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close this bookTeaching Conservation in Developing Nations (Peace Corps)
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View the documentForeword
View the documentIntroduction
Open this folder and view contentsChapter 1: The self-contained conservation education center
Open this folder and view contentsChapter 2: Conservation education in a school
Open this folder and view contentsChapter 3: Conservation education in a health center
Open this folder and view contentsChapter 4: Conservation education in an agricultural extension center
Open this folder and view contentsChapter 5: Conservation education in a community center
Open this folder and view contentsAppendix A: Exhibit and study materials
Open this folder and view contentsAppendix B: Nature Trails
Open this folder and view contentsAppendix C: Landscaping
Open this folder and view contentsAppendix D: Signs, labels and guides
Open this folder and view contentsAppendix E: Public facilities
Open this folder and view contentsAppendix F: Live animals
Open this folder and view contentsAppendix G: Endangered species
View the documentSelected organizations concerned with conservation education
View the documentSelected environmental research centers
View the documentGlossary

Glossary

These definitions are related to environment and conservation and are not necessarily the only definitions for the words included highs.

ACCELERATED EROSION

Erosion which is speeded up by human activities

AMPHIBIAN

Cold-blooded vertebrate which begins life in the water and develops air-breathing lungs: frog, salamander, toad, etc.

ANNUAL

A plant which grows only one year or one season

AQUARIUM

A water-filled container in which aquatic plants and animals are kept

BIOTIC POTENTIAL

The natural capacity of an organism to reproduce and survive

BREED

To produce young

BRUSH

A thick growth of bushes or shrubs

BURROW

An animal's hole or tunnel dug in the ground, such as by a mole or rabbit

CAGE

An enclosure to hold animals in captivity, with wire or bars on at least one side for air and light

CARNIVORE

An animal which is mainly flesh-eating;


also an insectivorous plant

CARRION

Dead and decaying flesh

COMMODITY

Different kinds of animals and plants living together in a reasonably orderly manner

COMPOST

A mixture of decaying organic matter such as leaves and manure, used as fertilizer

CONCEPT

An idea or understanding developed from knowledge and observation

CONDENSATION

Water changing from a gaseous vapor to a liquid state

CONSERVATION

The preservation of natural resources from loss, waste and harm

CONSUMER

A living thing which obtains food from other organisms

CONTOUR

The outline shape of the land

CRUSTACEA

A class of water animals (arthropods) which includes lobster, crayfish, shrimp and crab

CYCLE

A periodically repeated sequence of events

DEBRIS

The remains of something broken down or destroyed

DECAY

Destruction of organic matter by the action of bacteria and fungi. Also: decompose, rot

ECOLOGY

The study of relationships of living things (organisms) to one another and to their environment

ECOSYSTEM

interaction of a community with its physical environment

ENDANGERED SPECIES

A wild animal or plant population whose survival is threatened by predation, disease, people or changing ecological conditions

ENERGY

The ability to do work vital power

ENVIRONMENT

The external surroundings that affect plants and animals: the air, land and water where they live

EPIPHYTE

A plant which grows nonparasitically on another plant or structure, whose nutrients are taken mainly from the air ; also air plant

EROSION

The removal of topsoil by the action of water, wind, ice, earth movement

EVAPORATION

The loss of water from its liquid form into the air as vapor

EXCRETA

Waste matter of an animal, such as urine or feces, excreted from the body

EXPLOITATION

The use, often excessive, of natural resources

FECES

Solid animal wastes eliminated through the intestinal tract

FERAL

A formerly domestic animal which lives as a wild animal (often predatory)

FERTILIZER

An organic or chemical material such as manure, nitrogen or phosphorous, added to the soil to increase its fertility

FERTILITY

The capacity of the soil to provide sufficient plant nutrients and to produce abundantly; also the ability of an organism to reproduce

FOOD

The substance which provides the energy required by living organisms

FOOD CHAIN

The series of feeding relationships in a community beginning with the plants and ending with the largest carnivores

FOOD WEB

All the possible feeding relationships(food chains) in an ecosystem

FUNGI

Plant organisms including yeasts, molds, mushrooms, which are present in organic decomposition

GERMINATION

The sprouting of a plant seed

GRAZING

The act of animals feeding on growing grass or other plants of the land

GREEN MANURE

Growing plant material plowed into the soil to increase its fertility

HABITAT

The area where a plant or animal lives and finds its food

HERBICIDE

A chemical which destroys plant growth

HOST

An organism on or in which a parasite lives

HUMUS

Rich layer of decomposed organic material in the soil which provides nutrients for the soil and increases its ability to retain water

INSECT

One of numerous invertebrate animals having three pairs of legs, a three-segment body and often two pairs of wings

