Archive for the ‘Wildlife biology’ Category


For those in the Wildlife Biology Block 2:

PARENTS: a lab practical is nothing more than a test designed to see how well students have learned practical knowledge that can be applied to real-life situations. I will have the room set up with mounted birds, mammals, skins, skulls, shells, pictures, and questions on cards around the room. Students will only need a pencil. They will go around the room answering questions about what they see.

LAB PRACTICAL PRE-TEST STUDY: If your student would like to come practice before the practical I will have pre-study hours, and the room set up on Tuesday (27th)  from 2-4 pm and and Wednesday (28th)  from 9 am-4 pm. There will be skins, skulls, and mounts around the room with answer cards at each station. Many of these will appear on the practical on Thursday or Friday. This is not required. Students can come in any time during the above periods, for as long as they desire, to look at the specimens.  I would recommend bringing field guides, notebooks, and notes.

Here are the answers to the student study questions:

Wildlife Biology Block 2 Question Study Guide Answer key (8-12)

Wildlife Biology Block 2 Question Study Guide Answer Key (13-16)

For the wildlife study pictures here are the answers for the 13-16 yr. old cards. These are similar to the 8-12 yr. old cards but with more animals. You can use the answers from this to help for either set of study cards.

Animal Study Cards Answer Key

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Home School Parents registered for Thursday’s 8-12 year old classes this Fall/Winter: I have the opportunity for one student to change their Thursday class (10:30 am-Noon) with another student on Wednesdays (1:30-3 pm) for all three blocks except Biomimicry. If you are interested e-mail me at McDonaldK@si.edu.

Mud turtle


Remember that your homework for this week is to identify and label the amphibians and reptiles on your study sheets. You should also be working on creating a study guide to help prepare you for the coming practicum.

Students in the 13-16 yr. old class, I have only seen one student post their picture of the mud turtle that was brought to us for class. Please remember to post your pictures as we go.

The following is homework for this week, not due until 8/15 and 8/16 but it will give you a chance to get ahead on the Bird Study work using your field guides.

Homework for Bird Study for 8-12 yr. old students (for 8/15): SERC Home School Wildlife Biology Birds Assignment (8-12 yr.)

Homework for Bird Study for 13-16 yr. old students (for 8/16): SERC Home School Wildlife Biology Birds Assignment (13-16 yr.)

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For those of you in the Wildlife Biology Block 2 class, I am posting the species list of creatures that students will need to know for their practical. Here is the list for the 8-12 yr. olds Species study list (8-12 yr. olds) and the list for the 13-16 yr. olds Species study list (13-16 yr. olds).

I am not requiring that they know the Latin names (13-16’s can stop sweating 🙂 but I do require that they use their field guides to look up the animals and become familiar with them by sight. I’ll be creating a lab practicum with skins, skulls, and photos of these creatures that they will need to identify.  Here is a pictorial guide for the students to use to practice:

For the 8-12 yr. olds:Study animal cards (8-12yr. olds)

For the 13-16 yr. olds:Study animal cards



Even if you’re not in the Wildlife Biology Block you can still help us! SERC now has a Project Noah mission, called “Wildlife of SERC” http://www.projectnoah.org/missions/35153002. Project Noah is a great biodiversity project aimed at cataloging plants, wildlife, insects, and animals in local communities and around the world. All you have to do is upload your images, try to identify your organisms (and if you can’t their experts will help), and keep going! Participants earn virtual badges for their achievements.

Screenshot_2Project Noah also ties into the National Geographic database of FieldScope http://chesapeake.fieldscope.org/ . Which is a useful teaching tool for home school parents too.

For the Wildlife biology class we will adding photos, from each class, to Project Noah. If you like you can start an account and join us!

Here’s a screen shot of some of the images uploaded so far.


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Block 2: Wildlife Biology—Studying Wildlife

If you are registered for Wildlife Biology, Block 2 here are the dates and topics. The 8-12 yr. old class is on Thursdays, 9-11 am and the 13-16 yr. old class is on Fridays, 9 am-Noon.

 August 1st & 2nd – Wildlife Biology and Physiology: In this first class we will learn the basics about animal physiology, from how to read tooth dentition to the difference between horns and antlers.

August 8th & 9th– Reptile and Amphibian Study: Students will learn to identify some of the common reptiles and amphibians of Maryland and then we’ll use those sills to identify them in the field.

August 15th & 16th– Bird Study: We’ll learn the major group of birds, key identification markers, and how to look for them in the field.

August 22nd & 23rd– Mammal Study: We’ll look at the major groups of mammals found in Maryland, where to find them, and we’ll see if we can find some small rodents using basic trapping techniques. We’ll also learn about research conducted by SERC scientists on white tailed deer and their effects on the native forests.

August 29th & 30th– Lab Practicum: Students will be given a practical with information about everything they have learned in the previous classes. This will include identifying skulls, skins, pictures, dentition, the parts of binoculars and more.


