Earlier this year, we published a paper in Global Ecology and Biogeography that showed that Australian cities are hotspots for threatened species. In a national analysis, we found that 30% of Australia’s threatened species have distributions that include cities, all Australian cities are covered by the mapped distributions of threatened species and that some threatened species are found only in cities.
This is a really exciting paper, mainly because it confirms what many of us already suspected: that cities must play a critical role in the conservation of biodiversity.
But it just got more exciting. A kids’ version of this paper has just been published in Earth Science Journal for Kids, a not-for-profit organisation that adapts peer-reviewed environmental science research for students and their teachers. It was a rare, rewarding and fun experience, as described here by Pia Lentini, one of the lead authors of the study.
I’ve recently spent some time working with primary school students, hoping to help them see what I see in the native grasslands that still exist in their neighbourhoods. But while they are enthusiastic and keen to learn, I was shocked at how little information there was that was ‘accessible’ to them (I know I wouldn’t have been interested in a ‘small, perenniel herb with many stems to 40cm’ when I was 10 years old, but I do love the Tufted Bluebell). So I think the Earth Science Journal for Kids is an amazing resource. If you get a chance to work with them, you should jump at it.