Dr. Pat O’Neil allowed gifted students to identify and touch fish specimens Friday in a lesson on biodiversity. | Austin Nelson
Dr. Pat O’Neil allowed gifted students to identify and touch fish specimens Friday in a lesson on biodiversity. | Laura Pemberton

Archived Story

Something fishy around here…

Published 11:00am Monday, February 25, 2013

Program gives Radney gifted students a feel for biodiversity

Radney Elementary gifted students got up close look at biodiversity Friday.

Dr. Pat O’Neil of the Geological Survey of Alabama showed students specimens of Alabama fish and presented figures and unique facts about Alabama’s biodiversity.

“What we’re trying to do is teach them about biodiversity – what it is, what it does for us as humans and where it comes from,” O’Neil said. “I think that is critical so they understand how important it is to take care of it. It’s so important for kids to learn those concepts right now.”

Students not learned the importance of biodiversity, but that factors such as: solar energy, area, landscape and a stable climate contribute to creating it.

Students also identified potential threats to biodiversity such as: loss of habitat, pollution and exploitation.

“The great threat to biodiversity is loss of habitat to urbanization,” O’Neil said. “Urban and suburban areas now cover 64 million acres.”

Despite the threats to biodiversity, Alabama ranks fifth in the nation for biodiversity and first in the nation in fish and mussel biodiversity with more than 4,500 plant and animal species, according to O’Neil.

“I think it’s great for kids to understand how incredible our state is for biodiversity,” said Dick Bronson, Lake Watch member and Radney volunteer.

O’Neil also presented students with the opportunity to gets hands on with the concept biodiversity by allowing them to touch and identify fish specimens.

“It was really interesting,” said Lainey Black, a sixth grade gifted student. “Those fish were cool. I learned a lot more than I knew about fish before and I’m interested in learning more about them.”

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