Discovery Alphabet at the Watershed

Algal Bloom: large, visible masses of algae (plant-like organisms) that develop in bodies of water typically during warm weather.

Amphibians:  cold-blooded, usually smooth skinned vertebrates of the class Amphibia, characteristically hatching as an aquatic larva with gills and then transforming into an adult having air-breathing lungs. 

Aquatic: living or growing in water.

Biodiversity: the existence of a wide variety of plant and animal species in their natural environments.

Conservation: the careful preservation, management, and  protection of plants, animals, and natural resources.

Cattail: a genus of about 30 species of tall reedy marsh plants with a unique flowering spike, flat blade like leaves that reach heights from 3 to 10 feet. 

Ecosystem: the relationship between many parts of an area; this includes relationships between living things like animals, plants, people, and microorganisms, and non-living things like water, soil, and sunlight.

Forb: the name for any flowering herb that is not a member of the grass family.

Frog: largely aquatic leaping anuran amphibians that have slender bodies with smooth moist skin and strong long hind legs with webbed feet.

Germinate: to sprout or develop into a plant.

Invasive Species: a species that does not naturally occur in a specific area. When introduced, they may cause harm.

Marsh:  low, soft, wet land that is often treeless and generally characterized by a growth of many plants including grasses and sedges.

Native: belonging to the area in which something lives. Cardinals are birds that are native to Illinois; flamingos are non-native birds. 

Niche: an organism's physical location and its role/function within that ecosystem.

Prairie: a type of habitat that is dominated by grasses, sedges, forbs, and was once found in abundance throughout Illinois. 

Prescribed Burn: a management technique for habitats, in which fire is used to burn away excess biomass, help control invasive species, and more. 

Runoff: excess water from rain or melted ice/snow that runs off the land into streams, ponds, or other surface water. Runoff can carry potentially harmful pollutants.

Scat: the feces or poop of an animal; scientists can tell what animals have been in an area by identifying types of scat.

Sedge: a grass-like plant that grows in wet places.

Toad: anuran amphibians that are distinguished from the related frogs by being more terrestrial in habit, though returning to water to lay their eggs, by having a build that is squatter and shorter with weaker and shorter hind limbs, and by having skin that is rough, dry, and warty rather than smooth and moist

Watershed: an area of land that contains a set of streams and rivers that all drain into one larger body of water.