Project WILD's high school curriculum, Science and Civics: Sustaining Wildlife, is designed to serve as a guide for involving students in environmental action projects aimed at benefiting the local wildlife found in a community. It involves young people in decisions affecting people, wildlife, and their shared habitat in the community.
The program consists of four major components: 1) Awareness: alerts students to the impact of human and individual activities on habitat quality and quantity; 2) Participatory Democracy: develops principles related to government structures and is appropriate for government and civics units of social studies courses; 3) Habitat Exploration: studies biotic and abiotic parameters of a site and is appropriate for ecology and environmental science units of science courses; and 4) Taking Action: guides both science and social studies students in designing, implementing, and communicating projects to enhance a particular site.
Science and Civics: Sustaining Wildlife taps into students' desire to be part of a team and into their natural urge to understand, debate, and resolve real-life issues. Working methodically to achieve a positive result, students develop a sense of control and success.
Examples of student action projects conducted during pilot testing of the curriculum include: the planning and construction of school and community wildlife habitats, cross-cultural water festivals along the Rio Grande River between Texas and Mexico, and impact studies of airport expansion on wildlife. A common ingredient in all projects is that they depended on local action to succeed. The end result was that students could see the impact of their actions and gain confidence that they had made a difference.