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Environmental Education on the Web

Ecology Club Ideas

 
 

SUGGESTIONS FOR STARTING AN ECOLOGY CLUB

Develop a plan and present it to your science teacher for review.
Modify the plan with the advice of your teacher.
Designate an adult to be club supervisor and advisor.
After approval by the school, invite all students to participate.
Elect club officers or committee leaders.
Decide on name for club, which can be Ecology Club or another name of choice.
Choose a project to begin researching and working on together.
(start out with a simple project first)
Think about what materials will be needed and how to obtain them.
Plan an agenda to accomplish tasks.
Decide on meeting schedule and set location.

The following are some suggestions.  You decide what may or may not work best for you and your fellow students, according to level of abilities of club members. Club members can build from these suggestions and create their own ideas and projects.

How about starting out with a purpose for the club...

PURPOSE:

To gain an understanding of our environment and our place in it;
To be actively, physically and spiritually involved with nature;
To improve the natural environment;
To help protect and preserve wildlife;
To develop and enhance our mental and physical skills;
To lessen our negative impact on the environment;
To teach others about what we have learned;
To provide a service to our community.
GOALS:  To connect with nature through positive learning experiences
which will benefit ourselves, our environment and wildlife in our community. 
PROJECTS:
1. Grow living gardens: Flowers, vegetables, native plants
2. Plant native trees on school grounds
3. Make birdhouses and nesting boxes and place on school grounds
4. Build wildlife habitats:  To provide food, water and shelter for wildlife
5. Build a nature trail with signposts and information
6. Build a compost pile, using grass clippings, fruit and vegetable scraps.
7. Environmental education:  Provide learning resources for members
ACTIVITIES:  Conduct an audit of the plants and animals found on your school grounds.  Learn about the plants and animals of your local environment; find out what would help the local wildlife and environment; interact and participate as a team on designated projects; work in partnership with other groups (such as local environmental groups) on special projects.  Learn by touching, feeling, smelling, listening, understanding, and connecting with nature.
TOOLS/MATERIALS NEEDED: Depending upon projects, here are some suggestions:  Resources to information, seeds, seedlings, saplings, gardening gloves, various digging tools, rakes, pieces of wood, strong wood glue, hammers, nails, all weather non-toxic paint, brushes, and other materials according to various projects.
PERFORMANCE MEASURES: Self-knowledge and knowledge of the world around us, healthier natural environment and increase in natural wildlife habitat, increase in species and biodiversity of wildlife, earn ecology badges for activities performed, gain positive and peaceful feelings.
ONGOING:  Monitor and follow up on continued care of projects as needed ("feed" compost pile, water gardens and young trees, provide birdseed especially during winter months)
TEACH OTHERS: Develop lesson plans (according to various levels of abilities) to teach others about the environment, species, and conservation; develop learning games for fun.  Provide information about the club and its activities on school website.
MEMBERSHIP:  All students are welcome to participate in the ecology club.
MEETINGS:  Location and schedule

ONLINE RESOURCES:

Bird Houses and Nesting Boxes

A word of caution:  If you maintain bird feeders, you must use care in washing your hands after handling them.  See links on our Great Links page to more information on birds.
Butterfly Gardens
How To Plant a Tree - American Forests
Treeture Guide to Tree Planting
Schoolyard Wildlife Habitats - Click on "The Basics" and "Beyond Basics" (left side of page) and learn how to create a wildlife habitats project.  Then click on "Sample Sites" and do a search for your state for examples of successful habitat projects in your state.
Project information and Schoolyard Habitats Kit available from the National Wildlife Federation.
SOUNDS:
Guide to Animal Sounds on the Net
The Wild Ones Animal Sounds
Zoo in the Wild
Whalenet Sound Sources Sites
What's in a Howl?
Songs of the Humpback Whale
(click on Listen to Recording)
Composting
Begin a compost pile at school with grass clippings, vegetable and fruit scraps.  This will provide rich nutritious soil for your plantings while recycling and using waste material.
Composting in Schools - Cornell University Center for the Environment
Learn the science and engineering of composting, get some ideas for student research projects, and read about indoor and outdoor composting.
Schools Grounds Transformation (Canadian Biodiversity Institute)
Guide to help you transform your schoolyard.
Project Nature Connect
Bonding with the Earth for physical and spiritual wellness
Have someone help you look through this website (as it is extensive).
Hands-on nature-connected ecopsychology - conscious sensory contact with nature.  Physical and spiritual wellness.
Dr. Michael J. Cohen, Director
Chair: Greenwich University Applied Ecopsychology
Faculty: Portland State University Extended Studies
P. O. Box 1605
Friday Harbor, WA 98250
nature@pacificrim.net (email address)
Gateway to the Nature-Connect Web Site
Scroll down - you can send a blank email and receive an email letter that contains links to their website's free, online: courses, activities, training programs, discussion lists, journalized self-discoveries, articles, newsletters, research support.
 
MISCELLANEOUS NOTES AND IDEAS:

Experience and discuss:  Feel of feathers, rocks, fur, wind; smell of grass, leaves, bark, soil, flowers; listen to the sounds of nature, identify what they are.

If there are enough members, you can have different groups and name them after endangered species in your state or species that are native to your area.

At each meeting, plan to have one member prepared to talk briefly about a specific subject related to ecology and/or the environment.  It can be a poem, an experience, a feeling, some information, or whatever the member chooses.  The talk should be limited to a few minutes.  Members may choose the subjects they will talk about.  The subjects and assignments should be decided upon early enough to give the members enough time to prepare.

Plan a tree planting project.  Ask local nurseries, city, county, parks dept, charitable groups to fund tree purchases.  Local environmental groups could assist with technical advice and possibly fundraising.  Volunteers could help with transporting trees and help at tree planting events.  Participate in other groups' tree planting projects.

Make bird feeders, nesting boxes, bird houses - can sell them within community to help wild bird populations. Provide safety tips with them (wash hands, keep feeders clean and well supplied, where to place them). Study what birds live in your community, and which birds visit your area as they migrate.  Find out  what style of bird feeder/house/nesting box they would prefer, what type of food they need, the size of birdhouse, size of hole, perch, and where to place it so that predators are less able to reach it.  

As the club progresses, you can develop "units" for members to complete for various badges or certificates of completion.  Online learning activities can be utilized for this also.

Use good bugs to control pests and avoid harmful chemicals.

Enlist the help of a teacher, parents and family members, a mentor from the scientific community or nearby college, volunteer assistance from college students or retired people, local environmental groups (Audubon, nature conservancies, tree foundations, etc.).

There are lots of projects on our WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP page.  Maybe there is something that would interest your Ecology Club.  Also see other websites, such as governmental sites and environmental organizations, for more ideas.

Seek donations/resources from local nurseries, lumber suppliers, hardware stores, chamber of commerce, educational grants, etc.

When you improve your local natural environment and help protect and preserve wildlife, everyone benefits.

HAVE FUN AND ENJOY NATURE!

 

 

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