Category Archives: Environmental

Why Rachel Carson’s ‘Silent Spring’ Still Matters in 2021

“The Biden administration announced on Wednesday that it is banning a common pesticide, widely used since 1965 on fruits and vegetables, from use on food crops because it has been linked to neurological damage in children. The Environmental Protection Agency said this week it would publish a regulation to block the use of chlorpyrifos on food. One of the most widely used pesticides, chlorpyrifos is commonly applied to corn, soybeans, apples, broccoli, asparagus and other produce.” Coral Davenport, The New York Times, August 18, 2021″

How ‘Silent Spring’ Ignited the Environmental Movement

Illustration by Valero Doval

“Nearly 60 years ago, Rachel Carson shocked the agricultural industry with her critique of indiscriminate pesticide use in the United States. Silent Spring, her book, quickly became a trademark of environmental activism, paving the way for the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and a plethora of other modern-day protections.” Earthday, September 26, 2019

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Excerpt: How ‘Silent Spring’ Ignited the Environmental Movement, By Eliza Griswold, The New York Times, September 21, 2021

“On June 4, 1963, less than a year after the controversial environmental classic Silent Spring was published, its author, Rachel Carson, testified before a Senate subcommittee on pesticides. She was 56 and dying of breast cancer. She told almost no one. She’d already survived a radical mastectomy. Her pelvis was so riddled with fractures that it was nearly impossible for her to walk to her seat at the wooden table before the Congressional panel. To hide her baldness, she wore a dark brown wig.

Rachel Carson, 1951.Credit…Brooks Studio, from the Rachel Carson Council.

Every once in a while in the history of mankind, a book has appeared which has substantially altered the course of history,” Senator Ernest Gruen­ing, a Democrat from Alaska, told Carson at the time. Silent Spring was published 50 years ago this month. Though she did not set out to do so, Carson influenced the environmental movement as no one had since the 19th century’s most celebrated hermit, Henry David Thoreau, wrote about Walden Pond.

Carson testifying before a Senate subcommittee on pesticides in 1963.Credit…Associated Press

Silent Spring presents a view of nature compromised by synthetic pesticides, especially DDT. Once these pesticides entered the biosphere, Carson argued, they not only killed bugs but also made their way up the food chain to threaten bird and fish populations and could eventually sicken children. Much of the data and case studies that Carson drew from weren’t new; the scientific community had known of these findings for some time, but Carson was the first to put them all together for the general public and to draw stark and far-reaching conclusions. In doing so, Carson, the citizen-scientist, spawned a revolution.

Silent Spring, which has sold more than two million copies, made a powerful case for the idea that if humankind poisoned nature, nature would in turn poison humankind.

‘Our heedless and destructive acts enter into the vast cycles of the earth and in time return to bring hazard to ourselves,’ she told the subcommittee…We still see the effects of unfettered human intervention through Carson’s eyes: she popularized modern ecology.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate -Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, speaking and listening. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


Materials: Student handouts (from this lesson) access to news article, and video.


Objective: Students will read the article
with a focus on reading comprehension and new vocabulary. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic  of environmental damage.

Excerpt: How Silent Spring Ignited the Environmental Movement, By By Eliza Griswold, The New York Times, September 9, 2012

I. Pre-Reading Tasks

Stimulating background knowledge:

KWL Chart

Directions: Place students in groups, ask students to think about what they already know about  the topic and  what they would like to learn.  Have students use the KWL chart KWL  chart. Later in the Post- Reading segment of the lesson, students can fill in what they’ve learned about the topic.

Brainstorming

Next, have students look at the pictures in the article and generate ideas/words that may be connected to the article. Students can use the UIE brainstorming chart (sample) for brainstorming the meanings.  Debrief as a class and list these ideas on the board.

II. While Reading Tasks

Vocabulary-Word Inference

Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary or thesaurus for assistance.

  1. Rachel Carson wrote the controversial environmental classic “Silent Spring”in 1962.
  2. Today, we still see the effects of unfettered human intervention through Carson’s eyes.
  3. Saint Rachel, “the nun of nature,” as she is called, is frequently invoked in the name of one environmental cause or another.
  4. Carson was initially ambivalent about taking on what she referred to as “the poison book.”
  5. Silent Spring begins with a myth.
  6. Carson describes a town in the heart of America where all life seemed to live in harmony with its surroundings.
  7. Carson then asks her readers, “By acquiescing in an act that causes such suffering… who among us is not diminished as a human being?”
  8. In Carson’s view, technological innovation could easily and irrevocably disrupt the natural system.
  9. The control of nature was an arrogant idea, and Carson was against human arrogance.
  10. In 1960…after she found out that her breast cancer had metastasized, her tone sharpened toward the apocalyptic.

Questions  for Reading Comprehension: True / False

Directions:  The following statements were taken from the article.  If  a statement is true, students write (T) if  a statement is false they  write (F)  and  provide the correct answer from the article.

