Following the park experience and classroom activities, the students will be able to
Survival of plants or animals depends on their ability to meet basic life needs. A habitat is the physical place where an organism is able to find all of these needs in a suitable arrangement for access. The essential components of a healthy habitat include food, water, shelter, air, and adequate space. If any of these are eliminated, the habitat may not be able to sustain life.
All things in an ecosystem are interrelated. Every animal either eats plants directly or depends on other species for food, which in turn depend upon plants. We are all connected - joined in a "web" - of interrelationships and interdependencies. When one species disappears from a habitat, it may have a far-reaching impact upon the other inhabitants. It may result in losses such as a food or water source, nutrition for the soil, materials for shelter, seed transport, oxygen production, or decomposition.
Natural events such as fire, floods, droughts, hurricanes, and landslides can cause extensive damage to a habitat or destroy it. However, people can also cause damage or habitat loss. Human influences such as construction, development, pollution, oil spills, and littering can change or harm habitats. Every hour, thousands of acres of forests are cut and destroyed worldwide. Fifty percent of all species live in such forests. Deserts, grasslands, wetlands, and coral reefs are also being eliminated at an alarming rate.
Habitat loss is the major reason plant and animal species are becoming threatened, endangered, or extinct. It is crucial to life on earth that we develop ways to protect our world's habitats. It is important for students to realize that they can make a difference by practicing responsible environmental stewardship behavior.