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.