Forest Food Scavenger Hunt
Spring is in full swing, and COVID-19 has us all staying #HealthyatHome more than usual. But luckily, whether you’re in one of Louisville’s 17 Olmsted Parks or at home in your own backyard, there is plenty of nature to explore. In this scavenger hunt, we’ll be identifying forest foods and food chains.
Identifying Forest Foods
Everything you see in the forest is part of a food chain. A food chain is a model that shows how energy is passed, in the form of food, from one organism to another, like the one below. The arrows between the organisms show the direction of energy flow.
The organisms in a food chain can be either producers, consumers, or decomposers:
- Producers are green plants capable of making their own food using energy from the sun in a process called photosynthesis.
- Consumers are animals that cannot make their own food. They get their energy from other plants and animals. A food chain can have as many as three to four consumers.
- First level consumers feed directly on plants; an example of this would be a mouse.
- Second level consumers feed on first level consumers; an example of this would be a rattlesnake that eats the mouse.
- Third level consumers feed on second level consumers; an example of this would be a hawk eating the rattlesnake.
- Decomposers are unable to make their own food. Bacteria and fungi are decomposers. They break down waste products and dead organisms for food. These broken down materials are returned to the soil to be recycled and used by plants again. An example of this would be a fungus growing on a log. Although decomposers are very important to ecosystems, they are usually not shown on the food chain.
Can you collect the following forest foods?
(5 points possible)
- Three different types of seeds or nuts (1 POINT)
- A dead bug (1 POINT)
- A flower head (1 POINT)
- A pine cone (1 POINT)
- A leaf that an animal has chewed (1 POINT)
Earn up to 5 extra points by looking at the following list of organisms and identifying them as either producers, consumers, or decomposers.
|ORGANISMS||ROLE IN FOOD CHAIN|
|Deer (1 POINT)||_______________________|
|Pine Tree (1 POINT)||_______________________|
|Mushroom (1 POINT)||_______________________|
|Flower (1 POINT)||_______________________|
|Fish (1 POINT)||_______________________|