This activity was adapted from Monitoring Creek Health a 6-8th grade curriculum written by the Point Reyes National Seashore Association. Their lesson focued on the insects found in aquatic, creek habitats. I used resources from Point Reyes National Seashore to supplement the list of organisms to research with birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and other species that are commonly encountered in the park. The Point Reyes website has great descriptions of the plant and animal life in the park.
The book Life on the Edge - A guide to California's Endangered Natural Resources by Biosystem Books is a superb resource for identifying and researching endangered and threatened species.
Ecology (Life Sciences)
5. Organisms in ecosystems exchange energy and nutrients among themselves and
with the environment. As a basis for understanding this concept:
a. Students know energy entering ecosystems as sunlight is transferred by producers
into chemical energy through photosynthesis and then from organism to organism
through food webs.
b. Students know matter is transferred over time from one organism to others in the
food web and between organisms and the physical environment.
c. Students know populations of organisms can be categorized by the functions they
serve in an ecosystem.
e. Students know the number and types of organisms an ecosystem can support
depends on the resources available and on abiotic factors, such as quantities of
light and water, a range of temperatures, and soil composition.