It is more important than ever to care for the environment and protect the creatures with which we share the earth. Equally important is introducing young people to the natural world and its inhabitants. Recent public-opinion surveys indicate enthusiastic support for school programs in environmental, ecological, and wildlife education programs that encourage students to study and appreciate the diversity of life in backyards and neighborhoods, as well as natural habitats. A primary goal of such programs is to encourage students to be committed to environmental conservation, with an understanding of the value of every animal and plant species.
Reflecting and encouraging respect for the natural world and its diverse creatures, the Kaufman Focus Guides provide an entirely new entry to an exploration of nature's wonders. They have quickly established themselves as the most useful, informative, and inviting of nature guides, especially for beginners. We hope that the following discussion topics, assignments, and activities together with selected online resources assist you and your students in exploring some of the wonderful creatures that share our world. The Kaufman Focus Guides are as handy and reliable in the classroom as they are in the field. "By going out and pursuing natural history," Kaufman enthuses, "you are learning more about the world. You have a better understanding of the world around you if you can get some sense of how [each] species fits into it."
A lifelong naturalist and a legend among birders, Kenn Kaufman has perhaps done more than any other person to spread the joys of birding, and he has extended his efforts to other species. He is field editor for Audubon magazine and a regular contributor to major birding magazines. Kaufman was the youngest person ever to receive the highest honor of the American Birding Association, and he has been voted to elective membership in the prestigious American Ornithologists' Union. In addition to the Focus Guides, his books include Lives of North American Birds, Kingbird Highway, and The Peterson Field Guide to Advanced Birding.
See Kenn Kaufman's video on nature conservation. It's the perfect tool for teachers and organizations who want to teach the importance of nature and environmental conservation.
Your school and public librarians will be able to assist students in finding appropriate books about birds, butterflies, and mammals and their habitats. Among the numerous Web sites, the following are among the most informative and interesting. (Neither Houghton Mifflin nor any other individual or organization involved in the production of this teacher's guide is responsible for the content of these Web sites.)