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In this unit study, learners will:

  • Explore Influential Conservationists: Study Rachel Carson’s environmental impact, Dian Fossey’s work with mountain gorillas, and Roger Tory Peterson’s contributions to bird watching and habitat conservation.

  • Investigate the Role of Snakes in Ecosystems: Learn about the ecological importance of snakes, dissect owl pellets to understand food webs, and interact with a special guest to identify and conserve native snake species.

  • Study Conservation Biology and Endangered Species: Understand the principles of conservation biology, explore factors leading to species endangerment, and simulate habitat restoration to support endangered species.

  • Understand Wetlands for Bird Conservation: Learn about wetland ecosystems, their significance for bird species, and build a wetland model to visualize how different birds use these habitats.

  • Create Art Inspired by Wildlife: Explore the works of John James Audubon, Robert Bateman, and Charley Harper, and create detailed wildlife illustrations, realistic paintings, and geometric art inspired by these artists.

  • Develop Research and Writing Skills: Write essays or journal entries from the perspective of conservationists like Dian Fossey and create a mini field guide featuring local bird species, including drawings and habitat information.


Day 1: Snakes and Herpetology

History Makers Society:

  • Learn about Rachel Carson, her contributions to wildlife conservation, and her influence on modern environmental policies.

  • Discussion on her book "Silent Spring" and its impact on pesticide regulation and environmental awareness and her role in the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

  • Create a timeline of Rachel Carson’s life and major achievements.


Science Exploration:

  • Understand the ecological importance of snakes and their role in maintaining balanced ecosystems. Overview of native snake species and their habitats. The food web and the snake’s position in it. Importance of snakes in controlling pest populations.

  • Make an interactive food web.

  • Dissect owl pellets (which often contain remains of small animals, including snakes) to understand food webs and predator-prey relationships. 

Art Project:

  • Introduction to John James Audubon’s life and his contributions to wildlife art and conservation.

  • Create a wildlife illustration inspired by Audubon’s style.

  • Learners will also be invited to create a snakeskin using glue and a toy snake. 

Day 2:  Primate Conservation and Research Journaling + Special Guest 

History Makers Society:

  • Learn about Dian Fossey’s work with mountain gorillas and her impact on primate conservation.

  • Biography of Dian Fossey and her journey to becoming a primatologist and her research in the Virunga Mountains and the founding of the Karisoke Research Center.

  • Create a journal entry (can be written, typed, video, drawings) from the perspective of Dian Fossey, detailing a day in the life of her research and conservation efforts.


*Special Guest Session: K2C Wildlife Encounters*

  • Introduction to the guest speaker, Bill Crisp and his expertise in herpetology.

  • Discussion on how to identify various native snake species.

  • Information on the conservation status of these species and what can be done to help protect them.

  • Interactive session with live native snakes, learners will have the opportunity to see and touch the snakes, while learning how to identify different snake species based on their physical characteristics and behaviors.

Science Exploration:

  • Understand the principles of conservation biology and the factors leading to species endangerment.

  • Factors contributing to species becoming endangered (habitat loss, poaching, climate change, etc.)

  • Habitat restoration simulation. Create miniature habitats in containers, plant native seeds, and discuss how restoring native plants can help endangered species.


Art Project:

  • Explore the wildlife paintings of Robert Bateman and his contribution to conservation through art.

  • Research an endangered mammal, then create a detailed and realistic painting or drawing of the species in its natural environment.


Day 3: Birds and Habitat Conservation

History Makers Society:

  • Learn about Roger Tory Peterson’s contributions to bird watching and habitat conservation.

  • Impact of Peterson’s field guides on bird watching and wildlife appreciation.

  • Create a mini field guide. Choose five local bird species and create entries with drawings, descriptions, and habitat information.


Science Exploration:

Understand the role of wetlands in bird conservation and overall ecosystem health.

  • Overview of wetland ecosystems and their characteristics.

  • Importance of wetlands for bird species (breeding, feeding, migration). Threats to wetlands and conservation strategies.

  • Construct a wetland model showing various zones (water, shore, and vegetation), and discuss how different bird species use these zones.


Art Project

  • Explore Charley Harper’s unique style and how he represented wildlife in his art.

  • Analysis of Harper’s use of geometric shapes and vibrant colors to depict wildlife. Discussion on how Harper’s art raises awareness about wildlife and conservation.

  • Choose a bird species and create a collage using geometric shapes, focusing on bold colors and simple forms.

The above topics provide a general scope for our unit study, serving as a foundation for our exploration of Wildlife Conservation. However, we aim to foster a broader learning experience by empowering learners to choose their own paths of research and project-based learning. By encouraging individual interests and inquiries, we enhance engagement and encourage deeper exploration of the diverse aspects of ecosystems and conservation. Throughout the unit study learners will have the opportunity to explore additional activities within the topic in a way that is most comfortable and engaging for them.

*Curriculum developed by Raising Brain, LLC


  • Parents and siblings are invited to our special show.

  • Please RSVP to by Wednesday, July 10th as there is an audience limit. 

Raising Brain Flint Hill Virginia Homeschool Co-op Homeschool Enrichment Rappahannock Coun
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