Understanding Our Local Watersheds and Our Local Water Resources
What is Ecology?
An ecosystem is a grouping of organisms such as plants and animals, which continually interact with one another and their environment in order to survive.
Ecology is the study of ecosystems.
Many types of ecosystems exist throughout the world. Examples: Forests, deserts, tropical rainforests, and grasslands. In order for living organisms to survive in any type of ecosystem, all the living organisms must be balanced.
An Unbalanced Environment
An example of an unbalanced environment might be that there are too many geese in a local lake like Lake Galena. If so, there may not be enough food available for all of them to survive. Some of them may die of starvation or begin to damage the plant life within and surrounding the lake. Another problem is that their wastes will begin to pollute the lake water.
What living things are in the environment around our school?
What non-living things are in the environment around our school?
How do they interact?
What is a Food Chain?
The living organisms in an ecosystem are able to survive because of the sun. Plants are able to convert sunlight into energy and produce their own food. This process is called ___________.
Plants are classified as producers since they produce food not only for themselves, but also for other organisms. Therefore, plants are classified in the first level of the food chain.
Consumers are made up of those organisms who eat the plants and are in the next level of the food chain.
Table Talk: Match picture with word that best describes it
1 5 4 3 2
What is Pollution?
Pollution comes in many forms and has the ability to produce negative effects to the environment. The major types of pollution which face our communities today are air and water pollution.
Where does pollution come from?
Give some examples of pollution in your neighborhood.
How could the application of large amounts of pesticides cause the food chains in your yard to become unbalanced?
Too many pesticides can sometimes kill organisms that live in your yard. For example, if a pesticide is used to kill weeds, that may have an effect on the rabbits who eat the weeds. As a result, the rabbits may starve or may have to find other areas from which to feed. The rabbits may also become sick from eating weeds which have been sprayed with pesticides.
Point & Nonpoint Pollution
Point Pollution is easy to identify because it comes from a specific source such as a pipe discharging polluted water or air.
Nonpoint sources of pollution are much harder to identify because there are many causes. Some examples are road salt, manure on pastured lands, and pet wastes that are not cleaned up.
Nonpoint Source Pollution
Point Source Pollution Factory Smoke Stack Jet Engine Oil Refinery
More Nonpoint Source Pollution
As rainwater washes over the land, it picks up nonpoint source pollution such as sediment, road salt, lawn fertilizers, pesticides, oil, gasoline, antifreeze, and animal wastes. The rainwater eventually ends up in our strams and lakes. It is called stormwater runoff .
Stormwater runoff is the main cause of nonpoint source pollution. Many of these pollutants can upset the delicate balance of the food chains and ecosystems.
Give examples of Point Source and Nonpoint Source Pollution.
Water Resources and Watersheds
The ponds, lakes, streams, rivers, and wetlands in Bucks County are considered water resources.
Neshaminy Creek, Lake Galena, Lake Nockamixon, Silver Lake, Lake Caroline, Delaware River, Pine Run Creek, Perkiomen Creek, and many wetlands are all examples of water resources in our area.
All the land area which drains to a particular body of water is called a watershed .
The Water Cycle
The hydrologic (water) cycle is a process by which the water in our environment is constantly recycled and purified.
The four stages are: Evaporation
Evaporation —water changes from liquid to vapor.
Condensation —water vapor become liquid water.
Precipitation —rain, snow, hail
Transpiration —plants release water vapor through their leaves.
Animated Water Cycle
The Water Cycle
Conservation and Management of our Water Resources
When we’re not careful about how we build upon the land, natural resources such as trees and wetlands can be destroyed. This may upset the food chains and ecosystems of the area.
We can recycle, dispose of trash properly, and eliminate the use of toxic chemicals such as fertilizers and pesticides.
Fill out the survey sheet based on household chemicals that you find at home.
Answer the following 3 questions…
Name two producers and two consumers in a food chain.
What are four examples of water resources?
Why is it important to conserve and manage our natural resources?