Inspiring kids to be stewards of wildlife plays an important role in empowering them to become the next generation of advocates for conservation. According to Connecting Kids to Conservation, created by the National Parks Service and the UNLV Public Lands Institute, when young children become actively involved, they learn the importance of their roles in preserving the natural world. Getting kids involved in conservation projects is a good way to facilitate their interests in wildlife conservancy. There are many project ideas that are creative, fun and educational.
Create a Wildlife Garden
According to the National Wildlife Federation, living creatures need food, water, cover and a place to raise their young. As urban development expands, many wildlife habitats are disappearing. Kids can help restore habitats and attract wildlife by planting a garden that meets their needs. Planting native plants that provide nectar, berries, seeds, and pollen can help wildlife thrive and provide a place of protection from predators and weather. Foliage also serves as a place for animals to raise their young. Adding ponds and bird baths will provide wildlife with clean water for drinking and bathing.
Make a Wildlife Conservancy Presentation
Allow kids to research local native wildlife for their area online or at the library. Take them on a field trip to a natural place like a park or your backyard and let them take pictures of the wildlife they see. Use the pictures to make a presentation, using PowerPoint or a similar software. Kids can show the presentation and narrate what they learned about the wildlife they saw, explaining ways people can help protect nature.
Build a Bean Teepee
Begin this fun project with three 5-to-7-foot lightweight poles made out of PVC pipe or bamboo. Use twine, string or masking tape to connect them at one end to make the teepee frame and then set it in a fairly flat place outside. Have kids plant cowpeas -- or any bean that grows vines -- in the ground or a container at the base of each pole. As the beans grow, the vines will cover the poles and create a fun teepee to play in, as well as a source of food for a variety of wildlife, including birds, insects, squirrels and deer.
Experience the Life Cycle of Butterflies
This project will provide kids invaluable personal experience with the amazing metamorphosis and life cycle of butterflies. First, kids need to research what caterpillars need to survive and evolve into butterflies. Kids can purchase butterfly larvae and a habitat or make a habitat and gather their own caterpillars. Once caterpillars are in their habitat, it takes between seven and 10 days for them to evolve to the chrysalis stage and another seven to 10 days to transform into a butterflies. Once they become butterflies, they can be set free.
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