Label: Conservation

March 27, 2013

An advertising billboard that produces water? Strange as it sounds, that is exactly what is happening in a dry, desert area just outside Lima, Peru.  The Spanish words on this billboard read: "A billboard that produces drinkable water from air. It’s imagination in action."

A new engineering college opened there just last year, and they were trying to figure out a way to attract students. When they started thinking about how to grab the attention of future engineers, they decided to put "imagination into action" and show that it is possible to solve people’s everyday problems through engineering and technology.

Here’s how it works. This is a very dry, desert area where some people do not have access to clean drinking water, though they are surrounded by salty seawater. The inside of the billboard has machines that extract water from the humidity in the air, store it in tanks, and filter out the salt to make it drinkable. The water then flows down a pipe to a faucet that anyone can use. The blue words on the pole that say "Agua. Aquí" means "Water. Here!" with an arrow pointing down at the faucet. So far, this single billboard is producing about 25 gallons (96 liters) of drinkable water every day. 

This is just one project, but it shows what we can do by applying our human imagination to figuring out how to use the resources around us to meet everyone’s needs.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: science news, Oceans, Conservation, Water   •  Permalink (link to this article)

December 5, 2012

Welcome to Writing Wednesday, which is about an item in today’s Science News.

 

Sandhill cranes are an endangered species, and bird scientists in Mississippi are going to unusual lengths to try to save their chicks by moving the babies to the Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge.

 

 

The problem is, before you can move a chick, you need to catch it.

 

 

"We don’t want to spook the cranes," whispered Megan Savoie, crane project director at the Audubon Species Survival Center. Ms. Savoie was dressed in a white bag, her arms raised high when she said this. The rescuers are capturing the babies by dressing up like an adult sandhill crane!



Your Assignment: Imagine that YOU are one of the crane rescuers. In 50 words or less, tell us what would you whisper to the baby chicks so that they would not run away? How would you feel about being a rescuer?

When you have finished your writing, you can post it here if you would like others to read it. Simply click on the yellow "Comments" link at the bottom of this post to enter your writing. Or you can share your writing with your family, friends or your class.

Happy writing! 

 

Photo: The Associated Press 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

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

April 24, 2012

 

Scientists studying Orcas in the seas off eastern Russia have spotted an all-white killer whale, and have named him "Iceberg." 

Baby white orcas have been spotted in the past, including in Iceberg’s pod, but no one has ever seen one that grew to adulthood. Iceberg was photographed while he was swimming with 12 members of his pod off Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula.

"In many ways, Iceberg is a symbol of all that is pure, wild and extraordinarily exciting about what is out there in the ocean waiting to be discovered," said Erich Hoyt, co-director of the Far East Russia Orca Project. "The challenge is to keep the ocean healthy so that such surprises are always possible."

 

Photo: E. Lazareva/FEROP via AFP 

 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(13) Comments  •   Labels: Animals, Oceans, Cool Photo, Conservation, Exploration, Marine Life, whales   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 13, 2012

My readers love animals, and when you all write about Earth Day, you often write about the fact that you wish you could help animals. You can, if you look for opportunities in your own community.

  Tom and Debora Mann, who live in a small town near Jackson, Mississippi, are helping animals in their community. On most rainy nights in the spring there, dozens of salamanders try to cross a road, moving from their winter burrows to ponds on the other side, where they will mate. The salamanders can only mate once a year, so they are determined to cross that road. And unfortunately, there is traffic on that road and cars run over the salamanders in the dark.

The Manns worked with local police to be sure they could safely help the salamanders. The police department has installed two flashing lights and a lower speed limit sign at the salamander crossing, and drivers get a ticket for breaking the speed limit. On rainy spring nights you will find the Manns, along with other volunteers, scooping salamanders into plastic containers, carrying them safely across the road to their breeding pond.

 

Thomas Mann, who is a zoologist with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, would like to see the state close this two-mile stretch of highway for the salamander breeding season each year. But until that happens, he, his wife and a handful of other volunteers are out there on rainy nights, trying to make a difference.

What kind of animals need help in your community? Could your local ASPCA use volunteers? Is there a wildlife sanctuary anywhere nearby? Or you could call your local Cooperative Extension to find out where volunteers are needed. Work with your family or your teacher, and I bet you will find a way to help!

Photos: James Patterson/The New York Times 


Be part of Seymour Simon’s celebration of Earth Day 2012 by commenting on blog stories like this one, and telling Seymour about YOUR Earth Day Promises! How are you going to make a difference for the Earth? What will you do to make it be Earth Day / every day? Each time you leave a comment between today and April 22, you will be entered into a drawing to win a free, personally autographed book from Seymour Simon. So get started by clicking "comments" below, and tell us about Your Earth Day Promises!

