Learn how human land use and pollution are hurting all kinds of habitats. What habitats can you and your child observe in your community – and how can you take action to protect them?
Help Her Lead at Home
Talk: Your child has learned about habitats in school and even
created his/her own imaginary marine animal and habitat. Ask
your child to share the marine animal that they created and
how they designed their habitat to meet its needs.
Then talk about the water habitats that exist in your own
community. What bodies of water are closest to you? Rivers,
lakes, ponds, and streams all count. Remind your child that every
waterbody is a habitat to many different kinds of animals.
Do: Choose one waterway in or close to your community. If
you can, visit the waterway as a family. If a visit isn’t possible,
research the waterway online. A quick search should bring up
pictures of the waterway and some information about it!
As you observe this habitat, discuss:
● Is this habitat clean and litter-free?
It’s not always easy to see how
humans are affecting waterways.
Some signs to look for include:
● Boats with motors
● Signs of runoff (when water runs
through nearby farms, factories,
yards, etc., and carries pollutants
into the waterway).
● Does it look like people are doing anything in or around this
habitat that might hurt the plants or animals that live here?
● Does this habitat look healthy and full of plant and
● How could our community treat this habitat better or
what could we do to make sure we continue to protect
Then take action! Work with your child to choose a member of your local government to contact about your
habitat observations. Your town selectman or city mayor are good community representatives to consider.
You should be able to find your community representative(s) and their mailing address on your town, city, or state website.
Once you know who you are writing to, use the template on the following page to write a letter to this official.
The sentence starters included in the letter will help you and your child:
● Explain your waterway observations.
● Describe what actions are needed: Should your community take better care of this habitat or
should your community continue to protect this habitat?
● Include why this body of water is important!
After your letter is written, encourage your child to illustrate some of the letter’s main points on the second
page. Once you’ve placed your letter in the mail, congratulate your child on being an active citizen and
standing up for an important issue!