  1. The book “Silent Spring”  was never  controversial.
  2. Carson influenced the environmental movement.
  3. Silent Spring presents a view of nature at its best.
  4. Much of the data and case studies that Carson drew from were new.
  5. Since her book, environmental issues have grown smaller these days.
  6. Initially, Carson was reluctant to investigate material for Silent Spring or as she referred to it “the poison book.”
  7. Carson knew that her target audience of popular readers included scientists, but did not include housewives.
  8. Carson wrote about other pesticides, but it was DDT she focused on the most.
  9. At one point, Carson compared the genetic effects of radiation, to chemicals that were being dispersed in the environment.
  10. Carson also had powerful advocates, among them President Lyndon B Johnson.

Grammar Focus: Identifying Parts of Speech

Directions:  Students are to identify the Nouns in the following paragraph, then use as many of the terms as possible to write their own paragraph concerning environmental issues today.

“On June 4, 1963, less than a year after the controversial environmental classic Silent Spring was published, its author, Rachel Carson, testified before a Senate subcommittee on pesticides. She was 56 and dying of breast cancer. She told almost no one. She’d already survived a radical mastectomy. Her pelvis was so riddled with fractures that it was nearly impossible for her to walk to her seat at the wooden table before the Congressional panel. To hide her baldness, she wore a dark brown wig. “Every once in a while in the history of mankind, a book has appeared which has substantially altered the course of history,” Senator Ernest Gruen­ing, a Democrat from Alaska, told Carson at the time.”

ANSWER KEY

III. Post Reading Tasks

KWL Chart

Directions:  Have students  fill in the last column of the KWL chart  they used one in the pre-reading segment of this lesson.

Discussion/Essay Writing

 Directions:  Have students choose one of the prompts and write a short essay.

  1.  Write an essay describing Rachel Carson’s life as a young girl (e.g., was she rich/poor? who were her parents? did she have siblings? where did she attend school? What prompted her to write her famous book Silent Spring?)
  2. What is the “Green Movement? Describe its philosophy.
  3. Research the following people: Bill McKibben, Elizabeth Kolbert, and Al Gore. Who are they and what role did they play in environmental changes?
  4. The article states, “Though Carson talked about other pesticides, it was DDT — sprayed aerially over large areas of the United States to control mosquitoes and fire ants — that stood in for this excess.” Research DDT and describe its initial function. What other functions did it serve? What were the results of DDT? Why was Rachel Carson so upset by the continued use of this particular chemical?
  5. Do we still use DDT today in 2021?

Information for Group Projects

Directions: As a group review the list of The Biggest Environmental Problems for 2021 (presented by earth.org).  Then review the list of environmental problems during Carson’s time (1960s-70s) presented by Activism in Michigan.  Use the Venn Digram to compare and contrast the  the environmental problems we face today with those during Carson’s time. Write a brief description of your results. Share with the class.

 

AnyChart Documentation

The Biggest Environmental Problems of 2021

“The climate crisis is accelerating at an unprecedented rate, and we are not ready for it. While the crisis has many factors that play a role in its exacerbation, there are some that warrant more attention than others. Here are some of the biggest environmental problems of our lifetime.” EARTH.ORG

• Poor Governance. In a world governed by economics, our society has failed to factor in the value of Nature. …

• Food Waste

• Biodiversity Loss

• Plastic Pollution

• Deforestation

• Air Pollution

• Agriculture

•Global Warming From Fossil Fuels

Biggest Environmental  Problems in the Late 1960s

“During the late 1960s, an ‘environmental crisis’ took shape as a series of environmental catastrophes and revelatory books transformed the American environmental consciousness. Soon before the crisis took its final form, several immensely popular books including Rachel Carson’s 1962 Silent Spring and Ralph Nader’s 1965 Unsafe at Any Speed pushed the public to question the relationship between the government, tasked with protecting the public interest, and industries, incentivized to act in their own economic interests.” Michigan -give Earth-a Chance

  • Chemical toxins such as DDT
  • Oil Spills
  • Air Pollution/smog
  • Pollutants in the drinking supply
  • The Population Bomb

Directions: Go through the list of Environmental Organizations and choose one (or as many as you like). Write a short description of the organization including how does it help the environment. Share your views with the class.

35 Environmental Organizations and Nonprofits For a Sustainable Future (List and Ways You Can Get Involved)

Additional Books By Rachel Carson:  For a complete List of Carson’s books 

 

Jane Goodall is 87 and Still A Crusader!

Image- janegoodall.org

“Wherever the story of our natural world ultimately lands, Jane Goodall will have earned a proud place in its telling.”D. Marchese, The New York Times, July 12, 2021

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Excerpt: Why Jane Goodall Still Has Hope for Us Humans, By David Marchese, The New York Times, July 12, 2021

Note: [The following is an interview with Ms. Jane Goodall conducted  by David Marchese, The New York Times]

“Goodall, 87, first found fame in the early 1960s for her paradigm-busting work as a primatologist. Studying the chimpanzees of Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania, she was the first to observe those entrancing animals eating meat and using tools, thus expanding our understanding of primate capabilities.

