Label: Environment

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 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, Earth, Environment, Frogs, Earth Day 2013   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 30, 2011

I am so proud of all of you who wrote to me in response to Earth Day! Today, the last day of April, we posted almost 300 promises that you have made to Earth Day’s BILLION ACTS OF GREEN website. Seymour Science readers have really stepped up to make a difference! I feel sure that you will all work hard to continue caring for our planet Earth every day.

As promised, we are publishing everyone’s writing about why they care about Earth Day. This list is alphabetical, so find your name and show your writing to your families, your teachers, your librarians and your friends. You are part of an important cause, and each of you deserves to be very proud of what you’ve done. 


 

       

Alana:   

Dear Mr. Simon, My carbon footprint was very surprising to me. To know how large of a footprint I am leaving is mind blowing. My carbon foot is 19.9. I have a fairly large family. I have 5 people in my family. To reduce my carbon footprint I could turn off the T.V. when I am not watching it. Also, I could reduce the amount of time I use the T.V. Another thing I could do is buy a reusable water bottle. I could also eat less fast food.  Sincerely, Alana

 

 

 

Alana B.:           

  I am going to celebrate Earth month 2011 by doing many good things for the Earth. A few things that I will do is cleaning up the nearby creeks and roads. Also, I will make the people that surround me aware of the Earth and how much we need to help it.

 

 

Alex:           

I love trees and that’s why I don’t waste paper so I recycle and encourage others to care about are world like a mother would care for her newborn. We can all do this together so join me!

 

 

Alyssa:                       

  Hey Seymour Simon!  Our class is recycling all of our paper to help the environment!!!!!!!! Our class is going green!!!!!

 

 

 

 

Amanda:

  I am going to help my neighbors recycle (pick up) stray trash on the streets and our community!  Earth Day is everyday! ALWAYS RECYCLE!

 

 

 

Amber:                       

  Me and my mom grow our own food like fruits and vegetables. Maybe I could start a garden at my dad’s too and that is how I will help the earth.

 

 

Amelia P.:           

  Hey Seymour Simon! Our class (Ms.Wolf’s class.) is going green! We are recycling all of our old papers! Your butterfly garden is really cool!

 

 

Andrew H.:           

  Dear Seymour Simon, 
My name is Andrew and I am a student at Churchville Elementary. My carbon footprint was 16.25. I am not too proud about that so I’ve been trying to lessen that score by walking more to "baseball practice" or my friend’s house. I also am only washing my clothes when I need to. My new wash day is Friday instead of ever other day. I also bought an aluminum bottle for water. I thank you for this opportunity to write back to you. Sincerely, Andrew

Andy:

  My Earth Day Pledge is that I will never ever litter,

and not use too much electricity. 

 

 

Andy:

  Here’s my idea to save the earth: when you’re done with electric appliances, turn...read more

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(4) Comments  •   Labels: Global Warming, Kids Write, Conservation, Earth Day 2011, Environment   •  Permalink (link to this article)

August 15, 2010

Hello fellow Shipmates,

Wow! It is mid August already…where has time gone? I never expected this summer to pass by so quickly but at least it has been a summer I will never forget. grin So what have you guys been up to? Has your summer been a summer you won’t forget too? Have you had a chance to do any outdoor activities, like camping or hiking yet? I’d love to hear about it. Or maybe you have gone to a museum, hung out with your Girl Scout or Boy Scout troops or attended a summer camp. If you have, please make sure to comment below. It makes me so happy to hear what everyone else is up to.

As for KTFBT (Kids Today for a Better Tomorrow), we have been busy little beavers. grin A group of us just recently headed out to a local Southern Californian forest to conduct a wilderness trail & river clean up. We went to a special place that us locals call Azusa Canyon, which is up in the San Gabriel Mountains. I was so happy to go because it was suggested by one of our KTFBT families, The Salazars. I thought it was very cool of them to have contacted us with their concerns.

They were very sad because they had gone up there a week before for a family trip but were sooo disappointed to have arrived only to be surrounded by trash and debris. Their dad, Peter, said that he had been going to Azusa Canyon for over 20 years even with his own father and it disgusted him how people had just abused and trashed one of his favorite places. It made him sad. So of course after talking with the Salazars, I spoke with our KTFBT members and we all agreed this forest was in need of our help. This forest is just as important as any forest but is very special in its own way. For instance, the San Gabriel Mountains’ wrinkled slopes and wildly lush canyons are also home to very special creatures. It is the habitat and playground of many rare and endangered species, like the Nelson’s bighorn sheep, mountain yellow-legged frogs, Santa Ana sucker fish and Pacific pond turtles. (And as you all know… turtles are dear to my heart grin

So quick as a flash (okay maybe not that fast but still within days), we were ready to go out and help restore the Salazars’ favorite family spot to its former glory. I couldn’t wait. The drive up there was beautiful.

