To do: Adopt an Animal: Choose an endangered or protected animal you’re interested in and contact your local zoo or one of the groups listed in “Resources” to find out how you can “adopt” it. You can sponsor an animal for as little as $10 (a prairie dog), or as much as $200 (a hippo), and your gift will help feed it for one year.
To make: Creature Cards: Instead of baseball cards, why not make creature cards? On one side draw or find magazine pictures of a protected or endangered species- or your favorite plants and animals. On the other side, write down information about the plant or animal. What’s its full name? Does it prefer day or night? Spring, summer or fall? Save them or trade them with friends.
To make: A Sculpture Garden: Make paper mache sculptures of your favorite endangered species (a good way to recycle newspaper). Have a sculpture exhibit in the school yard or lobby. Provide information cards on each animal so viewers can look and learn.
To do: Do the WRITE Thing: You and everyone in your Club can write letters to your elected officials about protecting endangered wildlife in your area. Let them know why it’s important to maintain wilderness areas. Remember that elected officials are in office to make laws that people think are important. Make sure you tell you story.
To learn: Visit a Nature Center or Zoo: See the wildlife exhibits, identify endangered species, watch a slide show or video on wildlife in your region, and talk to plant and animal experts about local species and their habitats. They can tell you what plants and animals need protection. Call in advance to get a guide who can give you lots of information.
To Learn: Speak Up: Ask someone from a local environment group to speak for your Club or your school about endangered species. You could even invite a series of speakers, each one speaking about a different ecological issue.
To do: Dress like a Dodo? Why not have a costume party to celebrate the Forming of your Club? Come as your favorite endangered species, and haveinformation to share with other people. You can learn about all kinds of species, make some new friends, and have fun.
To do: Sponsor a Film Festival: Run a film series on the environment. You can find videos on lots of environmental subjects at your school or city library. Or tape wildlife programs on your public television station and show them to your Club or class.
To learn: Be Well-Read: Make a book review part of your regular Club
meeting. Each member could take turns telling the group about a book on endangered species.
To discuss: Disappearing Habitats: What is the impact of the shrinking wilderness in the Amazon, the Northwestern United States and Canada, Central Africa, and Southeast Asia on plants and animals?
To discuss: Can We Fish Ourselves Out of This One? What fish or sea mammals maybe become endangered because of drift net fishing in Asia? (We solved much of the problem with dolphins, but others still suffer.)
To discuss: Links in a Chain: Talk about the food chain. How do plants, animals, birds, insects, etc, work together to form complex ecosystems? What happens when the chain is broken?
To research: Choose a Favorite Plant or Animal: Find out what its crucial role in the food chain is. For example, flowers need bees for pollination. We need flowers because they provide oxygen through photosynthesis.
To research: Extinction Distinction: Why have certain species already become extinct? Research the Dodo Bird, Quagga, Passenger Pigeon, Great Auk, Tasmanian Wolf, and Blaabok. Find pictures and information to bring back to the Club for show and tell.
To discuss: Don’t Wear Me Out! Some products are made from endangered species. What are they? Why shouldn’t we buy them? What can you do to stop them from being produced?
To do: Start a Wildlife Refuge in Your Backyard: You can make a home for bireds, butterflies, and mammals in your own backyard by planting flowers and shrubs. Start by building a small brush pile for animals to hide in. A local garden center can tell you what to plant to provide food and shelter for wildlife. Make it a family project this spring, and add to it every year. The animals will appreciate it and so will you and your family.
To make: Car Pools Are Cool: You can save gas, reduce air pollution, and make friends when you drive together. Make a video public service announcement telling people why car pools are good for the environment. Show it as part of a school assembly or send it to a cable station and ask them to show it. If your school doesn’t have a video camera, your cable station will. Call and find out how to be trained to use it.
To do: Pedal Power: Put on a pollution-free transportation show that will prove to people how much fun it is to move without a motor. Organize a bike race or walking race, unicycle demo, skateboard stunts, and more. Hand out information to discourage pollution. Use the event to circulate a petition to encourage your community to put in bike paths, if it doesn’t already have them.
To do: Don’t Overtired Your Tires: Check the tires on your family car on a certain day every month. Cars with properly inflated tires use less gasoline. Using less gasoline means there will be les pollution.
To invent: A Gasless Car? Clinton Hill was an inventor. When there wasn’t a solution, he made one up. Maybe someday one of these creative ideas will become reality. Try it! Invent a mode of transportation that will take the place of the gasoline-burning cars we use.
To discuss: A world without Ice? If the world got hotter, what would happen? For example, some scientists think that if the temperature rises just 3 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit by the middle of the next century, ice caps would melt enough to flood much of New York City.
To test: Something’s in the Air: What’s in the air we breathe? Conduct this test. Coat several sheets of paper with a light layer of petroleum jelly. Place each sheet in a different place. Put one on a pole near a busy street corner. Or hang one near a factory. At the end of two days, collect them. Look at each sheet with a magnifying glass. Which ones were dirtiest? What does this prove about the area where they were placed?
To make: Gifts That Are Sweet and Nice: Flower petals smell good even when they’re past their prime. Learn to make a fresh potpourri to give as a gift or place in your bed or bathroom. Dry the petals from a bouquet and put them in a basket or small pot with sweet-smelling herbs.
To discuss: CFC Ban: CFCs (chloro-fluror-carbons) in spray cans were banned in the U.S. in 1970. Why were CFCs used? Are parts of the world still using them? How do they damage the ozone layer?
Research it! Small Wonder: Plankton, those miniscule one-celled creatures in the oceans, might be our best allies in combating the Greenhouse effect. Go to the library and find out how.
To see: Eye Spy: Be a soil sleuth. The soil is home to many living creatures, organic matter, and nutrients essential for life. Pick a spot of soil that has not been disturbed. Get a trowel and dig down deep. Can you see the three layers of soil: topsoil which is rich in humus, subsoil that is lighter and high in minerals, and parent material (rock)? Why is topsoil so important to farmers? What role do the other layers play in creating fertile ground?
To do: Go Wild! Many wild flowers are going the way of natural habitats. Help them take root in your community. They’re essential, not only because of their beauty, but because they play an important part in the chain of life. Call your park service to find out if you can plant wild flowers in a public park, or plant them in the yard at home or school.
To test: Rain, Rain, Go Away: When certain gases get into rain clouds, they create acid rain. Acid rain harms plants. It also damages rivers and lakes and the creatures that live in them. See what acid rain does. Start with two plants in separate pots. Place them where they will receive equal amount of sunlight. Water the plants equally, but add a few drops of lemon juice or vinegar to one of the plants each time you do. Lemon juice and vinegar are acidic. What happens? Take a nature walk. Look for signs of how acid rain may be affecting the environment in your area.
To discuss: What is ground water? Where does it come from? How does it become polluted?
To discuss: Why should we worry about erosion?
To celebrate! Planting Party: For Arbor day, organize a party to plant seedlings along the edge of a stream trees give us food, oxygen, beauty, and wood, and they provide shelter for animals.