Island Nature Trust teaching conservation through piping plover game

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The piping plover is a sparrow-sized shorebird which builds its nests on beaches near the Gulf of St Lawrence.

During the fall and winter, Island Nature Trust is offering a free, game-based learning experience to Grade 4 students in Kings County.

Island Nature Trust staff have adapted a simulation game originally developed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to address issues faced by piping plovers nesting in P.E.I., including human disturbance, vehicle use, and increased predation.

In the game, students pretend to be piping plovers feeding on a busy beach.

They must attempt to gather food while facing “threats” from beach users and predators.

Through roleplay and discussion, students get hands-on experience learning what it’s like to be an endangered species on a P.E.I. beach.

In recent years, over half of the P.E.I. piping plover population has nested on the popular, white sand beaches of Kings County.

Island Nature Trust monitors the population every season and installs signs, and symbolic fencing around nesting areas, that caution beach users of the fragile species they are sharing the beach with.

“With this interactive game, we are hoping we can help students understand some of the threats these birds face here on our Island, how we contribute to those threats, and how we can help them”, says  the trust’s stewardship co-ordinator, Julie-Lynn Zahavich.

Organizations: Island Nature Trust, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Geographic location: Kings, P.E.I.

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