 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(12) Comments  •   Labels: science news, Animals, Conservation, Earth Day 2012   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 12, 2012

Each one of us has a Carbon Footprint. That means that we can each figure out how much CO2 (carbon dioxide - a bad greenhouse gas) is created by the choices we make every day. How we travel, how we use electricity, how we dispose of our garbe, even what we eat adds to CO2 emissions.

Are you wondering what your carbon footprint is? Click here to use the Zero Footprint Kids’ Calculator, where you can find out your number. And as you answer the questions, you will learn a lot about the choices you can make to do better.

Ready? Set? Click and calculate!

 

 















Be part of Seymour Simon’s celebration of Earth Day 2012 by commenting on blog stories like this one, and telling Seymour about YOUR Earth Day Promises! How are you going to make a difference for the Earth? What will you do to make it be Earth Day / every day? Each time you leave a comment between today and April 22, you will be entered into a drawing to win a free, personally autographed book from Seymour Simon. So get started by clicking "comments" below, and tell us about Your Earth Day Promises!

 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(2) Comments  •   Labels: Global Warming, Conservation, Earth Day 2012   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 11, 2012

Good morning, and welcome to Writing Wednesday, where every week there is a new opportunity to publish your creative writing on the Seymour Science blog. This week, we are asking you to read an excerpt from Seymour Simon’s book GLOBAL WARMING, research your own facts and explain in your own words the point that he is making.

 


From GLOBAL WARMING, by Seymour Simon:

     Global warming has changed the feeding patterns and behaviors of polar bears, walruses, seals and whales. It may even impact their surval.

     Polar bears live only in the Arctic. They are completely dependent on the sea ice for all their life needs. In the winter, females give birth to cubs. The mother polar bear eats little or no food during the winter.

     As spring approaches, the bear family makes a run onto the sea ice to feed on seals, their main source of food. If the ice melts, their food supply will be cut off and this will impact their survival.

 


Your assignment: Can you find facts to support what Seymour Simon is saying on this page? Use other books in your library, articles about global warming from Seymour’s blog, or other Internet sources to learn about the melting of the Arctic ice. Write a few paragraphs that use your own words and information that you have found to either argue for or against the idea that the survival of polar bears is threatened by the melting of the Arctic ice.

When you are finished writing, click on the yellow "Comments" at the bottom of this post to enter your writing!

 


Note to Educators: Today’s Writing Wednesday exercise is designed to use in support of CCSS Writing Anchor Standard #1: Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.

 

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(19) Comments  •   Labels: Writing Wednesday, Animals, Climate Change, Global Warming, Conservation, Common Core, Earth Day 2012   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 10, 2012

This endangered, green tree python was rescued and given a new, zoo home after smugglers tried to sneak it from its natural habitat in South Africa to be sold as a pet in Germany.

Illegal animal trafficking is an increasing problem for exotic animals like these snakes, because some people will pay a lot of money to have them for their private collections. Snakes are smuggled in cloth bags, and often don’t survive the trip.

Airport screenings are getting much tougher, and governments around the world are cracking down on smugglers, who are one of the main predators that threaten these endangered creatures.

 

Photo: Jan Woitas / EPA


Be part of Seymour Simon’s celebration of Earth Day 2012 by sharing your own photographs! Take a digital photo showing an Earth treasure around your school or home that makes you appreciate our planet. Click on “Send Us Photos/Video” (in the yellow bar at the top of every page) and follow the instructions to upload it to the website. We will publish your Earth Day photos and videos on Seymour’s blog, and each person or class that uploads a photo will be entered into the drawing to win a personally autographed book from Seymour Simon!   

 

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(28) Comments  •   Labels: snakes, Conservation, Earth Day 2012   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 9, 2012

 


If you’re a new reader of this blog, you may not have seen this popular quiz. Take it to test your "green IQ"!

1. WATER: USE IT, DON’T ABUSE IT

a)   I don’t buy water in plastic bottles. Water from the tap is just fine, and I don’t want to put more non-biodegradable plastic into landfills.

b)   I turn off the water until after I’ve finished brushing my teeth, and wash all the dishes in one sinkful of soapy water, rather than running water the whole time I’m washing the dishes.

c)   I have cut my soda consumption down by more than half. I like water better, anyway.