INSECTICIDE

A chemical which is used to kill insects

LANDSCAPING

Improvement of the land by shaping and planting, for aesthetic and conservation purposes

LARVA

An independent, but immature, stage of an organism, hatched from an egg, which will undergo further metamorphosis to become adult

LATRINE

A toilet facility which concentrates excrete in one place for sanitary purposes

LEACHING

The process of a substance such as a mineral, being dissolved and carried away by water action through the soil (percolation)

LITTER

Waste materials such as paper, glass, cans, discarded at random by people in their environment; also the decomposing organic materials on the surface of the soil

LARVA

Soil consisting of a mixture of sand, silt and clay and organic matter

MAMMAL

A vertebrate which is warm-blooded, has hair or fur, and produces milk for its young which are born alive

MANURE

Animal excrete which is used as fertilizer to enrich the soil

MARINE

Of, or pertaining to, the sea

MATURE

Fully grown and developed

METAMORPHOSIS

Undergoing change, or a series of changes in the course of development

MICRO-ORGANISM

A living organism too small to be seen without a microscope

MINERAL

A natural inorganic substance, of a specific chemical composition, found mainly in the earth

MULCH

A protective covering such as compost, leaves, or shredded bark, placed around plants to prevent moisture loss

NATURAL RESOURCES

The minerals, water, plants and animals


which occur naturally in the environment and which are the source of potential or realized value to society; often classified as renewable such as timber, cattle or food crops, and non-renewable such as copper, phosphate, gas or oil

NATURE TRAIL

A planned path through a natural area for the observation of natural features such as animal or plant life

NURSERY

A place where plants are grown for transplanting, experimentation or sale

NUTRIENT

Something that provides nourishment; the nutritive value in an organism's food

NUTRITION

The process of providing nourishment through food; the study of nutrients to improve the quality of nourishment to increase health and energy

ORGANIC

Of, or derived from, living organisms

ORGANISM

Any living thing capable of life functions of its own

OXYGEN

Gas in the earth's atmosphere, essential to animal and plant life

PARASITE

An organism which lives in or on a host organism of a different species; the host is usually harmed

PERENNIAL

A plant with a lifetime of more than two years

PHOTOSYNTHESIS

The process by which green plants absorb the sun's light energy and convert it into chemical (food) energy

PHYSIOLOGICAL

Of, or pertaining to, all the vital functions of an organism

PIT

A relatively deep hole in the ground, usually man-made

POLLINATION

The process by which a flowers pollen reaches the stigma (tip of the pistil) of the flower and fertilizes it. Common pollinating agents are flying insects and wind

POLLUTION

Anything added to the environment which accumulates in sufficient quantity to be undesirable

POPULATION

A group of plants or animals of the same kind living in the same area

PRECIPITATION

Drops of water (or ice) which have condensed from vapor in the atmosphere and fall to the earth's surface as rain (or snow)

PREDATOR

An animal that preys on another animal

PREY

An animal which becomes the food for another animal; to kill and eat

RECREATION

Voluntary use of one's free time to refresh the mind or body

REPRODUCTION

The process by which a species produces new organisms of the same species

REPTILE

A vertebrate which is cold-blooded, has dry, scaly skin, and whose young usually develop in eggs, such as a snake, lizard, turtle

RESOURCES

Anything that people take from their environment

SANITATION

The use of measures to provide healthy environmental conditions

SEDIMENT

Soil particles that are carried in or settle under water

SEEDLING

The young plant that develops shortly after germination of a seed

SEQUENCE

An orderly progression of events, one thing following after another

SEWAGE

Accumulated liquid and solid wastes

SHRUB

A low-growing woody perennial plant with several stems

SILT

Very fine soil material carried by water or deposited by water (siltation)

SOD

A section of grass-covered soil which is held together by the grass roots

SOIL

Top layer of the earth's surface in which plant life grows

SOIL PROFILE

A vertical section of soil shows the layers (horizons) and the parent material

SOIL TEXTURE

The composition of a soil, determined by the percentage of sand, silt and clay it contains

SPECIES

A group of organisms which breed naturally with each other and produce fertile young

SPECIMEN

A representative individual of a group, selected for testing, examination or display

STRESS

A condition of physical or emotional strain which disrupts the normal functional balance of an organism

TERRARIUM

An enclosed container in which small plants and/or animals such as insects or lizards are kept

TERRITORY

An area of land; any area an animal defends as its home

THORAX

The middle segment of the body of an arthropod (insect)

URINE

Liquid animal waste, excreted from the body

VERTEBRATE

An animal with a backbone

WATERSHED

A region of land which drains all water into a river, river system of body of water

WILD AREA

A region of land which has been left


in a natural condition, without development; also called wilderness area

WILDLIFE

Wild animals living in their natural young The newly-born or babies of a species

YOUNG

The newly-born or babies of a species