The world is increasingly urbanized and yet, even in urban areas, humans remain dependent on the ecosystem services that nature provides. This case study-exercise explores selected aspects of the dynamic between humans and urban ecology in three parts. First, we briefly discuss urban ecosystems and the context of biodiversity conservation in urban areas. Then, through a case study of the Million Trees program in New York City, we provide evidence and start a discussion about the possible benefits—as well as potential negative social, ecological, and economic consequences—of urban trees. And finally, we introduce biodiversity conservation in urban green spaces through an exercise on native bees. After reading about the importance of, and threats to, native bees, students take on stakeholder roles to decide if their neighborhood should accept a grant to create and maintain bee habitat in an urban park. Students are tasked with conducting additional research and participating in a classroom town hall meeting to present and support their argument for or against the creation of native bee habitat.
Featured in: Lessons in Conservation: Stakeholders Issue