Eco-Explorer student looking at insect guide

Lessons

Ecosystems
The Diversity of our Environment
Teacher’s Favorite
What is biodiversity and why it is important to maintain. How will low biodiversity affect us? What do ecosystems with a lot of diversity do for us? What are some threats to biodiversity? What we will do going forward to help improve biodiversity across the planet.
Date Offered: June 29th & August 24th, Endless Forms, Most Beautiful and Most Complex
Instructor: Mr. Peter
The Circle of Life
Teacher’s Favorite
What is the definition of a food web? Why is it good to know how it works? How can it be disrupted? Why is it important for the ecosystem? We will also review what the different components of the food web are, what are the different levels of organisms, and what are the threats to food webs and what can we do about it?
Instructor: Mr. Peter
Wild New Jersey
With an area of roughly 8.7 thousand square miles and an estimated 9 million residents, humble New Jersey stakes claim to being the most densely populated state in the US. In spite of this urban sprawl, the diversity of habitats is nearly unmatched across its territory. Thanks to expansive coastlines, the unique pine barrens, and the touch of the Appalachian Mountains, one can quickly find themselves in awe of the variety of landscapes found within our borders. From High Point to Cape May, we take a journey exploring these habitats and their wild residents.
Instructor: Mr. David
Presentation Length: Up to 1 hour
Date Offered: June 28th & August 23rd, The Biosphere and Beyond
A Carbon Odyssey
In every living organism, from bacteria to blue whales, carbon is present. Across the planet, the element is present from the highest reaches of the atmosphere through the crust at the bottom of the deepest sea. Since matter cannot be created or destroyed, the transfer and transformation of carbon through the environment, both living and nonliving, can take it to varied and sometimes unexpected places. In this lesson, students will be brought through a medley of ecosystems and organisms as they find how carbon moves through our world.
Instructor: Mr. David
Presentation Length: 40-45 minutes
Sustainability and Pollution
What is Sustainability? Creating Harmony!
Teacher’s Favorite
Sustainability, ever heard of it? How about Education for Sustainable Development, still no? Well, surely you’ve heard of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal’s, Wait! No, you haven’t? Well, that’s all about to change. In this lesson, you will be given a general understanding of what sustainability is and how it affects not only our lives but the lives of future generations. You will be introduced to the three pillars of sustainability and why they are critical in order to create harmony! The concepts from UNSDG’s will later be covered in more depth during the following lesson in this series.
Instructor: Ms. Kait
Presentation Length: 45-50 minutes
Date Offered: June 30th & August 25th, Creating Harmony through Sustainability
Our Polluted World
Teacher’s Favorite
Let’s talk about pollution! In this lesson, students will be able to define, classify, and evaluate the various types of pollution on Earth, such as air, land, and water pollution. We will wrap up this class with how each of these types of pollution affects the lives of humans and animals.
Instructor: Ms. Jade
Presentation Length: 40-45 minutes
Date Offered: June 30th & August 25th, Creating Harmony through Sustainability
We are the First and Last
What is going to happen in the year 2030, why is this year so important?
This lesson will discuss the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for 2030, what they are and the subgroups they fall under. This will be a continuation of the first lesson titled What is Sustainability? Creating Harmony!, an introduction to sustainability. The lesson will begin by broadly covering the history of the sustainable development goals and what shaped the way for creating such goals. Specifically, the Millennium Development goals of 2000. We will then focus on three main themes throughout the lesson: Universality, Integration, and Transformations. You will also be provided with takeaways that can then be implemented into your own daily lives.
Instructor: Ms. Kait
Presentation Length: 50-60 minutes
Eco-Friendly Living
Have you ever heard of The Law of Cause and Effect? This states that every cause has an effect and every effect becomes the cause of something else. With this law, we will analyze our daily actions that contribute to the factors and types of pollution. We will be discussing the various ways we can start “living green.” We will discuss what measures we can take to reduce our environmental footprint.
Instructor: Ms. Jade
Presentation Length: 40-45 minutes
Date Offered: June 30th & August 25th, Creating Harmony through Sustainability
Navigating the Urban “Jungle”
This lesson will discuss green infrastructure, what it is, and how it differs from urban infrastructure in our cities and towns today! Green infrastructure highlights the importance of the natural environment when decision-making about land use and planning. We will discuss how construction such as this supports the health and well-being of people and the environment. Green infrastructure is designed to bring people together, keep cities cool, and increase and enhance the biodiversity of plants and animals in the area.
Instructor: Ms. Kait
Presentation Length: 45-55 minutes
Date Offered: June 30th & August 25th, Creating Harmony through Sustainability
Prepared for the NOT so UNKNOWN
Climate Change is rapidly impacting the urban areas that many of us call home. Effects of climate change can be seen through events like an increase in flooding, frequent and severe heat waves, a higher risk of water shortage, and rising sea levels coupled with coastal damage. This lesson will discuss these threats and how green infrastructure can be utilized to help combat these areas of concern.
Instructor: Ms. Kait
Presentation Length: 45-55 minutes
Your Ecological Footprint
There are almost 7.7 billion people on Earth with more being born every day. With

such a huge number of people across the globe, one might wonder how their choices could ever make a difference. In this lesson, we explore just that. Students will see how different lifestyles can have hugely variable effects on the world. They will see how many planet Earths it would take to support the population if everyone else lived like them. They will also see how little differences can have huge impacts. Although our world is finite, the impact our choices can have limitless.

