Day 2: Native Species ID


Students will classify the current vegetation of the school courtyard in order to eliminate non-native species.

Lesson Overview

Different areas of the world have varying amounts of renewable and nonrenewable natural resources available. These resources may be utilized in many ways based on human needs. Obtaining and utilizing these resources will have a direct affect on the quality of the environment in a given area.

4-5 Class Periods
School Courtyard
  • Gloves
  • Shovels
  • Hoes
  • "Gardening Equipment"
  • School Courtyard

EngagementStudents should explore the school courtyard.

ExplorationStudents should record, in their nature journals, a description of any and all organisms that are present.  Teacher(s) should assist by making sure that the descriptions are as detailed as possible; students may require assistance.

ExplanationUsing a native species plant list/organizer, the student(s) should identify the organisms that are indigenous to the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.  Pictures should be in color. Resource is provided by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

ExtensionWith a more specific plant list, students should further categorize these indigenous plants as Maryland natives (or not).  Only those plants that are native to the piedmont region of Maryland (Randallstown) should remain in the courtyard. Students should work in groups, and the results should be reviewed as a class, prior to completing the evaluation. It is suggested that the teacher spend some time categorizing the organisms prior to having the students complete this task; this takes some time, allot at least one period for preparation. 

Evaluation:  Students should remove all weeds and non-native species from the courtyard area. Courtyard used in this lesson included a pond, which required additional time and attention. Any plant that is non-native should be transplanted, if possible. In some situations there may be certain non-native species that cannot be removed (i.e. full grown trees). However, the plot should include only native herbaceous plants and shrubs.

Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies | Millbrook, New York 12545 | Tel (845) 677-5343

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