Life on our planet comes in countless forms, to borrow from Charles Darwin, endless forms most beautiful. We’ve identified over 1.5 million species and scientists think there could be 10 million or more left to discover. The weird and the wonderful that call our planet home play a vital role in our everyday lives and the health of the planet in general. Biodiversity is the sign of a healthy ecosystem, it’s a cushion against natural changes that allow life to bounce back in the face of disease and natural disasters. Unfortunately we are pushing ecosystems to the limit, reducing numbers of species through destruction of habitat, overfishing/hunting, pollution and climate change. Most scientists agree that we are in the midst of the 6th mass extinction of our planet’s 4.6 billion year history, for the first time caused by a species on the planet. To see the importance of biodiversity to our survival, you just have to look at the food we eat, the products we use everyday and the global pandemic we are in the midst of right now. Most of the medicine we use comes from biodiversity, we’re wiping out potential cures to the very diseases we’ve been battling for decades. As we lose habitats and we come into closer proximity with wildlife, we can expect more disease to transfer from animals to humans and the other way as well.
To start the 2020/2021 school year, we think it’s important for students to explore the biodiversity around them and realize that they can play a role in protecting it. The start of this school year will be very different for students everywhere, some will be in the classroom, some will be at home, others still will be doing a hybrid of some sort. What all students can do is get excited about the natural world, explore it, learn more about it and share their discoveries with students everywhere.
Join in #BackyardBio:
1) Register your classroom.
2) Turn them loose in their communities with the iNaturalist and Seek apps.
3) Share photos via Instagram and Twitter
4) Join a virtual event with classrooms from other geographical locations.
5) Check out some exciting resources to immerse your students in the fascinating world of biodiversity.
Find all the details for taking part here: backyardbio.net