Instructor: Mr. David
Presentation Length: 45-50 minutes
Earth and Environmental History
A Silent Spring
Teacher’s Favorite

In the 1940s the use of the pesticide DDT (Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) had become widespread. The compound’s low cost and high effectiveness soon encouraged its spread to agriculture and private use. It wasn’t long, however, before the more sinister effects were noticed. Due to a tendency to linger in the environment and its organisms, the toxin soon concentrated in apex predators like eagles. The population declines of these species were some of the first alarm bells to set off a global awareness of the environment’s vulnerability. In the years following the declines, the public’s eyes were opened to the great harm (and great help) we are capable of.

Instructor: Mr. David
Presentation Length: 40-45 minutes
Passaic River History – The Passaic River, Who is she?
The Passaic River has defined human activity in the area of New Jersey for thousands of years. Whether it be the remnants of an ancient ice lake at the Great Swamp, or the god-like power of the Great falls of Paterson, the river has proven to both a boon and a barrier to human development throughout the millennia.
Instructor: Mr. Peter
Historic Land Change in the Passaic River Valley
“Historic land change,” sounds boring right? WRONG, because fire. Throughout history, the use of the land has seen several different changes. In this lesson we will go over why and how the land in this region has been bent to fit the needs of the people living on it.
Instructor: Mr. Peter
Extinction: Not Just for Dinosaurs!
66 million years ago, a six mile wide meteor struck the Earth. In the devastation that followed, the dominance held by the non-avian dinosaurs finally broke. As global ecosystems collapsed, extinctions swept the globe. This event marked the 5th time in Earth’s history that life’s very existence was challenged. Although even today extinction is a natural part of life, the rate at which it proceeds has become frighteningly high. Now, in the midst of a possible sixth mass extinction event, scientists are using clues from the past to inform the trends we are seeing in the present and help to make decisions for the future.
Instructor: Mr. David
Presentation Length: Up to 1 hour
Date Offered: June 29th & August 24th, Endless Forms, Most Beautiful and Most Complex
Diamond Alkali
The Diamond Alkali created Agent Orange and left damaging effects in 2 countries 8500 miles away from each other. 50 years later, these countries are still suffering the effects. In this lesson, you will learn about Agent Orange and what effects were left behind, including the effect that left our own backyard in ruins.
Instructor: Ms. Jade
Presentation Length: 40-45 minutes
Journey to the Center of the Earth
There is more to Earth than just the ocean, land, and trees. There are layers that make up the Earth right under our feet! What are these layers made of? Why are they there? Most importantly, how did they form? In this lesson, you will learn about the structure of our planet, why these layers are detrimental to life, and which layer creates the landscape we see all around us. Join me as I travel through the depths of the Earth.
Instructor: Ms. Jade
Presentation Length: 40-50 minutes
Date Offered: June 28th & August 23rd, The Biosphere and Beyond
Water Quality and Sampling
The Good and The Bad, Water Style
What are the correct sources of water we can drink from? What are bad sources of water to drink from and how we can improve the quality of water that we drink. This will focus on the Newark area, will discuss the tap water problems that affect the area and what are some online resources that will be found to further develop knowledge in the area.
Instructor: Mr. Peter
Date Offered: July 1st & August 26th, Crystal Clear Facts about Your Water
How Clean is Your Water? Ask a Waterbug!
What are water bugs, and why are they important? This lesson will show you that most bodies of water such as lakes, rivers, and streams are home to much more than just fish and turtles. We will expand your understanding of aquatic ecosystems, how they work, and the types of creatures that call it home. By the end of this lesson, you will be able to identify different kinds of macroinvertebrates/waterbugs and what it means for the water quality to have these varying creatures present in the water.
Instructor: Ms. Kait
Presentation Length: 60 minutes
Date Offered: July 1st & August 26th, Crystal Clear Facts about Your Water
Water Sampling – How to Sample Your Water: The Hidden World
What lives in water? Is it fish, bugs, dragons, Phytoplankton? How do you know if a water source is safe to drink or swim in? In this lesson, We will go through two main types of sampling and the step-by-step process on how to sample. We’ll go over why water sampling and analysis are important, what we do with our samples back at the lab, and what we find.
Instructor: Ms.Kait
Presentation Length: 40-45 minutes
Let’s Swim Through the Water Cycle
Learn about the global water cycle and its processes. This class will give you an understanding of the current disruptions of the water cycle. We will take the time to assess the various human activities that contribute to these disruptions.
