High school youth participating in Deer and Forest Ecology field activity

High school youth participating in Deer and Forest Ecology field activity

Below is a collection of five inquiry-based, hands-on lesson plans in which students explore white-tailed deer biology and forest ecology. Each lesson builds upon the previous one, culminating in a final assignment for the students. These lessons focus on the impact of deer on the forest ecosystem. The activities are designed for youth grades 6-12. The rationale for the lessons is the need for better education and understanding about the issues surrounding deer abundance.

By studying deer biology and deer interactions with their habitat, students will gain a better appreciation for the animal as well as the importance of deer population control. Youth will understand that an over-abundance of deer can have significant negative impacts on forest ecosystems.

Audience: Grades 6-12

Issue: Deer Abundance

Lesson 1: White-tailed Deer Biology and Adaptations: A General Overview

Lesson 2: White-tailed Deer: A Lesson in History

Lesson 3: The Deer Population Cycle

Lesson 4: Deer Habitat Suitability

Lesson 5: Estimating Deer Populations and Habitat Impact

Goals: The objectives of these lessons are to increase student awareness concerning how deer impact the forest ecosystem of Pennsylvania and to recognize that deer abundance affects many people besides just hunters. Through participation in these lessons students will gain a better understanding of white-tailed deer biology, adaptations, habitat requirements, management, and impacts on forest sustainability.