Teacher: Kendra Butters
Course: Ecology/Zoology
Grade Level: 9-12
Length: 1 Year
Course Description:
The course will provide students with a basic understanding of zoology, ecology and natural
resources. Students will understand the definitions of zoology and ecology and how they interrelate
with natural resources and the environment.
Students will explore the various career opportunities available through natural resources and will
work with hands on projects in and out of class to gain a better understanding of principles related
to that field.
Units and Objectives:
1. Ecosystem Processes (1500 minutes)
a. Communities and Ecosystems
i. Topic 1011A: List biotic and abiotic factors in a given environment
ii. Topic 1011B: Describe possible interactions between two biotic and abiotic
iii. Topic 1011C: Define and contrast the concepts of ecological community and
iv. Topic 1011D: Describe the current roles of humans as members of
ecosystems in Michigan and the world
b. Habitat
i. Topic 1012A: Describe the physiological needs of individual organisms and
relate these to the habitat requirements of populations in an ecosystem.
ii. Topic 1012B: Define the concept of limiting factors and relate the concept to
population growth of species in a given ecosystem
iii. Topic 1012C: Describe how an environment's ability to provide food, water,
space, and essential nutrients determines carrying capacity.
iv. Topic 1012D: Describe the edge and niche
c. Population Dynamics
i. Topic 1013A: Explain and relate the roles of mortality, natality, emigration,
immigration, intrinsic factors and extrinsic factors in the changes in
population sizes over time.
ii. Topic 1013B: Describe the natural tendencies in population dynamics for a
species in a healthy habitat.
iii. Topic 1013C: Predict how specific changes within the environment may
increase/decrease a population’s size
iv. Topic 1014D: Analyze how specific human activities may affect population
d. Species Interaction
i. Topic 1014A: Investigate how organisms both cooperate and compete in
ii. Topic 1014B: Describe and provide Michigan examples of species
interactions including: competition, predation, parasitism, commensalism,
mutualism, and amensalism
Energy Flow
i. Topic 1015A: Describe the cycling of matter and the movement and change
of energy. through the ecosystem (for example, some energy dissipates as
heat as it is transferred through a food web.
ii. Topic 1015B: Describe the flow of energy in a natural ecosystem using the
laws of thermodynamics.
iii. Topic 1015C: Given a Michigan ecosystem, diagram the specifics of energy
flow, describing accurately at least some of the actual species involved in
these processes and their roles.
Nutrient Cycles
i. Topic 1016A: Analyze the process of how plants take common nutrients and
build organic compounds.
ii. Topic 1016B: Describe how plants and animals use organic compounds for
growth, maintenance, and reproduction (include respiration and
iii. Topic 1016C: Illustrate how these compounds are broken down
(decomposers) and cycled through the living and non-living parts of the
Threatened and Endangered Species
i. Topic 1017A: List some threatened and endangered species in Michigan.
ii. Topic 1017B: Analyze the effects of threatened, endangered or extinct
species on human and natural systems.
iii. Topic 1017C: Identify and explain how a species’ increase, decline or
elimination affects the ecosystem and/or human social, cultural and economic
iv. Topic1017D: Analyze management strategies regarding threatened or
endangered species.
v. Topic1017E: Identify laws, agreements or treaties at national or international
levels regarding threatened or endangered species.
Exotic Species
i. Topic 1018A: Describe how exotic species affect an ecosystem.
ii. Topic 1018B: Identify exotic plant and animal species in Michigan.
iii. Topic 1018C: Describe how at least one exotic plant and one exotic animal
species was introduced to Michigan, and its impact on the ecosystem and
i. Topic 1019A: Diagram the process of ecological succession
ii. Topic 1019B: Predict how an external force affects ecological succession
iii. Topic 1019C: Accurately describe the process and stages of succession in one
Michigan and in one non-Michigan ecosystem.
