Conservation issues require critical thinking skills and the ability to create logical arguments, both of which are an important part of language and literature classes. Students can try to relate things they have learned in biology to poems, readings or quotations. Environmental literature can raise awareness for environmental issues, but it can also evoke an emotional response or increase one's appretiation of nature. The River of Words website, by the Center for Environmental Literature, provides many different ways of combining environmental sciences with literature and art. Here are some ideas on how to include conservation and nature into literature lessons:
Ask the English teacher of your class if he/she is willing to discuss environmental poems in class. Examples for suitable poems:
- To Autumn - John Keats
- Spring and All - William Carlos Williams
- Pied Beauty - Gerald Manley Hopkins
- Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird - Wallace Stevens
Of course, students can also write their own poetry! Check the River of Words website mentioned above for many poems written by children and young adults.
Click here to find environmental cartoons and caricatures, which are a great way for students to improve their argumentation skills because cartoons usually deal with controversial issues.
There are many stories and books that deal with the appreciation of nature and environmental concerns. Recommendable literature:
- Dr. Seuss - The Lorax (although written for children, it is still a great and fun book)
- Rachel Carson - Silent Spring (for more advanced students)
- Aldo Leopold - A Sand County Almanac
- Many writings by John Muir
Here is a compilation of environmental quotes than can serve as a discussion base for enviromental topics, which gives students the opportunity to work on their linguistic competence.
A great exercise for students is to write a persuasive letter to a (local) politician on an environmental issue. These letters can actually be sent in, which gives students a chance to be heard. Students can also practice writing argumentative essays on topics that are important to them and give them the opportunity to apply previous knowledge from their biology classes.