2012 – The World’s A Place of Living Things
"Wetlands: a heaven of wildlife"
by Phoebe Chiu, Grade 3
"Exploring nature's beauty"
by Samantha Lee, Grade 4
by Lu Abuizzah, Grade 4
"The beautiful earth is our home!"
by Jennie Wei, Grade 2
"The world of harmony"
by Jeffrey Zhang, Grade 4
Aleena A., Jason Chang (Grade 3 – Washington), Madeline Cordray (Grade 2 – Ohio), Michelle Feng (Grade 3 – Virginia), Allyson Franklin (Grade 3 – Michigan), Noemi Gonzalez (Grade 3 – New Jersey), Allen Huo (Grade 2 – Virginia), Ada Leong (Grade 3 – Oregon), Winston Li (Grade 2 – New Jersey), Irene Liu (Grade 2 – Virginia), Odelia Lu (Grade 2 – New Jersey), Shaina Rivera (Grade 3 – New Jersey), April Tian (Grade 3 – Virginia), Mia Vazquez (Grade 3 – Virginia), Sruthi Vempuluru (Grade 4 – Virginia), Hailey Wang (Grade 4 – Virginia), Jaden Wang (Grade 3 – Virginia), Audrey Zhang (Grade 3 – Michigan), Christopher Zhang (Grade 3 – Virginia)
The World’s a Place of Living Things
The world’s a place of living things,
The world’s a place of living things,
Poem written by Erin Hodge (Boston College), 2012 IGES Summer Intern
There are many different types of life on Earth. We call this biodiversity. There are many different species, from bacteria to insects to plants to animals. But individuals within a species are also different from one another. For example, people have different hair colors and eye colors. Some are tall while others are short. And there are some differences that cannot be seen, ones inside our cells that make us different from one another in other ways.
Biodiversity is not just the total of species in an ecosystem. It is also about how different they all are. Imagine all of the living things where you live and how different they are—people, bugs, birds, trees, fish, and frogs.
Scientists use biodiversity to help figure out how healthy an ecosystem is. The more diverse it is, the healthier it is. An ecosystem that is sufficiently diverse would be able to survive even if one of the species within it disappeared. If a species disappears in an ecosystem that does not have enough biodiversity, the ecosystem can collapse.
This year’s contest invites young scientists and artists to explore biodiversity. Learn about all the forms of life in a particular place – maybe it’s the Arctic or rainforest or your backyard. Read stories and books. Watch videos. Then draw a picture to show what you learned. Make it colorful. And remember to enter your artwork in the 2012 IGES art contest!
Did You Know?
The world has 30,000 edible plants.
Half of the calories we eat come from just three edible plants: rice, wheat, and corn.
Scientists discover 500-1000 new species each year! (Most of them are insects.)
Tropical rainforests are the areas of richest biodiversity on our planet. Tropical regions support two-thirds of the estimated 250,000 plant species in the world.
According to some studies, 30% of all species will be extinct by 2050 if the current rate of biodiversity loss continues.
There are about 13 million species – and only 1.75 million of them have been described, according to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.
Climate change also has huge impact on biodiversity loss, in both polar regions and tropical regions.
Plants and animals that are not native to an area and take over easily are one of the biggest threats to biodiversity.
National Education Standards
This year’s contest supports the following education standards:
Go into your backyard and notice all the different plants and animals that are there. What do they look like? How are they alike? How are they different?
Imagine you’re a scientist studying the ocean, rainforest, arctic, wetlands, grasslands, a forest, or your local park or own backyard. Maybe the area is near your home or maybe it is far away. What would the plants and animals in the area look like?
Think about a pet you might have – a dog, cat, horse, or maybe bird. Dogs are all part of the same species, but they don’t all look alike. There is a lot of diversity among them. How is your pet physically different from other members of the same species? How might your pet be different in ways you can’t see?
Learn about an endangered species. What environment does it live in? What other plants or animals does it need to survive?
Imagine you work at a zoo and have to design a new home for a certain animal (maybe a polar bear, panda, or elephant). What are all the different things you need to include to make it like their home in the wild?
Tree of Life: The Incredible Biodiversity of Life on Earth (CitizenKid), by Rochelle Strauss and Margot Thompson
Bats, Bugs, and Biodiversity: Adventures in the Amazonian Rain Forest, by Susan E. Goodman
Eyewitness: Ecology, by Steve Pollack
Books by Greg Pyers:
Biodiversity of Coasts
Dragonfly – Biodiversity
Bill Nye – Biodiversity
Billy B. “Biodiversity”
The Wild Classroom – EcoGeeks
BrainPop – Diversity of Life
American Museum of Natural History
Explore Biodiversity: Tree of Life Science Media Project
Download the 2012 IGES Art Contest Brochure.
Download the 2012 IGES Art Contest Entry Form.