Biodiversity – What we learned from outside surveys.
Kids said they learned
– we need to count ALL the species, but don’t count one species twice.
– Identification is hard and takes skill. Hard to tell apart closely related species. Hard to identify non-natives because they are not in most of the field guides.
– How to do a fair survey.
– What the most common (herbaceous) plants are in Orinda.
– There is a lot more biodiversity in one small space than you expect.
– But the biodiversity on most of the hill is dominated by wild oats and the biodiversity is surprisingly LOW.
– There are some dramatic bd differences between near by places.
– The level of biodiversity is not easily predictable.
And we (the teachers) learned that we need to revise the activity sheet to pool data from only TWO, contrasting areas such as the top and bottom of a slope (probably the most manageable). Then we are more likely to get useable and understandable data using averaging and ranges. Links in with 6th grade erosion and soil topics too. Also need to make a key of the most common local species with the help of our local botanist Barbara L. GOOD idea to have kids id species ahead of time, but do it in one period like Karen did, where they collect for 5 mins then back into class to sort.
Lastly, link as a project to “How biodiverse are the OIS hills? How can we improve or restore biodiversity to them?” Include concepts of introduced species and ‘weeds’. Link to restoration ideas so kids can DO something rather than just be sad about disappearing species.