The assignment requires you to go to a local open space area to make observations about the ecosystem and
the organisms that live there. You will use those observations to identify the organisms found in
the community, make a food web, and consider how changes to the climate could alter the
community of organisms that live there. To assess the work you have done, you will need to
write up a report and include all of the information you have gathered (including photos of the
identified organisms). The report must also include all answers for all of the assignment
All steps detailed below must completed to receive full credit. If you skip any steps you will only
receive credit for the work you have completed.
1) Pick a local open space preserve or county/state park. It needs to be a park that has wild
areas with native plants and animals around. Developed community parks with mowed lawns
and cultivated trees won’t work for this assignment. Identify the kind of ecosystem you are
visiting: Desert, chaparral, mountain forest, riparian….etc
2) Once you get to the park, find a hike or short walk to go on. While on your walk, find 5
different plants/alga to identify & 5 different animals (10 things total).
Take a picture or draw a detailed sketch of the plants/animals. Do your best to include a
good picture of both the leaves, stems and flowers (if they have any). You may need a
series of photos to accomplish this
Take time to observe any animals that are interacting with the plants or near by in the
environment. If possible try to get a photo of these organisms too. The goal is to
observe 5 different animals on or near the plants too.
3) 3) You need to identify the organisms you’ve found. If you are some place with a visitors center,
someone might be able to help you. Otherwise, try using an app like iNaturalist (this is a free
app).https://www.inaturalist.org/ You can download this app to your phone and upload your photos to the app. It can help ID the
organisms you’ve found.Another app that can help identify leaves (only) is: leafsnap (http://leafsnap.com/)
Once you have the organisms identified, you need to record both their scientific and common
4) After identifying the organisms, create/illustrate a food web to show how these organisms fit
together in the ecosystem.
5) If you did not see any top level (3/tertiary consumers) come up with 3 more organisms that
could be found in the environment and include them in your food web too.
6) Lastly, imagine that over time the climate changes in this region, and it becomes warmer
with more unpredictable rain (could rain less in winter, more in summer or maybe rain very
infrequently, but when it does is torrential). How would a change in climate affect the food web
you created? What animals and plants would be negatively affected and which ones would be
Remember you need to answer all of the questions included in this assignment with complete
sentences. The more effort you put into the assignment, the better your score will be.
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