Hidden Highways – Citizen-Scientist: Skill Level Three
CITIZEN-SCIENTIST – Skill Level: Three
Objective: Use web based mapping tools and investigation to discover and assist in repairing potential breaks in wildlife corridors, “hidden highways.” Science Skills: Using technology, making inferences, establishing a hypothesis, conducting a restoration experiment Life Skills: communicating, partnering with other organizations
Activity 1: Map Search Download Google Earth
Enter your zip code then try to zoom in until you can find where you live
Zoom out and examine the area where you are.
Does your neighborhood have opportunities for wildlife to move undetected?
Which kinds of animals are best suited for movement in your area? Which ones would be at a disadvantage?
Moving from a national forest or park boundary towards where you live, where do you identify the earliest interruptions in opportunities for wildlife to move freely?
Visit areas that might be interruptions in animal corridors and look for evidence of wildlife approaching the edges. (Consider doing a few prolonged observation periods.)
Activity 2: Everybody’s Watching! If the thought of patiently pursing the tracks of elusive animals is too much for the youthful and energetic members of your group, they may respond positively to gathering data on species sightings for one of several collective on-line databases such as the UW Nature Mapping program or the National Wildlife Federation’s Wildlife Watch.
Each program has their own parameters for wildlife reporting so check with the individual sites.
Activity 3: Assist in Corridor and Habitat Restoration Contact one of the organizations listed in “It’s All Connected” to find out more about your area and other areas in your area that are have a high priority for habitat conservation, and what you can do to help!
Restorations on public and private lands may be regulated, and working through these organizations will help make sure your project is a success.
Activity 4: Improving your Backyard Habitat
If after several months you are not seeing much evidence of wildlife passing your area, you may want to do a habitat evaluation and consider engaging youth in a few projects that would make the area more hospitable and welcoming to various wildlife.
“If the environment changes, plants and animals must either move or adapt to the new conditions, or they will die. For example, in winter, some ducks and songbirds migrate (move), rabbits, frogs and many turtles adapt, and insects and weak animals may not survive. If an organism can survive, grow and reproduce under certain environmental conditions, we say that it has adapted to that environment. Adaptations are the special characteristics or features that increase an organism’s chance for survival and reproduction in that particular environment. So when the environment changes, organisms must change with it. If they don’t, they have to move, or they will die.”
Exploring Your Environment,
Eco-Actions Activity Guide,