By Laura Tellez, Discovery Program Coordinator, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
This year, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden partnered with the Foundation for New Education Initiatives, Inc. to participate in the Cultural Passport program. Each grade level focuses on a specific topic, and seventh grade’s topic is ecology, which is a branch of science that studies the interrelationship of organisms and their environment. What better way to learn about ecology than learning the importance and value of the environment through experientially based fieldtrips? Through the Cultural Passport program, six hundred seventh-grade students from Shenandoah Middle School, Jose de Diego Middle School, and Leisure City K-8 have come to Fairchild to experience science through hands-on activities in one of our Discovery programs titled Biodiversity: Cultivating Healthy Ecosystems.
During the program, students learn about species richness as they discover various ways in which living beings contribute to the health of ecosystems. Using the same methods that scientists use to measure biodiversity in the field, students take an up-close look at some of the living and non-living features of local ecosystems. At the end, students use critical-thinking skills to brainstorm sustainable solutions to conserve the environment. The students take the lessons learned during their field study at the Garden home, when they fill in their own biodiversity pledge card. The students engage in reflection and writing, as they think about why biodiversity is important to them and commit to taking on one action or behavior change to preserve biodiversity. After filling out their pledges, they sign them and take them home to continue their journey of conserving biodiversity through the choices they make in their daily lives.
Below find examples of what students from Shenandoah Middle wrote in their biodiversity pledges:
Why is biodiversity important to you?
- “It is important to me because it helps our world be in balance and keep us alive.”
- “Biodiversity is a variety of species and plants. Everything we eat is made up of plants and animals.”
What specific action or behavior change will you be taking on to contribute to preserve biodiversity?
- “I will take care of my surroundings, I will water the plants.”
- “By doing my part on Earth, making sure there isn’t any garbage or harmful things that can hurt biodiversity.”
Are you feeling inspired to conserve biodiversity? Print and fill in your own Biodiversity pledge (see download). Please place it somewhere visible as a reminder of your commitment and the positive change you are choosing to have in the world!
To learn more about Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden’s education programs, go to our website: http://www.fairchildgarden.org/education/.