Manhattan Island in 1609

September 10th, 2009 by ClickSchooling Leave a reply »

Recommended Website:
The Mannhatta Project

Age Range: 9-18 (Designed for upper elementary grades and above, but younger students may enjoy aspects of the site with parental guidance.)

ClickScholar Cie Buschle recommended this website when she wrote, “Have you ever wondered what New York was like before it was a city? Welcome to Mannahatta, 1609.”

That was enough to catch my interest and a visit to the website revealed a spectacular project by the Wildlife Conservation Society that reveals the original ecology of Manhattan Island in New York. Who knew that New York City was once “a vast deciduous forest, home to bears, wolves, songbirds, and salamanders, with clear, clean waters jumping with fish… In fact, with over 55 different ecological communities, Mannahatta’s biodiversity per acre rivaled that of national parks like Yellowstone, Yosemite and the Great Smoky Mountains!”

When you get to the website, you can enjoy a spectacular recreation of the natural history of New York City, a few hours before Henry Hudson arrived 400 years ago. Here are some of the activities you can do:

  • MAP – Zoom in on the map of Manhattan and watch as the layers of time fade before your eyes to reveal the landscape 400 years ago.
  • SCIENCE – Learn about the science of landscape ecology that was used to recreate the Manhattan island of centuries ago.
  • FREE CURRICULUM – Download a 13-lesson curriculum that emphasizes science and social studies, along with all of the materials you’ll need to do the lesson’s activities. If you are not in the NYC area, you can adapt many lessons to your region of the world.

Don’t miss the free Mannahatta video lecture

As explained at the website, “Understanding the ecology of Mannahatta helps us bring into focus the ecology of Manhattan today and plan for the urban ecosystem of the future, while at the same time enabling us to reflect upon the value of the wild “Mannahattas” that still exist in the world.”

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