Wildflower Habitat (PEEC)

Summary:

Participants will view a wildflower garden from three levels. They will look for ways the garden is an excellent habitat for many animals.

Grade Level:

5 - 8

Recommended Setting:

Outdoor: Ponca Elk Education Center

Outdoor Activity:

No

Location:

Ponca Elk Education Center, Ponca, AR

Contact:

Education Program Coordinator, 870-861-2432

Duration:

30 - 45 minutes

Suggested Number of Participants:

Up to 20

Objectives:

  • Identify the four components of a habitat.
  • Record what is seen in a wildflower garden.
  • Show how animals might use the wildflower bed as a habitat.
  • Discuss the importance of the wildflower bed as a habitat.

Key Terms*:

Habitat

*See glossary for definations

Materials:

Pencils

Wildflower habitat sketch sheets (class set)

Wildflower photo book

Background:

A wildflower garden is an excellent habitat for many animals.

Procedure:

  1. Ask what a habitat is. Explain that a habitat is the food, water, shelter and space required for all animals’ survival.
  2. Briefly discuss common wildlife and what type of habitat they might need. For example, a squirrel must be where there are nuts (food), trees (shelter) and water, and the area should be large to support the amount of food they will need for winter storage (space).
  3. Ask them to look around the area and name places that would provide good habitat and why. If the wildflower bed is mentioned, begin from this point. If not, point it out as a habitat. Discuss the following points:
    • Wildflowers are a good source of nutrition for many animals including bees, butterflies, moths and other insects. Rabbits will eat the tender leaves. Frogs will enjoy eating the insects, and snakes will then dine on some of the frogs and even a rabbit if they can catch one. Hummingbirds will seek nectar in the flower, and other birds will eat the seeds that fall from the plants or the insects that are buzzing around.
    • The wildflower beds are shelter and space for the animals inhabiting them. It is perfect for a rabbit to nest its young. There is shade from the sun and cover for hiding from predators.
    • Water collects on the petals for small animals to lap, and puddles form in the soil.
  4. Tell participants they will be observing the flowerbed to determine what type of animals it can support.
  5. Remind them that while there are many beautiful plants there, and they may be tempted to pick them, they should not do so. The flowers are an essential part of the habitat and should be left to support the wildlife that depends on them.
  6. Take the participants to the bottom level of the center, where the base of the flowerbed is at eye level.
  7. Have them sit quietly and complete the first observation sheet, labeled “level one.”
  8. After they have completed this sheet, move to the next level, which can be viewed from the sidewalk beside the bed. They will then complete the second level observation sheet.
  9. Move to the deck where they will observe from above the garden and complete the third observation sheet.

Review:

  • Look carefully at your sketch of all three levels. What types of animals might be found in each of the three?
  • How could the area in each level provide food, water, shelter or space for these animals?

Glossary:

Habitat – an arrangement of food, water, shelter or cover, and space suitable to animal’ needs