Specialized vocabulary will be utilized during the week at Outdoor Education. Students should be familiar with the words in bold type before they arrive to Outdoor Education.
Adaptation: A physical or behavioral change in characteristics that produces better adjustment of an organism to its environment and increases its chances for reproduction and survival.
Aquatic: Describing an organism that lives in water.
Carnivore: Animals that feed on other animals.
Carrying Capacity: The maximum population of a given organism that an ecosystem can support without being destroyed or degraded long term.
Chlorophyll: The green pigment in plants responsible for absorbing light energy for photosynthesis.
Climate: The average weather conditions of an area over a period of years.
Community: A group of living things that live and interact together within an ecosystem. The effective management and use of resources provide maximum benefits to the ecosystem – today and for generations to come.
Consumer: Organisms that get their energy from feeding on other organisms.
Cycle: A series of continuous changes that always return to their starting point.
Decomposer: Organisms that break down dead materials into simpler forms, such as fungi, insects, and bacteria.
Diurnal: Organisms most active during the day.
Ecology: The study of the relationships between living things and their environment.
Ecosystem: A unit of living organisms and non-living elements that interact.
Endangered: Describing a population that is declining to dangerously low numbers and may result in extinction.
Energy: The ability to do work.
Environment: Everything that surrounds an organism, both living organisms and non-living matter.
Erosion: The wearing away of soil particles by wind and water.
Extinction: The death of all individuals of a particular species.
Food Chain: The transfer of food energy through a series of organisms as each one is fed upon by the next – from producers to consumers.
Food Web: The interconnecting combination of all food chains that exist in an ecosystem.
Habitat: The environment in which an organism lives that provides food, water, shelter, and space for the organism.
Herbivore: A consumer organism that feeds primarily on plant matter.
Interdependence: The reliance of two or more organisms upon each other for survival.
Migration: The annual seasonal movements made by birds and other animals, often for feeding and reproduction.
Natural Resources: Materials found in nature that can be used by people – sunshine, air, trees, mineral, and water.
Niche: The particular role of an organism in an ecosystem. Different organisms in different places can fill the role – in California, deer are grass-eaters; in Africa, antelope are considered grass-eaters.
Nonrenewable Resources: Natural resources that, as they are used, do not replenish themselves by natural processes such as oil, coal, and metals.
Omnivore: Organisms that consume plants and animals.
Organism: Any living thing such as plant, animal, or microbe.
Parasite: An organism that lives on or in another organism and uses it for food and/or shelter.
Pesticide: A chemical that is used to kill pests, such as insects, fungus, and bacteria.
Photosynthesis: The process by which green plants utilize sunlight with water and air to make food.
Pollution: The contamination of air, water, or soil with undesirable amounts of natural or artificial compounds.
Population: The number of one particular species in a defined area.
Predator: An animal that kills and eats other animals.
Prey: Animals that are killed and eaten by other animals.
Producer: Plants that use the sun's energy to grow and serve as food for other organisms.
Recycling: The practice of processing waste and using it as raw material for new products.
Renewable Resource: Natural resources that have the capacity to renew themselves within a human lifespan, such as trees and sunlight.
Scavenger: An animal that feeds on dead plant and animal matter.
Species: All of the organisms of a single kind, usually defined by similarity of appearance and the ability to produce fertile offspring.
Symbiosis: Two organisms living together in a way that often provides mutual benefit for both organisms.
Terrestrial: Describing organisms that live on land.
Water Cycle: The cyclical movement of water that involves evaporation, condensation, and precipitation.
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