Today is the International Day for Biological Diversity. Our scientists are dedicated to conserving and bolstering the biodiversity of our native species. But what does that mean? And why is it important? Let’s explore this topic.
P.S. We hope everyone has a safe holiday weekend. We’ll see you all on Tuesday with a new topic and lessons.
Why is biodiversity important?
Biodiversity is the measure of how many things are living in an area. Usually, the healthier the area is, the more biodiverse it is. If a scientist studies an area and sees that it’s not very biodiverse, that could signal that something is very wrong and that steps need to be taken to make it healthier.
Guiding Question: Let’s think about the area around the Nature Museum. What are some of animals we’ve seen there? Do you think it has lots of biodiversity?
When we talk about biodiversity, we’re usually talking about it in terms of the biodiversity of an ecosystem (an area where plants and animals interact with one another). To get a clearer understanding of ecosystems, click here to check out the book “Exploring Ecosystems.”
Exploring biodiversity together
What is biodiversity? How can we understand it? Camp director Nicole has a great hands-on activities for young scientists to better understand biodiversity. Click here to check it out.
Teaching Tip: Tie today’s learnings back to our bee diversity activity!
Taking a closer look with quadrats
A quadrat is a tool used to mark out a small area and better understand the biodiversity of a larger area. Quadrats can be a square or a circle shape and can be made out of lots of different materials like hula hoops or rulers. Click here for directions on how to make your own and use them to explore your yard!
Online exhibit: Biodiversity at Risk
Natural history collections help us understand biodiversity past, present, and future. Click here to explore our online exhibit and take a look at what specimens can tell you about our changing world.
Guiding Question: How can humans help biodiversity? How can they hurt it?
Webinar Highlight: Butterflies of the American prairie
Chief curator Doug Taron recently recorded his presentation on the butterflies of the American prairie. Click here to explore the some of the common, and not-so common, butterflies of our region.
Behind the Scenes
Dr. Allison has been out in the field and doing an amazing job documenting the plants and animals she has encountered along the way! Click here to check out some of her tweets from the field.