1. Discuss wildlife and the protected places wildlife can be found.
Ask students what animals they have seen, heard, or heard about that are living in the wild near their community. Ask: Where are these animals? In a backyard, park, or other protected place? Explain that people often create places where wild animals can find food, water, shelter, and space—things animals need to survive. These places are wilderness areas, parks, preserves, and often backyards. Ask: Why do you think people want these places to be protected?
2. Discuss what it means to protect land.
Tell students that protected land is an area of land that has been legally set aside so it can be kept safe from harm. Have students brainstorm what things might be protected in a protected land area, such as animal life, plant life, natural resources, and cultural resources. Invite volunteers to identify at least one piece of protected land in your local area, such as a park, and describe what is protected in that specific place.
3. Discuss why people protect certain land areas.
Discuss with students why it’s important to protect certain land areas. Elicit responses from students such as:
- to keep places looking beautiful
- to keep humans from building on land or harming it
- to protect natural resources such as water and plants
- to provide food, water, shelter, and space for wildlife
4. Have students brainstorm what information about protected lands or animals might be useful on a map.
Explain to students that sometimes reading information in a chart or text is helpful. But if the chart or text includes places, it can be even more useful to read the information on a map. Ask students to brainstorm what types of information about protected lands or animals they might want to see on a map. Prompt them to think of possibilities such as where certain animals live and their ranges, or how far they move.
- describe wildlife and examples of protected lands in their local area
- explain what protected land areas are and why people protect them
- identify types of information about protected lands and animals that are useful on a map
Critical Thinking Skills
- Geographic Skills
Connections to National Standards, Principles, and Practices
National Geography Standards
- Standard 3: How to analyze the spatial organization of people, places, and environments on Earth's surface
What You’ll Need
Materials You Provide
The resources are also available at the top of the page.
- Internet Access: Optional
- Large-group instruction
A protected land area is an area designated as important and protected because of its biological diversity and natural or cultural resources. The level of protection varies. Examples of protected land areas include nature reserves, wilderness areas, national parks, and natural monuments. Protected land areas face threats such as pollution, climate change, and the human impact of tourism or development.
Recommended Prior Activities
area where development projects are controlled or limited.