Students will gain awareness of man's impact upon Pinelands vegetation and suggest ways to minimize this impact on the plant community.

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Pinelands Problems Discussion Cards


Federal and state laws have been created to establish and protect New Jersey's Pinelands National Reserve; however, these is always the possibility that changes in natural habitat brought about by man's activity on the land may permanently damage plant communities within the 1.1 million acre region. A major responsibility given to the Pinelands Commission by the state's Pinelands Protection Act of 1979 is to insure careful land use in this vast region. This is a big job because it often involves balancing the demands of many people with the natural needs of plants of plant communities. Many times complex land use problems arise for which there are no easy answers.

If necessary, prior to the lesson, discuss environmental threats.

Day 1:

Divide the class into five groups. Each group receives a set of three cards. One card will state a problem, the other two state opposing viewpoints to the problem. Members of each group are to select roles to be played as given on the cards. As much as possible, make sure that the number of students for and against a position are about equal in each group. Each group should discuss their issue from all viewpoints and formulate solutions that meet the needs of the plant community, while keeping in mind the legitimate needs of the people.

Day 2 and 3:

Each group will present to the class a brief statement of the problem and possible solutions to it. Students will select one member of each group as the presenter. Allow a brief period for general class discussion of the issue after each group presentation.


The teacher will look for student participation and solutions which show a thoughtful approach to the balance of the needs of the plant community with the needs of people who live in the region.


1. Discuss threats to the natural vegetation in your community.

2. Find information that will allow students to do a study of the increase or decrease of population in your community over the last 20 years. Create graphs or charts to illustrate the advance or decline of the population and discuss the impact that this has had on your community's environment.

This lesson will introduce the students to the following vocabulary words:(click on the word to see its definition-use your browser's back button to return to this page)

algae, contaminated, ecologist, nitrates, septic system, unique

This lesson covers the following New Jersey Core Curriculum Standards. Clicking on the standard number will take you to the complete text of the standard. You must use your browser's "BACK" button to return to this page from the linked Core Curriculum Standard pages.

Science standards:

5.2-All students will develop problem solving, decision making, and inquiry skills, reflected by formulating usable questions and hypotheses, planning experiments, conducting systematic observations, interpreting and analyzing data, drawing conclusions, and communicating results.

5.6-All students will gain an understanding of the structure, characteristics, and basic needs of organisms.

5.12-All students will develop an understanding of the environment as a system of interdependent components affected by human activity and natural phenomena.

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