We share the Earth with a tremendous variety of animal life. EarthSeeds curriculum is designed to help young people understand concepts like diversity, habitat, indicator species and the food chain so that they have the tools to be good future stewards of our planet.
Hunting, pollution and land use are just a few of the areas where people have an impact on wildlife. For example, the equivalent of ten city blocks of rainforest is destroyed every minute. Did you know that 7% of the earth's dry land surface is rainforest, home to more than 50% of the world's plants and animals?
"Children are born with a very open mind, they can very quickly learn aggressive ways but they can equally learn gentle, kind ways and a respect for other beings. So if we can nurture this innate ability of a child to relate in a kind way to the world, this is terribly important."
Jane Goodall Fascinating Facts about Animals
The more we at EarthSeeds learn about animals, the more we appreciate how truly remarkable and precious they are. Here are a few amazing facts about animals.
There are more insects in two square miles of rural land than humans on Earth. Insects account for 8 out of 10 of all known species. They are found everywhere on Spaceship Earth, even Antarctica. Over 900,000 species have been identified. The weight of the Earth's insect population is 12 times greater than the weight of all the people. Insects have lived here 350 million years, compared to our 2 million. Only approximately 1% of insects are harmful to humans. A male silkworm-emperor moth can detect a female 6.8 miles away. Insects are related to crabs and lobsters, wearing their skeletons on the outsides of their bodies.
There are about 9,000 different species of birds. Most birds have flat eyes that take in a 360 degree view with a single glance. They also see everything in focus. Eagles can see 8 times better than we can. Owls can see 50 times better, especially at night! Many birds migrate over long distances each year, using genetic memories and magnetic guidance. The Peregrine Falcon can fly at 217 mph. The Gentoo Penguin is the fastest swimming bird at 17 mph.
From Aardvarks to Zebras, there are over 15,000 species of mammals serving as Crew on Spaceship Earth. The earliest mammals date from the late Triassic period which ended 206 million years ago. For 70 million years mammals have been the dominant animals in terrestrial ecosystems, a consequence of two principal factors: the great behavioral adaptability provided by the ability of mammalian young to learn from their elders (a consequence of their dependence on their mothers for nourishment), and the physical adaptability to a wide range of climates and conditions provided by their warm-bloodedness.
The smallest mammal at about .08 oz or 2.3 g is the Pygmy Shrew. It can eat its weight in 24 hrs and will die if not fed in 6 hrs. The nearly extinct Blue Whale is the largest mammal at about 150 tons. Some whales can hear each other's songs over 500 miles away; sound travels very far in water. Bats and Dolphins have ultrasonic echolocation skills that enable them to hear 8 to 16 times the range of humans. Dogs and Bears are canine cousins, both can smell scents over 3 miles away. The Red Kangaroo can jump 10.5 ft high and 42 ft long. The Cheetah is the fastest land mammal and can run 63 mph. Humans are the oldest living mammals; the oldest person recorded was 120 yrs old.
Each Animal Has A Role in the Web of Life
Each creature and organism, regardless of size, age, or species, serves some special purpose in helping maintain the delicate balance of life on Spaceship Earth. Some like Bees and Butterflies, are responsible for pollinating blossoms so that apples, grapes and flowers can grow. Other creatures aid in the process of decay, like worms and lichen, and keep the cycle of life in motion.
What other things can you think of that describe how animals play an important role in the ecology of Earth?
"It seems that we are ignoring the problems of tomorrow. Earth is a haven for life. Without it, billions of defenseless creatures would be no more.
For decades all we humans have done is make it a better place for us. Regardless of beautiful animal habitats, we have made cities, dumps, and landfills.
The question is, can we erase the mistakes and the blindness? The answer is, yes! If we try..."
M.M., 5th grade EarthSeeds Global Youth Voice
Talk with your students about local wildlife. What are some of the unique or amazing animals that live in your area? Are there any animals that are now missing from your area because of human involvement? What, if any animals occasionally get into trouble with humans because of lack of predators or territorial issues? Are there any endangered or reintroduced species in your region?
Tell us about wildlife in your area. If you are doing any special projects or field trips relating to wildlife we'd like to hear about that too through out Global Youth Voice project and share your work with young people around the world. Contact us at email@example.com.