From the Appalachian mountains in the east to the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers in the west, Kentucky's varied and wondrous landscape is home to some of the most unique organisms in the world. Kentucky Bio: Natural Diversity in the Commonwealth introduces students to the natural world around them, why it matters, and the ways in which they can make an impact. KET developed this award-winning ebook through a grant from The Ryan Fund of the Green River Area Community Foundation and The Pentair Foundation.
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We look but we don’t always see. Life is teeming all around us and inside us, yet we are hardly aware of any of it. Some of it is too small to be seen. Some of it is too secretive to find, and some is so common that we rarely take note of its presence. Some life forms scare us. Some make us marvel at the beauty. All of it – the small, the secretive, the common, the scary, and the beautiful – is woven into a web that is too intricate and complicated to fully understand, but we do know this web is essential for all forms of life on Earth.
Scientists have spent hundreds of years naming and categorizing life forms. Categorizing helps us recognize similarities and differences. Just knowing which category the least weasel or the Chuck-will’s-widow or the mudpuppy belongs to tells us something about that creature. Understanding an organism’s place in nature helps us understand its importance to us.
Kentucky is home to a large variety of life forms, some so unique they exist nowhere else in the world. We call this variety biodiversity. Kentucky’s rich biodiversity spreads from the high ridges of the Appalachian Mountains in eastern Kentucky to the low-lying wetlands of western Kentucky, and even through hundreds of miles of underground caves and thousands of miles of streams and rivers.
Awareness of this diversity of plant and animal life is the starting point for wise conservation of our natural resources. Indeed, to ensure a healthy future it is the responsibility of each of us to learn our place in this web of unique and irreplaceable life forms and use that knowledge toward its stewardship.
Kentucky Bio is an interactive ebook designed as a supplement to existing curriculum for grades 4 through 6.
The book consists of five chapters which focus on the unique biodiversity of Kentucky, why it matters to us, and how we, as humans, have an impact on the natural world.
You can download a user's guide here.
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