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Wildlife Conservation I

For Students in Grades 1 through 3

A 45- minute program designed to introduce students to some of the wild animals that live with us on the planet. Discuss what animals are wild, and which animals have been domesticated. Students will understand the difference between common wildlife, and endangered and threatened species of wildlife. Students will become familiar with the NYSDEC, and how they manage wildlife populations and habitats to preserve these animals for future generations.

Take advantage of the popularity of animals with children to help explain the differences between wild and domestic animals. Introduce students to some of the familiar species of Long Island wildlife. Students will learn what wild animals need to survive. Students will be introduced to some of the adaptations and behaviors that animals have tailored to survive. Students will consider the proper ways that humans should interact with wildlife which are outlined by NYSDEC protocols.

NYS Elementary Science Core Curriculum

Standard 1: Scientific Inquiry
Key Idea 1: The central purpose of scientific inquiry is to develop explanations of natural phenomena in a continuing, creative process.

Standard 4: The Living Environment
Key Idea 3: Individual organisms and species change over time.
Key Idea 5: Organisms maintain a dynamic equilibrium that sustains life.
Key Idea 6: Plants and animals depend on each other and their physical environment.

Key Terms

  • Extinct
  • Domesticated
  • Habitat
  • Wild
  • Protected Species
  • Hibernation
  • Threatened Species
  • Migration
  • Life Span
  • Endangered Species
  • Tame
  • Life Cycle


As of December 1999, US Fish and Wildlife Service listed 939 plants and animals as endangered, and another 266 listed as threatened. Some of the reasons these animals are disappearing are because of the effects of people. The NYSDEC helps to manage and protect wildlife species in New York State.


Bring animals and animal artifacts to demonstrate some of the diversity of wildlife on Long Island and around the world.

  • Preserved butterfly display
  • raccoon fur
  • live snake, or snake skin
  • live box turtle, or shell of box turtle
  • deer antlers


What is wild? Differences between wild and domesticated animals are important. Engage students in a discussion about what all animals need. (The following exercise is adapted from Project Wild, Beautiful Basics).

  1. Draw a three column chart on the board, with the headings "People," "Pets" and "Wildlife."
  2. Ask the students to identify the things that people need to survive. As they are suggested, list them (or supply illustrations of the concepts) in that column.
  3. Do the same for pets, and then wildlife.
  4. Combine similar concepts into broader topics. For example, "running around" and "moving around" could be combined into "room to move." Strain out any concepts that are "wants" and not "needs" (food belongs on the list, DVDs do not).
  5. Refine the list to demonstrate what things are needs.
  6. See if the three columns are similar or different. Encourage the students to talk about why they came to the conclusions that they did. In most cases, the general needs for people, pets and wildlife are the same, or very similar.

After the exercise, show some of the animals and animal artifacts to the students. With each item shown, talk about what that animal would need to survive, and whether or not the students would be likely to encounter that species in their yard or their neighborhood. Ask the following for each species:

  1. What does this animal need to survive?
  2. Do you think this animal can meet all of its needs in your yard/neighborhood?
  3. Would it be a good thing for this animal to be in your yard/neighborhood?
  4. Where is the best place for that animal to live?
  5. Can you think of any problems that this animal might create for your family?

Open the discussion to include domestic animals (farm animals and pets).

For example, is a horse a wild animal? Is a dog? Is a wolf? Is a robin?

A horseA Zebra

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    Bureau of Environmental Education
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