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at Home!

Ecosystems & Nature Names

Take a look outside… Do you know what kind of ecosystem you are living in?

Ecosystems are made up of living and non-living things, interacting with each other, and depending on each other for survival. They include plants, animals, insects, rocks, soils, and minerals, water (rivers/lakes/marshes, precipitation, and even ground water). All of these parts combined makes up what type of ecosystem it is. Some examples include: grassland, desert, forest, savanna, tundra… If you don’t know what some of these ecosystem types are, look them up! They are all super cool and special in their own ways.

Ekone Ranch is mostly a mixture of grasslands and woodlands, with a couple riparian  areas too! (Riparian means river/creek/pond areas)


All ecosystems around the world today are affected by humans. Climate change is causing disruptions, and living organisms are trying to migrate to find temperatures and climates they are used to. People are moving further and further out into wild areas, creating farms, neighborhoods, and towns. And as people move around the world, we accidentally (or occasionally on purpose) bring other species with us that can start to thrive in a new place – usually insects, or plant seeds, but sometimes bigger species (Check out this story about starlings, for example.)

Interestingly, with so many of us staying inside, to keep each other safe from the pandemic, living organisms have been enjoying the newly found freedom to explore places that we humans have been staying away from. Air pollution is down. Waterways are clearer.

Obviously, the environmental benefits of the pandemic don’t outweigh the human costs of this illness. But keep in mind, we have never seen the world pause like this before. It’s like the entire planet is participating one huge community sit-spot! If you have the emotional and mental space to do so, I encourage you all to think on the organisms around you, learn about their ways, and spend some time imagining about them…


Activity Prompt: Nature Names

We have provided for you a list of organisms that live in our ecosystems here at Ekone – but you can make a list of local plants and animals that live where you are, if that is more inspiring to you!

Here is a list of local nature friends that live and play in the grasslands and woodlands at Ekone Ranch.

Print out the list of nature names and cut into individual names, then fold each one and put it in a bowl. (You can choose to just do animals or just plants if you want!) Pick out a new nature name and spend a little time reading and learning about that plant or animal. Use the list of inner and outer exploring questions as a guide.

You can do this just once, or every day, or once a week, or however works best for your family.


Facts (Outer)—Use a field guide!

  • Where does your organism live?

  • How does your organism defend itself?

  • What does your organism eat and how does it get its food?

  • How does your organism raise its babies?

  • How does your organism move?

  • What time of day is your organism most active?

  • How does your organism make its home?

  • What are its predators and/or prey?

  • What does your organism do in the winter? In the summer?

  • Does your organism migrate or stay in the same place all year? If it migrates, where does it go?

  • Does your organism prefer to be in a herd/pack or by itself?

  • How does your organism communicate with other members of its same species? How does it communicate with other species?

  • What is your organism’s favorite food?


Creative Thinking (Inner):

  • What does your organism dream of?

  • What makes your organism feel happy?

  • What makes your organism feel excited?

  • What fears do you and your organism share?

  • If your organism could go somewhere besides around here, where would it go and why?

  • What makes your organism sad?

  • What plans is your organism making?

  • What would your organism’s dream birthday party be like?

  • What other organism would be good friends with yours, and why?

  • How does your organism show that it is happy?

  • How does your organism work hard? What is it working towards?

  • What’s a secret that your organism has?

  • If your organism had a favorite direction, what would it be?

  • What is a strength that you share with your organism?

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Thank you so much!!

Coming up!

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The Barbed Wire Ball!

Family FUNdraiser September 28-29th

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