From the Fall 2013 Conservationist for Kids
By Gina Jack
You can do many things to protect biodiversity in your own neighborhood and around the world.
Be a responsible pet owner
Responsible pet owner
Learn how to care for your pets properly, including how to keep them safe from wildlife and how to keep wildlife safe from them. Keep your dog on a leash when you take it outside, and keep cats indoors. Free-ranging cats (feral and house pets) kill millions of birds, small mammals, reptiles and amphibians each year. Don't buy pets that were captured in the wild. Never release pets you no longer want. Find them a new home, or take them to an animal shelter instead.
Help restore natural habitat
Plant a garden, or help maintain a garden in your community for the benefit of local wildlife. Nonnative plants can be invasive, so avoid using them. Groups like the Bronx River Alliance, Ducks Unlimited, Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper and Trout Unlimited adopt bigger projects and restore natural habitat, among other activities, with the help of volunteers.
Become a citizen scientist
Monitor birds, insects, mammals, plants, weather and more, and contribute to real scientific research. Get started with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
Learn how your choices affect biodiversity around the world
The products we buy come from many different sources. Look for labels that tell you they are made from sustainably harvested materials. Whenever you can, buy products made locally, from local materials. By reducing your waste and your water use, you'll help conserve resources. By reducing your energy use, you'll help combat climate change and pollution. Even small efforts count!
For More Information
DEC's Biodiversity and Species Conservation
DEC's fact sheets about animals, plants and aquatic life
DEC's New York Nature Explorer
Canadian Wildlife Federation's "Discover Biodiversity" webisode
Tree of Life: The Incredible Biodiversity of Life on Earth, by Rochelle Strauss (Kids Can Press, Toronto, Canada, 2004)