To Zone or Not to Zone

There are many issues involved when we are deciding how to utilize the land and our natural resources. How do we decide where to build new housing developments? How do we decide where to set aside land for wildlife and recreation? Figuring out how best to use the resources that we have for the greatest good of all, human and wildlife, can be tricky.

There are many factors to consider when making these decisions. Conflicting attitudes and beliefs about how our natural resources should be used can also make coming to a decision difficult. Use Project WILD’s “To Zone or Not to Zone” with your middle school and high school students to have them try their hand at making land-use planning decisions. Students will simulate a meeting of a county commission and decide whether or not to rezone an 80-acre plot of undeveloped forest land for a housing development. What will they decide to do?

Extension Activities:

  • Have students identify a local land-use issue that affects wildlife and develop their own meeting simulation to discuss the issue. See the Deer Dilemma activity below.
  • Bring local experts on land-use to the classroom and have them discuss with students how they make the sometimes difficult decisions about zoning and land-use.

More Activities that Correlate to Land Use Planning:

Project WILD

Aquatic WILD

  • Dragonfly Pond – evaluate the effects of different kinds of land use on wetland habitat
  • To Dam or Not to Dam – portray individuals representing differing perspectives and concerns related to a complex issue
  • Working for Wildlife – careers: simulated job fair and interviews

Cross-reference to these units:

Project WILD

Aquatic WILD