Junior Animal Habitats
March 23, 2020
Find out about wild animals
Observe a pet (it can be a dog, cat, fish) for at least 15minutes. Watch closely how they behave. Write at least 3 things about how the pet behaviors. Pretend you’re a Girl Scout in 1980. As girls did to earn their Hobbies and Pets badge, find out why these six animals would not make good pets: wolf, deer, raccoon, monkey, baby alligator, skunk.
Materials Needed: internet, writing itensil, paper, adult to help you navigate the internet, and your pet!
Watch a show about an animal related to the one you observed. If you watched a dog you might observe a wolves. Which behaviors do the wild and tame animals share? Which are different? Check out the links for live cams at zoos!
- Things to think about while observing. In what country is the animal naturally found?
- How does its fur or skin help the animal live in this habitat?
- How does it stay clean?
- How does it get around in this habitat?
- What kind of food can it find in this habitat?
San Diego Zoo Live
National Zoo Live
March 24, 2020
Investigate an animal habitat
One habitat can contain lots of different animals-you might think of it as a city in the wild kingdom.
Materials Needed: magazines, computer and printer, scissors, and a friend
Make a habitat collage. Scientists use habitats to group animals by things they all share. Cut out 15 – 20 pictures of wild animals from old magazines or print them from the internet. Group the animals by habitat. Then group them by how they look, how they move, or how they bear their young. Did your groups change? Discuss with a friend - and make up ways to groups animals.
Classification: scientists use a system called "biological classification "to put living things into groups. There are seven ranks, or levels, in this system, The levels start with a large number of creatures and then get smaller. The levels are: kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, and Species.
More to Explore: Taming wild animals. Taming a wild animal takes a lot of skills and can be dangerous-never try it on your own! If you're interested in the process, find someone who can tell you more. What about a horse trainer at a stable. You can learn more during one of Girl Scouts of Central Illinois Horse Summer Camps!
March 25, 2020
Create an animal house
You’ve watched how animals use their habitats and thought about why they live in that area – now take a look at the houses they build in their habitats. Each habitat has unique challenges for animal builders!
Materials Needed: Package of Jell-O, small container with a lid, a sorted items from outside, random household items, and a spoon
Insulate your own “nest.” Many animals use insulation to keep their homes cool in hot temperatures or warm in the cold. They may line a nest with feathers or burrow into snow or mud to hold in body heat. Try this experiment:
1. Mix a package of Jell-O. Before it sets, put part of the liquid into a small container with a lid or sealed top, like a baby food jar or resealable plastic bag. Pour the rest into a mixing bowl.
2. Insulate the small container the way an animal might insulate its nest. You could bury the container in leaves and sticks in the yard or use materials in your house, like socks, to burrow it.
3. Keep the container in its warm, insulated place while the mixing bowl with the rest of the Jell-O stays out in the air – in the same area as your “nest” container.
4. When the bowl of Jell-O has set (gotten firm), uncover and check your “nest.” If it’s still liquid, you’ll know your insulation would have kept the animals inside warm. If it set, try building your animal home again!
5. Share what happened with your Junior friends, and talk about the “warmest” nest designs. What made them work well? What materials didn’t work as well?
Did you know:
- Emperor penguins hold their penguin chicks under a special flap called the “brood flap.” This keeps the chicks warm and safe. Also, the penguin’s feet keep the chick from touching the cold ground.
- A koala mother carries her baby in her pouch for about 6 months, until it is large enough to ride on the mother’s back or belly. The baby koala rides on the mother’s back or belly until it is about a year old.
- Orangutan mothers build new nests for her and her baby almost every day. The nests are 15 to 100 feet up high in a tree. Sometimes, they make a mid-day nest to nap in. Also, every once in a while, they reuse old nests and just add new branches.
Watch a Weaver Bird build a nest in a single day
What Are Nests Made Of?
March 26, 2020
Explore endangered habitats
When the animals no longer have their habitat, they have to adapt to a new place to live. Some animals can’t change, and end up becoming endangered. Answer these questions about one of the endangered animal habitats. The Artic Circle, The Gold of Mexico, or The Amazon Rain Forest.
- Why is it in danger?
- What is happening to the animals?
- What are people doing to help the habitat?
- Are the animals able to adapt?
Endangered Animals: An endangered animal is at rick of becoming extinct, or dying out, because there are so few left. Sometimes this happens naturally, but most of the time a species is pushed to extinction because of human activities. When the government list an animal as endangered, it becomes illegal to harm it. In 1967, the bald eagle was an endangered species. People worked her to protect the bird and it worked! Today the bald eagle's population is stable. It was removed from the list of endanger and threatened wildlife in 1997. Click here to find out what animals are on the endangered list.
Pretend you’re a Girl Scout in 1963. As girls did to earn their Conservation badge, list the birds and fur-bearing animals that are protected by laws in your state.
March 27, 2020
Help protect animal habitats
You can take steps to help protect animals’ homes and prevent them from becoming endangered.
Materials Needed: Slice of sandwich bread for each hanger, cookie cutter or paring knife, Yarn or other strong piece of string or cord, peanut butter or vegetable shortening, wild bird seed
Create a background habitat. Get permission from your family to make a habitat in your yard. Research and then carry out a landscape plan that is best for wildlife in the area. Record the wildlife you attract and their behavior. (The Audubon Society has some good resources to get you started.) Right now is a good time to start your garden indoors and transplant it in the spring. Research ways to help wildlife in your backyard. Keep fresh water outside, create a butterfly garden, plant hummingbird friendly garden, put up a bat house, or hand birdfeeders. Everyone needs to eat! Planting native shrubs and trees is the easiest way to provide the foliage, nectar, pollen, berries, seeds and nuts that many species of wildlife require to survive and thrive.
Instructions for bird feeders:
1. Use a cookie cutter to create shapes from slices of sandwich bread. We did stars and circles for our treats.
2. Let bread sit on the counter until dried out, a couple of hours should do the trick.
3. Line a plate with bird seed.
4. Use a toothpick or wooden skewer to poke a hole through the bread for the string. Be sure that you leave enough room above the hole so that it doesn't tear.
5. Thread string through the hole and gently tie in a knot.
6. Spread both sides of bread shape with peanut butter. Coat with bird seed by laying it on the bird seed lined plate and turning over to coat thoroughly.
7. Hang your creation outside.
More to Explore: Re-create an oil spill. Oil spills have affected both the Gulf of Mexico and the Arctic Circle. Find out how hard they can be to clean up by creating your own. Fill a pan or bowl with water and add cooking oil. Try different ways of cleaning up the oil: gathering it into one place using sting, skimming it off with a spoon, or soaking it up with paper towels or cotton balls. What else could you use? What works best? How do scientists try to clean up real oil spills?
Easy bird treats
Tips: making your backyard wildlife friendly budget
Purchase Junior Animal Habitats Badge