All sorts of different trees surrounded us. Some tall, some short, some skinny, some fat, but each and every one of them beautiful in their own way. We also saw the San Gabriel reservoir (which is a man-made lake with a dam that collects the water of the many rivers that flow through the mountains). It was just beautiful.

When we finally got to the trail alongside the river we were amazed by how beautiful it was. I wouldn’t have even known this place was there if we hadn’t walked down into the canyon to find it. It was just great!!! We could only hear the sounds of nature all around us. The sound of the fast flowing river was so beautiful. I wish I’d had my recorder so I could take the sounds home with me, but it’s okay because I can...

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Posted by: Alana G

(3) Comments  •   Labels: Environment   •  Permalink (link to this article)

August 5, 2010

Alana G. is ten years old, a great friend of Earth, and is working with us this summer to report on her activities as an environmentalist in her own community. Here is her most recent report.

- Seymour


Hello fellow Shipmates,

            I can’t believe how fast this summer is flying by. I wish I could stop the clock or at least add more hours to my day because I have so much more crusading that I would like to do before the summer ends. But that’s okay, I will just continue to parade up and down the streets of Southern California, spreading our message, fighting pollution and battling Planet Poachers with our friends from "KIDS TODAY FOR A BETTER TOMORROW" for as long as I can. As a matter of fact, a friend of mine asked me last week "With Summer coming to an end do you feel sad that your KTFBT group will be over?" Hmm… I paused for a moment to think about it and then I said "No! Who ever said that my crusade would have to be over?" grin I sure didn’t. The way I see it is, my journey has just begun. This world is humungous. Bigger then we can ever imagine and with change happening everyday there will always be a poor little animal to defend, an ocean to protect and eco systems all over the world that will need our help to save them and it all starts at home with each and every one of us.

            There are little changes that we can make in our daily lives that can have a huge impact on the world around us. And just like you, I want to learn as much as I can to make sure that I am living a sustainable life or in other words, a planet friendly life. Like Seymour has mentioned to us all before, if we all do our best at lowering our carbon footprints we can help slow down the greenhouse effect that is causing the Earth’s climate change. Not sure what that means? Don’t worry; I’m sure Seymour will come to our rescue. (Seymour…can you help a kiddo out please?)* I learned all about climate change (well, not all but a lot) because I’ve always wondered about it and what all fuss was about when I heard my parents or the news talking about "Global Warming." My mom tried to explain it to me and I also did some research on the Internet and then I kind of understood what is going on but not enough to feel confident enough to explain it to someone else which really bugged me. I always try to learn things well enough where I feel comfortable telling someone else…like you…what it is I am trying to explain.

 

Well, then I met Seymour Simon and now I know to never fear…Seymour’s here. wink Seymour was kind enough to send me a copy of his book called "Global Warming." It is a great book because it is easy for us kids to understand but still tells us everything we need to know. Like, did you know that Polar bears live in the Artic and depend of the sea ice to live? Well, because of climate change the sea ice is disappearing right before our very eyes. They ice and glaciers are melting. :-( It is sooo sad. And if the ice melts it adds water to the oceans which...

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Posted by: Alana G

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Climate Change, Global Warming, Environment, Greenhouse Gases   •  Permalink (link to this article)

July 29, 2010

                     

We have a new posting today from Alana G., a fifth grade student and our special environmental reporter on the Seymour Science Blog this summer. The group she founded, Kids Today for a Better Tomorrow (KTFBT) has been busy all summer, pursuing various environmental activities to better their Southern California community. As I said to Alana when we first met, it is a joy to have her as a shipmate on Planet Earth.

-    Seymour


Hello fellow Shipmates,

            I’m not sure if you remember the trip that I had taken to Amy’s Farm to be part of their science of farming camp. I’ll give you a little recap just in case you don’t. At the farm I learned all about the physics of simple machines & the life science of animal anatomy, but my favorite thing that I learned about was Botany (which is a branch of biology that involves the scientific study of plant life.)  :-) It basically means I learned all about plant cells, their parts and what they do.