While that work is likely to remain what the public primarily associates her with, Goodall’s career as an activist is arguably her more important legacy. She has spent 44 years leading conservation efforts through her Jane Goodall Institute and seeding the future with like-minded souls via the Roots & Shoots educational programs for young people, which can be found in more than 60 countries and have nurtured millions of students.

Jane Goodall with a group of Roots & Shoots members in Salzburg, Austria. Credit- Jane Goodall Institute:Templeton Prize

DM: The stories you tell about the planet and conservation have to do with instilling hope…But all we have to do is look around to see the persuasiveness of stories built on fear and anger. Have you ever wondered if tapping into those emotions might be useful?

JG: No. It’s one of my big complaints when I talk to the media: Yes, we absolutely need to know all the doom and gloom because we are approaching a crossroads, and if we don’t take action it could be too late. But traveling the world I’d see so many projects of restoration, animal and plant species being rescued from the brink of extinction, people tackling what seemed impossible and not giving up. Those are the stories that should have equal time, because they’re what gives people hope. If you don’t have hope, why bother? Why should I bother to think about my ecological footprint if I don’t think that what I do is going to make a difference?

The Jane Goodall Institute

DM: Are there ideas you have about conservation that you feel are too radical to express publicly?

JG: Absolutely. I would never approach people about the crisis of the billions of animals in the factory farms and say you’ve got to be vegan. People have to change gradually. If you eat meat one less day a week, that’s the beginning. Bad zoos, you want to close them down, but you’ve got to work out what are we going to do with the animals when we do get it closed down. You have to make compromises… I don’t ever want to appear holier than thou. You’ve got to be reasonable. If you tell people, ‘You’ve got to stop doing that,’ they immediately don’t want to talk to you. The main thing is to keep a channel open. Young activists, sometimes they’re inexperienced and demand something. They ask my advice, and I say: Talk about how the issue is affecting you. How you feel about it. I think that’s the way forward. But that’s just my way.

DM: You mentioned zoos. Should they exist?

JG: Oh, yeah. The really good ones have people who understand the animals. They’ve got lovely enclosures. They do a lot of education, especially for children. They put money into conservation programs in the field. They give veterinary training for people caring for animals in captivity around the world. The other thing is, people think out in the wild is utopia for animals. If they’d seen the places I’ve seen, where you hear the chain saws approaching while snares are catching chimps and others are being shot. Then you watch a group of chimps in a good zoo: two or three males grooming, two females lying in the sun, the babies playing. You think, let me put myself in the position of a chimp: I’d rather be in a zoo. People often don’t think from the point of view of the animal.

Jane Goodall, pictured here with baby chimp. Image credit- The Jane Goodall Institute:Hugo van Lawick.

DM: This is maybe a goofy question, but did you ever personally identify with a chimp you studied?

JG: Nobody has asked me that before. The answer is no. There were chimps I liked a lot. Chimps I loved, I guess you could say. Chimps I totally disliked. [Goodall takes a photo down from the bookshelf behind her.] This one here, I’ll show him to you because he was very special. He was the first one to lose his fear of me.

DM: David Greybeard.

JG: Yes, David Greybeard.  He showed me tool-using, helped me get the trust of the others. [Goodall takes down another photo.] Then this one is Frodo. He was a bully. He attacked me several times, but not with a desire to hurt or kill, because otherwise I wouldn’t be here. He was just asserting his dominance.

I was always saying in my mind, Frodo, I know you’re dominant. You do not have to prove it. When he was young, other infants would be playing, and Frodo would join in, and the others would immediately stop because when Frodo joined in then the game would turn nasty, and he’d hurt somebody.

DM: There are obviously plenty of unanswered questions about primate behavior. In your mind, does the same apply to humans?

JG: You’re asking me, ‘Do you understand human nature?’ Definitely not. But I think there are people, for example strict materialists or religious fundamentalists, who have schematics that they feel afford them an understanding of all human behavior.

Religious fundamentalism is one of the strangest things. Religion has a bad name because of fundamentalism. But if you look at every major religion, the golden rule is the same: Do to others as you would have them do to you. These fundamentalists are not actually preaching about the fundamental principles of the religion that they are talking about. They’re educating young people to believe ridiculous things. At the beginning of Islam, nobody ever said that if you went and blew yourself up and killed lots of people, you’d go to heaven. Religion can be so damaging. When I think of our attitude to animals in Genesis, where man is told that he has ‘dominion’ over the birds and the fish and the animals and so on — the actual word, I’m told, is not dominion, it’s stewardship. Which is very different.

