“Found Nowhere Ellse” – Endemiism Lesson Seriies
“Found Nowhere E se” – Endem sm Lesson Ser es
Lesson 2b: Why Should We Care?
This lesson allows students to explore the values associated with protecting endangered (and
endemic) species. After examining their own feelings about the subject, students will design
a survey to sample the feelings and beliefs of a larger community. Students will design and
implement an “ad campaign” to increase public awareness and action related to the
protection of endangered species. Finally, students will choose an individual and/or group
conservation action and keep a journal as they follow through with it. Lesson extensions
allow students opportunities to examine the work of photographers who have used their work
to raise public awareness about endangered species, and to explore careers in conservation
and environmental law.
Steps #1-5 may be completed during 1-2 one hour class periods depending on the reading
and writing proficiency of students, and the level of participation in peer discussion.
1. Start this lesson by showing the slide show entitled “Found Nowhere Else” (the Teacher
Guide for that slide show may also be of assistance).
2. Note that the following questions are incorporated in the slide show and teachers should
determine in advance how they want students to respond to them:
Do we have a responsibility to protect other species?
If a species evolves over millennia do we have a right to cause its extinction?
Would our descendants forgive us for exterminating a unique form of life?
Why should we care?
3. This lesson actually begins AFTER students have had a chance to respond and discuss
their answers to the questions above.
4. Require students to read at least one of the following (it may be advisable to have
students in groups of three and assign each member one of the articles so that they may
discuss it with group members afterwards):
A beautiful color booklet from the US Fish and Wildlife Service entitled “Why Save
Endangered Species?” is available online at
An excellent article by Frank J. Mazzotti of the University of Florida, entitled “The
Value of Endangered Species: The Importance of Conserving Biological Diversity” is
available online at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/UW064
A concise yet thorough article entitled “Why Are Endangered Species Important” is
available at this web address http://science.jrank.org/pages/2466/Endangered-
5. After students have read and discussed the resources listed in instruction #4, ask them if
their answers on the questions from the slide show have changed. Consider having students
respond both through discussion and individual written reflection.
6. The next phase of the lesson involves students developing, administering and analyzing a
survey that will enable them to learn more about how their community views the topic of
endangered species. This phase of the lesson (steps 6-7) may take 3-4 one hour class
periods but students may progress on other steps of the lesson while they await survey
Begin this phase of the lesson by facilitating a student discussion based on the
o Does public opinion and awareness affect the protection of endangered
o How can you find out about the opinions related to endangered species of those
in your community?
Students usually quickly come to the conclusion that a survey instrument of some type
is an effective means to determine opinions of others, but they will need instruction to
develop and implement a good one.
o The following resources are available online to assist teachers in coaching
students in the creation of an effective survey:
• This slide show was created by Cari Brita of Eastern Illinois University
and can be utilized in a high school classroom
• This publication by Keith Diem of Rutgers University, entitled A Step-By-
Step Guide to Developing Effective Questionnaires and Survey
Procedures for Program Evaluation & Research, is an excellent resource
for high schools students
• After registering with this company, students can create and administer a
survey (with a maximum of 10 questions) online for free. Although there
are numerous such sites online, the author of this curriculum has had
both students and teaching peers utilize this resource successfully.
o Use the student handout entitled “Exploring Pubic Opinion” at the end of this
Teacher Guide to provide basic guidance to students.
o Consider a sample size of 100 to simplify analysis of results. A sample size of
100 makes it very easy to determine the percentage of respondents who
choose a particular response to a survey question.
o Consider checking with your school administrator before conducting your
survey. Some schools require parental permission for such projects and
communicating with administration and teaching peers about such a project is
7. After students have created and administered the survey, they need to analyze the
results. At a minimum, they should determine the percentage of respondents who answered
each question a certain way. Students should also prepare graphs (column, bar or pie
graphs) that display survey results. A student handout entitled “Help Using Excel” has been
included in this curriculum to assist your students in using the computer to analyze survey
8. While awaiting survey results or after analyzing them, students need to address the
What can you do to raise public awareness and/or action in relation to the protection of
What personal action/s are you willing to take?
What as a group, are you willing to do?
9. To address the first question, “what can you do to raise public awareness and/or action in
relation to the protection of endangered species?”, have your students use their diverse
talents to create a public awareness campaign. They can develop slogans, posters, songs,
graphics, art, plays, presentations, brochures, video public service announcements and/or
documentaries. Consider working with other teachers in your school and/or community
members to develop and implement your students’ campaign.
10. To address the second question, “what personal action/s are you willing to take?”,
consider the following assignment: require that students commit to 1-2 actions and keep a
journal related to their behavior change for one month. Students can share their progress
with classmates throughout the month. Teachers may utilize the student handout entitled
“What are You Willing To Do?”, included at the end of this Teacher Guide to facilitate this
assignment. It is highly recommended that teachers themselves participate in this
assignment as a role model.
