Magazine article Endangered Species Update

Introducing Students to Endangered Species

Magazine article Endangered Species Update

Introducing Students to Endangered Species

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Biologists in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Arizona Ecological Services Office (AESO) teamed up with Thunderbird High School in Phoenix to assist with a pilot curriculum that introduces urban public high school students to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the plight of Arizona's threatened, endangered, and sensitive species.

Three classes of freshmen and sophomores in an accelerated biology curriculum were asked to choose a native plant or animal species to research and integrate into a year-long project and final oral presentation. This pilot curriculum also included a history of the ESA and how the pioneering legislation has been used to conserve and recover listed species.

Section 7 of the ESA is used as a framework in this curriculum. The curriculum required each student to complete several individual writing assignments during the academic year, addressing historical and current threats to their chosen species and the current status of their species. It also asked students to create a hypothetical proposed action affecting their species, the environmental baseline in the area of their proposed action, and their recommendations on how to minimize effects to their species. In essence, each student completed a section 7 biological opinion on their chosen species. In addition, students were required to contact or interview professional biologists in the public, private, or academic sectors to hone communication skills and get additional information on their project. …

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