Take A Virtual Field Trip: Grasslands!
Updated: May 18
Did you know that plants live together in communities? Plant communities are groups of plants sharing a common environment that interact with each other, animal populations, and the physical environment. A Grassland is a sunny, dry area covered mostly by grass and perennials (plants that grow back every year). Did you know that the Gowanus Canal used to be surrounded by grasslands? As with other habitats, Grasslands must provide food, water, shelter, and space for wildlife. Grasslands are habitat to birds, butterflies, bees, and other insects and animals that help pollinate plants. Animals have protection and shelter in the grasses and feed on seeds.
European settlers removed the grasslands from Gowanus when they made large farms to grow food. When the Gowanus grasslands were removed, we lost an important ecosystem of plants and animals. Gowanus Canal Conservancy planted and stewards a grassland on the Salt Lot to restore this important habitat. It’s working! Monarch butterflies have appeared and are attracted to a plant called Milkweed. Monarchs and milkweed have an important relationship. Monarchs only lay their eggs on milkweed, and the caterpillars only eat milkweed leaves. The sap in Milkweed leaves make the Monarch caterpillars and butterflies taste bad to predators, which helps protect them when they migrate. The grassland at the Salt Lot provides habitat in the monarch’s migration journey up to 3,000 miles from Mexico all the way up north to Canada.
In this video, you’ll explore the Grasslands plant community at the Salt Lot. Watch the video to learn more about grasslands, then explore the interactive image and find the different plant, animal and insect species that live together in the Grassland plant community.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also tag @gowanuscanalconservancy on Instagram or @GowanusCConserv on Twitter with photos of your nature observations or work!