Adaption and Natural Selection
i. Topic 1021A: Explain how adaptations (structural, behavioral) of an
organism determine its niche (role) in the environment.
ii. Topic 1021B: Explain how adaptations of an organism help that organism to
iii. Topic 1021C: Describe how changes within the environment select for
survival and reproduction of certain individuals.
k. Adaption and Natural Selection
i. Topic 1022A: Explain the importance of biodiversity.
ii. Topic 1022B: Explain how diversity of characteristics among organisms of a
species. increases the likelihood of the species surviving changing
environmental conditions.
iii. Topic 1022C: Explain how changes in an ecosystem can affect biodiversity
and how biodiversity contributes to an ecosystem's stability (organisms can
adapt, migrate, or die).
2. Human Dimensions of Natural Resources Management (650 minutes)
a. Cultural Development and Values
i. Topic 1031A: Provide examples of how different cultures use natural
resources reflecting the economic, aesthetic, and other values of that culture.
ii. Topic 1031B: Analyze how cultural change and altered views of the
environment are related.
iii. Topic 1031C: Recognize diverse cultural views about humans and the
b. Economic, Political and Social Implications
i. Topic 1032A: Describe how human cultural activities (e.g., religious,
economic, political, social, etc) influence the environment from an ecological
ii. Topic 1032B: Analyze how the environment and resource availability can
affect the economic, political, and social development of a culture.
community or region.
iii. Topic 1032C: Describe and compare historical and contemporary societal
strategies for adapting to environmental or social change while preserving
and transmitting culture.
iv. Topic 1032E: Describe how uses of natural resources impact sustainability.
v. Topic 1032G: Define a sustainable community.
Individual Values and Actions
i. Topic1033A: Describe examples that illustrate how individual behaviors
impact on the environment from an ecological perspective.
ii. Topic 1033B: Research people historical and contemporary individuals who
have contributed to conservation efforts.
iii. Topic 1033C: Relate the effects of individual actions on the long-term health
of the environment.
3. Soil (450 minutes)
Physical Properties
i. Topic1041A: Define terms associated with soil characteristics
ii. Topic1041B: Outline the processes involved in soil formation.
iii. Topic1041C: Discuss the eight land capability classes.
iv. Topic 1041D: List the major weathering forces.
v. Topic 1041E: Discuss how parent materials differ from rocks and minerals.
vi. Topic 1041F: Explain how organic matter content affects the soil.
b. Soil Analysis
i. Topic 2054A: Compare and contrast the three horizons in a soil profile.
ii. Topic 2054B Define soil texture and soil structure and identify soil texture by
Environmental Impact of Soil Degradation
i. Topic 1043A: Define terms associated with soil erosion.
ii. Topic 1043B: Differentiate natural soil erosion from soil erosion caused by
iii. Topic 1043C: Explain why soil erosion control should be important to
iv. Topic 1043D: Describe the major sources of non-farm soil erosion.
Water Resources (1000 minutes)
Water Cycle
i. Topic 1051A: Describe the distribution and circulation of the world's water
through oceans, glaciers, rivers, groundwater, and atmosphere.
b. Watersheds
i. Topic 1052A: Understand the role of the watershed.
ii. Topic 1052B: Explain how water enters a watershed.
iii. Topic 1052C: Identify and explain what determines the boundaries of a
iv. Topic 1052D: Identify and describe regional watersheds.
v. Topic 1052E: Outline local. and regional drainage basins/watersheds on
vi. Topic 1052F: Mark drainage divides on maps.
vii. Topic 1052G: Explain factors that affect water quality and flow through a
viii. Topic 1052H: Analyze how land use variations in a watershed can affect the
runoff of water.
i. Topic 1053A: Define groundwater and the importance of groundwater.
ii. Topic 1053B: Identify parts of a groundwater system.
iii. Topic 1053C: Compare movement of water through diverse substrates.
iv. Topic 1053D: Relate differences in types of land uses to potential
groundwater contamination.
v. Topic 1053E: Predict how human activities at one location often have
adverse affects on other locations.
