Learn About Our Forests on World Wildlife Day

World Wildlife Day is a day to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants.

On March 3rd, we celebrate World Wildlife Day with “Forests and Livelihoods; Sustaining People and Planet.” This year’s theme highlights the central role of forests, forest species, and ecosystems services in sustaining the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people globally, and particularly of Indigenous and local communities with historic ties to forested and forest-adjacent areas.

Between 200 and 350 million people live inside of, or are adjacent to, forested areas all around the world. New York State has its own storied relationship with forested lands, from historic industries like logging, to the formation of the 129 year old, six-million acre Adirondack Park – the largest of its kind in the contiguous United States covering one-fifth of New York State!

Check out the videos and resources below to learn more about the diversity of indigenous and invasive plants and animal life in the forests of North America, the impacts of climate change in the Adirondacks, and activities to get your children engaged with nature and ecology! And for more celebrations from the United Nations including discussions on this year’s theme, watch the virtual conference, and visit the World Wildlife Day website.

Jump to article sections:

Learn About Forest & Wildlife

Discover Animals and Their Habitats Through Books

Grades PreK-4
It’s World Wildlife Day! From “Welcome Home Bear” to the “Step Into Reading” series with Wild Kratts, add these books to your kids’ library to spark their curiosity about animals and their habitats!

Young Animals Live and Grow | Hero Elementary

Grades K-2
Join the Sparks’ Crew at Hero Elementary in learning about the things that animals do that help the young survive! Then keep the learning going with the accompanying “Animal Actions” bingo activity.

Mannahatta 1609

Grades 3-12
This video from Dutch New York explores the diverse ecosystem that Henry Hudson encountered when he arrived at “Mannahatta,” the name given by the native Lenape people to the island now known as Manhattan. Dr. Eric Sanderson, Director of the Mannahatta Project, explains that Manahatta’s ecosystem was more diverse than Yosemite or Yellowstone National Parks and describes the landscape, flora and fauna of the island in Henry Hudson’s day.

The Forest and The People | The Forest Files

Grades 5-8
Trees contribute a lot to our lives, physically, aesthetically, economically, emotionally, and spiritually. Man has had a complicated relationship with the forest since humans began to populate the earth.

The Northern Forest Atlas

Grades 6-12
The Northern Forest Atlas is an excellent source of graphic tools for naturalists, ecologists, and students. This site contains photographic and digital images, diagrams, videos, and illustrated articles. Books, Guides, Charts, and digital products are all available for personal, nonprofit, and educational use. Atlas co-founder Jerry Jenkins recently gave a virtual tour of the Atlas, hosted by the Adirondack Land Trust.

Activities, Games & More

Make a Match With Nature

Grades PreK-3
Matching up different pieces of nature will get your child to appreciate the big and little details of the world around them.

Make a Nature Journal to Observe Animals

Grades K-3
A nature journal is a great way to keep a record of the amazing animals you observe where you live and for sharing those observations with others.

Seed Soaring Game

Grades K-4
Help Nature Cat spread dandelion seeds and learn more about how forests grow through seed dispersal with this online game.

Can You Dig It? Interactive Story

Grades K-5
In this Martha Speaks interactive story students discover how plants and animals depend on each other in an ecosystem. Fallen leaves decay; earthworms eat the leaves and fertilize the dirt. Then trees use the fertilized soil to grow. 

North American Forest Search and Find

Grades 1-3
Can your child circle the 15 animals that live in the North American forest? Try this fun, printable activity from Wild Kratts and learn some wild facts about a variety of forest dwelling animals.

Mountain Scramble: An Ecosystem Game

Grades 1-4
Players strive to create a balanced mountain ecosystem in which each animal has enough food to survive over a period of 12 days, in this interactive game from Plum Landing. Players see how the different species of plants and animals in a mountain ecosystem depend on one another. They also experiment with how changing the amount of one resource affects the whole ecosystem. 

Human Impact on Wildlife

Grades 6-12
Explore human impact on wildlife in this remote learning-ready NATURE lesson plan and learn about techniques to mitigate the negative impacts.

Three Levels of Biodiversity

Grades 6-12
What’s the difference between diversity in genes and species? Why are some species better than others at adapting to environmental changes? Learn more about specific levels of biodiversity, and see examples of plant and animal species and why they are important to each level.

Local Stories

The Resilient Ones

The Resilient Ones is a feature-length documentary exploring how communities are adapting to climate change in the Adirondack Mountains of Northern NY, seen through the eyes of high school students. You can watch the entire film online, with educational materials and information about the production available from Mountain Lake PBS.

Climate Change in the Adirondacks 

The Adirondacks are warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet. Local ski resorts are trying to adapt to shorter warmer winters and wildlife are being adversely affected. Join us for a special one-hour Mountain Lake Journal forum as we focus on the impacts of climate change in the Adirondacks with a panel of experts and scientists.

The Adirondacks | Logging

The story of the Adirondacks is told through a series of passionate characters, each with a distinct perspective, in the WNED documentary The Adirondacks. In this video, trace the storied history of the logging industry and its continuing effect on the economy and environment of the Adirondacks. We’ll venture deep into the woods with third generation Adirondack Logger, Paul Mitchell, to learn about the challenges of modern day logging as compared to earlier Adirondack loggers. You can also watch the entire documentary online.

Hemlock Wooly Adelgid

Learn about the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, the impact they could have on hemlock and spruce trees in the Adirondack park, and some of the insecticides and natural predators scientists are using to combat this invasive species.

Adirondack Legend Verplanck Colvin

Colvin: Hero to the North Woods tells the story of Verplanck Colvin, explorer and surveyor long-considered the father of the Adirondack Park. Colvin mapped the Adirondack wilderness and became one of the first to call for the park’s forests and watersheds to be protected. Watch our interview with filmmaker Bill Killon and writer and producer Tom Henry.

Local Organizations

Adirondack Wildlife Refuge

The mission of Adirondack Wildlife Refuge is to rescue injured or otherwise debilitated wildlife, rehab them, and whenever possible, return them to the wild, while educating the public about the roles animals play in nature and how those roles help support the futures of our children and grandchildren.

The Wild Center

The Wild Center, is a natural history center in Tupper Lake, New York, near the center of New York state’s Adirondack Park. The Wild Center is dedicated to understanding the Adirondacks and is committed to helping people explore not a small collection, but one that lives and breathes across the expanse of the Adirondacks. The experiences, exhibits and programs at The Wild Center are designed to open new ways to look into the latest discoveries made by natural scientists and their educational programming, whether onsite or digitally, serves to engage learners of all ages in an exploration of the natural world.

The Adirondack Council

The Adirondack Council is focused on the protection of the Adirondack Park though research, education, advocacy and policy with a mission to ensure the ecological integrity and wild character of the Adirondack Park. To protect the Adirondacks, the Council uses the best science, the law, and an understanding of political decision making, to educate, inform and motivate the public and those who make public policy.

The Nature Conservancy Adirondack Chapter

The Nature Conservancy is a global environmental nonprofit working to create a world where people and nature can thrive. Through their work they focus on innovative solutions to climate change, protecting and restoring forest, and helping communities build resilience. Learn more about their recent initiatives with the Fall/Winter 2020 Adirondack Chapter Update.