Project WILD activities go hand-in-hand with service learning by engaging students in meaningful and purposeful service to their school and community. By tapping into the desire to be a part of a team, students build upon their natural abilities to understand, debate, and resolve real-life issues while participating in Project WILD activities.
Since the goal of Project WILD is to assist learners of all ages in developing a commitment to responsible behavior and constructive action concerning wildlife and the environment, Project WILD is the ideal tool for service-learning programs.
Science & Civics Guide at a Glance
Through a joint partnership, the Council for Environmental Education (CEE) and the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) produced Science and Civics: Sustaining Wildlife, a curriculum guide for grades 9-12. Reaching out to the nation's teens as up-and-coming stewards, the guide involves students in environmental action projects that will benefit their local wildlife community. The guide is designed as an instructional resource for educators who want to introduce students to hands-on activities that encourage problem-solving and decision-making skills about the environment they share with wildlife.
With the activities provided in Science and Civics: Sustaining Wildlife, students will see the results of their actions and gain confidence that their actions make a difference. Working methodically to achieve a positive result, students will develop a sense of control and success.
Science and Civics: Sustaining Wildlife contains activities and ideas tied to wildlife education that are excellent for implementation as service-learning projects. Some possible activities are highlighted below.
Ecology Begins at Home
Wildlife populations exist all around us. Most people are aware that
some species native to their area have decreased in numbers or
disappeared as the human community developed. In this activity,
students describe how their local community affects wildlife by
asking students to think about their own neighborhoods and how their own actions help or harm the wildlife that live there. Through teamwork, students will then begin to answer questions such as: What might be the consequence of no action? Is there a place in the community (a garden a park, a natural area) that wildlife species would find attractive? What would happen if the town government passed a regulation that required homeowners to stop mowing their lawns? As an extension to the exercise, students are given the option of researching local regulations and zoning laws, or going in search of diversity by doing an inventory of plant and animal species in the schoolyard.
One stumbling block for many student projects is lack of community support. Students are often not aware that individuals and organizations in their community may be interested in providing expertise or material aid. This exercise helps students identify constituent groups in the community and how they interact in order to maximize resource effectiveness.
Wild Bill's Fate
In this activity students study the legislative process while investigating wildlife issues. Student teams work together to gather information on a bill, and report to the class periodically on the status of the bill, the bill's progress, and the issues affecting it. As students prepare to interview legislators, state agencies, and other interest groups, they need to prepare lists of questions to be researched. Students will pay particular attention to amendments and will be asked to think about whether an amendment improves or hampers the intent of a bill. Students may also contact individuals such as the person who introduced a bill, a representative of local business interests, and people "on the street" who may not know about proposed legislation.
Is There Hardpan Underfoot?
Although water runoff is important in maintaining aquatic ecosystems, too much runoff can have detrimental effects. In this exercise, students measure and calculate an area of the school grounds or community property, calculate the volume and weight of water falling on the area, determine local annual rainfall and runoff, and determine the effect of impervious surfaces on wildlife and ecosystems.
Planning to Act
Based on research findings compiled in the "Caring to Act" activity, student teams will develop detailed action proposals, discuss their options, and ultimately develop a final student action project. A clear
action plan will be composed, including a list of tasks needed to accomplish their goal, a set of resources, and an assessment strategy for their project.
For more information about Science and Civics: Sustaining Wildlife, click here.