Species & Habitats
Activity 7 - Conserving the water vole leaflet
Background for teachers
According to the Mammal Society, the water vole, which was once widespread and common, is now probably the UK’s most rapidly declining mammal. Recently it has been found to be more widespread in the Highlands than previously thought. Although small, these populations of the species are potentially important as populations further south are dwindling fast.
5-14 Environmental Studies – Society, Science and Technology: Science
Interaction of living things with their environment: conservation and care of living things.
Science Standard Grade
A Study of Environments - Conservation: protecting endangered species
Managing Environmental Resources Intermediate 1
Effects of human activity on the local environment
Managing Environmental Resources Intermediate 2
Impact of human activities on ecosystems – endangered species; conservation.
Curriculum for Excellence
This activity will help pupils achieve the four capacities of learning by:
- encouraging enthusiasm and motivation for learning;
- encouraging openness to new thinking and ideas;
- use of literacy and communication skills;
- use of technology for learning;
- thinking creatively and independently;
- making reasoned evaluations;
- evaluating environmental issues, and
- creating and developing.
Ask pupils to design a leaflet promoting the conservation of the water vole. They should include:
- what the water vole looks like, its food, habits and habitat;
- its main threats;
- why its protection is urgently needed; and
- what can be done to help conserve the water vole.
They will need to:
- research information for the leaflet from the websites below;
- think about the design of the leaflet and the illustrations they wish to use; and
- think up a catchy title to interest people to read the leaflet.
Distribution maps of water vole and American mink can be downloaded from the National Biodiversity Network gateway website and used to illustrate their leaflet. By investigating maps for different dates, for example 1980, 1990, 1998 and the current year, pupils should be able to see the change in water vole and American mink populations.
- National Biodiversity Network gateway
- Water vole
- American mink
- Conserving the water vole free leaflet available from Scottish Natural Heritage