The purpose of this activity guide is to help students understand their garden as a model watershed through the collection and analysis of rainwater filtration data. This guide serves as an extension to the Nature Works Everywhere How Natural Areas Filter Water lesson plan, which can be found at www.NatureWorksEverywhere.org.
The presentation focuses on biodiversity, how invasive species affect biodiversity, who is involved in detecting invasive species, and plant biosecurity. It also features other plant biosecurity issues such as those that affect our food supply, the USDA Select Agents and Toxins list, and agroterrorism events of the last century.
Students listen to a 50-minute presentation on how invasive species can affect the population growth of a native species through disease (or disease transmission), competition, and predation.
They then set up a hands-on experiment examining factors affecting carrying capacity.
The ecological footprint concept is a way to roughly measure the impact of a person’s daily and long-term choices on the environment. People have become so accustomed to their diet, cars, homes, and energy usage that they don’t realize that the Earth will not be able to provide the needed resources indefinitely. When students go online to calculate how many Earths it would take if everyone on the planet lives the way that they do, they will be astonished.