            I can’t believe how amazing it is. It really is so cool how such tiny little seeds can grow into such beautiful plants. I have to say…Life on earth is miraculous! I wanted to learn more so I was very happy that I was also able to work in their garden where I learned how to plant and harvest vegetables and fruits. I was shocked at how much work it takes not only to plant the seeds but how much work goes into preparing the ground for the crops. I don’t know how exactly to explain it, but they use organic compost. Organic compost helps the farm to be sustainable. Sustainable is another subject we could use Seymour’s help on. (Seymour, can you please help us out?*  grin Plus, they have to harvest and wash the crops before they are sent off to the farmers market or local food banks and homeless shelters. (I think it is so cool that they help the needy.) Overall, the life of a farmer is no easy job at all, but I love it!

            Being on the farm reminded me of something. Do you remember learning in school about our American ancestors, the Pilgrims? If you don’t, they were some of the first settlers in the colonies. The Pilgrims, just like the Indians, had to find ways to live and adapt to the land and their environment and with the help of the Indians they set up a plantation at Plymouth Rock. Now if you think back to the Pilgrims’ days, they didn’t have it easy like we do. Can you think of some of the differences...

read more

Posted by: Alana G

(2) Comments  •   Labels: Environment, Gardening   •  Permalink (link to this article)

July 17, 2010

Hello fellow Shipmates,

I am very happy to report that our crusade to help save our planet Earth has been going great! How is it going on your end? You wouldn’t believe it…I was so flattered and excited. I was asked by Nick Federoff from Sustainable Environmental Education and ThingsGreen.com to go and speak to a group of teenage foreign exchange students from Italy and Germany (Thank you Nick.) grin They wanted me to tell them about our crusade and about "KTFBT." I also told them all about how I became Seymour’s environmental reporter. They were very surprised to hear about everything we have been doing. They will be here for three weeks. It is really cool because they had told us that there is a lot of pollution where they live and one of the reasons they came to America is because they are here on a green initiative. Their group is called the "Center for Cultural Interchange "and they are partnered with a foundation called "GREEN HEART." Green Heart in part, helps to sponsor the teens so they can come out to volunteer and learn about environmental projects. Green Heart officials say that in order to become a Green Heart exchange volunteer, "No experience or special skills are required-just enthusiasm, an open mind, and a genuine desire to help."  Isn’t that awesome? There are teens from all around the world who are going out and traveling all over the globe in order to volunteer.

We had a wonderful time hanging out and talking. We also got to go the Things Green Learning Center in the Greater Los Angeles, California area where we were learned about the benefits of gardening and planting flowers and vegetables, especially trees and about the importance of sustainability. We also got to plant a California poppy flower.  It is actually the state flower of California. I hadn’t ever planted these types of seeds before. I was really surprised because the seeds were super tiny. Who would think that something so tiny can grow into something so beautiful?  I even got to help Nick teach them how to plant and water the seeds. grin I felt so important. 

You might think that hanging out with the teens was cool, but it gets even better. During this entire time Nick’s camera crew was there filming so I might even get included in a documentary that Nick is recording.  : ) Whew hew!

Okay…Okay…so back to my story. I would like to share a lesson with you that I learnt that day from my new friends. My new friends taught me how to say Recycling and Recycle in Italian. : ) Recycle is Riciclare and Recycling is Riciclaggio in Italiano. Of course…you all know how I am. That inspired me to want to learn how to say these words in as many other languages as possible. grin Wouldn’t that be so great… since my ultimate goal is to spread our message all around the world? 

This whole experience has been amazing and we are only half way through summer. I still can’t believe that I have new friends from Europe that are going to help spread the KTFBT message and are also going to start to follow my blog and Seymour’s website. I am so happy!!! 

Well my fellow shipmates…I must be going now…so remember to spread the word. This is "OUR PLANET.OUR FUTURE!" Also "ricordatevi di riciclare," which means remember to please recycle. As always thank you. I REALLY appreciate you taking the time to read my blog. grin Until next time…

Arrivederci,

 

Alana G grin

"Science Rules!"

   

Posted by: Alana G

(2) Comments  •   Labels: Summer Vacation Science, Environment, Recycling   •  Permalink (link to this article)

July 16, 2010

When Seymour met 10-year-old Alana G. at the beginning of June, she was a fourth grade student who had written to say how upset she was about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and its effect on wildlife, particularly the sea turtles, in the Gulf. Seymour told her that he was upset, too, and suggested that she do everything she can in her own community to raise awareness about environmental issues so that things like this don’t happen in the future.

