In My Own Backyard

9, 10, 11, 12

Young people research the ecosystems around their own homes, school, and community, so they can be better informed stewards about conservation. 


PrintOne 45 Minute Session, plus time to research

The learner will:

  • research facts about plants and animals or conservation practices around their home or community.


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Talk about the types of plants and animals that thrive in the natural areas around where you are located. Discuss the ways humans and the environment interact that helps and harms those natural plants and animals. 

  2. Each youth chooses one element of the local environment to focus on and learn more. Encourage them to choose something from their immediate area. For example, a local type of tree, a hiking trail, a favorite animal, or a misunderstood plant or animal.  

  3. Optional: They can write their idea on a sticky note and put it on a chart to find others with similar interests. To spark their ideas, put up charts with these headings: local plants, local animals, local environmental issues, local environmental groups. You can help them compromise to find common areas of interest.

  4. Young people work on their own or in small teams to learn more about their selected topic, as it relates to environmental stewardship. The purpose of their research is to identify facts about their selected plant or animal or issue of focus, what they can do as stewards or advocates, and what others should know about it.

    Reminder: They should not be discouraged by the scope of the task to be an environmental steward just because they are only one person. Each person is connected to the whole.

  5. Allow time for research and then come back together to share what they learned and discuss what they can do as environmental stewards and to make others aware of needs and actions. 

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 02. Service and Learning
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Select a service project based on interests, abilities, and research.
    2. Standard VS 04. Raising Private Resources
      1. Benchmark HS.3 Describe a detailed action for service.