ACTIVITY: COUNTDOWN CALENDAR
Extinction is the death or elimination of all the individuals of a particular species. It is a natural and common event in the long history of biological evolution. Of the estimated five hundred million species of organisms that are believed to have ever existed on earth since life began, only about five to ten million are currently alive. This represents an extinction rate of 98-99%. Many organisms, however, have become extinct as a result of human activities. The most destructive of these is habitat degradation. Humans modifying the environment for their own purposes has had disastrous results on the biodiversity of the planet. Species extinction is rapidly accelerating.
In this lesson, we will:
- Focus on the impact of habitat loss on the biodiversity of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin and relate it to impact through modification of the environment in the Basin.
- Identify endangered/threatened/introduced species of plants and/or animals in the Lake Pontchartrain Basin.
- Identify the causes of the endangered or threatened status of those plants and/or animals.
- Identify the causes of the introduction of exotic species of plants and/or animals into the Lake Pontchartrain Basin.
- Recognize that human activities and competition from introduced species can increase the rate of extinction of native species.
- Construction paper
- Typing paper
- Magazines with pictures of endangered/threatened/introduced species of plants and animals
- Scissors glue or tape
- Computer with calendar program (if available)
- Your teacher will tell you whether you will make the calendar by hand or with a computer program
- Research/find a list of the endangered/threatened/introduced species of plants and/or animals in the Lake Pontchartrain Basin. Refer to Pages 177 & 178.
- Search through magazines, newspapers, or a resource file for pictures of 12 endangered/threatened/introduced plants and/or animals found in the Lake Pontchartrain Basin. You may draw all their pictures or any pictures that can’t be found.
- Research 12-15 facts about each species, including the reasons for its status, its range in the Basin, the type of habitat it occupies, any efforts to save the species, etc.
- Glue each picture to a sheet of construction paper or typing paper as the calendar pictures.
- Prepare twelve 5” x 11” sheets of paper, one for each month of the selected year
- On each page of the calendar, fill in the facts for a particular species on twelve to fifteen days of that month.
- Assemble the calendar, matching the picture of the plant or animal with the month containing facts about that species.
- Make front and back covers for your calendar. Decorate the front cover with an outline of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin and appropriate pictures. On the back cover, write facts about endangered/threatened/introduced species in general.