Think environmentally all your life, no matter what you decide to do as an adult. Talk about it to your friends. Read about it in books and on the web. Remain committed to the idea that it’s OUR planet and we need to protect it from being abused.

Alana took these words to heart, and as you know, she is now writing for the Seymour Science blog about what she and her friends - they call themselves KIDS TODAY FOR A BETTER TOMORROW (KTFBT) - are doing in their community to make a difference. Regular readers know that the KTFBT have already volunteered on a sustainable farm and they also decorated an environmentally themed float for their community’s July 4th parade. Alana has set up a Facebook page and a blog to communicate with her fellow environmental activists, and went and spoke in front of her City Council and asked for their support. Now we learn that she has also secured a weekly segment called "Alana’s Corner" on a local radio show called "Three Guys Rant"!

In this week’s segment, Alana spoke about Recycling, telling the "3 guys" everything she knows about what can and cannot be recycled. She will be on every week this summer, raising awareness for her cause.

If you would like to hear Alana G. on the radio, click on this link. Scroll down the list until you find "Three Guys Rant 07-14-10.mp3"

Right click (or on a Mac, Control+click) on the link and choose "Save Link As." Save it to your desktop, and now you will have a file that you can open with iTunes, or whatever program you use to listen to mp3s. Alana’s segment runs from 16:40 - 24:20.

We are so proud of everything she is doing. As Alana often reminds us, although they are "just kids," it is their planet, too!

 

 

 

   

Posted by: Alana G

(2) Comments  •   Labels: Environment   •  Permalink (link to this article)

July 9, 2010

Today we’re adding another entry to our "Summer Vacation Science" series. This one is adapted from an early book of Seymour’s called SCIENCE PROJECTS IN ECOLOGY. It is long out of print, but it is full of exciting opportunities that you can do with your kids during the summer, when you want to keep them engaged in learning and exploration.


 

 

A rotting log is far from being dead. Even after a tree dies and falls to the ground, it is host to a large community of living things. What kinds of things you’ll find depends upon what kind of tree it was, how long the log has been rotting, its location, and the time of year.

 

 

Materials You Will Need:

-       A pencil and notebook

-       A small shovel or trowel

-       Small plastic bags

-       Several wide-mouthed jars or an aquarium tank

-       Fine screening to cover the jars or tank

-       Vaseline petroleum jelly

 

What to Do:

Find a rotting log and look it over carefully. If it is hollow, look inside. Poke a stick and see if anything comes out. Small mammals often make homes inside these logs. You may find some larger animals such as mice, chipmunks, a rabbit, or perhaps a snake. Snakes like to hunt for food in logs because of all the living things there. Most snakes are very shy - they’ll hurry away as soon as you see them. But be careful. Even though the vast majority of snakes are not poisonous, many kinds will bite if cornered or handled.

Look on the outside of the log for plants growing there. You’ll often find different kinds of fungi and mosses. You may also find small seedlings of trees and wild flowers growing in decaying spots along the log.

Do you see any insects on the outside of the log? If you strip away a piece of loose bark, you’ll see that most insects live inside. Look for dusky salamanders, small frogs, or toads. You’ll probably see ants, millipedes, centipedes, slugs, land snails, spiders, sow bugs, and beetles of all kinds.

Use your shovel to dig into the rotting wood of the log. You’ll probably find passageways and tunnels of all kinds, some still in use, some left over from previous tenants. Examine the different degrees of rotting. Some parts may crumble away at a touch, while other parts will still be firm. As you dig down, you’ll come to the part of the log that is changing into soil. Here you’ll surely find earthworms, mites and springtails.

Look around you. Do different kinds of trees provide habitats for different creatures? Do logs that receive sunlight seem different from those that do not? Can you tell which ones have been dead for a long time and which ones recently fell? Be sure that you don’t take apart all the logs in one area - remember that these are homes for living things.

Take notes on all that you find and what you observe.

Questions to ask and things to try:

You can observe a rotting log community (and the living things that make their homes in this habitat) in your own home. Break off two or three chunks of the log with your...

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Posted by: Liz Nealon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Summer Vacation Science, Science Projects, Environment   •  Permalink (link to this article)

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