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animal allies | all ages

Meet the women scientists who spend their days out in the field, studying and caring for wild animals — and learning how to protect them in a changing world. Create an invention designed to protect your own favorite animal from the effects of climate change, habitat loss, or any other challenges they may face.


Biologists and ecologists study living things and how they interact with the world around us. Some of these scientists work in a certain area, like Sam Wynns who studies and protects everything that lives within Cabrillo National Monument.

Others hone in on one special species, focusing on their unique behaviors and the challenges they face:

Earyn McGee is a herpetologist – she focuses entirely on lizards! In addition to her work in field, she created #FindThatLizard, a science communication game on social media. [link long profile]

Kristen Lear is a bat conservationist, and she’s been working to save the bats since 6th grade!

Jo Varner’s species of choice is on the cuter side. Her work has earned her the nickname Pika Jo.

And Rae Wynn-Grant is a large carnivore ecologist and explorer, who studies some of the planet’s fiercest predators.


These women scientists use STEM to make positive changes in the world and protect the things they care about most: climate change, habitat loss, and how human behavior threatens species across the globe.

Think about your own favorite animal, a creature you’re curious about, or an endangered species at risk of extinction. Learn about all the challenges your animal faces, and invent a solution that will protect them from harm.

  • What are the main challenges this animal faces? NatGeoKids is a great place to start your research.
  • What can you create to help protect your animal? As you come up with your design, it’s important to think about the plants and other animals that share their habitat. How will your creation impact the ecosystem where your animal lives?

Can’t pick just one favorite animal? Explore this list of endangered and vulnerable species, and consider choosing your animal from among the ones that need the most help to survive.

Check out the work Kristen Lear does to protect bats, and learn how you can help, too!


Got a great idea to save your favorite species? Time to build it! You can use any materials you have at home to build a model of your idea.

Recycled cardboard is a great place to start. Check out these videos to learn some cool techniques for working with cardboard.

With a little bit of tape or glue, you can add different kinds of materials to your projects. Look around your house for things like toothpicks, cotton swabs, index cards, paper clips, mesh fruit bags, recycled containers, and cardboard tubes. What else can you find that will help you build your ideas?