Mapping Microhabitats

Mapping microhabitats - homes and help for nature - is part of the Mapping your site activities, enabling you to explore and map the habitats your site currently offers for nature. Understanding your starting point is really important and will allow you to measure any nature gains you achieve when you start making enhancements to your site. Mapping the microhabitats on your site is one of eight habitat mapping sessions in this unit of learning. 

~ 1 hour
KS1
KS2
KS3

Preparation

Green Skills

  • Identification and Ecology
  • Recording Data
  • Environmental Stewardship and Horticulture 

What you’ll need

  • The Habitat Mapper app on one mobile device (for educator use)
  • Microhabitats Worksheet - Homes and Help for Nature ticksheet

Location

  • Outdoors

Useful Guidance

Step by step

  1. Learners can work independently or in small groups. Give each a copy of the Microhabitats Worksheet - Homes and Help for Nature ticksheet.
  2. Set a timer (e.g. for five minutes) and ask learners to search a particular area of your site for the pictured items and tick the ones they find.  
  3. Gather learners together and work through the ticksheet, asking if anyone saw each item and if so, where it was, before adding them to your map using the Microhabitat point option in the Habitat Mapper app. Alternatively you could ask learners to stay by an item when they find it and put their hand up, and you move round to each in turn and add them to the map.
  4. Move round your site, if needed, and repeat this process in a different part of your site until you have covered all areas.
  5. Bring the group together and discuss how each item on the ticksheet might support nature – is it a long term home, a resource for breeding, a source of food or temporary shelter? What kinds of animals might use it?

Reflection

Discuss with learners how many of the different homes and help for nature items were found. Did you only have one of each, or multiple? Ask learners if they noticed any items that were not on the ticksheet and discuss how these may help nature. Are there opportunities to add more or different kinds of homes and help for nature on your site? Encourage learners to share their observations and ideas during this discussion.