Lessons on the Lake Home Page
Lessons on the Lake Home Page Why Worry about Wetlands?
Countdown Calendar What is a Wetland? Lake Log How Healthy is this Wetland? Where have all the Wetlands Gone?
Chapter 2 Introduction Essential Questions
Lessons on the Lake -> Chapter List -> Chapter 2 -> Environmental Barometer

Get ready! In this exercise, we'll

  1. Observe plants and wildlife in a wild and urban or suburban setting;

  2. Make comparisons between the wildlife seen at the two sites;

  3. Keep a record of observations;

  4. Analyze the results of the observations, and

  5. Draw conclusions about the differences in numbers and species of plants and animals observed in the two locations.

This is what we'll need to bring:

  • Handout “Survey Report Form”
  • Field guides that include local organisms (wildflowers, trees, birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects, spiders, and mammals)
  • Cameras
  • Binoculars
  • Notebooks
  • Pencils


  1. Get into small groups. With a smaller class, we can work individually or in pairs.
  2. In the groups, one student can be the recorder, another a “spotter,” and another the photographer.  Make up other tasks if you need them!
  3. Choose a small area, and sit quietly for several minutes, watching for signs of wildlife. Record the types of plants you see, as well as animals and signs of animals’ presence (footprints, spider webs, droppings, etc.). A species name for plants is not essential. Try describing the size, shape of leaves, color of flowers, texture of bark, and other things. The photographer should record the site, capturing the plants, trees and signs of wildlife (footprints, droppings or animals themselves).
  4. When your group is ready to move on, regroup the class and discuss your observations.
  5. Discuss adaptations of the organisms to their environments.

During mating season, the bill and pouch of some pelicans changes color to become more bright and attractive.
  1. Chapter 2 Intro
  2. Essential Questions
  3. Why Worry about Wetlands
  4. Activity: Countdown Calendar
  5. What is a Wetland?
  6. Activity: Lake Log
  7. Activity: How healthy is this wetland?
  8. Activity: Where have all the Wetlands gone?
  9. Activity: Bird Beak Buffet
  10. Activity: Environmental Barometer
  11. Activity: Fibonnacci Hunt