  • Peterson’s Field Guide to Mammals of North America, any edition ($4 on Amazon used, or library)
  • Amphibians and Reptiles of Delmarva, Amy Wendt and James F. White (any year is fine) ($10 used on Amazon, or library)
  • National Geographic Field Guide to the birds of Eastern North America (2008 version, or any is fine) ($5 used on Amazon, or library).
  • Backpack
  • Binoculars (optional)
  • Hand lens or magnifying glass (any type)
  • Plastic baggies (1-2)
  • Water bottle (1-2)
  • Sunscreen
  • Tweezers
  • Plastic grocery bag or re-washable cloth grocery bag
  • Permanent marker
  • Notebook with paper


SERC will be joining the Feds Feed Families food drive this summer. If you can, please bring canned good, hygiene items (toothpaste, brushes, etc), paper plates, paper towels, etc. to the Reed Education Center. There will be a collection box in the main hall. To learn more visit FedsFeedFamilies@usda.gov.

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Wildlife Biology Homework:

Homework to prepare for Block 1 Class 4 on Populations: 

Older Students (13-16 yrs):

  • Review materials on population sampling.
  • Visit this website: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/worldbalance/ from the PBS and NOVA talking about human populations and the World In Balance. Visit each of the underlined links with pictures and read the materials or do the interactive components.
  • Read pages 10-25 in the Early American Gravestones.


Younger Students (8-12 yrs):

  • Read chapter 25 in the Ecology for Every Kid book and do all the exercises and questions, including the sponge exercise. You’ll need your parents to help you.

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Older kids (13-16 yrs): Read packet about “Population and Community Assessment.” Answer the following questions:

  1. What is the difference between accuracy and precision?
  2. Describe the two measures of variation, Standard Deviation (SD) and Standard Error (SE).
  3. Are the measurements of standard deviation and standard error a form of precision or accuracy? Why?
  4. What is the difference between relative abundance and relative species composition? Explain.
  5. Why would you use capture methods for some species of mammals and non-capture for others? Give at least 3-4 reasons.
  6. What is the difference between FOOD HABITS and FEEDING HABITS?
  7. How are birds typically marked or tagged? Who issues the permit for these tags?
  8. What are some factors to consider when thinking about how to tag an animal for tracking? Name at least 3-4. (Example: does the tag weigh too much, where does the animal live? Will the tag fall off?)
  9. What is biotelemetry?


Visit this page and read the content : http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/movebank_tutorial.shtml and then play around on the Movebank page and see if you can find wildlife data.


Younger Kids (8-12 yrs):

Visit this page and read the content : http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/movebank_tutorial.shtml

Visit this site to learn about migrating wildlife and radio telemetry in Alaska: http://alaska.usgs.gov/science/biology/wandering_wildlife/

On the Journey North Website (http://www.learner.org/jnorth/) I want each student to click “Eagles”. When you click on the icon it will take you to a page with a side bar. On the side bar choose “kids.” You should then click on the different pictures to learn more about how that animal moves and lives and how scientists study them.   If you have time check out another animal.

Watch the critter cam test on wolves: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43MPb_YrKBk  and Arizona wildlife caught on a motion detection camera: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqyPX_DmeaI

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I wanted to provide everyone from the Wildlife Biology, Block 1, notes from the first class. Parents, please go over these and review them with your students. You can find them here: Wildlife Biology Class 1 Worksheet (teacher version). Many students in the first class weren’t able to take notes, so it would help to have these in their notebooks. PLEASE REMEMBER TO BRING NOTEBOOKS AND PENCILS TO EACH CLASS!

In Class we also sorted different types of mammals into basic orders. Please be sure that students are familiar with names of the following orders:

  • Flying Mammals (Order Chiroptera): Bats
  • Hare-Shaped Mammals (Order Lagamorpha): Rabbits and Hares
  • Insect-Eating Mammals (Order Insectivora): Shrews and Moles
  • Even-Toed Hoofed Mammals (Order Artiodactyla): Deer and Wild Pigs
  • Flesh Eating Mammals (Order Carnivora): Bears, foxes, raccoons, weasels, etc.
  • Pouched Mammals (Order Marsupialia): Opossums
  • Gnawing Mammals (Order Rodentia): All rodents, mice, squirrels, chipmunks, etc.

Homework for June 13th or 14th Wildlife Biology Block 1 Class 2:

Both: http://www.biologycorner.com/worksheets/pepperedmoth.html peppered moth simulation information and game, also read chapters 5 and 10 in the Van book. Younger students answer questions 1 and 2 in both chapters and complete the biome coloring worksheet http://biologycorner.com/worksheets/biome_map.html.

Older kids: complete the above and the deer worksheet Second Deer graphic activity Deer Predation and Starvation Activity


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