Water use and Conservation
i. Topic 1054A: Describe the amount and distribution of water on the Earth.
ii. Topic 1054B: Explain why water is a limited resource.
iii. Topic 1054C: Make inferences about the importance of responsible water
iv. Topic 1054D: Describe ways to conserve water.
Water Quality
i. Topic 1055A: Interpret the importance of high quality water.
ii. Topic 1055B: Identify and explain factors that influence the quality of water.
iii. Topic 1055C: Predict how human activities at one location often have
adverse affects on other locations.
iv. Topic 1055D: Describe the different types of pollution that can affect water
as well as animals and plants that live in water.
i. Topic 1058A: Explain and describe characteristics of a wetland.
ii. Topic 1058B: Identify specific characteristics of wetland plants and soils.
iii. Topic 1058C: Recognize the common types of wetland plants and animals.
iv. Topic 1058D: Describe and analyze different types of wetlands
Stream Ecology
i. Topic 1061A: Identify Michigan’s major watersheds and their related river
ii. Topic 1061B: Analyze a stream’s physical characteristics. Describe and
explain the physical factors that affect a stream and the organisms living
iii. Topic 1061C: Describe how topography influences streams.
iv. Topic 1061D: Explain how vegetation affects storm water runoff.
v. Topic 1061E: Delineate the boundaries of a watershed.
Pollution (350 minutes)
i. Topic 1071A: Define terms associated with water pollution.
ii. Topic 1071B: Identify the three major water pollution groups.
iii. Topic 1071C: Identify sources of water pollution.
iv. Topic 1071D: Distinguish between point and non=point source pollution.
v. Topic 1071E: Explain the common water pollution control measures.
b. Air
i. Topic 1072A: Explain what is meant by ‘air quality’.
ii. Topic 1072B: Identify major air pollutants and their sources.
iii. Topic 1072C: Distinguish between point and non-point source pollution.
iv. Topic 1072D: Identify and analyze individual, local, regional, national, and
global effects of pollution on materials and on plant, animal, and human
v. Topic 1072E: Explain how air quality is tested
vi. Topic 1072F: Describe approaches in preventing air pollution and lessening
air pollution dangers
vii. Topic 1072G: Explain what indoor air pollution is; naming sources, effects,
and control methods.
c. Soil/Land
i. Topic 1073A: Name and classify types of waste, their sources and methods of
waste reduction.
ii. Topic 1073B: Identify major kinds of solid waste; explain and give examples
of each.
iii. Topic 1073C: Define hazardous waste.
d. Topic 1073D: List and explain the hazards that wastes pose.
e. Topic 1073E: Explain the major criterion that determine the way to dispose of
hazardous wastes.
f. Topic 1073F: Compare practices and alternatives in solid and hazardous waste
management and their environmental impacts.
g. Topic 1073G: Explain recycling and reasons to recycle.
h. Topic 1073H: Describe composting and its benefits.
Tree Basics (850 minutes)
a. What is a Forest?
i. Topic 1101A: Define ‘forest’.
ii. Topic 1101B: Describe beneficial influences of forests and trees.
iii. Topic 1101C: Describe where forest resources and industries are located in
the United States.
b. Michigan Forest Descriptors
i. Topic 102A-A: Define what is meant by ‘forest area’.
ii. Topic 1102A-B: Describe in general terms the percentage of Michigan is
iii. Topic 1102a-C: Describe historic, current and future trends in Michigan’s
forest area.
iv. Topic 1102B-A: Define 'forest type'.
v. Topic 1102B-B: Name and describe the major forest types in Michigan.
vi. Topic 1102C-A: Define timber volume.
vii. Topic 1102D-A: Explain how the number of tress in Michigan forests can
remain the same while the timber volume changes
viii. Topic 1102E-B: Define 'basal area'.
ix. Topic 1102F-A: Define 'stand'.
x. Topic 1102F-B: Define 'stand composition'.
xi. Topic 1102F-C: Which of the forest types in Michigan exhibits the greatest
diversity in terms of number of tree species?
c. Tree Identification
i. Topic 1103A: List characteristics useful in tree identification.
