This article explores the positive impact that lockdowns, which resulted in decreased human activity, had on bird populations.

Getting Started

Introduction to the article (perhaps by having everyone read it)

We all can understand the impacts that mandated lockdowns had on us while combatting the covid crisis. A sense of isolation, frustration, depression and conflict are only some of the reactions experienced. Our need to socialize with friends and loved ones was perhaps never more evident. But while we were limited in our activities, changes were occurring in the animal world. As the article shows, some species thrived because of our absence and others occupied the void created by our disappearance. There have been numerous reports of animals such as coyotes invading city areas because humans were not so prevalent. This lesson will use this article to have the students increase their appreciation for our relationship with the natural world and examine ways in which we can be better custodians of that relationship.

Subject Area(s) covered

Environmental studies, world issues, biology

New Terms to explain

Species, baseline impact

Materials Needed

Access to the article for the students

Study and Discussion Activity

Key things students can learn from this lesson

The students will develop an enhanced appreciation of our relationship with the natural world and how we need to ensure that our guardianship is maintained in a responsible and positive manner.

Action (here’s how we’ll do it)

  • Begin the lesson by asking the students if, during the lockdowns we have just gone through, they have heard about any increased encounters with wild animals.
  • Ask them to outline why they think this is the case.
  • Indicate to them that there are some species which have benefitted from our absence that may not be as noticeable as others.
  • Provide them with a copy of the article and allow them time to read it.
  • Hold a plenary session and get their reactions to what they have just read.
  • Divide the class into pairs (if there are any students working online they will have to use a breakout room for this task) and assign the following task:

The article has identified the bird species that benefitted from our absence and increased in population. Identify another animal that seems to be more prevalent as a result of our absence and indicate why you believe that is the case. Also explain whether this resultant increased contact with humans has a positive or negative implication. In addition, outline what actions you believe should be taken to address this increased contact.

Consolidation of Learning

  • The students will give their reports and respond to any questions or comments.
Success and Additional Learning

Success Criteria

The students will:

  1. indicate a knowledge of the increased animal contacts that are occurring as the result of the recent lockdowns;
  2. demonstrate an appreciation of the fact that we are part of a natural world environment;
  3. be able to explain the nature and importance of these interactions.

Confirming Activities

  • The students can engage in a discussion about whether these increased interactions are good for us and what implications, if any, there are for us.

Helpful Internet Searches

Activities to do together

  • The students could discuss what actions we might take either to ensure that we remain responsible custodians of the natural world or to improve how we are handling this responsibility.