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Old 01-28-2013, 03:36 PM   #1
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Default Wildlife Survey

Here are the results of a wildlife survey taken in an indoor YMCA game room setting. The ages were diverse, 1st - 8th, and that is why there is a second figure. It was a simple and fun survey to do. It was an oral survey but could be done written. The answers were good, bad, both, and neither, and this allowed children to process their values on terms they could understand. It also allowed them to differentiate between an animal that they thought was truly bad/good and one that they thought had both qualities, such as a bee that might sting you but also pollinates plants.

The information was then used to plan activities in a science room. For instance, bats were given their own lesson plan because so many children thought bats were bad. I used videos from ARKive (AWESOME resource) and and art project.

Anyway, just sharing as it might be something that educators here might want to reproduce or tweak for their own needs.
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Old 01-28-2013, 05:28 PM   #2
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What a great service you are doing. Did you already do the follow-up activities or are they still in the planning stages?
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Old 01-28-2013, 05:50 PM   #3
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Interesting that the mean of values did not change much as children got older. Disappointing in a way; I would have expected that increased knowledge would create a greater appreciation of the value of animals. I would also have expected the 'neither' and 'both' categories to increase with age.

Clearly I don't know anything about kids!
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Old 01-28-2013, 06:04 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by NEWisc View Post
Interesting that the mean of values did not change much as children got older. Disappointing in a way; I would have expected that increased knowledge would create a greater appreciation of the value of animals. I would also have expected the 'neither' and 'both' categories to increase with age.

Clearly I don't know anything about kids!
I would've thought the same...at the same time I'm not really surprised that it didn't either.

~smile~

From one thing that I read a while back, students (or people in general?) don't give up misconceptions easily.
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Old 01-29-2013, 02:52 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by NEWisc View Post
Interesting that the mean of values did not change much as children got older. Disappointing in a way; I would have expected that increased knowledge would create a greater appreciation of the value of animals. I would also have expected the 'neither' and 'both' categories to increase with age.

Clearly I don't know anything about kids!
That is one of the reasons I included Fig. 2 so that anyone who read it could see that values are not changing. It seems once these values get set they do not change unless something (meaningful education, personal experience) causes that change. I heard my neighbor (in his 40s) tell his daughter not to pick up a ladybug because they bite I had to laugh because that year I focused on providing ladybug larvae habitat as my main goal for my backyard wildlife habitat (I will post the pictures some time - it was insane. The trick is being willing to live with thousands of aphids). After I had my private laugh I was very sad to know that 1. an adult had this view and that 2. she would now have this view. That is the generation that must make some of the most difficult environmental decisions in the history of the world, and she was being taught that ladybugs were bad.

By just exposing the kids to the ARKive video of the cute white bats that live under leaves, and video of other species catching mosquitoes, their attitudes started to shift. Also, they heard me tell them how important and awesome bats are - something they had never heard before. Hard to say though the long term attitude shift though if they then hear only negative stuff about them or a only hear a general disregard for nature.
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Old 01-29-2013, 03:00 AM   #6
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What a great service you are doing. Did you already do the follow-up activities or are they still in the planning stages?
I did the follow up activities to that specific survey already. One of the best parts was bringing in a black widow spider in a jar that was in my basement window so had to be removed. I put a grasshopper in there just before I left to the make-shift science room. I was doing a lesson on spiders and webs, when the widow decided to go for the grasshopper. It was awesome - and I mean that word in the true sense. The way the spider went for the prey at that particular moment, and also the sheer excitement/wonder/terror of the kids. About 20 kids were laughing/squealing/screaming as they watched around me. I had them dig through compost, did a worm activity, polished amber, built habitats in a box, but nothing beat that night.
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Old 01-29-2013, 07:32 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by River View Post
I did the follow up activities to that specific survey already. One of the best parts was bringing in a black widow spider in a jar that was in my basement window so had to be removed. I put a grasshopper in there just before I left to the make-shift science room. I was doing a lesson on spiders and webs, when the widow decided to go for the grasshopper. It was awesome - and I mean that word in the true sense. The way the spider went for the prey at that particular moment, and also the sheer excitement/wonder/terror of the kids. About 20 kids were laughing/squealing/screaming as they watched around me. I had them dig through compost, did a worm activity, polished amber, built habitats in a box, but nothing beat that night.
I'm sure you made a very positive impression on them.

And I'm sure the experience had a great impact on you as we'll. keep up the good work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by River View Post
That is one of the reasons I included Fig. 2 so that anyone who read it could see that values are not changing. It seems once these values get set they do not change unless something (meaningful education, personal experience) causes that change. I heard my neighbor (in his 40s) tell his daughter not to pick up a ladybug because they bite I had to laugh because that year I focused on providing ladybug larvae habitat as my main goal for my backyard wildlife habitat (I will post the pictures some time - it was insane. The trick is being willing to live with thousands of aphids). After I had my private laugh I was very sad to know that 1. an adult had this view and that 2. she would now have this view. That is the generation that must make some of the most difficult environmental decisions in the history of the world, and she was being taught that ladybugs were bad.

By just exposing the kids to the ARKive video of the cute white bats that live under leaves, and video of other species catching mosquitoes, their attitudes started to shift. Also, they heard me tell them how important and awesome bats are - something they had never heard before. Hard to say though the long term attitude shift though if they then hear only negative stuff about them or a only hear a general disregard for nature.
It is always sad to see that...and I too fear what decisions will be made regarding the environment by the upcoming generations. Maybe I'm naive, but I feel there will always be those who connect with nature and learn to care, but I do feel we have to make sure that more kids have an opportunity to explore, learn about, and connect with the natural world. Sigh, I am trying not to let this ll get me down.

By the way, growing up I always liked ladybugs (I miss the two-spotted ones I grew up seeing). I never though of them as biting, but I think I have been bit as an adult by the many spotted Asian ladybugs that infiltrate the house it the winter. I'm just wondering if they really do bite--even though that doesn't make them bad.
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Old 01-29-2013, 08:57 PM   #8
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Its nice to see folks engaging youngsters in outreach activities. Even though I work for a wildlife research org, I participate in outreach activities 3x a year or so. One of my favorite is the Starkville Science Club; a science based outreach program for 5th and 6th graders. I always do bird necropsies with them. Their favorite part is to cut open the stomach to see what they eat!

Maybe it's been posted on WG before, but have any of you read "Last CHild in the Woods" by Richard Louv?
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Old 02-01-2013, 04:59 PM   #9
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You done good River!!! What else ya got up your sleeve?
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kchd> I read it..... so have others.... Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder (Louv)
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