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Biodiversity

Biodiversity includes every living thing on the planet and all the habitats in which they live, from the smallest microorganism to the largest mammal. 

Protecting the environment we live in is vital not just for us but for every living thing, from the smallest microorganisms to the blue whale.  We are part of the earth's biodiversity and depend upon every other living thing for a healthy, sustainable existence.  We have only begun to discover the rich variety of life on our planet, but are losing species to extinction at an unprecedented rate.  Of the 8,300 animal breeds known, 8 per cent are extinct and 22 per cent are at risk of extinction.  We have so far identified nearly 200,000 different species, in the oceans, but actual numbers may lie in the millions.  How many have been lost without us ever knowing them? 

Here are some resources you might find helpful on Biodiversity:

United Nations - World Bee Day

One third of the world’s food production depends on bees and World Bee Day is an opportunity to highlight the importance of pollinators to both the environmental health and the security of our food supply.

Download World Bee Day resources.

What's Under Your Feet - The Pod

The Pod and the British Trust for Ornithology are working together on an exciting citizen science campaign called ‘What’s under your feet’, helping uncover the impact climate change is having on birds across the UK. Take part by collecting data from soil samples in the months of October, March and June.  All resources are available on The Pod including; a checklist and activity overview, lesson plans and recording sheets.

Join What's Under Your Feet with The Pod.

BBC Terrific Scientific - Trees Investigation

As part of the BBC science campaign Terrific Scientific, this investigation will help your pupils to think and work like a scientist, investigating why carbon storage is important through the context of trees in their school grounds.

Take part in the BBC Terrific Scientific Trees Investigation.

Scottish Natural Heritage - Scotland's Species

A detailed list of the species hosted by Scotland's diverse habitats. 

Learn more about the variety of species hosted by Scotland's natural landscape.

Learn more about how Scotland's landscape has been shaped over time

Scottish Natural Heritage - Beyond Your Boundary

This resource is for educators in all schools, of any subject, working with pupils of all stages. It will help you to find, access, use and improve your local greenspace and spread and embed learning in local greenspace in your establishment.

Download the booklet.

Scottish Natural Heritage - Activities for Your Class

Find free, downloadable resources to help you bring Scotland’s nature and landscapes to life outdoors and in the classroom.

Download activities and resources for your class.

World's Largest Lesson - Goal 15: Life On Land

World’s Largest Lesson introduces the Sustainable Development Goals to children and young people everywhere and unites them in action. Download lesson plans, comics and other resources on biodiversity and ecosystems to use in your classroom.

Download lesson plans on Goal 15.

World's Largest Lesson - Goal 14: Life Below Water

World’s Largest Lesson introduces the Sustainable Development Goals to children and young people everywhere and unites them in action. Download lesson plans, comics and other resources on marine life to use in your classroom.

Download lesson plans on Goal 14.

Scottish Government - Template User Guide to Enhance Biodiversity and Promote Ecology in Sustainable Schools

This guide sets out a step-by-step process for enhancement of biodiversity and promotion of ecology in the external grounds of sustainable schools, from early planning of the school build to design and construction and enjoyment by the school community. It also supports the achievement of the Silver or Gold sustainability award (Building Standards Labelling System introduced as part of Section 7 (Sustainability) Non-Domestic Technical Handbook.

Download user guide.

Butterfly Conservation Scotland - Big Butterfly Count

Help take nature's pulse by joining the B

Butterfly Conservation Scotland - Identify a Butterfly

Not sure what kind of butterfly you've found in your garden or school grounds? Butterfly Conservation Scotland have a great identification tool that will help you find out.  Search by size, colour or markings.

Identify that butterfly

Stride Global Citizenship Magazine - Go Fish!

Learn about sustainable fishing with this interactive fishing game and link learning to SDG 14 Life below Water. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

Download Go Fish! Activity

RSPB - Wild Challenge Awards

Can you hear that? That's the call of the wild! Wild Challenge is your chance to answer that call. Help wildlife, explore nature, and work towards awards by making your way through a heap of wild schools activities. What will your wild challenge be? This could form part of your work on Biodiversity.

Get involved in the Wild Challenge Awards

RSPB - Give Nature a Home

No matter whether you have a few flowerpots, or a big school garden, the RSPB have activities to suit you. What will you try first?

How will you Give Nature a Home?

WWF - I Protect Tigers

This tiger resource pack encourages pupils, aged 7 to 11, to find out more about this iconic animal, the threats it faces, and empower them to develop their own ideas and opinions on environmental issues. 

Register with WWF to download free resources.

Biodiversity and Climate Change

Biodiversity and climate change are interrelated.  Trees and oceans both absorb carbon dioxide produced by human activity and with 30 per cent of the Earth’s surface is covered by forests and another 75% is covered by oceans, it is clear that protecting habitats for wildlife is key to taking action on climate change. 

At the same time, changing weather patterns and rising temperatures caused by climate change have an effect on biodiversity, with reduced habitat and increased numbers of parasites contributing to lower numbers of some species.  There is already evidence that climate change is affecting biodiversity in Scotland.  Biodiversity Scotland has noted habitat loss for the snow bunting and Scottish Natural Heritage warns that warmer more humid conditions are causing an increase in red band needle blight, which affects Corsican pine trees, while damp loving Rhododendron becomes more prolific.

There are some good stories of how species can adapt to changing conditions. Read about how Scottish Natural Heritage is helping montane willow scrub become more resilient in the face of climate change.

SNH - Climate change impacts in Scotland

Climate change is happening now. How we choose to respond won’t just affect the survival of individual species and our distinctive landscapes. Climate change impacts will also affect our economy, culture and lifestyles. Read through sections on landscape, species, habitats and marine impacts.

Visit SNH website.

UN Convention on Biological Diversity - Teacher's Corner

A list of resources and databases compiled by the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity.

Browse resources.

Young People's Trust for the Environment - Climate Change and Animals

This factsheet takes a look at some of the challenges that animals might have to face in the future. How does climate change affect them?

Download Climate Change and Animals factsheet.

Biodiversity Case Studies

Case Study - McLaren High School

Pupils at McLaren High School took part in several projects to improve Biodiversity in their school grounds, including Polli:nation with Grounds For Learning which aims to increase numbers of pollinators. Working together, pupils have transformed their grounds into a fantastic space for outdoor learning. Read more.

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