WELCOME TO OUR KIDS & CONSERVATION PAGE!
Why should conservation be important to kids? Well, because conservation is all about protecting and managing our natural resources and environment so that they are here for future generations (you!) to use and enjoy.
A conservationist is someone who works to save (conserve) things in nature. For example, some conservationists work to protect wild animals or plants. Others care about wild places, such as deserts or wetlands. Still others work to make sure we don’t run out of things like clean air and water, minerals, soil for farming, and trees for lumber.
Some conservationists do scientific research, while others work with governments or companies. Many work right out in the wilderness. But some prefer to teach or write. They help other people learn about natural resources and how to conserve them.
Anyone can be a conservationist, even you! For example, if you recycle pop bottles, throw your empty McDonald’s bags in the trash instead of on the ground, or turn off lights when you leave a room, you’re already conserving. Every little bit helps!
The Truth about Water
Have you ever heard people say that “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink?” We shouldn’t get mad at the horse because he won’t drink; he may be smarter than we think. Horses can smell things that we can’t see, and maybe he can tell that there is something in the water that is not good for him to drink.
Water Questions and Answers
Can you tell if your drinking water is o.k. by looking at it?
No. None of the chemicals and other things that can make you sick can be seen.
If you travel to other countries, should you drink their water?
The water is generally safe to drink in Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. In other countries, you should drink only carbonated bottled water.
Is it O.K. to take a drink from the garden hose when you are hot and sweaty from playing in the yard?
No. Hoses are made with special chemicals that keep them flexible, and these chemicals can get into the water when it goes through the hose. The opening on the end of the hose could also be covered with germs from laying in the grass or from just being outside.
I’ve heard that my drinking water contains fluoride and chlorine – are they safe to drink?
Yes. Fluoride can even help your teeth stay healthy (Look on your tube of toothpaste to see if it has fluoride in it.) Chlorine is safe but some people say they can taste it in the water.
Why does the water look cloudy sometimes when it comes out of your faucet and then clears up in your glass?
The cloudy water is caused by tiny air bubbles in the water like the bubbles you see when you pour a soft drink into a glass. They rise to the top and then disappear just like they do in a soft drink.
What is “hard” water?
Believe it or not, the water is called “hard” because it is “hard” to make lather or suds for washing with it. The reason is that the water has too much calcium and magnesium in it. Water that doesn’t have enough calcium and magnesium is called “soft” water.
Why is ocean water salty?
Rainwater doesn’t have any salt in it, but when if falls on the ground, it picks up salt from the ground as it flows back down to the ocean. When this water evaporates from the ocean, it leaves the salt behind. The ocean is very salty because this has been going on for over a billion years!
Interesting Facts about Water
Even though you think you use water “up” every day, we have the same amount of water on Earth now as we did the very first day the Earth was formed. Because we can’t get more water than what we already have, we need to learn to conserve (save) it. If we conserve it, we’ll be sure to have plenty to drink (or swim in!) for many, many more years.
Using a “purifier (filter)” on your water at home doesn’t always make it safer and healthier to drink. People use filters on their water to make it taste, smell or look better, but filters don’t kill germs.
Bottled water is not always safer to drink than tap water. The quality of bottled water is not monitored by the government like tap water is, and studies have shown that germs can grow in bottled water while it sits on the grocery shelf. Bottled water also costs much more than tap water. However, if there is an emergency, bottled water is an important source of drinking water.
If you have lead pipes in the plumbing in your house, the lead can get into the water. Lead is very harmful to young children. There are a couple of things you can do if you have lead in the plumbing: 1) Since warm water absorbs more lead than cold, always use cold water for cooking or drinking. 2) Because water standing in pipes tends to absorb lead, clear the pipes before drinking by letting the faucet run until the water is cold.
The Facts Underneath It All
Is it “soil” or “dirt?”
