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Tiny Habitat Survey

Stake your claim to a piece of ground, and take a survey of all the things that live there. Use your five senses to make observations about the plants and animals that live in your area.

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Plan

  • How large an area will each person need? How will you mark each area?
  • Do you want to work in pairs or alone?
  • Where do you want to do this adventure? Make sure you have enough space for each person or pair to have their own area to inspect.
  • If you don’t have access to an outdoor space, is there a zoo, museum or aquarium nearby you can visit?
  • How long will you observe your area?
  • Do you want to keep track of what you see? How will you do that?
  • What creatures and plants live nearby?
  • How will you make sure that you Leave No Trace of your survey?

Do

  • Measure and mark out each space using a measuring tape and pegs or string.
  • Use your five senses to observe everything in your area. Lift leaves and twigs, dig a little hole and move the grass around. Use a magnifying glass to see up close, or a pond viewer to see underwater.
  • What do you notice about your area? What animals live there? What plants? What are the creatures doing? Where do they live? How many different plants are there?
  • If you can, check on your area again during your meeting, next week or next month. Has anything changed?
  • When you are done, make sure you clean up and Leave No Trace.

Review

  • What do you know now that you didn’t know before?
  • Did you find anything that surprised you during your survey?
  • What living things did you find during your survey?
  • What did others find that you did not? Why?
  • If you were to do this again, what would you do differently?

Materials

  • Measuring tapes
  • Rulers
  • Magnifying glasses
  • Books or photos to use when identifying species
  • Pegs, string or other markers
  • Pencil and paper
  • Pond viewers

Keep it Simple

  • As you look at your area, draw a picture of everything you see – the dirt, the plants, the insects.
  • Each time you check your square, draw a new picture and compare it to your old one. What has changed? What has stayed the same?

Take it Further