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Summer Career Connections Session 6, Day 4, Conservation Paleobiology

Posted by on Thursday, July 27, 2023 in blog, SAVY.

Happy Thursday, and welcome back to our Conservation Paleobiology journey at SAVY!

Today was an exhilarating day filled with a deep dive into the past – specifically, the end of the Pleistocene Epoch (~10,000 years ago). We continued our quest to unlock the mysteries of our planet’s history, and our young conservationists displayed remarkable enthusiasm and curiosity throughout the day. As a class, we delved into the captivating concept of “Re-Wilding,” an area of active scientific debate within Conservation Paleobiology. Rewilding is all about reintroducing the relatives of extinct or extirpated animals in areas facing biodiversity loss. Students learned about the potential impact of these efforts on ecosystems and their services, and some of today’s rewilding success stories including the impact of Yellowstone wolves and sea otters off the coast of California.

After being introduced to Rewilding, I challenged the students with a task to research suitable replacements for ten megafauna species lost at the end of the Pleistocene. Through this exercise, the students delved deep into understanding the roles of these creatures in maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem balance. Working in pairs or individually, they explored the possibilities of reintroducing these animals to specific locations in North America. The locations were up to the students to choose, based on where these animals currently live and considering their trophic relationships (e.g., competitors, prey, and predators) as well as abiotic requirements like temperature and precipitation. After lunch, students set out to create trifold posters, showcasing the ecosystem services, trophic levels, and potential social and environmental impacts of introducing these large wild animals back into North American.

Today’s class laid the foundation for tomorrow’s presentations. Students will be asked to present their informative posters to their fellow classmates, fostering an environment of knowledge sharing and collaborative learning. Their presentations will not only showcase their research but also exemplify their growing passion for conservation and ecological responsibility.

As parents, your role in nurturing their curiosity and supporting their endeavors is invaluable. Please encourage them to share their experiences and newfound knowledge with you at home. Together, let’s empower these future environmental stewards to become advocates for the natural world and champions of conservation. I would like to extend my gratitude to you for entrusting me with your children and for supporting our shared vision of environmental education. It has been a pleasure guiding these young minds on their journey through the realm of Conservation Paleobiology this week.

Thank you for your unwavering support, and I’m eagerly looking forward to finishing the week strong!


Dr. Smith