Conservation Cross Curriculum Project
A series of cross curriculum project plans to support the creative teaching of the conservation topic for Foundation Stage and Key Stages 1, 2 and beyond.
Conservation is the preservation or restoration of wildlife and the natural environment. As the Earth has evolved, many species of plants and animals have become victims of climatic and evolutionary changes.
However, there are already close to six billion people living on the planet and this number is constantly growing. This means that plants and animals are not only threatened by climate changes or natural evolutionary changes, but also by an ever-increasing range of human activities.
There are many threats to plants and animals posed by humans, including:
Increased trade in animal and plant products, such as meat, fur, ivory and medicines.
More and more plant and animal habitats being destroyed or altered, making life for some species impossible.
Increased trade in live animals to be kept as pets or to be used in animal research.
Animals that have lived in their environment quite happily for a long time are now being forced to compete with new animals introduced by humans, such as rabbits, rats, goats, dogs and cats.
Climate change, contributing to the frequency of natural disasters such as hurricanes.
Why is conservation so important?
Biodiversity and ecological value
Human interference, through activities such as burning and clearing vegetation, can quickly upset the ecological balance between the plants and animals that live together within an ecosystem and the natural processes that take place there. By managing the impact of humans and conserving habitats effectively, we can protect not only a single species but also the flora and fauna of an entire ecosystem. On a global scale, this means we can maintain biodiversity and reduce the possibility of losing endangered species.
There is much to be said for the benefits of being surrounded by nature, and research suggests that it can have a positive impact on health. We all like to be able to visit the countryside and see nature in all its glory, and unless we conserve areas of outstanding natural beauty we will very soon not be able to do this.
Tropical rainforests provide sources of products that include exotic fruits, medicines and tropical hardwoods; these constitute a large proportion of international trade from developing countries. As a consequence, large areas of tropical rainforest habitat have been lost to deforestation. However, some practices, such as sustainable cocoa agriculture, are carried out in a way that contributes economically, socially and environmentally to the local communities in which it is grown.
- Critically endangered
These classifications are based on the probability of extinction. The more likely it is that a species will become extinct, the more endangered it is classified as. It is believed that the number of seriously threatened species is at least 5,000 and this figure only reflects species we know about.
- The dodo became extinct in the 17th century because sailors killed them for sport, and cats, dogs and rats introduced to their island home attacked them.
- Steller’s sea cow, in the Bering Sea, became extinct because it was killed for food and oil. It was the largest known sea cow.
Protection of species in the wild
There is a pressing need to provide for the world’s endangered species. In response to this need, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild flora and fauna (CITES) came into force in 1975. The Convention is an international agreement between governments that aims to ensure the international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. CITES works by subjecting international trade in specimens of selected species to certain controls. These controls require that all import, export, re-export and introduction from all of the species covered by the Convention have to be authorised through a licensing system. The species covered are:
- Those threatened by extinction
- Those not necessarily threatened by extinction, but in which trade must be controlled
- Those which are protected in at least one country which has asked other CITES parties for assistance in controlling the trade
CITES has proven both successful and unsuccessful. It certainly increases people’s awareness of conservation issues, forces the strengthening of conservation measures, reduces demand for the products of endangered species and deters people for buying products of endangered species. But it also encourages the illegal trading of products on the ‘black market’ and it is almost impossible to measure whether it has contributed to the recovery in numbers of previously endangered species.
What can we do?
- Literacy Project 1: Perfect Poetry (Foundation and Key Stage 1)
- Literacy Project 2: A Life Spent Saving the World (Key Stage 2)
- Literacy Project 3: What's in the News? (Key Stage 2+)
- Literacy Project 4: Beastly Stories (Key Stages 1 and 2)
- Literacy Project 5: Environmental Action (Key Stages 1 and 2)
- Literacy Project 6: Perfect Posters (Key Stages 1 and 2)
- Numeracy Project 1: Rubbish Survey (Key Stages 1 and 2)
- Numeracy Project 2: Deadly Data (Key Stage 2)
- Numeracy Project 3: Mad Measurements (Key Stages 1 and 2)
- Numeracy Project 4: Water Conservation (Key Stages 1 and 2)
- Science Project 1: Animal Classification (Key Stage 2)
- Science Project 2: Feed the Birds (Key Stages 1 and 2)
- Science Project 3: A Precious World (Key Stage 2)
- Science Project 4: Habitat Heaven (Key Stages 1 and 2)
- Geography Project 1: Rescue the Rainforests (Key Stage 2)
- Geography Project 2: Road to Nowhere (Key Stage 2)
- Geography Project 3: Save Our Seasides (Key Stages 1 and 2)
- Geography Project 4: Glorious Galapagos (Key Stage 2+)
- Citizenship Project 1: Caring for Animals (Key Stages 1 and 2)
- Citizenship Project 2: What's in the News? (Key Stage 2)
- Art and Design Project 1: Special Sculptures (Foundation and Key Stage 1)
- Art and Design Project 2: African Animal Masks (All Key Stages)
- Art and Design Project 3: A Sustainable Lunch (Key Stage 2)
- Art and Design Project 4: Captivating Calendars (Key Stage 1)
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