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The Role of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 in Protecting Biodiversity

Jamie Skillen
2003-2004 CSIP Fellow

This activity provides students with an introduction to the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 USC §§1531-1544) and two key Supreme Court decisions interpreting the act. Students will first explore their own interest in protecting species that are on the brink of extinction. Through discussion they will explore different motivations and arguments for protecting these species. Students will read one or two Supreme Court cases and write their own court decision. This activity will give students a deeper appreciation for the legal and political complexity of species protection in the United States and encourage them to think about the connections among science, politics, and law.

Teacher Resources:

Teacher's Guide Explains the activity and the handouts
Introductory Presentation PowerPoint presentation about endangered species
Legislation Before 1973 Background on early endangered species legislation that the instructor may find useful for the introductory PowerPoint presentation.

Student Materials:

Student Activity #1 Explains the activity and handouts to the students
Worksheet for Activity #1 Provides questions for the introductory activity
List of Endangered Species Provides color images of endangered/threatened species in PowerPoint format
TVA v. Hill (437 U.S. 153,1978) Describes the first court case, in two parts
Web link Excellent introduction to TVA v. Hill, complete with images
Student Activity #2
Explains the second activity: Babbitt v. Sweet Home Chapter of Community for a Greater Oregon (515 U.S. 687, 1995)
Babbitt v. Sweet Home Chapter of Community for a Greater Oregon (515 U.S. 687, 1995) Describes the second court case, in two parts



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