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 60 minutes.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and improving oral skills. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos

Directions: Examine the titles of the post and of the actual article.  Examine any photos, then create a list of  words and  ideas  that you  and your group members think might be related to this article. 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: Try to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. You use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. Goodall first found fame in the early 1960s for her work as a primatologist.
  2. Studying the chimpanzees of Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania, she was the first to observe those animals using tools.
  3. Goodall is globally known as an activist.
  4. This is arguably her most important legacy.
  5. She has spent 44 years leading conservation efforts through her Jane Goodall Institute.
  6. Jane Goodall believes that we should be aware of all of the doom and gloom in the world.
  7. Traveling the world Jane has seen many projects of restoration.
  8. Many animal and plant species are being rescued from the brink of extinction.
  9. We should be aware of our ecological footprints.
  10. Some people have ideas about conservation that are too radical.

 

Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage

Directions: The following groups of sentences are from the article. One of the sentences in each group contains a grammatical  error.  Identify the sentence (1, 2, or 3 ) from each group that contains the grammatical error.

I

  1. We absolutely need to know all the doom and gloom.
  2. If you don’t have hope, why bother?
  3. People have to change gradually.

II

  1. Back in the 1970s I didn’t know about factory farms.
  2. Talk about how the issue is affecting you.
  3. people think out in the wild is utopia for animals.

III

  1. People often don’t think from the point of view of the animal.
  2. Chimps act on the spur of the moment.
  3. Chimps can be altruistic.

Reading Comprehension Fill-ins

Directions: Place students in groups and after they have read the entire article, have them complete the following sentences  taken from the article. They can use the words and terms from the list provided, or provide their own terms. They are to find the meanings of any new vocabulary.

This___, who, as per ___name for him, had ___facial hair, was the ___one she observed at___ eating meat and using___. He also was the___ to___contact with her, ___the way for others in his___to do the same.

WORD LIST:   group, paving,  initiate ,  first,   tools, Gombe,   first,  distinctive,   chimp

Goodall’s, 

III. Post Reading Activities

WH-How Questions

Directions: Have students use the  WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.

Who or What is the article about?

Where does the action/event take place?

When does the action/event take place?

Why did the action/event occur?

How did the action/event occur?

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Have  students discuss the following questions/statements. Afterwards,  students share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.

  1. Why does Ms. Goodall feel it necessary for us to be aware of the ‘doom and gloom’ printed in the media?
  2. According to Ms. Goodall which stories in the media deserve more attention from us?
  3. What do people generally think about animals out in the wild?  What is the reality for these animals?
  4. Does Jane think chimps are evil?
  5. What is Goodall’s example of ‘evil’?
  6. Does Jane understand human nature?
  7. Do you understand human nature? Explain why or why not.
  8. Make a list of questions that you would like to ask Jane Goodall. Share them with the class.
  9. List three new ideas  that you’ve learned about the topic from the reading,  two things that you did not understand in the reading, and one thing you  would like to know that the article did not mention.  Share your responses with your class.

Additional Activities

The article states that, “Jane Goodall first found fame in the early 1960s for her paradigm-busting work as a primatologist. Studying the chimpanzees of Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania… While that work is likely to remain what the public primarily associates her with, Goodall’s career as an activist is arguably her more important legacy. She has spent 44 years leading conservation efforts through her Jane Goodall Institute and seeding the future with like-minded souls via the Roots & Shoots educational programs for young people.”

Directions:  Students (in groups) might research  Jane Goodall’s work with chimpanzees beginning with the Jane Goodall Institute website https://janegoodall.org/our-story/about-jane/

Next, students could visit Jane’s famous Roots and Shoots website https://www.rootsandshoots.org  which offers a variety of projects for students.

After, groups  can create graphs, pictures, collages, or models to demonstrate their understanding of Jane’s work with chimpanzees and with preserving our environment.

ANSWER KEY

Embracing Indigenous knowledge to Help Save the Planet

“Nearly two decades ago, when the New Zealand highway authority was planning the Waikato Expressway, people from the Māori tribe Ngāti Naho objected. The highway would encroach on an area that, in Māori tradition, was governed by a water-dwelling creature, a taniwha.” R. Cernansky, The New York Times, July 10, 2021

Maori leaders and members of the Australian Defense Force. Lisa Maree Williams:Getty Images NYT

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Excerpt: Indigenous Knowledge, Innovative Solutions, By Rachel Cernansky, The New York Times, July 10, 2021

“The authorities took those concerns into account and rerouted the road to circumvent the area in question. As a result, a year later, when the area was hit by a major flood, the road was unharmed.

‘I’m still waiting for the headline, ‘Mythical Creature Saves the Taxpayer Millions,’  said Dan Hikuroa, a senior lecturer in Māori studies at the University of Auckland and member of the Ngāti Maniapoto tribe.  He has often wondered if, once the flood hit, the technical team later said, ‘Why didn’t you just say it’s a flood risk area?’

Violet Lawson, a land owner in Kakadu, Australia, studies her land for the right time to set fires that are not too hot but still clear the underlying debris and fuel to prevent larger wildfires. Matthew Abbott for The New York Times

Like many Indigenous peoples around the world, the Māori have developed their understanding of their environment through close observation of the landscape and its behaviors over the course of many generations.

