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1.  What you can do
2.  Water
3.  Ecology
4.  Amphibians
5.  Environmental Issues
6.  Keystone species
7.  Get Wet!-
     Field Study Ideas

8.  The Zoo Experience
9.  Frogs & Friends
10. Case Studies
11. Resources
12. Glossary

Wetland Curriculum Resource
Unit 5. Environmental Issues -

(Level: 4 : 7 : 10 acad : 10 appl : 11 appl :: Threatened Species)

Purpose: To become familiar with wetland organisms whose numbers have declined because of wetland destruction.

What You Need: pen :: paper :: research material

What You Do:

  1. Select one of the organisms listed and discuss the following:
    1. a description of the organism
    2. its habitat
    3. the reasons which have led to its decline
    4. what can be done to save this organism
  2. Display your research in the classroom so other students can learn about other organisms who are at risk.

The following list of plants and animals is categorized by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife In Canada (COSEWIC). It is only a portion of the total list and represents species which require wetland habitat throughout their lifetime. Definitions of COSEWIC terminology can be found in the Glossary.




least bittern

piping plover

Blanding's turtle

king rail

whooping crane

(Nova Scotia population)

prothonatary warbler

Blanchard's cricket frog

spiny softshell turtle

trumpeter swan

small white lady's slipper

massasauga rattlesnake

Ipswich sparrow

Fowler's toad

spotted turtle


  1. Select a significant event from the list below. Discuss and/or brainstorm in a group how that event could have affected a wetland and the plants and animals in it.
    • the building of the Trent or Rideau canal systems
    • the building of a landfill site near a river valley (for example, the Rouge Valley in Scarborough or Duffins Creek in Pickering)
    • the building or expansion of major highways ("400" series highways, such as Highway 407 or Highway 416)
    • the proposed mining of the Westside Marsh, Clarington, for limestone (see Activity 5.7 Wetlands Debate)
    • Chernobyl or Hiroshima or similar nuclear disaster
    • the use of Agent Orange during World War II
    • the use of pesticides on farmland or suburbs bordering waterways

Zoo Link: Endangered Species at the Zoo

The Toronto Zoo is home to many species of animal that are threatened in the wild. The loss or degradation of wetlands is a global issue affecting many of them. If you are planning a trip to the Zoo, you may wish to have some of your students carry out this research activity focussing on some of the animals they might encounter during their trip to the Zoo.

For further information contact the Zoo for its Teacher's Resource Kit, "Endangered Species" or inquire about tours and outreach services on this topic.

Click here to go back to the list of activities for this unit.


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