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An Introduction to Biodiversity!

Why do we need biodiversity, or many different kinds of plants and animals? With only one kind or very few kinds of species, our ecosystem will be out of balance. Plants and animals have special relationships and rely on each other to live. If we lose one kind of plant or animal, it can cause us to lose other types of plants and animals, some of which humans rely on for food and medicine. More biodiversity also helps keep humans healthy by controlling the spread of diseases. Many animals eat other animals or insects that spread disease. Biodiversity protects our planet from climate change. More types of trees keep the earth planet cooler and absorb carbon.

How much biodiversity can you observe? Go outside and mark a 1’ x 1’ square on the ground. You can use a tree pit, small garden or an area in a park.

  1. Count how many live plants you see within the square.

  2. Count how many different types of plants are in that square (Grass counts as one!).

  3. Count and name how many pieces of man-made materials you can see within that square.

The more different types of plants = the more biodiversity. Try this in a few different areas and decide what is the most biodiverse and if that is related to man-made materials. Which square has the least types of species? Which square has the least overall plants? Which square has the most man made materials? Take a picture or draw and label what you found.

Take a look at the video below to learn more about biodiversity.

At-Home Activities

We'd love to hear from you!

Share your creations and nature observations with us -- and let us know if you enjoyed this activity! Fill out this Google Form or email You can also tag @gowanuscanalconservancy on Instagram or @GowanusCConserv on Twitter with photos of your nature observations or work!

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