Now the New Zealand Environmental Protection Agency regularly looks for ways to integrate traditional Māori knowledge, or mātauranga, into its decision-making…Western-trained researchers and governments are increasingly recognizing the wealth of knowledge that Indigenous communities have amassed to coexist with and protect their environments over hundreds or even thousands of years. Peer-reviewed scientific journals have published studies demonstrating that around the world, Indigenous-managed lands have far more biodiversity intact than other lands, even those set aside for conservation… This is ever more urgent, particularly as the climate crisis unfolds…Indigenous scholars warn, though, that while traditional knowledge can be used to benefit the world, it can also be mishandled or exploited.

Dominique David Chavez, a descendant of the Arawak Taíno in the Caribbean, and a research fellow at the Native Nations Institute at the University of Arizona and the National Science Foundation, says that, as Western scientists, ‘we are trained to go into communities, get that knowledge and go back to our institutions and disseminate it in academic journals.’

That can be disruptive to traditional knowledge sharing, from one generation to another, she says, which should be the priority — ensuring that Indigenous knowledge systems are preserved in and supportive of the communities that developed them…Ideally, the shared use of Indigenous knowledge can help mend broken relationships between Indigenous and Western communities.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 60 minutes.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and improving oral skills. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Using a Pre-reading Organizer

Directions: Examine the title of the post and of the actual article. Next examine  any photos. Write a paragraph describing what you think this article will discuss. A pre-reading organizer may be used.

Pre-reading chart by J. Swann

II. While Reading Activities:

Word Inference

Directions: Try to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. You usea dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. Indigenous people help their countries world-wide.
  2. Maori leaders and members of the Australian Defense Force worked together.
  3. The highway would encroach on a sacred area.
  4. The Māori have developed their understanding of their environment through close observation.
  5. The New Zealand Environmental Protection Agency regularly looks for ways to integrate traditional Māori knowledge.
  6. Indigenous communities and governments have learned to coexist.
  7. Indigenous scholars warn, traditional knowledge can be used to benefit the world, it can also be mishandled or exploited.
  8. Many believe that Indigenous knowledge systems should be preserved.
  9. Bridging Indigenous and Western science also means respecting the ecosystem.
  10. Some people still use industrial pesticides.

Vocabulary Cluster By Learnnc.org

 

Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage

Directions: The following groups of sentences are from the article. One of the sentences in each group contains a grammatical  error.  Identify the sentence (1, 2, or 3 ) from each group that contains the grammatical error.

I

  1. The New Zealand highway is planned two decades ago.
  2. The Māori are ilke many Indigenous peoples around the world.
  3. The authorities rerouted the road.

II

  1. Mr. Hikuroa has been appointed the culture commissioner for UNESCO New Zealand.
  2. Western-trained researchers is recognizing that Indigenous communities have valuable knowledge.
  3. Indigenous knowledge can deepen Western scientists’ understanding of their own research.

III

  1. Traditional knowledge should be shared from one generation to another.
  2. The scientific method are designed to be indifferent to morals or values.
  3. Government regulations had already restricted the  harvest of sweetgrass.

 

Reading Comprehension

Identify The  Speakers

Directions: Read the following quotes from the speakers in the article. Then identify the speakers.

  1. “I’m still waiting for the headline, ‘Mythical Creature Saves the Taxpayer Millions.”
  2. “Why didn’t you just say it’s a flood risk area?”
  3. “As Western scientists, we are trained to go into communities, get that knowledge and go back to our institutions and disseminate it in academic journals.”
  4. “That can be disruptive to traditional knowledge sharing, from one generation to another, which should be the priority.”
  5. “In Indigenous sciences, it’s not possible to separate the knowledge from the ethics of the responsibility for that knowledge — whereas in Western science, we do that all the time.”
  6. “The scientific method is designed to be indifferent to morals or values. Indigenous knowledge puts them back in.”
  7. “That’s one of the reasons Native people were systematically removed from what are today’s national parks, because of this idea that people and nature can’t coexist in a good way.”

 

III. Post Reading Activities

WH-How Questions

Directions: Have students use the  WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.

Who or What is the article about?

Where does the action/event take place?

When does the action/event take place?

Why did the action/event occur?

How did the action/event occur?

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Have  students discuss the following questions/statements. Afterwards,  students share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.

  1. Do you have ways of helping our planet? For example, recycling helps address climate change.
  2. Why did the Māori tribe object to having the highway built?
  3. Why do you think the authorities in New Zealand listened to the Māori?
  4. From the article,Dan Hikuroa, a senior lecturer in Māori studies stated, “I’m still waiting for the headline, ‘Mythical Creature Saves the Taxpayer Millions.” Why do you think he said that? Was he joking?
  5. What is ‘regenerative agriculture’ ?
  6. Who  did Australian authorities consult last year while combating wildfires?
  7. List three new ideas  that you’ve learned about the topic from the reading,  two things that you did not understand in the reading, and one thing you  would like to know that the article did not mention.  Share your responses with your class.
  8. With your group members make a list of ways you can help with global warming.

