The Leopold Legacy: Phenology of Plants and Birds

Grade Level: 6 – 12

Activity Summary

  • Phenology is literally “the science of appearance”…this includes paying attention to when flowers bloom, lakes freeze, birds return, and pretty much anything in nature that has a life cycle! You may have heard of Aldo Leopold, a Wisconsin hero who is celebrated around the world for his work as an ecologist and his beautiful book, A Sand County Almanac.
  • In this activity, we will work in small groups to examine a set of data that includes 23 phenological events, and then share our findings with the rest of the class. We will be looking at 3 major “themes” within the data: 1) changes in plant phenology, 2) changes in bird phenology, and 3) relationships among events. You will have 2 entire class periods to build your “Phenology Case.”

Activity Material:

  1. Leopold Phenology Activity (Word)
  2. Leopold Phenology Data (Excel)

Climate Change, Wildlife, and Wildlands Toolkit

Grade Level: 1 – 12
Students Will:
For Ecosystems and species

  • Identify likely migration of plant and animal species and ecosystems in the Great Lakes region, and potential impacts on biodiversity.
  • Identify phenological changes over the past 100 years.
  • Correlate observed and predicted changes in wildlife, ecosystems and phenology with changes in climate.
  • Differentiate between impacts at various time scales (years/decades/centuries/millennia).

For Recreation/Tourism

  1. Summarize climate change impacts on tourism/recreation from lake levels, algae growth, snow sports, trout, ice fishing

Activity Material:
http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/wycd/ORWKit.html#studies
[Interpretive kit that includes a video, trail cards, global warming wheel card, and a CD-ROM, which contains fact sheets, brochures, case studies, sample trail talk out-lines, and a number of interactive activities. The kits focuses on four areas of the nation: • Western Mountains and Plains • Great Lakes and Upper Midwest • Chesapeake Bay and Assateague Island • Everglades and South Florida]

Thinking Like an Ecologist

Grade Level: 9 – 12
Students Will:

  • Analyze data from the Aspen FACE (Free Air Carbon dioxide Enrichment) research site in northern Wisconsin.
  • Make connections between their influence and current field of research.
  • Propose solutions to global climate issues.

Activity Material:
http://wupcenter.mtu.edu/news/NSTA_Thinking_Like_An_Ecologist_Jenn_Carlson.pdf

Project Budburst

Grade Level: 6 – 12
Students Will:

  • Identify several tree or flower species in their area, and observe the sequence
    of budding in those species relative to each other
  • Observe budding phenology and understand how the budding stage fits into a
    plant’s life cycle
  • Understand the relationship between weather and phenology.
  • Enter data into Web-based databases and compare their observations with those
    of students in other regions.
  • Interpret their data and convey results in graphics and/or in writing.

Activity Material:
http://www.windows.ucar.edu/citizen_science/budburst/TeacherGuide_PB2007.pdf

[Source:Center for Teaching and Learning at Chicago Botanic Garden]

Birds, Mosquitoes, and Viruses

Grade Level: 6 – 12
Students Will:

  • Distinguish between direct and indirect disease transmission.
  • Identify various vectors associated with disease.
  • Simulate the spread of a vector-borne disease.
  • Research a specific vector-borne disease.
  • Create and present a poster relating global warming to spread of disease.

Activity Material:
http://www.ecohealth101.org/classroom/diseases.html