EXPAND!: Unit 3.

We’re All Connected:
Ecology and the Circle of Life:


This section contains items you should use, do, pursue, read, join, or whatever to develop as a naturalist and to learn about ecological cycles and connections in Pennsylvania.



Change your perspective. Lie down or use a blindfold for 5-10 minutes.


What do you perceive now that you hadn’t before? When lying down or blindfolded you are more vulnerable? How does that influence your ability to sense what’s around you?


Write a letter to a friend about your experience. Pay careful attention to using sensing words, describing what you felt. Try not to name an item directly. Draw the sounds you hear at your spot. Don’t draw the actual object (e.g. a bird) but draw what it sounds like.


Silent Spring. Rachel Carson. 2002. Houghton Mifflin: Boston, Massachusetts. 400 pp.

The anniversary edition of her 1962 seminal work on the effect of ecological degradation, Rachel Carson initiated the environmental awareness movement in the United States. The book serves as a warning of the health risks we expose ourselves to as a consequences of the environmental practices we use.

Click here to see what libraries carry this title (via Worldcat.org) .
Click here to see Amazon information.

Insects and Gardens: In Pursuit of a Garden Ecology. Eric Grissell. 2006. Timber Press Press: Portland, Oregon. 345 pp.

This book describes the role of insects in garden ecology, particularly the ecological relationships between insects and plants. By accepting the organisms usually considered pests, Grissell suggests gardeners can create ecologically-balanced spaces that are easier to maintain.

Click here to see what libraries carry this title (via Worldcat.org) .
Click here to see Amazon information.


Ecological Society of America:

The Ecological Society of America is the professional organization for ecologists in North America. While they may be a bit academic, they have a marvelous series on contemporary ecological problems called:
Issues in Ecology available at: https://www.esa.org/esa/science/issues/ .

The Penn State Cooperative Extension:

The Penn State Cooperative Extension is a part of the College of Agricultural Sciences and provides educational resources for the community based on university research. They have a section devoted to yard and garden issues, offering practical education and problem-solving assistance. With ideas for compositing, growing produce, caring for your lawn and garden, and water features, the Cooperative Extension helps ensures that homeowners have the necessary tools to keep environmentally-friendly properties.


Philadelphia Beekeepers Guild:

Started in 2009 and now a non-profit organization, the Philadelphia Beekeepers Guild meets once a month at the Wyck House in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. The organization strives to promote urban beekeeping and spread awareness about the importance of bees in the environment. Although membership is not required to attend the monthly meetings, the Guild encourages all to become yearly members and enjoy the benefits of discounted admission to special events, group rates in the purchase of beekeeping supplies, and cooperative ownership of honey extractors and an observation hive.

Check out the Pennsylvania State Beekeepers Association, which started in 1904. http://www.pastatebeekeepers.org/ . This site includes state inspection and research information, as well as activities and information for children.

Pennsylvania Horticultural Society:

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) is a non-profit organization started in 1827 with the mission to motivate “people to improve the quality of life and create a sense of community through horticulture.” PHS sponsors a variety of shows (including the Philadelphia Flower Show), competitions, and programs, including Garden Tenders and Tree Tenders. These programs aim to provide community members the tools and knowledge necessary to start and maintain community gardens and trees in the five-county Philadelphia Region. Members receive special pricing for special events, educational programs, and garden visits throughout the year, receive the PHS News, discounts at local garden centers, and more.

Continue to:
Unit 4: Creatures of Southeastern Pennsylvania

Go Back to:
Unit 2: Rocks, Ice and Dirt

Updated: June 2018