You probably like to play in your backyard, but did you know that your backyard can be a great place to learn about wildlife, plants, trees, conservation, and other science topics? Even if you live in the city with a very small backyard behind your home, you can still explore nature and wildlife to learn about the environment. Conservation is an important topic that everyone should understand because conservation helps make sure that people take care of Earth's natural resources, such as water, land, and wildlife
Why Is Environmental Education Important?
Environmental education is the process of learning about the environment and issues that could cause it harm. As you learn about possible threats to the environment, you can then learn about things you can do to help the planet.
- Learning about the environment helps you have an attitude of care and concern.
- Everyone can participate in activities that can make a difference for the environment.
Wildlife includes all of the animals that live around the world. Some animals probably live near your
- Animals need to have shelter, food, water, and space to survive, just like people do.
- People can help wildlife by making sure animals have the things they need.
- You could help wildlife in your backyard by feeding the birds, hanging birdhouses, and making a pile of brush that animals could use for shelter.
Plants and Trees
Plants and trees bring beauty to Earth, and they also help the environment. Trees provide oxygen, and they work as natural air filters. Trees and plants also provide food for people and animals, and they provide shelter for many animals.
- If you have space in your backyard, plant a tree to help the environment.
- You could also plant a garden to grow food for your family.
Conservation and Natural Resources
Conservation means taking care of Earth's natural resources. Using natural resources in a responsible way without wasting them is an important thing for everyone to do. You can practice conservation in many ways.
- Spend some time picking up trash in a local park.
- Plant a pollinator garden in your backyard to help create flowers and food.
- Compost organic waste to reduce trash and improve your soil.
- Pay attention to the water you use and try not to waste it.
A watershed is an area of land where water collects and then drains into another body of water, such as a lake or a stream. Watersheds can be big or small, and they can be any shape.
- Everyone lives in watersheds, and they are important for supplying clean drinking water and water for other purposes.
- Pollution can harm watersheds if chemicals run into the water from erosion or runoff.
- By protecting watersheds, bodies of water are also protected.
What Is Citizen Science?
Citizen scientists can be anyone who is interested in nature. You don't need to have a college degree or any special education to be a citizen scientist. All you need to do is explore the world to learn about nature and the environment. Sometimes real scientists ask for help from citizen scientists.
- You might keep a journal of birds you see in your backyard to track migrating habits of birds.
- You could be a weather-spotter to record weather conditions around your home.
Climate consists of the typical weather patterns that happen in specific areas over periods of time. Scientists have discovered that the climate is gradually changing: Average temperatures are increasing, and this is called either global warming or climate change.
- Activities such as driving cars and running air conditioners release carbon dioxide into the environment, which traps heat in Earth's atmosphere.
- Everyone has a carbon footprint, which is the amount of carbon dioxide released into the air in one year.
Sustainable living is a lifestyle that involves respecting nature and the planet. When you live sustainably, you try to reduce your waste by recycling, repurposing, and avoiding the use of unnecessary products.
- Try to set a good example for others by recycling and repurposing.
- Look for ways to help the environment, such as picking up trash or planting trees.
You might decide that you'd like to work in an environmental career. Environmental science has many different career options, and you would need to earn a degree in your chosen field.
- As an environmental scientist, you might work to solve air pollution problems, or you could help make new environmental laws.
- An environmental engineer works to find new ways to reduce waste or improve how people recycle items.
- What Is Environmental Education?
- About EE and Why it Matters
- What Is Environmental Education?
- How to Teach Respect for Wildlife
- Watch Out for Wildlife Activity Fun Book (PDF)
- Teach Your Kids About Wildlife Conservation
- Conservation Education Activity Guide
- Five Fun Activities for Teaching Kids About Conservation
- Build a Watershed
- In Your Watershed
- Drainage Basins and Watersheds
- Kids Make Great Citizen Scientists
- Kids Can Be Citizen Scientists: Here's How
- Five Pro Tips for Talking to Kids About Climate Change (Without Freaking Them Out)
- Just for Kids: What's Climate Change? And What Can I Do?
- Talking Climate Change With Kids
- How to Teach Kids About Sustainability
- Four Tips for Teaching Kids About Sustainable Living