It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.
– Leon Megginson
National Geographic defines adaptation as “a mutation, or genetic change, that helps an organism, such as a plant or animal, survive in its environment”. The change then passes down through subsequent generations which means the organism or species is more resilient and suited to its environment.
Turkey Vultures are adapted to eat carrion infected by rabies and other diseases, without getting sick, because of their stomach acid. Chickadees change their diets between seasons; insects in summer, berries and nuts in winter; so that they can survive all year without needing to migrate. It is through adaptation that species survive; it is through invention that humans can adapt to conserve our environment.
In this issue, you will meet a couple who are using goats to control invasive species on their property. You will learn about the species that are perfectly adapted to road sides—to their detriment. Once we have driven away from the highway, we will take you up to the rooftops to see solar panels letting the sun shine in. Then we will see how on rainy days citizens can use technology to contribute to scientific databases. After the rain has fallen, we will eat dirt: we promise it will not hurt us. We’ll learn literacy beyond the ABCs, come face to face between a rock and an open space, and, lastly, study lichen and how it could possibly function as an indicator of climate change.
Conservation is similar to the process of adaptation in that we have to learn what and how we can change to better suit, and above all, conserve the environment. It is in our responsiveness to change that we will be successful.