Exploring Respect for Wildlife
This activity should take about 70 minutes.
What Your Group Will Learn
After participating in this activity plan, which calls for participants to observe impacts on wildlife, participants will be able to
- Describe what activities cause impacts to wildlife.
- Identify the actions that can be taken to minimize impacts to wildlife.
Your participants are going on an imaginary hike to a marshland area where they will encounter a flock of ducks, a doe, and a fawn. This activity will help them think about their potential impacts to wildlife and how these impacts can be avoided.
Materials and Preparation
- A garden hose or some other means of marking the marshland area
- Duck decoys, silhouettes, or pictures of ducks
- Pictures or silhouettes of a doe and fawn deer
- Read the entire lesson plan and the Background on the Principles of Leave No Trace thoroughly.
- Lay out the garden hose or some other means or marking the marshland.
- Place the duck, doe, and fawn pictures or silhouettes in the marshland.
Grabbing Your Group’s Attention (20 minutes)
Explain to participants that they will be hiking along a trail and will come to a marsh area with ducks, a doe, and a fawn. Ask them to explain the actions they will take so they do not disturb the ducks and deer.
Steps for Teaching the Activity (30 minutes)
How Wild Is Wildlife?
The participants will demonstrate the techniques they feel will help minimize impact to wildlife in the marshland area. After demonstrating these techniques, group members will move past the marshland. The activity will help them become more aware of their potential effects on wildlife and how they can avoid negative impacts.
As they approach the marked marshland, ask group members to demonstrate how they will avoid disturbing the wildlife and how they will be able to tell if they were successful.
After participants have passed the marshland, ask them why they used the techniques they did to minimize their impacts to the ducks and deer in the marsh. Ask them if there are any other techniques they could use. Emphasize that the best means of determining their success is the degree to which the wildlife may have altered their normal behavior. In contrast, if the ducks fly or the deer run away quickly, you know you have gotten too close.
Quick movement and loud noises are stressful to animals. Considerate campers should
- Observe wildlife from afar to avoid disturbing them.
- Give animals a wide berth, especially during breeding, nesting, and birthing seasons.
- Store food securely so wildlife will not be attracted to it.
- Keep garbage and food scraps away from animals so they will not acquire bad habits.
Remember, you are too close to an animal if it alters its normal activities.
Wrapping Up the Activity (15 minutes)
Your group is considerate of wildlife needs and knows how to respect wildlife. Group members also know the techniques for minimizing their impact on wildlife and means of determining if they have been successful. Do the following:
- Discuss some of the local areas participants might visit that have wildlife. What additional techniques or specific precautions should they use to avoid disturbing the wildlife species in these areas?
- Talk about the behavior of some group members or the behavior observed of others on previous outdoor activities that may have disturbed wildlife. What could have been done differently to avoid disturbing the wildlife? How can the group help encourage others to keep wildlife wild?
Congratulations on conducting a well-prepared meeting for your group!
Visit a local wildlife refuge and have the wildlife managers explain how they recommend viewing wildlife species at the refuge without disturbing them in the wild. Take a walk with the wildlife manager around the refuge to practice the techniques.