This year's satellite broadcast will enable you and your students to look at habitat in an entirely new way. Most students are familiar with the definition of habitat—a place where an organism can obtain the food, water, shelter, and space it needs to survive. Changes in habitat are a little more difficult to understand—why they take place, what their consequences are, and how humans can try to manage habitat change for the benefit of all living things.
|Sagebrush habitat will be featured in the broadcast.|
|Sage-grouse range over a large area of the Western U.S. Landscape-scale data is important in managing the species.|
By looking at a few case studies taken from the 261 million acres managed by the Bureau of Land Management, students will begin to understand some of the challenges involved in conserving wildlife habitat while meeting the needs of people. Take the sage-grouse, for example. Within the past 30-40 years, its sagebrush habitat has undergone many changes, some caused by humans and some the result of natural cycles. Similarly, in the Southwest, the lesser prairie chicken is also facing a wide range of habitat changes.
When it comes to conserving habitat, collecting good scientific data is critical to making good decisions. On this BLM field trip, students will join scientists in the field and in the lab as they gather information and begin to analyze it. They will learn about the importance of looking at habitat from multiple geographic scales. And they will discover ways in which technology can help scientists in their investigations, their inquiries, and their analyses.