A flourishing diversity of life on land is the foundation for a healthy planet.
By ensuring the Earth’s ecosystems remain healthy, we can also ensure our own health and wellness into the future.
Sustainable Development Goal 15. Life on Land challenges us to protect, restore and promote the sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, to sustainably manage forests, to combat desertification, and to halt land degradation and biodiversity loss. But what can we do in our own daily lives to support these goals?
CWF has put together a selection of lessons, activities, and projects to help connect learners to life on land. Through these interactive experiential learning activities, you can explore your own connections to land, examine how local ecosystems are impacted by human activity, and discover ways to document and support wildlife and habitat in your own community.
Explore Your Own Habitat
All living things need healthy habitat to survive, including humans. Habitat means home, but it’s more than just a place to sleep. Habitat includes the places where we get our food, water, shelter, and space. The way in which these key habitat elements are arranged is also important. While some species like ruffed grouse may have relatively small habitats, others like barren-ground caribou require several hundred thousand square kilometers.
To better understand our connection to the land, this activity invites learners to create their own personal habitat map. By exploring our own habitat needs, we begin to realize that people also rely on nature for survival – that we are part of life on land.
Learn about Canada’s Terrestrial Ecozones
Wildlife and ecosystems ignore geographical boundaries. To make it easier to study the vast diversity of life on land in Canada, scientists have divided the country into 15 terrestrial ecozones. These ecozones are geographic areas that contain distinct ecosystems and species.
Learning about these ecozones gives us a broader appreciation for the diversity of terrestrial habitats across Canada. In this hands-on lesson plan, students will identify their ecozone, conduct research to assess its general health, then prescribe “treatments” to cure any negative “symptoms” they identify.
Document Life on Land Through iNaturalist.ca
From viewing birds out the window to examining plants on a walk through your local city park, your observations can advance our understanding of life on land by contributing to citizen science!
Citizen science is simply research that is conducted with participation from the public. You might not realize it, but there is extremely valuable biodiversity information within each wildlife or plant sighting. The more people that record and share their observations in citizen science platforms like iNaturalist.ca, the bigger impact we can have for Canada’s wildlife. Observations are reviewed by a community of experts, so even if you don’t know what species you are looking at, there is a global community ready to help you identify your sightings!
Learn more about iNaturalist.ca by following the link below and consider joining a local bio-blitz to connect with others in your area! The City Nature Challenge 2023 runs from April 28 to May 7, providing an excellent opportunity to join forces with others to document the diversity of life on land in your own community.
Take Action to Support Life on Land
From composting food scraps to volunteering to conduct a clean-up at your local park, there is so much you can do to support life on land in your community! The actions you take at home and in your community can have a big impact on habitats, as well as the plants and wildlife that call them home!
- Reduce your use of paper.
- Recycle paper, glass, plastic, metals and old electronics.
- Compost. Composting food scraps can reduce climate impacts while also recycling nutrients. You can even create your own mini composter out of a pop bottle.
- Clean up your local parks and forest. Organize your own or join an existing clean-up event.
- Support wildlife research by making a symbolic wildlife adoption.
- Volunteer with organizations like CWF that help protect endangered habitats and species.
For more educational resources, projects, and lesson plans, check out our Online Learning Library and sign up for our monthly education newsletter. If you are an educator and are interested in building your skills in environmental education, you can also check out our WILD Education program for professional development opportunities.