Every living thing has a place that supplies its essential needs for survival - its habitat. The habitats at Vicksburg went through dramatic changes during the Civil War. Vicksburg was a small city surrounded by farm land. At the start of the war, trees were removed and miles of fortifications built. With the removal of the trees many birds lost their habitats, and others which preferred the open spaces moved in. During the siege, the constant bombardment of the area devastated the remaining wildlife. After the siege, fortifications were destroyed and the land returned to farm land. In 1899, the land was designated a National Military Park and its use by humans became limited. In less than 100 years, the 1800 acres of the park have gone through 4 major changes. These changes were not by natural causes, but by a war.
Have your students draw and describe their personal habitat. Be sure they include the essential components: food, water, shelter and space. Discuss where their food and water comes from. Have the students draw and describe a farm of the 1800's. What type of plants and animals would like this habitat? Where did their food and water come from? Have the students draw and describe the barren landscape of the fortified lines. Besides soldiers, what species would live here? Have the students draw and describe the siege of Vicksburg. What happened to the natural world during the bombardment? Besides the shelling, what other factors would contribute to animal losses? Finally, tour the park today; how many habitats can you see? Is the park an island in the city for wildlife? What plants and animals might live in the open space? What species would choose the forest?
- Social Studies
Students will become aware of the essential elements in their habitats, and how human activities can profoundly affect the natural world.
Paper, pencils or crayons