Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Goodbye, Invasive Species. Hello, Biodiversity!

Students are nearing the end of Unit 3 focused on biodiversity.  We started the unit by learning about what biodiversity looks like and how to quantify it by calculating the diversity index.  This was modeled through an activity called "Bird Island", which also helped to build our vocabulary with terms such as species, abundance, and endemic species. Students first calculated bird populations, graphed the population data, and then analyzed their data to use as evidence when discussing questions related to biodiversity.

Last week, we had beautiful weather to remove two invasive species right
in the backyard of our school.  Students learned about how invasive species impact biodiversity and the environment, the different ways invasive species come into the United States and then several methods to remove them from the ecosystem. Ten classes of biology students walked out behind the softball fields to manually remove two local invasive species, Buckthorn and Bittersweet Vine.  Clippers, root jacks and pure muscle ripped out the invaders and provided room and additional resources for other native species to continue to grow in the forest.  Sixty compost bags of leaves, branches, vines and roots are evidence of the students' hard work and dedication to help with habitat restoration at our school.  

The last piece to our biodiversity unit is presenting on how human actions such as deforestation, urbanization, pollution, and agriculture (just to name a few) affect our global biodiversity.  Possibly even more importantly is how science, technology, government and non-profit organizations are developing solutions to reduce the impact humans have on our plant and animal species.  I am looking forward to hearing the students' presentations in early December!

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