ANSWER KEY

Improving Our Wildlife Will Improve Our Lives

“Sweden’s announcement that it is to build a series of animal bridges is the latest in global efforts to help wildlife navigate busy roads.” The Guardian, Jan. 23, 2021

Reindeer viaducts in Sweden will keep herds safe from traffic as they roam in search of grazing. Photograph- Pawel Garski.:Alamy

 

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Excerpt: How creating wildlife crossings can help reindeer, bears – and even crabs, The Guardian, Jan. 2021

“Every April, Sweden’s main highway comes to a periodic standstill. Hundreds of reindeer overseen by indigenous Sami herders shuffle across the asphalt on the E4 as they begin their journey west to the mountains after a winter gorging on the lichen near the city of Umeå.

Red crabs on Christmas Island climb a bridge designed for their protection. Photograph- Chris Bray Photography:Swell Lodg

As Sweden’s main arterial road has become busier, the crossings have become increasingly fractious, especially if authorities do not arrive in time to close the road. Sometimes drivers try to overtake the reindeer as they cross – spooking the animals and causing long traffic jams as their Sami owners battle to regain control.

‘During difficult climate conditions, these lichen lands can be extra important for the reindeer,’ says Per Sandström, a landscape ecologist at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences who works as an intermediary between the Sami and authorities to improve the crossings.

A wildlife overpass in Banff national park, in the Canadian Rockies. Photograph- Ross MacDonald:Banff National Park

This week, Swedish authorities announced they would build up to a dozen “renoducts” (reindeer viaducts) to aid the crossings and allow reindeer herds to reach grazing more easily…The country’s 4,500 Sami herders and 250,000 reindeer have been hit hard by the climate crisis, battling forest fires in the summer and freezing rain in the winter that hides lichen below impenetrable sheets of ice…The renoducts are part of a growing number of wildlife bridges and underpasses around the world that aim to connect fractured habitats. On the Yucatán peninsula in Mexico, underpasses have been used to shield jaguars from traffic.

Mountain lions live in the Santa Monica Mountains.

Natural canopy bridges in the Peruvian Amazon have helped porcupines, monkeys and kinkajous pass over natural gas pipelines…To help save the mountain lion population from local extinction, an $87m (£63m) wildlife bridge is planned over the 101 highway north of LA, which would be the largest in the world… A 2014 study found that fencing off the road and installing wildlife passes had maintained high genetic diversity in black and grizzly bear populations…a big fall in roadkill along the highway, also significantly reducing human mortality from animal collision.”

Key Things to Know About COVID-19 Vaccines CDC (Centers for Disease Control)

 

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 60 minutes.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and improving oral skills. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

Pre-reading

 Predictions: Using a Pre-reading Organizer

Directions: Examine the title of the post and of the actual article. Next examine  any photos. Write a paragraph describing what you think this article will discuss. A pre-reading organizer may be used.

Pre-reading Organizer By Scholastic

 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: Try to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. You use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. Every year hundreds of reindeer shuffle across the asphalt in Sweden.
  2. The reindeer are overseen by indigenous Sami herders.
  3. They begin their journey west to the mountains after a winter gorging on the lichen near the city of Umeå.
  4. Per Sandström is a landscape ecologist at the Swedish University of Agricultural.
  5. Sometimes drivers try to overtake the reindeer as they cross.
  6. During difficult climate conditions, these lichen lands can be extra important for the reindeer.
  7. Swedish authorities announced they would build up to a dozen “renoducts” (reindeer viaducts) to aid the crossings.
  8. It is hoped the crossings will allow herders to find fresh grazing lands and alleviate traffic jams.
  9. Natural canopy bridges in the Peruvian Amazon have helped porcupines and monkeys.
  10. The wildlife bridges help avert some of the billions of animal deaths that happen on the roads every year.

 

Grammar Focus: Identifying Prepositions

Directions: The following sentences are from the news article.For each sentence choose the correct preposition from the choices listed. Note that not all prepositions listed are in the article.

Some Prepositions: at,as, across, around,by, during,for, from, in, into,of, on,to, over,off, through, up,with, since,

It is hoped the crossings will allow herders___find fresh grazing lands and alleviate traffic jams, and also help moose and lynx ___move around the landscape. The country’s 4,500 Sami herders and 250,000 reindeer have been hit hard___the climate crisis, battling forest fires___the summer and freezing rain ___the winter that hides lichen ___impenetrable sheets ___ice… ___southern California, there have been signs ___inbreeding ___lions___ the Santa Monica Mountains because busy freeways around Los Angeles have isolated populations___ low genetic diversity.

 

Reading Comprehension: Identify The  Speakers

Directions: Read the following quotes from the speakers in the article. Then identify the speakers.

