarch butterflies, robins, hummingbirds, whooping cranes, gray whales, bald eagles, and other wildlife; the budding of plants; changing sunlight; and other natural events.  

Maine Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program – The organization trains volunteers to monitor indicators of water quality, assess watershed health and function, and screen lakes for invasive aquatic plants and animals.

Minnesota Loon Monitoring Program -- Volunteer observers trained by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources gather information about common loon numbers on more than 600 lakes in Minnesota.

Minnesota Odonata Survey Project -- Citizen-scientists catch and identify dragonflies and damselflies in Minnesota and report their findings to help determine to determine the ranges and distributions of Minnesota’s dragonfly and damselfly populations.

Neighborhood Nestwatch – Neighborhood Nestwatch is a project of the Smithsonian National Zoological Park. Neighborhood Nestwatch volunteers work with scientists to find and monitor bird nests and to record and report their observations. Scientists want to know how successful are backyard bird nests, how long do backyard birds live, and how successful are nests in urban, suburban and rural backyards.

New York Horseshoe Crab Monitoring Network – Cornell University Cooperative Extension’s Marine Program and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation organized this project to monitor horseshoe crab populations on reference beaches throughout New York to assess the status of horseshoe crabs in the state.

Project BudBurst –This national network, sponsored by the National Science Foundation, monitors and collects data on plants as the seasons change.

Salamander Crossing Brigades – This project of the Harris Center for Conservation Education Ashuelot Valley Environmental Observatory trains volunteers in the Monadnock Region of New Hampshire to count migrating amphibians and safely usher them across roads during mass migrations.

Salt Marsh Program – Run by the Association to Preserve Cape Cod, the Salt Marsh program monitors the health of Cape Cod salt marshes. Volunteers can also monitor river herring and invasive species.

University of Rhode Island Watershed Watch – The program trains and works with volunteers in Rhode Island to monitor water quality, identify sources of pollution in water and provide information about water leading to more effective management of critical water resources.

Utah Water Watch – This collaboration between USU Water Quality Extension and the Utah Division of Water Quality provides opportunities for the public to collect and report water quality data.

Vital Signs – A Gulf of Maine Research Institute program that provides a science education experience for Maine middle school students, who learn by participating in real world research projects.

 

 

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