“It is perhaps more important than ever for children to be aware of the endangered species that inhabit our planet. Climate change is resulting in some of the Earth’s processes being sped up to such a degree that animals do not have enough time to learn how to adapt to their changing environments before they become extinct. As a result, some animals like lions (below) and polar bears may become extinct during our children’s lifetimes. Raising awareness as early as possible is crucial. The earlier a child can be made aware of the dangers posed to endangered species, the more inspired he or she may be to take action that could help save the species or our planet in general. Also, learning about these things and taking a stand at any early age increases the period of time in a difference can be made.
“We can teach our children that one of the most important ways in which we can help plants and animals survive is by protecting their environments. This includes nature parks/reserves and wilderness areas. We can help plants and animals via an act as simple as cleaning up after ourselves when we go to the park. This way, we are not leaving litter around for animals to ingest. We can even help from home by cutting up the plastic rings from our soft drinks so they do not end up wrapped around animals if our garbage ends up in the ocean. We can also recycle our plastic and cardboard so that there is less garbage in the environment. This can help cut down on a host of problems, such as air pollution.
“Some parks will even host tours or walks on which you can take your children. The rangers should be able to provide information on which species are endangered at their parks and what measures are being done to help. They might even offer you and your child suggestions for ways in which you both can help the rangers with their work. They might suggest you help with cleaning up litter or weeding that will make room for new plants to grow. If you plant more of the plants and flowers that are native to an area, this can also encourage animals that once left in search of the plant or flower to return to the park, its natural habitat.
“When you visit a national park with your child, it is important that you follow the wildlife codes that are put in place. Be sure to leave flowers, birds’ eggs (above) and logs undisturbed. Leave your pets at home when specified, and be sure to follow any and all regulations when it comes to building a fire.
“Another way we can teach our children about endangered species is to have them draw them. Perhaps you could even teach them about some of the endangered species, then have the child draw as many as he or she can remember from your lesson. For example, you can explain to a child why certain animals like polar bears and lions are in danger of becoming extinct (hunting, climate change, etc.) Then, you can offer the child ways in which he or she can help. The child can then draw the animals you just described, as well as all of the ways in which he or she would like to be able to help.
“Drawing is a great way to help a younger child express him or herself when they can’t find the words. Not only that, but there are several benefits to the activity. For one thing, the child will learn how to develop his or her motor skills when it comes to certain attributes like hand-eye coordination or grasping. This makes tasks like buttoning a shirt or writing their name easier for them when they attempt these tasks in the future.
“Drawing also enhances a child’s imagination, and it helps them to pay more attention to details as they study the object they are intent on drawing. For example, they may pay more attention to the scales of a fish if they are intent on drawing a mermaid’s fin. Other details like the differences between shapes or proportions and tones or textures can also be finely honed through the art of drawing.
“Teaching a child to draw can be the first step in helping them understand the importance of protecting endangered species [like the Lesser Moiusedeer (Tragulus kanchil) that is critically endangered (above) and the Mangrove Pitta (Pitta megarhyncha), also endangered in Singapore (below)]. Whatever emotions they take from what they learn, be it anger, frustration or sadness, they can express them in drawings when words won’t suffice. Their drawing can then be a physical manifestation of what they felt, which can inspire them to take action later in life.”
1st August 2013
Photo Credits: Lion and gull’s eggs – YC Wee; Lesser Mousedeer – Lena Chow; Mangrove Pitta – Choy Wai Mun.