  1. “During difficult climate conditions, these lichen lands can be extra important for the reindeer.”
  2. “When habitat is isolated, we can have impact on individual animals where they might not be able to find water or food. We can also have impact on the genetic diversity of populations.”
  3. “We’re woefully behind the rest of the world. In Europe, it’s become second nature in some areas.”

III. Post Reading Activities

Graphic Organizers: Finding The Main Idea

Directions:  Have students use this advanced organizer from Write Design to assist them with  discussing  or writing about  the main idea and points from the article.

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Have  students discuss the following questions/statements. Afterwards,  students share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.

  1. Can you think of ways that climate change has affected our wild life in the U.S.?
  2. Why do the Sami herders have to take their reindeer across Sweden’s highway every April?
  3. What are renoducts and what purpose do they serve?
  4. What are some of the climate problems Sami herders have encountered?
  5. According to the article, which animals benefit from these crossings the most?
  6. What other countries have provided protection for their animals from heavy vehicle traffic?
  7. According to the article, approximately how many animal deaths occur on the roads every year world wide?
  8. Why has there been inbreeding among the lion population in the Santa Monica Mountains?
  9. How are humans protected by the animal bridges?
  10. Do you agree or disagree that more animal bridges should be built? Provide a reason for your answer.
  11. What new information have you learned from this article?

3-2-1-Writing

Directions: Allow students 5 minutes to write down three new ideas they’ve learned about the topic from the reading, two things they did not understand in the reading, and one thing they would like to know that the article did not mention. Review the responses as a class.

ANSWER KEY

Refugees Give Gratitude and Thanks for First Thanksgiving In America!

“Recently arrived refugees in the United States prepare to cook the most American of feasts… From the day of arrival, food is an integral part of adjustment to a new country.” By J. Moskin, The New York Times (11/2018)

Note: This article was written ‘before’ Covid-19. Please remember to follow rules about wearing masks and distancing this year. Please stay safe —  ESL Voices Nov. 2020 

Everyone Can Make Thanksgiving Safer November 2020 — CDC (Center for Disease Control)

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Members of the church’s refugee task force, which sponsored Ms. Anjari’s family for resettlement in the United States.Credit Christina Holmes for The New York Times

 

Excerpt:  The First Thanksgiving By Julia Moskin, The New York Times

“Two years ago this month, Mayada Anjari was only dimly aware that a holiday was approaching. After the family’s three-year journey as refugees from Syria, her sons — Hayan, Mohammed and Abdulrazaq — had just started school here; her husband, Ahmad Abdulhamid, was looking for work; She had cooked for the church group that sponsored the family’s resettlement…A new friend who was also Muslim gave her a turkey from a local halal butcher for Thanksgiving. Ms. Anjari cut it into pieces, covered it with water, and simmered it into soup with potatoes, carrots, ginger and cumin. Her family liked it, she said, but it didn’t seem very special to her. So she decided to take a test run at making her first Thanksgiving feast.

Preparing for her first Thanksgiving dinner, Mayada Anjari roasted a turkey in her kitchen in Jersey City.CreditCreditChristina Holmes for The New York Times

The family left their home city, Homs, on March 31, 2013, when the daily violence of the civil war had made their lives untenable. They walked across the Jordan border in darkness, were picked up by the Jordanian military… They registered as refugees with the United Nations, so the boys could attend school, but the adults couldn’t work legally. Food and money were always scarce.

Working with the United Nations Refugee Agency, the Department of State brings a certain number of refugees each year — most of them families with young children — to resettle in the United States. Only people displaced by violence or the threat of violence (like asylum seekers) can apply; the program is separate from other American immigration quotas and regulations…So far in 2018, about 22,000 people have been allowed in, and just 50 of them were Syrian. Despite the continuing civil war and refugee crisis, Syria is one of seven countries from which the Trump administration has forbidden people to enter the United States. On the State Department’s list of things that sponsors must provide immediately is a ‘culturally appropriate’ meal for the family. Some sponsors interpret this in religious terms, and provide store-bought halal fried chicken or kosher pizza.

For Congolese and Rwandan arrivals Moambe Chicken (Poulet à la Moambé) Explorers Kitchen

‘The culturally appropriate hot meal is simply the best federal regulation of all time,’ said Chris George, executive director of Integrated Refugees & Immigrants Services, a New Haven agency that has resettled more than 6,000 refugees in Connecticut since 1982. For Congolese and Rwandan arrivals, volunteers have made chicken moambe, a braise with tomato, onion, peanut butter and rich red palm oil, a basic ingredient in those countries and for many, the taste of home.

Afghanistan traditional pulao of lamb and rice with raisins

For an Eritrean mother and children, an Ethiopian family who had arrived earlier supplied a meal with injera, the soft, spongy flatbread that is a staple in both countries.

Fereshteh Ganjavi, who arrived from Afghanistan in 2013 and now works at Integrated Refugees, said the meal is particularly powerful for refugees who arrive after years of exile from their home country. Her welcome dinner included a traditional pulao of lamb and rice with raisins, and green tea spiced with saffron and cardamom, a brew specific to the mountainous Hindu Kush region that stretches across northern Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Dima King, a native Russian practiced for his first Thanksgiving dinner by making a pumpkin pie.Credit An Rong Xu for The New York Times

Dima King, who arrived in the United States last year, is seeking asylum because of the anti-gay persecution and legislation that have taken hold in his native Russia since 2013. He is cooking his first Thanksgiving dinner this year.

Just to give an idea of how welcoming Nichols School students were to our refugee clients at Journey’s End’s Buffalo’s First Thanksgiving!

‘I understood it right away as a celebration of new Americans and Native Americans,’ he said. Holidays that celebrate a good harvest are universal, he said, but Thanksgiving also honors the practice of treating strangers with generosity, charity and humanity. ‘Of course, that is a holiday I want to cook for.’

Mr. King is a graduate of Emma’s Torch, a nonprofit restaurant in Red Hook, Brooklyn, that offers professional culinary training to resettled refugees; he is soon to start a job as a line cook at Temple Court, a chic restaurant in the financial district.”

ESL-VOICES

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and improving oral skills. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

Stimulating background knowledge: Brainstorming

Directions: Ask students to think about what they already know about how  Thanksgiving is celebrated in The United States. You may wish to begin here because one refugee in this article speaks about the significance of the American Indians and Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving in the United States-Wikipedia

Next, have students look at the pictures in this  text and generate ideas or words that may be connected to the article.  Regroup as a class and list these ideas on the board. Students can use a brainstorming chart for assistance.

Brainstorming Map by rentonschools.us

 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. The civil war had made their lives untenable.
  2. They registered as refugees with the United Nations.
  3. From the day of arrival, food is an integral part of adjustment.
  4. Food and money were always scarce.
  5. Chris George is a passionate advocate for refugees.
  6. The program is separate from other American immigration quotas and regulations.
  7. The vetting process for resettlement takes about two years.
  8. Sponsors must immediately provide a culturally appropriate meal for the family.
  9. Some sponsors stocked the family’s new kitchen with key ingredients.
  10. Dima King, who arrived in the United States last year from Russia, is seeking asylum.

Reading Comprehension

True /False/NA-Statements

Directions: Review the following statements from the reading.  If  a statement is true they mark it T. If the statement is  not applicable, they mark it NA. If the statement is false they  mark  it F and provide the correct answer. 

  1. Two years ago this month, Mayada Anjari was only dimly aware that a holiday was approaching.
  2. Mayada  Anjari’s family is from from Pakistan.
  3. The family left their home city, Homs in 2013.
  4. They registered as refugees with the  U.S. Refugee Camp so the boys could attend school.
  5. The children could attend school and  the adults could work legally.
  6. Working with the United Nations Refugee Agency, the Department of State brings a certain number of refugees each year.
  7. Sponsors must provide a ‘culturally appropriate’ meal for the family.
  8. Chris George is a refugee  at Integrated Refugees & Immigrants Services,  in New Haven.
  9. Fereshteh Ganjavi, who arrived from Afghanistan in 2013 and now works at Integrated Refugees.
  10. Dima King, who arrived in the United States last year, is seeking asylum because of the anti-gay persecution.

Grammar: Identifying English Articles

Directions: Have students choose the correct English articles (THE, A, AN)  from those provided to fill in the blanks.

  1. By last fall, ___boys (now 14, 12 and 10) had learned about the Pilgrims.
  2. Ms. Anjari had memorized ___two-mile walk to ___nearest store.
  3. She had cooked for ___church group.
  4. Fans of Ms. Anjari’s food helped her publish ___cookbook of Syrian recipes.
  5. ___daily violence of ___civil war had made their lives untenable.
  6. From the day of arrival, food is ___integral part of adjustment to ___ new country.
  7. Mr. George is ___passionate advocate.
  8. ___Eritrean mother and children arrived earlier in the year.

 

III. Post Reading Activities

WH-How Questions

Directions: Have students use the  WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.

Who or What is the article about?

Where does the action/event take place?

When does the action/event take place?

Why did the action/event occur?

How did the action/event occur?

Discussion for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Place students in groups and have them  discuss the following questions/statements. Afterwards, have the groups share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.

  1. Are any students celebrating Thanksgiving for the first time in America?
  2. Have students discuss the ways Thanksgiving is regarded in their countries. 
  3. Students might  list things they personally associate with Thanksgiving.
  4. Students could create drawings of their families, food, or other items connected to Thanksgiving.
  5. Ask students to make a list of things for which they are thankful.

1-Minute Free Writing Exercise

Directions: Allow students 1 minute to write down one new idea they’ve learned from the reading. Ask them to write down one thing they did not understand in the reading.  Review the responses as a class.

ANSWER KEY