Instructor: Ms. Jade
Presentation Length: 40-45 minutes
Clearing Things up about Water Filtration
Water is necessary for life to exist. As a result, clean water is among the most valuable substances on Earth. Given this fact, how does the water we use every day remain fresh enough for the job? With water filtration of course! Even before the moment it hits the ground, the rain water from the clouds contains potentially harmful impurities. As it travels across the ground and into sewers, water begins a journey to be made fresh and clean for your use. This process is paralleled by systems that have been in place for millions of years that have allowed impurities to be cleansed from the water and encouraged the proliferation of life wherever this incredible molecule is found.
Instructor: Mr. David
Presentation Length: 40-50 minutes
Date Offered: July 1st & August 26th, Crystal Clear Facts about Your Water
Safe Seafood
Did you know some fish may have harmful chemicals in them? What problems do chemicals pose for fish? What are the right ways to eat seafood without getting sick. How to be safe when participating in recreational fishing. What are some of the most important things to know when participating in recreational fishing and what are some important things to avoid.
Instructor: Mr. Peter
Algae
Green Water? An Introduction to Harmful Algal Blooms
Learn why and how lake and river water turns green. What effects can harmful algal blooms have on humans and the environment? How can we help reduce harmful algal blooms in our waters?
Instructor: Ms. Jade
Presentation Length: 40-50 minutes
The Wonderful World of Algae
Have you ever wondered what tiny creatures live in a single drop of lake water? In this lesson, you will learn how to identify microscopic algae and cyanobacteria and catch a glimpse of the wonderful world of algae.
Instructor: Ms. Kait
Presentation Length: 40-50 minutes
Animals
Form and Function
Teacher’s Favorite
As the planet changed over its history, life changed with it. As evolution occurred, different forms appeared, each molded by the process of natural selection resulting in increased fitness for given functions. As one looks around the Earth today, one is able to see how the morphology of different organisms allows them to survive and thrive in their habitat and place in the food chain. From hunting to hiding, from chasing to fleeing, the form an organism takes offers clues to the function it performs. But, things are not always as they appear: relics and mimicry run rampant in the natural world. In this lesson, we explore the diversity of the natural world and what the clues it holds can teach us.
Instructor: Mr. David
Presentation Length: Up to 1 hour
Date Offered: June 29th & August 24th, Endless Forms, Most Beautiful and Most Complex
Happy Habitats
In this lesson we will talk about habitats. We will discuss what a habitat is, why it is important they are connected to each other and what will happen if they aren’t. We will learn what habitat connectivity is, why some habitats lose their connection to each other and what we can do to improve habitat connectivity.
Instructor: Mr. Peter
Date Offered: June 28th & August 23rd, The Biosphere and Beyond
An Incredible Journey
The yearly upstream migration of salmon is one of the greatest wildlife phenomena known. After maturing in the ocean, salmon return to fresh waters of their birth, avoiding obstacles and predators along the way. Less known is that American and European eels undertake a similar journey, but in reverse! After maturing in rivers, eels follow the current downstream to the ocean where they will breed within the Sargasso Sea. Over the course of their opposing journeys, these organisms will help to cycle vital nutrients between these habitats while avoiding dangers, both natural and manmade.
Instructor: Mr. David
Presentation Length: 45-50 minutes
Other Fun Topics
What Does A Scientist Do?
The popular image of a scientist as a white-coated, all-knowing genius has served little more than to make them seem like high and mighty figures concerned only with logic and numbers. It has engraved the subject of science as a system that only a lucky few are able to participate in. The truth is, however, that science and critical thinking are part of everyday life, whether one realizes it or not. This lesson aims to teach students about the scientific methods that they apply every day. It also aims to show them that scientists are a diverse group of people with interests that span many aspects outside of the lab
Instructor: Mr. David
Presentation Length: 45 minutes
Date Offered: July 1st & August 26th, Crystal Clear Facts about Your Water
Earth, Sun, and Moon
Every day we look up to the sky and see two objects, the Sun and the Moon. It becomes so normal to us that sometimes we forget they are even there. Have you ever wondered why the Sun and Moon are always drifting in and out of our sky? Why are they so important to life on Earth? In this lesson, we will learn about the interactions between the Earth, the Sun, and the Moon.
Instructor: Ms. Jade
Presentation Length: Up to 1 hour
Date Offered: June 28th & August 23rd, The Biosphere and Beyond