Well, it depends. It’s kind of like when a farmer sees a stalk of corn, all by its lonesome, out in the middle of his soybeans – it “shouldn’t otta’ be there!” If you find soil where it “shouldn’t otta’ be” (like on your mom’s nice, clean, kitchen floor, or all over your clothes) then it can be considered “dirt” because it makes things “dirty”. On the other hand, if you find soil where it’s supposed to be (outside) and doing what it’s supposed to do (holding up buildings, giving plants room to grow) then you want to call it “soil” for sure!
Where did all the soil come from?
Most of the soil here on earth has been around a long time. Soil is like a turtle when it comes to making new soil; it can take hundreds or thousands of years to make just one-inch more.
But soil has to start somewhere, right? It does. Soil forms from its” parent material”. This can be rocks, dead leaves, broken tree limbs lying on the ground, and dead bugs. Heat, rain, ice, snow, wind, and sunshine help to break the parent material down into smaller and smaller pieces until it becomes soil.
What are soil “horizons?”
They’re the layers in the soil. The top layer is the O horizon. It’s only about an inch thick, but it is very healthy. The A horizon, or topsoil, has roots, tiny microscopic bacteria and fungi, and lots of other small creatures (like worms) running around in it. Next, is the B horizon which is hard and not many plants and animals can get through it. At the bottom is horizon C. C is the parent material that was used to form the other three layers. It is even harder than B and not many things live there.
What is a “ped?”
A ped is a single unit of soil structure (the shape of the soil). Soil comes in several shapes:
granular -looks like cookie crumbs
blocky -blocks of different sizes
columnar -tall columns of soil that have a salt “cap” at the top
platy -thin, flat plates of soil stacked on top of each other
massive -very large clumps or clods of soil that are hard to break apart
The way a soil feels when you touch it is called its “texture.” A soil that feels “gritty” is made up of sand, the largest pieces of soil. A soil that feels soft, silky or “floury” is made of the medium size soil pieces – silt. The smallest size soil pieces, clay, feel “sticky” and are hard to squeeze.
Did you know that soil comes in other colors besides your basic everyday brown?
They do. You can find them in black, red, yellow, white and gray.
How does water get in to the soil?
When it rains, the rainwater pours into the pores in the soil. Pores are spaces in the soil that come in different sizes. They let in and hold water. They also let air in so that the small animals and insects living in the ground can breathe.
Why do plants grow so well in the soil?
The soil has a lot of the things in it that plants like to eat. They don’t really eat like you and me, though, they absorb nutrients with their roots. They also use their roots to drain water from the soil for a nice, refreshing drink. This keeps the soil from staying too wet.
Roots help make soil, too. They split rocks into pieces that later become soil.
Can we lose soil?
Yes. Soil “erodes” (washes or blows away) when there is nothing to help it stay in place.
How can we keep our soil in place?
Plant some grass, trees or other plants in areas where the soil is eroding. They help keep soil from moving around. Farmers have ways to keep the soil on the land so that they can grow food for us to eat. They use special machinery when they plant their crops, and they plant windbreaks. Windbreaks are rows of trees that are planted next to fields to keep the wind from blowing the soil away.
When we try to save our soil it is called “soil conservation.” Conservation is the best way to be sure that we have land to live on now and in the future.
The Wonder of Wildlife
Have you ever found a baby rabbit, squirrel or bird that looked like their parents had left them all alone, and you wanted to take them home with you and take care of them? You would make the best parent, and they would make the neatest pets, right? Well, you probably would make a great parent, but the young, wild animal may not always make a great pet.
Wild animal babies look really cute and harmless, but some of them will bite and scratch people who try to handle them. Ouch! You can also catch diseases from animals this way.
A wild animal has natural instincts that help protect him from danger when he is in the wild. As your baby animal grows older, its instincts may get stronger, and it may become mean and tear up things or try to hurt you. An animal raised by humans also does not have the skills to find food and shelter on its own or to compete with other animals. So, if you decide to set your baby animal free when it is grown, it may not live very long in its natural home.
National Wildlife Federation Kid’s Page
Kids Go Wild
Wildlife International Just For Kids – Wildlife Jobs
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Kid’s Corner
U.S. Forest Service Just For Kids
Home Science: Backyard Conservation