ii. Topic 1103B: Identify different tree forms.
iii. Topic 1103C: Demonstrate the ability to use the taxonomic key to identify
common forest plants.
iv. Topic 1103D: Distinguish between the characteristics for angiosperms and
v. Topic 1103E: Label the parts, and define the shape and margins of a single
vi. Topic 1103D: Identify leaf arrangements.
vii. Topic 1103F: Identify evergreens based on needle, cone, and bark.
d. Michigan Forest History
i. Topic 1104A: Identify the characteristics of the presettlement forest.
ii. Topic 1104B: Describe state and national historical individuals and events
and the impact they had on forestry.
iii. Topic 1104C: Describe how human activity has changed the forests.
iv. Topic 1104D: Describe the difference between historical and modern forestry
practices. Explain why these changes were implemented.
e. Land Survey
i. Topic 1105A: List and describe the methods of land survey systems.
ii. Topic 1105B: Define common terms associated with land survey.
iii. Topic 1105C: Determine the number of acres from a legal description.
iv. Topic 1105D: Locate and label the principle base line and meridian for
v. Topic 1105E: List the types of witness markings.
vi. Topic 1105F: List items of entry found in survey notes.
vii. Topic 1105G: List the locations where survey notes can be found.
f. Map & Compass
i. Topic 1106A: Learn the essential parts
ii. Topic 1106B: Use a compass to obtain directions
iii. Topic 1106C: Describe how to use magnetic declination
Tree Physiology (650 minutes)
a. The Necessities of Life
i. Topic 1111A: List six key requirements needed for a tree to survive.
ii. Topic 1111B: Explain how each of the requirements can encourage or limit
tree growth and survival.
b. Tree Parts
i. Topic 1112A: List, identify, and describe the major parts of a tree, and
explain the function of each.
Photosynthesis and Respiration
i. Topic 1114A: Explain how woody plants grow.
ii. Topic 1114B: Describe where growth occurs in a tree.
iii. Topic 1114C: List the 2 kinds of wood formed in an annual ring of diameter
iv. Topic 1114D: Describe the most limiting factor to tree growth.
d. Tree Regeneration Strategies
i. Topic 1116A: Name the reproduction methods used by trees.
ii. Topic 1116B: Identify the sexual and asexual structures of woody plants.
i. Topic 1117A: Explain how tree longevity in different species affects
succession and biodiversity in an area.
ii. Topic 1117B: Give examples of relatively short lived, average, and long
loved tree species in Michigan.
iii. Topic 1117C: Describe some adaptations that trees have that helps increase
their longevity.
Wood Products (400 minutes)
Getting Wood to Market
i. Topic 1131A: Define stumpage and list the variables that affect the value of
ii. Topic 1131B: List the skills that a successful logger must demonstrate to be
iii. Topic 1131C: Describe three common harvesting systems used in the
Michigan timber industry.
iv. Topic 1131D: Describe common transportation systems used to get wood
from the forest to the mill.
b. Michigan Wood-Using Mills
i. Topic 1134A: Define and provide examples of a primary wood using mill.
ii. Topic 1134B: Define and provide examples of a secondary wood using mill.
iii. Topic 1134C: Describe the role of the forest industry in Michigan's economy.
iv. Topic 1134D: Explain how forest composition and age of stand classes might
affect harvest totals and rankings over time.
Michigan Wood Products
i. Topic1135A: Describe and provide examples of five types of products
manufactured from Michigan wood products.
