Label: Conservation

October 29, 2015

Are you as fascinated by bats as I am? I love to watch them come out just after the sun sets and begin to feed on insects on summer nights. I have not seen as many in recent years because we have a fungus called "white nose syndrome" endangering the Brown Bat here in North America. Scientists are still trying to find a way to protect our native bats. 

A different species, a large fruit bat known as the Spectacled Flying Fox, is facing its own challenges in Queensland, Australia.

It turns out that the problem for these bats is ticks, which dig into the bats’ skin and inject a paralyzing poison. Once their feet are paralyzed, they can no longer hang upside down from tree branches to sleep, and they die. 

The time of year when the ticks are most plentiful is also the time when most baby flying foxes are born, so rescuers realized a number of years ago that they needed to come up with a plan to save these orphaned baby bats.

Veterinarians in Queensland set up the Tolga Bat Hospital, and hundreds of orphaned baby fruit bats are being rescued each year and raised at the hospital until they can be released into the wild. 

Isn’t is good to see these magnificent wild animals being cared for by humans?


Photo: Jurgen Freund / 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(4) Comments  •   Labels: science news, Animals, Conservation, Halloween   •  Permalink (link to this article)

March 27, 2015

Look at this cute, tiny animal. It is called an Ili Pika (pronounced "illy PEEK-ah" or "Pika" for short) and it lives in the mountains in China. The pika is very small, measuring just 7 inches (20 centimeters) long. That is about the same length as a 3-year-old’s foot.

The Ili Pika is an endangered species, with less than 1,000 known to be in existence. They live on rocky mountain slopes and eat the grasses there, but as global warming leads to rising temperatures, the mountain glaciers are shrinking, forcing the pikas to gradually retreat to mountain tops to find the cool moisture that nurtures the grasses that they eat.

Ili Pikas also tend to live alone and they are not as vocal as other pika species. So if predators are near, Ili pikas are not able to call out and alert each other. Because of these threats, scientists in China are working to establish an organization to study and protect this animal.


Some people think that this tiny animal inspired the famous Pokemon character, Pikachu. What do you think?

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: science news, Animals, Conservation   •  Permalink (link to this article)

January 8, 2014

What does it mean to "think like an eagle"? Author Kathryn Lasky’s book is a vivid portrayal of the life of a nature photographer and the many strategies (including patience!) that he uses to capture photos of wild animals’ lives.

To become a wildlife photographer, Jack Swedberg spent many years studying animal behavior so he could figure out how to be at the right place at the right time without disturbing the animals. For today’s Writing Wednesday project, read the section of the book below in which Swedberg is preparing to photograph a bald eagle.

After you have read it, think about the language author Kathryn Lasky uses to bring the scene to life, and write about the words that she chooses. How does a sentence like "The big talons extend and appear like splayed stars as the wings scoop the air in front of them" both accurately describe and help the reader to feel the power of the eagle as it comes in to feed? What other powerful language does she use and what is she describing?

Once you are finished writing, you can click on the yellow "Comments" link at the bottom of this blog post to share you writing with others. Have fun thinking like an eagle! 




































Note for Educators: Kathryn Lasky’s book is part of the streaming digital collection from StarWalk Kids Media. Click here if you would like to learn more about subscribing to this high quality, affordable collection of Common Core mentor texts.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(51) Comments  •   Labels: Writing Wednesday, Animals, birds, Conservation, Photography   •  Permalink (link to this article)

September 24, 2013

These adorable male cheetah cubs, brothers named Winspear and Kamau, are our Cool Photo of the Week. When they reached 8-weeks-old, zookeepers at the Dallas Zoo gave them their own black Labrador retriever puppy!

Since Labs are relaxed when there are a lot of people around and the puppy will grow with the cubs, zoo experts hope he’ll help keep the cats calm when they join the zoo’s Animal Adventures program, where visitors learn about their highly endangered species.

These cute little cubs will grow fast, eventually weighing about 140 pounds and standing three feet tall (about the size of a four-year-old human).The cheetah is Earth’s fastest land mammal, and can go from 0 to 60 mph (96 kph) in just three seconds!

Even though eventually the adult cheetahs will be much bigger, faster and stronger than the grown Labrador retriever, raising them together from the time they were babies means that these animals will always consider themselves to be part of the same pack, and will remain friendly to each other.



Photos: AP/Dallas Zoological


Posted by: Seymour Simon

(8) Comments  •   Labels: Animals, Cats, Dogs, Cool Photo, Conservation   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 25, 2013

Look at the amazing rooftop garden atop the Omni Hotel in Fort Worth, Texas, where I’m attending the annual Texas Library Association meeting. This is the view outside my window!


The hotel’s chef supervises this garden, where they grow a wide variety of peppers (a critical ingredient in southwestern food) and herbs to be used in preparing food for the hotel restaurant.

There are more than 20,000 square feet of landscaped rooftops on the hotel, which filter rainwater and conserve energy by helping to reduce the effect of the Texas summer heat.

They have also installed motion-sensor lighting which shuts off during quiet hours and use all hybrid vehicles for shuttling guests. I am so pleased to be staying in such an environmentally conscious hotel.

Texas Librarians - please come say hi at the StarWalk Kids booth #2236. I want to show you our beautiful streaming eBook collection of great kids’ literature for your libraries! 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: Conservation, Environment, Earth Day 2013   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 19, 2013


My Earth Day resolution is to create a safe haven for bluebirds in my neighborhood. ‘Really?” you might ask. ‘With everything that is going on with our environment, Seymour Simon decides to make a difference by putting up a blue bird box?’

