One of the most important things that we can teach our youth today is conservation. The care of our precious resources whether land, minerals, or animals and their habitats is of the utmost importance. We must ensure all animals and their natural habitats are safe in order to keep the circle of life and the balance of nature. Kids need to understand that what we do today affects tomorrow, and tomorrow may be too late to protect the habitats of many wildlife species.
As the daughter of a fourth generation South Texas rancher, I am extremely concerned about protecting our environment. I have seen firsthand the need to protect our lands. As the population explodes here in the Rio Grande Valley (and all over Texas), many of our native animals are being pushed or squeezed out of their habitats by new housing developments and shopping centers. Native trees and brush are being plowed under to make room for “progress”. But, progress comes at a cost, and that cost is borne by everyone (both man and animal) when we knock trees over to make room for concrete parking lots, streets, and buildings.
I am fortunate to be the librarian at a school where students delve into research each school year. One of the topics that consistently comes up during these self-directed research projects is animals and their habitats. This is where librarians can play a vital role in the teaching process. We can provide students with quality resources that they need to complete their projects. For example, if a student is looking for information about the ocelet, they might be searching only for books about ocelets. However, their research can be greatly enhanced by also searching for conservation, endangered animals, and habitats. Students might easily miss some of the best books available to aid their research if they do not know how to properly conduct research. Likewise, students might not know to look for magazine articles and quality web sites that can support their research and learning.
As a librarian/teacher, I am so excited that Texas Land Conservancy is working to help parents, teachers, and students connect with nature. Whether it’s by providing conservation-related activities to do in the classroom, or getting families out on the land, young people need access to natural places and to information about what depends on those natural places.
Over the years, I have found a number of non-fiction and fiction books with themes that focus on conservation, recycling, the water cycle, and saving water that help introduce young people to these important topics. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.