Home     About     Watch     Nature Files     Teachers     Contact


squirrelLook around your community. It is filled with people doing lots of different  jobs. Farmers grow food, carpenters build houses, doctors keep us healthy, and teachers help us learn. These people and many others make a human community work.

The natural world is filled with plants and animals, each with their own special job or  niche. A niche is the role played by an organism in the natural world. Animals and plants all have a special role in making natural communities work and stay healthy.

WOODPECKERSome animals, like the pileated woodpecker, are insect eaters. They control insect populations in a community. The pileated woodpecker eats carpenter ants. It chisels them out of trees with its beak. Without animals like the woodpecker, insect populations could grow out of control.

chipmunksOther animals like pinyon jays, red squirrels, and chipmunks are spreaders. When they gather and store seeds, acorns and berries some get left behind or forgotten. These seeds and berries will grow into new plants. Seeds from plants like the blackberry bush can also spread through these animals' feces. Animals that are spreaders help ensure that a community keeps growing and stays healthy.

BLACKBERRYThe blackberry bush and other plants serve as food for animals. Their roots help hold down the soil and help stop erosion. Plants can also serve as shelter and nesting places for birds and other animals.

Animals and plants all have very special roles to play in their communities. The niches they fill help keep their habitats healthy.

    Did You Know?
JAY... every organism in a community has a unique niche.

... one organism may have many niches in a community

    What Do You Think?
Question MarksClick here to test your niche knowledge


File FolderLearn more about these animals

pinyon jay
    Teacher's Guide

AppleClick here to access the teacher's guide for this episode.

    View Online
In segment one, Patrice looks at how all organisms have their own role, or niche in their environment. Next, Patrice and Dave look at the niche of the pileated woodpecker. Then we take an up-close look at coral reefs and the niches they fill in the ocean. Finally, Von and Marshall spend the day with conservation officer Joe Giarrusso and learn how he's trying to control the impact of beavers in urban areas. Watch Online >>



Support for NatureWorks Redesign is provided by: