Snake, Rattle, and Roll: Investigating the Snakes That Live in the Bosque Along the Middle Rio Grande
This article is from Issue Wildland Fire 2 - Vol. 13 No. 1.
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Listed below are some parts of the journal that may help you teach this article. Each link is a pdf file.
Fire Research in the Forest Service
Note to Educators
Journal Lesson Plan 1
Journal Lesson Plan 2
Who or What Am I?
Reflection Section Answer Guide
Additional Resources for this Article:
Meet the scientists that contributed to this article:
"Science Topics" covered in this article:
- Life Science
- People and Science
"Thinking About Science Themes" covered in this article:
When scientists choose to conduct research
on a certain topic, it is usually because the topic
they want to research has not been completely
studied. Scientists know this because they read
to keep up with current research and information
about the topic they are interested in studying.
Because science often focuses on solving
problems or answering questions, a research topic
can be thought of as a puzzle. Think of the last
time you completed a puzzle.
There are many pieces to a
puzzle to begin with. When you
put all the pieces together you are
able to see the whole picture.
When scientists notice a piece
of a research puzzle that is missing,
they conduct a study to find out about that
piece. When they find new information, they
place it in the puzzle. The scientists in this study
were interested in how snakes fit into the land
Specific "Thinking About Science" Themes:"Thinking About Environmental Themes" covered in this article:
The riparian forest land along
the Rio Grande is locally referred to
as the Bosque (Spanish word for forest) (figure
1). Riparian habitat occurs along streams where
the water meets the land. The Rio Grande is
a river whose headwaters are in Colorado. It
runs through New Mexico and forms the border
between Texas and Mexico. Flooding is a natural
disturbance to which the Bosque is well suited.
Another natural disturbance of many
areas is fire. However, the Bosque probably
did not experience many fires in the past. Its
ecosystem, therefore, is not well suited to
fire. Today, most of the fires in the Bosque
are started by humans. Because the Bosque is
close to human communities who live near the
Rio Grande, forest managers take action to
discourage fires. After a fire occurs, they work
to restore the Bosque to its natural condition.
In this way, managers take action to reduce the
chance for another wildfire to get started and
spread in the Bosque and into nearby human
Managers take two main actions to
discourage wildfires in the Bosque. One action is
to remove plants that are not native. The other
is to remove downed and dead trees from areas
that have not decayed with the help of natural
floods. One way to maintain the important
Bosque habitat is to reduce fires, which can kill
native cottonwood trees.
Specific "Thinking About the Environment" Themes:NSE Standards covered in this article:
- Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry (A)
- Natural hazards (F)
- Nature of science (G)
- Populations and ecosystems (C)
- Populations, resources and environments (F)
- Risks and benefits (F)
- Science as a human endeavor (G)
- Understandings about scientific inquiry (A)