Forest Management (550 minutes)
What is Forestry?
i. Topic 1141A: Define 'forestry'.
ii. Topic 1141B: Define 'sylviculture'.
iii. Topic 1141C: Explain the difference between a 'managed forest' and a
wilderness area.
iv. Topic 1141D: Name seven objectives when implementing sylvicultural
v. Topic 1141E: Describe the following forestry practices, and the purpose of
each: timber harvest, thinning, release cutting, salvage cutting, pruning,
planting, genetic improvement
vi. Topic 1141F: Describe education requirements for foresters.
vii. Topic 1141G: List at least five areas other than forest management that a
forester might specialize in.
viii. Topic 1141H: List two public and two private organizations that employ
Forest Management Systems
i. Topic 1142A: Define ‘sylviculture’ and ‘syvlicultural system’.
ii. Topic 1142B: Discuss the difference between ‘sylviculture’ and ‘forestry’.
iii. Topic1142C: Describe the two main goals of any sylvicultural system.
iv. Topic1142D: Describe the following management systems, including
conditions that warrant each system’s use, desired outcomes, and ideal forest
types: Selection, Clearcutting and Shelterwood
v. Topic 1142E: Compare and contrast clearcutting and selection systems in
terms of shade tolerance, successional stage, visual quality, soil damage, and
runoff potential.
vi. Topic 1142F: Explain why clearcutting is controversial, and how that
controversy might be minimized.
Multiple Use
i. Topic 1143A: Explain the multiple use concept and how this differs from
resource management practices in the past.
ii. Topic1143B: List at least ten non-timber forest outputs that foresters can
manage for.
iii. Topic1143C: Discuss the difficulties in managing a forest for multiple use.
Wildlife Management (400 minutes)
What is Wildlife Management?
i. Topic 1161A: Define wildlife, and explain the difference between wild and
domestic animals.
ii. Topic 1161B: Describe and explain the different values that humans can hold
regarding wildlife.
iii. Topic 1161C: Explain the difference between conservation and preservation
of natural resources.
iv. Topic 1161D: Define wildlife management.
History of Wildlife Management
i. Topic 1162A: Identify national policies impacting wildlife conservation.
ii. Topic 1162B: Name early leaders in wildlife management, and describe the
contributions they made.
iii. Topic 1162C: Explain that wildlife and associated natural resources played in
European exploration and settlement of Michigan and other US regions
Michigan Wildlife
i. Topic 1164A: Identify common and unique wildlife species in Michigan.
ii. Topic 1164B: Describe the habitat requirements and life cycle/natural history
of common and unique wildlife species in Michigan.
iii. Topic 1164C: Accurately classify wildlife species, based on scientific
(Phylem, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species) and regulatory (game,
nongame, furbearer, threatened, endangered, etc.) classification systems.
Terrestrial Habitat Management and Techniques (400 minutes)
Plant Survey Techniques
i. Topic 1171A: Describe techniques used to survey plant species.
ii. Topic 1171B: Suggest an appropriate survey technique to conduct in a given
habitat type.
iii. Topic 1171C: Given the opportunity, successfully conduct plant surveys in a
variety of habitat types
Water Sources
i. Topic 1173A: Explain how water can limit wildlife populations.
ii. Topic 1173B: Name Michigan wildlife species and wildlife species in other
regions that would particularly benefit from creating and improving water
iii. Topic 1173C: Describe methods of creating, restoring, or improving water
iv. Topic 1174D: List resource agencies and organizations that may provide
assistance in water source/wetland management.
Prescribe Burn
i. Topic 1174A: Explain the role that fire plays in habitat management.
ii. Topic 1174B: Identify, describe, and evaluate the positive and negative
effects that forest and grassland fires have on wildlife
iii. Topic 1174C: Research and identify key plant and wildlife species that rely
on fire and determine the inter-relationships.
Related FFA Activities:
1. Land Conservation Skills Contest
2. Speaking contests with natural resources speech topic
3. FFA Applications (proficiencies)
4. SAE options
5. Environmental Skills Contest
6. Forestry Skills Contest
Related SAE Activities:
1. Customized businesses such as land management
2. Employee in business
Grades 9-12
Kendra Butters
COURSE DESCRIPTION: A basic understanding of business management, including the
definition of business management and why it is important, basic economic concepts, financial
management standards, importance and uses of record keeping and simple budget techniques.
Ecosystem Processes
Human Dimensions of Natural Resources Management
Water Resources
Tree Basics
Tree Physiology
Wood Products
Forest Management
Wildlife Management
Terrestrial Habitat Management and Techniques
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