11. To address the third question, “what as a group, are you willing to do?”, teachers will
need to facilitate a class discussion and have at least one option prepared for students.
Students may all choose to perform the same personal action that positively affects the
environment. They may consider their campaign to raise public awareness their group
action. It is, however, recommended that teachers and students consider some type of
outdoor stewardship project in their community. Consider a stream or beach clean-up, a
“weed pull” (removal of non-native species), or other habitat restoration project. Teachers
with limited experience in facilitating these types of projects should work with community
organizations who organize such events. A complete guide to developing stewardship
projects entitled “What Can We Do? Promoting Student Participation in Environmental
Stewardship Projects” has been included in this curriculum.
1. As an example of highly successful public awareness work, have students learn about the
work of Susan Middleton and David Liittschwager. They are professional photographers who
have spent years photographing endangered species in a unique portrait style, showcasing,
speaking about and publishing their work to raise public awareness about the issue. They
have worked extensively in Hawaii, photographing both forest species and those found in the
Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.
Susan Middleton and David Liittschwager have published three stunning books that
captivate students: “Witness: Endangered Species of North America”, “Remains of
the Rainbow: Rare Plants and Animals of Hawaii” and “Archipelago: Portraits of Life
in the World's Most Remote Island Sanctuary”. Teachers should consider purchasing
at least one of these books and/or procuring them from their local library.
The following online resources will also enable students to learn more about the
exceptional work of these photographers:
o Read and hear the words of the photographers themselves (and their
associates) at this dramatic web site
o An interview with Susan Middleton and David Liittschwager is available at this
o This is a descriptive newspaper article about the photographer’s work in
Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument
o The photographer’s work with marine researchers in the Papahānaumokuākea
National Marine Monument is highlighted on this web page
2. Have students research national student environmental organizations and projects to see
examples of significant contributions currently being made by young people.
The Student Environmental Action Coalition (SEAC) - SEAC-pronounced "seek,"
as in "seeking" - is a grassroots coalition of student and youth environmental
groups, working together to protect our planet and our future. Through this united
effort, thousands of youths have translated their concern into action by sharing
resources, building coalitions, and challenging the limited mainstream definition of
environmental issues http://www.seac.org/
The Student Conservation Association (SCA) is a nonprofit organization that offers
conservation internships and summer trail crew opportunities to more than 3,000
people each year. SCA is focused on developing conservation and community
leaders while getting important work done on the land. Founded in 1957 to restore
and protect America’s public lands and preserve them for future generations, SCA
remains committed to this goal today http://www.thesca.org/
The Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) is perhaps the most well recognized youth
program in the National Park Service. The YCC has been instrumental in
introducing young Americans to conservation opportunities in national parks since
the program was created in 1970
Project Citizen is a noted nation-wide program in which young people identify,
research and address problems in their communities
GLOBE (Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment) is a
worldwide hands-on, primary and secondary school-based science and education
program. GLOBE's vision promotes and supports students, teachers and scientists
to collaborate on inquiry-based investigations of the environment and the Earth
system working in close partnership with NASA and NSF Earth System Science
Projects in study and research about the dynamics of Earth's environment
3. Provide students an opportunity to explore a career in environmental law. The following
web sites provide a starting point for this research and please note: the views expressed on
these websites are independent from those endorsed by NOAA (the National Oceanic and
This Wikipedia entry is an excellent place for students to begin their research into
this growing career field http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_law
Lewis and Clark College in Oregon has a School of Environmental Law and an
online journal that allows students to learn about some of the issues environmental
lawyers address http://www.elawreview.org/nav/
The Environmental Law Institute website allows students several resources to
explore national and international issues http://www.eli.org/
Earthjustice is a non-profit public interest law firm dedicated to protecting the
magnificent places, natural resources, and wildlife of this earth, and to defending
the right of all people to a healthy environment. Earthjustice brings about far-
reaching change by enforcing and strengthening environmental laws on behalf of
hundreds of organizations, coalitions and communities. Their website is an
excellent source of information http://www.earthjustice.org/
4. Provide students an opportunity to explore a career in conservation. In addition to the
exploration of careers, students can begin to research different conservation approaches
used by governmental and non-profit organizations through a review of the following websites
(note: this list is just a sampling of conservation careers and students should be encouraged
to research local opportunities):
The United Nations:
The United Nations Environmental Program homepage http://www.unep.org/ has a
specific “employment” link http://www.unep.org/vacancies/ . The site also has
several excellent animations on key conservation topics at this link
At the Federal Level:
NOAA’s career website provides several useful links to information
The US Fish and Wildlife Service has a well-designed, colorful book about career
opportunities available online at http://training.fws.gov/Library/Pubs9/careers_5-
The National Resource Defense Council http://www.nrdc.org/default.asp
The Nature Conservancy http://www.nature.org/ - this site also has a specific
careers link http://www.nature.org/careers/
The World Wildlife Fund http://www.worldwildlife.org/ - this site has a link to job
vacancies with descriptions of each
The Sierra Club http://www.sierraclub.org/ - this site has a specific careers link
5. There are thousands of people who have made a difference in the realm of
environmentalism but only one who has earned the Nobel Peace Prize for their work. Allow
students to learn about the life work of Wangari Matthai by using the following online
Wangari Matthai’s 2004 Nobel Lecture is online at this site
A podcast of an interview with Wangari Matthai is available at
The Greenbelt Movement, founded by Wangari Matthai has an excellent web site
that details her work http://www.greenbeltmovement.org/
Exploring Public Opinion
A survey is a relatively easy way to determine public opinion (and awareness) about the
issues related to endangered species. Creating an effective survey is not, however, a simple
task. Consider the following advice.