It’s a fair question, but let me tell you why one small act like this one is important. The existence of the Eastern Bluebird, our New York State bird, has been threatened in recent years by the loss of open land and the presence of European starlings, a non-native species that was introduced to NY in the 1890’s. These birds are are strong and aggressive, and they have taken over the little hollows in trees where bluebirds commonly lay their eggs. And where previously the lovely bluebird was a common sight, in recent years it was rare to see one at all.

Last summer, I noticed that there was a bird that perched nearly every morning at the very top of the spruce tree in my front yard. I didn’t recognize its song, so one day I pulled out my binoculars and saw to my surprise that it was a bluebird!

So this spring, the time of year when bluebirds lay their eggs, I have put a bluebird box right next to that tree. (Thanks to my friend Jody Soules at the Wild Birds Country Store in Great Barrington, MA for introducing me to the ways of bluebirds). The hole is similar to the size that the birds used to look for in the tree hollows, and the copper “sleeve” around the hole will prevent those pesky squirrels from chewing their way in to steal the eggs. I am hopeful that the bird that visited last summer will return with his or her mate and start a family!

I am telling this story because the everyday choices that we each one makes have an impact on the neighborhood where we live, whether we live in the city, in a suburb, or far out in the country. No one of us can solve all the problems facing our environment. But each one of us can make a difference with the choices we make every day.


Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Animals, birds, Conservation, Earth Day 2013   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 17, 2013

Today, for the Writing Wednesday before Earth Day, we are thinking about biodiversity (bye-oh-dye-VERSE-it-tee). This means that we are thinking about Earth and how many different, or diverse, kinds of living things are present on our planet. We can help to preserve biodiversity by making sure that our human presence does not destroy crucial habitats that support all the different life forms living here.


Experts think that Madidi National Park, in northwest Bolivia, may be the most biologically diverse place on Earth. More than 200 species of mammals, 300 types of fish and more than 12,000 plant species live in this single park. They range from the huge, 660-pound (300 kilograms) lowland tapir down to the tiny Spix’s disk-winged bat (right), which weighs just 0.14 ounces (4 grams) - about the same weight as a kidney bean that you would find in a bowl of chili. Record numbers of leopards live in this park, and so do more than 60 species of hummingbird!

How do human activities threaten the survival of all these fascinating species? Logging and stripping away forests has a huge impact by taking away habitats and reducing air quality, as trees remove harmful CO2 from the air and turn it into oxygen. Building highways, planting farmland and other human development also takes away critical animal habitats. In other locations, warming ocean temperatures are causing the death of whole reefs of coral, which are invertebrate animals living under the sea. Water pollution can also make animals and plants sick, or cause them to be trapped in nets, plastic and other debris. And unfortunately, many animals and plants are hunted by humans for food, trophies, fur, and other "collectibles."

Your Assignment: Write a letter to your fellow humans, helping them to understand why it is important to think about our impact on the environment around us. Make your letter as persuasive as possible by giving concrete reasons why people should change their behavior. And write a powerful conclusion that will help your readers understand the importance of your point of view.

When you are finished writing, you can post your letter for other to read by clicking on the yellow "Comments" link at the end of this article.

Photo: Kelley Miller / National Geographic

Note to Educators: Today’s Writing Wednesday exercise supports Common Core Writing Standard W1: Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Common Core, Writing Wednesday, Animals, Conservation, Earth Day 2013   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 16, 2013



Today, 9-year-old Will from Ohio writes a kids’ eye review of Seymour Simon’s upcoming new book, CORAL REEFS. It will be published simultaneously in hardcover, paperback and eBook editions on April 23. 



Hi my name is Will. I usually spend my days learning about the civil war, but I took this week to read and think about Coral Reefs by Seymour Simon. It was a wonderful book, filled with information about a different part of the planet. A part that I don’t get to be with very much.

My favorite part of the book was the colorful pictures. The book started off with a beautiful picture of the coral reef. It was filled with fish of all sorts, colorful corals and bright blue water.

I was also really interested in all the ways plants and animals protect themselves. One thing I learned that I never knew before was that some living things disguise themselves to hide from their predators. An example of this was the sponge that makes itself look like a animal. I liked the puffer fish the best because it has an interesting form of self-defense - making itself bigger and growing spikes.

This book made me want to learn more about oceans and the different life forms that live in them. I recommend Coral Reefs to people who are interested in fish, the ocean or sea plants. The pictures are beautiful and you will learn a lot!

Loved your book!


Posted by: Seymour Simon

(5) Comments  •   Labels: New Books, eBooks, Coral Reefs, Oceans, Kids Write, Conservation, Earth Day 2013, Reviews   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 5, 2013

Here’s something to think about as we prepare for Earth Day. The Scandinavian country of Denmark generates 25% of all the power used in the country with these offshore wind turbines. Denmark’s government plans to increase that outpu to 50% of all power by 2020.

There are natural, constantly renewing energy sources all around us, like the sun, the wind, or the constant movement of the tides. What could we do in our country to generate more of our power from these clean energy sources? 

Food for thought as we approach Earth Day, 2013.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(13) Comments  •   Labels: Conservation, Environment, Earth Day 2013   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 1, 2013

Today we begin our month-long Earth Day 2013 coverage on the Seymour Science blog. This month we are committing to Meatless Mondays (do you know why that helps reduce CO2 emissions? We will write about that next Monday). We will also be measuring our carbon footprints, suggesting fun and valuable projects that you can do to help protect our environment, and simply celebrating the magnificent beauty of our planet home.

We look forward to your comments throughout the month of April. Tell us what you are doing to celebrate Earth Day in your home, school or community. We hope that you will make it Earth Day, EVERY day, not just in April, but throughout the year.


Photo: "Frog Dancing after Rain" by Shikhei goh

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(2) Comments  •   Labels: Conservation, Environment, Earth, Earth Day 2013, Frogs   •  Permalink (link to this article)

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