 

2. ELECTRICITY: BEING SMART ABOUT THE POWER THAT I USE

a) I have replaced all the incandescent bulbs in my house with compact fluorescent bulbs.

b) We are using less energy by keeping our house two degrees warmer in the summer and two degrees cooler in the winter.

c) I unplug appliances when they are not in use for long periods of time. If they’re plugged and even when they are not turned on, they still consume electricity.

 

3. TRANSPORTATION: CONSERVING ON THE ROAD

a) I walk or bike rather than be driven whenever I can, and try to combine errands into one trip.

b) I am writing to my local government to ask them to design car-free zones and parks that would let people get places by walking, cycling, or driving those cute, tiny electric vehicles.

c) Next time my family buys a car, we want to pick a model that gets good gas mileage, and therefore uses less fuel.

 

4. FOOD: THINKING ABOUT THE COST OF WHAT I EAT

a) I don’t like vegetables, so I just don’t eat any. You’re not responsible for greenhouse gases generated by growing food that you don’t eat!

b) I only buy fruits and vegetables when they are in season so they are not flown in from tropical climates. And I try to buy produce that is grown locally, which further reduces the carbon footprint.

c) Our family has "meatless Monday" every week.

 

 

 

 

ANSWERS

1.   While all these things help, "c" is the best answer. The main ingredient of soft drinks is water - so the big soda companies use massive amounts of water on a global basis. And, cutting down on soda consumption is good for your body, too!

 

2.   "b" is the best answer. Electric power generation is a big source of greenhouse gases - the average home contributes more to global warming than the average car. The worst appliances are air conditioners, which use up to 1/6th of the electricity in the U.S.

 

3.   All good answers, but "c" is the most important thing all Americans can do. By using existing technology to produce vehicles that go farther on a gallon of gas and emit less carbon dioxide pollution, Americans can save billions of dollars, reduce global warming pollution, and slash our dependence on oil.

 

4.   You may be surprised to learn that the most effective choice is "c". Raising animals for food generates more emissions than all of the world’s transportation combined. And for all of you who answered "a"....eat your vegetables, they’re good for you!

 


Classes can enter Seymour Simon’s YOUR EARTH DAY PROMISES contest! Tell Seymour what your class is doing to help take care of the Earth, and you will be entered into a drawing to win a FREE Skype session with Seymour Simon. Click here for all the details about the YOUR EARTH DAY PROMISES contest.

 

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(2) Comments  •   Labels: Conservation, Earth Day 2012   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 2, 2012

In today’s Science News, we have this photograph of baby turtles making their way into the ocean after their release during a campaign to save sea turtles in Aceh Besar, Indonesia. Hatching baby turtles have always been in danger from predators who snatch them while they are heading for the safety of the water, but now they are facing extinction due to the action of the most powerful predator of all - human poachers who kill them for their meat, fat, shells and eggs. 

Now, conservationists are educating the public about the importance of helping these baby turtles to make it to the safety of the water. They hope that with knowledge and the support from the public, sea turtles will eventually be able to come off the endangered list.

 

Photo: Heri Juanda / AP


Be part of Seymour Simon’s celebration of Earth Day 2012 by commenting on blog stories like this one, and telling Seymour about YOUR Earth Day Promises! How are you going to make a difference for the Earth? What will you do to make it be Earth Day / every day? Each time you leave a comment between today and April 22, you will be entered into a drawing to win a free, personally autographed book from Seymour Simon. So get started by clicking "comments" below, and tell us about Your Earth Day Promises!

 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(30) Comments  •   Labels: Animals, Conservation, Earth Day 2012, Sea Turtles   •  Permalink (link to this article)

March 27, 2012

April is almost here. It is one of my favorite months, because it is the month that we celebrate Earth. If you are a regular reader of the Seymour Science blog, you know that April is the month that we all share our Earth Day Promises, about how we will care for our environment and make our planet a better and healthier place.

This year we’re running a contest, with multiple prizes that can be won by students from any school, in any country, in Kindergarten through 8th Grade.

Each day from April 1 until April 22, we will give you a chance to write your comments about how you are helping the Earth. There will be prizes for individuals who enter, as well as for classes that enter as a group. And, we are going to have a special Earth Day Photo Contest for those of you who want to upload a photo of an Earth treasure that makes you appreciate our planet.

The prizes will range from personally autographed books to a free classroom Skype session. Stay tuned this week for more information about how you can enter and what you can win.

And start thinking about your Earth Day promises, because starting next Sunday, April 1, you can share them with the world!

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Kids Write, Conservation, Earth Day 2012   •  Permalink (link to this article)

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