Science

Rewilding

ILLUSTRATION: Jared T. Williams

“From my earliest days, I have been drawn to the heart of wildness, to wild lands and wild rivers and wild things, to the places and beasts outside the rule of humankind.”

-Dave Foreman

The more different kinds of plants and animals thriving around the globe, the more balanced Earth becomes. This is called biodiversityRight now the planet is out of balance because there are too many people. Humans have caused many types of animals to become extinct, which means they have all died. Right now there are many types of animals that are very close to extinction because there are not very many left. When an animal is close to becoming extinct, it is endangered.

In Rewilding North America, author Dave Foreman explains why people need to provide more space for animals, and bring back ones that are extinct. Foreman says more animals are endangered than ever before because of choices humans make. In his book, he describes how people can bring these animals back.

One way to increase the number of animals is to create huge pathways so they can move up, down, and across continents. These paths are called corridors. Before humans, animals were able to travel great distances. This is called migration. When cities and highways are built, animals get trapped. When they cannot migrate, they often die. Foreman believes that highways should be raised high off the ground so animals such as bears and wolves can move without having to cross dangerous roads and highways.

MAP: The Rewilding Network

MAP: The Rewilding Network

Scientists are now able to bring back animals that are extinct. Rewilders like Dave Foreman believe people need to bring back extinct animals such as the saber tooth tiger. Large animals like the mammoths and giant tortoise are called megafaunaForeman believes that bringing back megafauna will increase biodiversity, and increased biodiversity increases balance.

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1. What is the main idea of this article?

2. In your own words, write four details that support the main idea.

3. How are corridors and migration related?

4. Why is the planet out of balance?

5. How do humans cause extinctions?

6. “I have been drawn to the heart of wildness.” What does this quote mean?

7. Is rewilding a good idea? Explain.

8. Use the following sentence frame to describe Dave Foreman: I think Dave Foreman is (adjective), because…

9. How are you and Dave Foreman alike (compare)?

10. How are you and Dave Foreman different (contrast)?

11. Some people around the world believe humans have dominion over nature, which means we have the right to use it anyway we want, even if it means destroying entire species of plants and animals. How do you feel about this issue? Explain.

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1. National Geographic created a list of species that could be brought back from extinction. Click here to explore Carolina Parakeets, Woolly Rhinos, Tasmanian Tigers and more.

2. How would everyday life be different if some of these animals were brought back? Create an illustration of a rewilded world with raised highways and herds of megafauna migrating below.

IMAGE: Wonderville

IMAGE: Wonderville

3. From parks, farms, neighborhoods and schools, to highways, office buildings and shopping malls, humans use land for a wide variety of reasons. Scientists are often asked to determine the biodiversity of an area before it can be used. Exploring biodiversity begins with data collection, when scientists count the number of plants and animals that live within a certain area. The Wonderville website has a biodiversity game where kids can join a team of experts and collect biodiversity data. Click the image above, or right here to play.

4. Click the links below to learn more about rewilding.

The Rewilding Institute

Rewilding Europe

Rewilding TED Talk Video

 

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“Dead as a Dodo” (Indykids)

PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons

 

Click the image above or right here to read the article.

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1. Why do people say “dead as a dodo”?

2. How does the suffix less change the meaning of flight?

3. How many years ago was the last dodo killed?

4. Why couldn’t the dodo fly?

5. Why don’t we know exactly what the dodo looked like?

6. If scientists can bring back extinct animals like the dodo, should they?

7. After reading the article, what questions do you have?

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1. Create a comic strip about the dodo. Include what you learned about the extinct bird from the article. Click here for free, blank comic templates available for download and printing.

Skaters or Suits?

PHOTO: Reuters

PHOTO: Reuters

Under Armour is a company that makes clothing for sports like football, soccer, and hunting. Lockheed Martin makes parts for things such as airplanes and bombs. Together, the two companies designed a special race suit for the United States Olympic speed skating team. The new suits have a space on the back with small holes. The holes let body heat escape. Many people were excited about the suits, and believed they would give skaters an advantage.

In the first races, U.S. skaters (who usually finish in the top 3) finished 7th, 8th or 9th. Some skaters believe the new suits slowed them down, so they decided to go back to their old uniforms. No one is sure if it was the suits, or the skaters.

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1. What is the main idea of this article?

2. How are the new suits different?

3. Why would Under Armour and Lockheed Martin work together (motivation)?

4. Why did the skaters switch back to their old uniforms?

5. What does advantage mean? Click here to go to a kids’ online dictionary. Use the word in a sentence.

6. Do you think the team didn’t do well because of the suits, or the skaters?

7. What two companies do you think would make a good racing suit?

8. After reading the article, what do you want to know?

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1. Design a new suit for speed skaters. What could you add that would help them go faster on the ice? What colors will you choose, and why? What textiles will you choose? Create a poster with labels that describe each part of the suit. Learn more about textiles, patterns, and the color wheel at The Children’s University of Manchester by clicking here.

Getting Wild With the Great White Shark (Indykids)

PHOTO: Terry Goss

PHOTO: Terry Goss

Click the image above or right here to read the article.

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1. What does the word serrated mean? Click here for a children’s online dictionary. Use the word in two sentences.

2. Why are sharks important for environmental balance?

3. How are facts and myths different?

4. Why don’t great whites attack humans more often?

5. How are myths and facts alike?

6. Why are great white sharks killed?

7. Why is it not a good idea to buy things made from sharks?

8. After reading the article, what do you want to know?

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1. Love animals? Global Animal is an online news magazine for people who love pets, and believe all animals have the right to live a healthy, happy life. Click here to read about people around the world who are working to help species other than our own.