PLIX Urban Ecology is designed to provide learners of all ages with new skills to observe the ecologies of cities and suburbs. These workshops leverage local environments as living, dynamic classrooms for fostering landscape literacy. They can be used individually or as a series in which sessions build on one another; you could run all three of them, or even just one!

Workshops at a Glance

  • Sensory Nature Walk ๐ŸŒฌ๏ธ โ€“ Cultivate a keen eyeโ€”and nose, ear, and handโ€”when evaluating the qualities of our living world. Then use these observational skills to explore your local urban or suburban environment.
  • The Tangible Ecosystem ๐Ÿ–๏ธ โ€“ Learn how to highlight abiotic (nonliving) and biotic (living) factors as the key actors in the urban environment. Examine how these environmental components interact, as well as how they are related, to form unique ecologies associated with your local community.
  • Understanding Urban Soils ๐Ÿ‚ โ€“ Explore the diverse functions and roles of soilsโ€”the foundation of all terrestrial ecosystemsโ€”and the types of life they support. Learn to categorize various soils and the species contained therein, and begin to unravel how urban environments shape soil structure and function.

What we โค๏ธ about this activity

  • Offers the chance to understand ecology through creation. Activities encourage hands-on crafting and visualization of interactions and processes within your local ecosystem.
  • Encourages peer exploration and discussion. Participants work together to explore local habitats and share what they observe.
  • Facilitates the development of heightened sensesโ€”fit for detecting and interpreting environmental challenge and nuance.
  • Cultivates a reverence for and love of placeโ€“adding new interest to mundane or familiar landscapes.
  • Encourages civic engagement, as participants learn to imagine more safe and equitable futures for town and city development.

Ideas for bringing these workshops to your library

  • Run these workshops during a climate-related community event, like Earth Day or International Day of Climate Action ๐ŸŒŽ
  • Use these workshops as complementary education to community gardens ๐ŸŒฟ
  • Offer these workshops as a summer programming series for middle schoolers ๐ŸŒž
  • Borrow smaller activities from each workshop for a drop-in style public event ๐ŸŽŸ๏ธ

Try it!

On our PLIX Activity Repository, you'll find the full documentation for the Urban Ecology activity series! All of our PLIX activities include background information, materials lists, workshop guides, and facilitator resources.

We think itโ€™s important to share what weโ€™re making so anyone can get started with creative STEAM learning. All of our PLIX learning materials are openly licensed (CC-BY-SA 4.0) and free to download.

Share your experience running these workshops on the PLIX Discussion Forum or on social media using #PLIXUrbanEcology ๐ŸŒฑ