Virginia WildlifeMapping:
An Environmental Endowment Project

           WildlifeMapping is a unique opportunity that allows students to investigate their environment while contributing valuable research to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. WildlifeMapping is a proactive approach to identifying and protecting local habitats that are critical to species survival before their existence is threatened.

            Fourth and fifth graders at Christiansburg Elementary School (CES) in Virginia are learning mapping, and species identification skills in order to record wildlife observations and send data to the Virginia wildlife department. They work together in cooperative learning teams. They develop language arts, science, social studies, mathematics, and computer/technology skills. For example, students complete compass and straight-edge constructions using mathematical skills in order to perform ground truthing exercises. Students investigate science problem-solving inquiry (experimentation, data collection, population dynamics) to represent wildlife populations (tables, charts, graphs) by observing, sampling, and comparing species in different habitats.

            WildlifeMapping training helps students identify the biodiversity of wildlife populations in their community and provides practical application of content and problem-solving skills taught in classroom settings. Volunteers (parent, university, agency) from the community are involved in WildlifeMapping and assist students with animal identification and data collection from field research.

           Specific objectives of Wildlife Mapping are:

  1. identifying the nine basic classes of habitat ( developed, unvegetated, agriculture, non-forested, deciduous, mixed deciduous/coniferous (evergreen), coniferous, open water and wetland)
  2. accessing Internet Wildlife Information Systems to determine which of the 1,500 species occur in the community
  3. using field kits (maps, field guides, binoculars, global position system, data collection forms) to inventory species in their area
  4. performing data collection and monitoring (two hours, once a month). For our WildlifeMapping: Data Collection Forms click here:
  5. sending in data collection forms for quarterly updates.
             Project evaluation components will be based on the quantity and quality of data students contribute. Student abilities to accurately identify species and report WildlifeMapping information will be elaborated on; samples of team observations recorded on data collection sheets will be shared; quarterly reports of WildlifeMapping data at the state level will be presented to participants; and finally results of Wildlife Mapping experiences will be documented on the CES WildlifeMapping web pages. A complete description of the funded Virginia Environmental Grant proposal is here:             Click here for grades 4 and 5 Curriculum Objectives. These objectives address standards in science, mathematics, English, social studies, and computer/technology at both the state and national levels.
  • For Wildlife activities click here:
  •             Fourth and fifth graders are presented this problem: "In order to understand better the local habitats of animals in your community, you will design and construct nine habitats for these animals." Students are then grouped into collaborative teams of nine-three each. Teams select a habitat:

                The teams are also given animals to research - with specific questions (features, natural history, habitat requirements) to address for their animals. Students use clay, popsicle sticks and paper goods to build model habitats on inch-squared graph paper. Teams begin researching information using Internet databases including Animal Information Data Bases :

                Students gather information from the WWW, use mathematical skills to calculate animal habitat areas, and gather materials to construct their zoo habitats.

                The assessment component of "Wildlife Mapping" consists of an oral presentation - students lead a 3-5 minute guided tour of their habitat. This model of instruction can easily be adapted for multi-grade levels to integrate a variety of instructional objectives, and it is an experience worth sharing with others.

    URL: ./project.html
    This page is maintained by: Cathy Ney
    Created by Cathy Ney October 20, 1997
    Last Update: January 19, 2001

    Wildlife Mapping Project Description