Before you create a survey you need to be very clear about what you and your classmates
want to find out. This process will require time for discussion and compromise.
Determine your target population. Which group of people will provide the information that you
want to collect? It may be part of your research to compare the opinions of different
segments of the population of your community but you will need to write your survey
questions in a style that all respondents will understand.
1. Write a good introduction - the beginning of your survey should have an introduction of the
survey. It should state your objective in a way that grabs the attention of potential
respondents and encourages them to take the survey. Also, since it is easy for online survey
respondents to abandon your survey, you should include instructions on how to complete the
survey and an estimate of how much time it will take.
2. Ask questions that provide the information you need - always keep your objective and the
information that you need to gather to achieve it in mind while asking the questions. Also, it is
best to avoid the temptation to gather "extra" bits of information that are "nice to know" but
irrelevant to your objective.
3. Consider including demographic questions to learn more about the people responding to
your survey - gender, age, etc.
4. Organize the questions in logical groups - always organize the questions in logical groups.
It makes it easier for your respondents to understand and answer the questions, thus
increasing the quality of the results.
5. Use plain, easy to understand language and correct grammar - the most effective surveys
always use plain, easy to understand language. Using unclear or ambiguous language will
give you misleading results. So test your survey thoroughly to ensure that it is indeed easy to
6. Avoid technical terms, jargon, and acronyms - if you use technical terms, jargon, and
acronyms, your respondents might not understand them, get frustrated, and abandon your
survey. So strictly avoid them.
7. Use even number of responses - whenever possible, use even number of responses for
multiple choice questions. That way the respondents have to give a positive or a negative
opinion, they can't give a "neutral" answer.
8. Randomize the responses - whenever it makes sense, randomize the order in which
responses are displayed. For example, do not always have choice “A” be “strongly agree”.
This removes "order bias" from the responses.
10. Thank the respondents - your respondents spend the time to take your survey. So never
forget to thank them for completing the survey.
11. Keep it short - as a general rule, keep your survey short, simple, and to the point.
12. Determine which style or styles of questions you think will be most effective in finding out
what you and your classmates want to learn from your target population. The following
questions styles are not your only choices but they will simplify the analysis of your survey
o Closed Ended Questions: Yes or No: Do you think the protection of endangered
species is important?
o True or False? More human and financial resources need to go toward protecting
o Multiple Choice Questions:
A. The greatest percentage of endangered species in the United States
B. The smallest percentage of endangered species in the United States
C. No endangered species
o Likert Scale:
How important is personal action in the protection of endangered species?
A. Extremely important
C. Somewhat important
C. Not important at all
13. Work with your teacher to determine how you will administer your survey to your target
14. After your survey has been administered, determine the percentage of respondents who
answered each question a certain way.
15. Prepare graphs (column, bar or pie graphs) that display survey results.
What Are YOU Willing To Do?
1. With your classmates, brainstorm a list of “personal actions” that positively affect the
2. Choose one action from your brainstormed list that you will commit to for at least one
month and write it here.
3. Explain how performing this personal action relates to the protection of endangered
4. Share your commitment with at least one other classmate.
5. You are to keep a daily journal about the personal action you chose. Did you perform the
action? Were there challenges in performing the action? Rewards? Write anything in your
journal relating to your commitment. You will be sharing your journal with at least one
classmate and your teacher on a weekly basis.
6. At the end of one month you will be required to write a summary reflection in your journal
that addresses the following questions:
Did you fulfill your commitment? Why or why not?
Will you continue to perform your personal action? Why or why not?
If you had to convince others to perform the same personal action as you, how would
you do it?