Ecological Succession (The Forest before the Trees)

Related Brandwein Outdoor Learning Activities

All natural communities change over time. But human activity frequently impacts natural communities in disproportionate ways, accelerating change. For example, whenever humans farm or ranch, changes to the natural community are likely to occur. Even many years after the human activities have ceased, careful scientific observations can lead to inferences about human activity in the past. The Brandwein Nature Learning Preserve offers evidence about human intervention in its recent past.
As organisms grow, they change their own habitat including the abiotic factors around them. As they do so, they may change the conditions which favor various organisms and the community gradually changes over time. This relatively predictable series of change over time is called “succession.”See activity, “Brandwein CSI: Exploring the Past Based on Observations today.”

In the activity, “Introduction to Birding,” students observe and interpret bird behavior. The data collected by the observer will provide insight into the “habitat” and “niche” of the bird species that were viewed.  A skill-building activity on “How to Use Binoculars” will be useful to all observers.