The purpose of this program is to educate the public, both children and adults, about the importance of native plants in their backyards, using the living laboratory of the native habitat area at Hallockville.
The activities are not sequential. They are meant to be a jumping off point for questions and guiding activities to educate others about the why of the need for biodiversity, the how of the intricate web of nature that is our ecosystem and the basic identifying characteristics of plants, animals and insects that make up the biodiversity of our intricate web of which we are all a part. They are a call to awareness of each of our responsibilities as property owners to support the species that support us as humans.
Because of the broad scope of the intended audience it is important for the facilitator to become familiar with it and choose activities that suit the particular audience when they are implementing it. What do they know? What do they need to know to understand?
Knowing the names of birds and their songs or identifying trees, flowers and insects is a part of starting to understand the importance of native plants to our ecosystem and our very survival on this planet. Some people have vast knowledge and experience in this area and some do not, depending on their age, place of origin, interests etc. For example my friend from Brooklyn refers to a cardinal as a ‘red robin’ she has taught her son the same. Her exposure to the diversity of plants, insects and animals has been limited. She is the child of immigrants and has spent almost all of her time in the city. Her parents couldn’t afford a country house or summer camp. Now she lives in the suburbs and has a backyard! This is good information for anyone who has a backyard, as Doug Tallamy’s book, Bringing Nature Home, says right on the cover!
This program is based on information from Doug Tallamy’s book and website as well as other sources that are listed in the appendix.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology Website https://www.birds.cornell.edu/home/
The NY State Department of Environmental Education- Teacher Information website https://www.dec.ny.gov/education/66.html
General Objective – Utilize the native habitat area as a living laboratory to educate the public, adults and children how native plants are important in preserving and maintaining the ecological diversity that supports us. Promote the idea that by creating a native habitat in our own yards we can collectively improve the chances diverse species will have what they need to survive.
1. Objective: Understand the importance of biodiversity in the web of life
a. What is the ‘web of life’
b. What is biodiversity and why is it important
2. Objective: Understand why native plants are important
a. Identify and examine a variety of birds and their nutritional needs, for themselves and their young
b. Identify and examine the insects that birds need and the nutritional needs of the insects
3. Objective: Learn which plants are native to long island
a. Resources for finding plants
b. Ways to use them in your yard
4. Objective: Learn what else you can do in your yard to support wildlife in your yard
a. Needs of birds – food , water, shelter, nesting
b. Helping nature recycle – composting, leaving the leaves, cutting back on lawns, avoiding pesticides