Designing for Biodiversity

Sustainability Education Resources

Certified Wildlife Habitats – Providing Food (National Wildlife Federation)

Topic/Subtopic: Designing for Biodiversity

Content Type: Video

Topics Covered: Native landscapes promote the stability of wildlife food chains by providing seeds, berries, nectar, and pollen for insects, birds, and other wildlife. Local wildlife typically consume only the products from native plants, rather than exotic ones, because they have evolved and adapted to these foods over long time periods.      

Target Audience: Grades K-5, 6-8, 9-12

Chain Reaction (Ecokids)

Topic/Subtopic: Designing for Biodiversity

Content Type: Game

Topics Covered: This interactive game teaches students about how food chains work. Students must construct different food chains and then learn how disruption at any level of the food chain impacts the health of the ecosystem.

Target Audience: Grades K-5, 6-8, 9-12

Biodiversity Science in the Classroom (Smithsonian Institution)

Topic/Subtopic: Designing for Biodiversity

Content Type: Classroom Activities

Topics Covered: The Smithsonian National Zoo created several classroom activities that teach students about biodiversity and ecosystems. These activities help students gain a better understanding of food webs and how they are affected by a changing environment.

Target Audience: Grades 6-8, 9-12

Build a Prairie (Bell Museum of Natural History)

Topic/Subtopic: Designing for Biodiversity

Content Type: Game

Topics Covered: This game challenges students to reconstruct a prairie to encourage native plant growth and biodiversity. Students must identify native plants that are well-adapted to climate and soil conditions and avoid using invasive species.

Target Audience: Grades 6-8, 9-12

Causal Patterns in Ecosystems (Harvard University)

Topic/Subtopic: Designing for Biodiversity

Content Type: Curriculum

Topics Covered: The Graduate School of Education at Harvard University developed this curriculum to teach students about ecosystems and biodiversity. The curriculum is organized into six sections of detailed lessons and activities.

Target Audience: Grades 6-8, 9-12

Effects of Urbanization on Stream Ecosystems (U.S. Geological Survey)

Topic/Subtopic: Designing for Biodiversity

Content Type: Video

Topics Covered: Urban development alters the hydrology, habitat, and water quality of streams. Stream ecosystems are negatively impacted by these changes. Negative impacts on streams can lead to the loss of plant and animal species diversity.       

Target Audience: Grades 6-8, 9-12

Fire as a Habitat Restoration Tool (Nature Conservancy)

Topic/Subtopic: Designing for Biodiversity

Content Type: Video

Topics Covered: Periodic wildfires are integral to the health and biodiversity of prairie landscapes. Wildfires remove invasive species, inhibit single species domination, and reduce vulnerability to disease. To maintain fire-dependent landscapes, periodic controlled burns are needed to maintain healthy prairie ecosystems and reduce the risk of catastrophic unplanned wildfires. 

Target Audience: Grades 6-8, 9-12

Going Native: Urban Landscaping for Wildlife with Native Plants (North Carolina State University)

Topic/Subtopic: Designing for Biodiversity

Content Type: Video

Topics Covered: Experts from North Carolina State University encourages home and land owners to use native plants rather than invasive species in their yards and gardens. Native plants can create beautiful scenery while helping to create wildlife habitat. These native habitats reduce or eliminate the need for fertilizers and pesticides, and require little or no irrigation.

Target Audience: Grades 6-8, 9-12

Green Roofs & Sustainability Tips (University of Texas)

Topic/Subtopic: Designing for Biodiversity

Content Type: Video

Topics Covered: Experts from Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Texas stress the importance of using native plants, recycled water and nontoxic organic fertilizers and pesticides. With the goal of reducing our overall carbon footprint, new technologies like green roofs enable built environments to work cooperatively with the surrounding natural landscape.

Target Audience: Grades 6-8, 9-12

When Plants Attack (Texas Parks and Wildlife)

Topic/Subtopic: Designing for Biodiversity

Content Type: Video

Topics Covered: Invasive plants invade parks and forests and out-compete native plants species, causing loss of plant and animal biodiversity. Choosing native plants, rather than exotic plants, to populate our landscapes helps protect woodlands and ensure healthy ecosystems.  

Target Audience: Grades 6-8, 9-12