environmental education

anonymous asked:

Any advice for someone that loves all things marine life but can't pursue marine biology because they suck at math and science? Asking for a friend.

Hey there! I do have some suggestions for potential career paths that relate to marine biology. I hope this short list is helpful.

1) Ecotourism is a huge industry that is quickly growing, particularly for coastal environments. Right now, there is a high demand for guided nature cruises and kayak trips as well as shelling and providing beach ecosystem education.

2) Environmental journalism/photography/videography are options for someone who enjoys writing or taking photos. Either as a freelance writer/photographer or as part of a publication, you’ll likely travel to see marine life as well as interview people who are in the marine biology field. You’ll also likely encounter fisherman and others who make their livelihood from the ocean, so you’ll get to meet some really interesting people. With videography, you could help film footage for documentaries.

3) Marine life education can be provided as an aquarium educator or nature preserve employee. You can guide people on tours, provide information on the different organisms, and observe the animals’ daily behavior so that you can alert the aquarist at the aquarium about behavioral changes.

4) SCUBA/snorkeling guides get to interact with wildlife daily. You’ll also likely be exposed to maneuvering a vessel. This is under the umbrella of ecotourism, but you’ll be under the water instead of on it. The captain and first mate lead tours almost every day of the week. You’ll learn where specific wildlife like to congregate and get to provide a bit of education to the clientele.

5) Boat captains/first mates/maritime police are connected to many of these other careers and would be a good option for someone who likes boating. You’ll learn navigation and maritime laws as well as gain valuable insight from seasoned skippers. You could captain tours or research expeditions, or you could enforce maritime law.

6) Park rangers/fish and game wardens are also rewarding positions that can give you exposure to marine life. Whether employed by a private company or local/state/federal government, you’ll get to protect wildlife and provide education to park visitors.

The easier it is for people to be vegan, the more vegans we will have. So let’s take a minute to appreciate the vegan restaurant and business owners, clothing and beauty lines, activists, and educators who are paving the way. Thank you all so much

In Honor of Earth Day 2017: PBS Nature’s Ask Box is now open for the next round of Tumblr’s IssueTime on Conservation and Climate Change!

NATURE  is so excited to work with Tumblr and the wonderful scientists, biologists and filmmakers who’ve agreed to be on our panel so that you can learn more about the environmental issues we’re currently facing.  Dig deeper into the issues with full episodes of NATURE, now streaming!

The Panelists:

Arnaud  Desbiez  is a conservation biologist who has been conducting research in the Brazilian Pantanal since 2002. He has worked on topics ranging from sustainable use of  resources  to  species  ecological  research and community  development  programs. In  the  Brazilian  Pantanal,  his  work  focused  on  the interaction  between  native  and alien  species, the sustainable  use  of  forage  resources  and  the  ecology  of  several mammal species.   In 2010 he started and now coordinates the Pantanal Giant Armadillo Project. Arnaud is featured in our most recent episode, Hotel Armadillo.

Patrick Gonzalez is Principal Climate Change Scientist of the U.S. National Park Service and a Visiting Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley. A forest ecologist, he conducts applied research on climate change and works with national parks to adapt resource management to climate change. Patrick has conducted and published field research on climate change in Africa, Latin America, and the United States and has served as a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the organization awarded a share of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. Watch our recent episode about the challenges facing Yosemite, now streaming!

Chris Morgan is an ecologist, conservationist, educator, TV host/narrator and film producer specializing in international bear research and conservation. For more than 20 years, he has worked as a wildlife researcher, wilderness guide and environmental educator on every continent where bears exist. Chris  has narrated 13 films for Nature and was host and narrator for Siberian Tiger Quest as well as being the featured character in Nature’s three-part series ‘Bears of the Last Frontier.’ In 2015, he was also host and narrator for Nature’s Three-part ‘Animal Homes’ series and was featured in ‘The Last Orangutan Eden.’ Learn more about Chris’ story with this interview we conducted with him.

Learn More about Chris

Joe Pontecorvo is an award-winning producer, writer, and cinematographer. For the past two decades, he has traveled the globe; tracking Siberian tigers in the Russian Far East, living among grizzlies in the wilds of Alaska, and following orangutans through Indonesia’s peat swamp forest. All told, he has produced 14 broadcast documentaries for multiple networks, including National Geographic, Discovery Channel, and PBS. For his most recent project before ‘Yosemite,’ PBS Nature’s ‘Snow Monkeys,’ Joe and his wife, Nim Pontecorvo, spent nearly two years filming a troop of Japanese macaques in Japan’s Shiga Highlands. Go behind-the-scenes into the making of that film here.

Learn More about Joe

Happy Earth Day! Check back Saturday for answers! 


The wildlife education facility I work at had a set up at the Maryland ren fest this fall, and I made it a point to take a photo of myself being super happy every weekend while I worked! When I’m feeling down about life it helps to look at photos like this to remind myself how lucky I am that my job makes me so happy 😊🐊🐍🐢


Na Kahumoku girls performed a “rain dance” the ti leaf rain capes were handmade.  The boys did the drumming.  So why all the emphasis on Hawaiian culture?  Its not that interesting to people outside Hawaii, right?  Any environmental program should look to its indigenous cultures to learn about being nature connected.  Those cultures existed before the industrial revolution and the incursion of high technology.  

Zero Waste, Veganism, and Privilege

This post has been a long time coming. I’ve had a lot of conversations with friends on this topic lately, and I realize that these important conversations don’t happen very much in our online communities. There are three main things I’d like to address.

1. Environmentalism absolutely must do a better job of reflecting intersectionality.

I’m a member of the activist community at my school and in North Carolina in general. This means that I do everything I can to show up for black lives, trans lives, Muslim lives, native lives and more. I see intersectionality in everything I do and work hard to educate myself as a white, middle class person. I am part of the Divestment Student Network which cannot divorce these environmental issues from the social issues they impact. Environmental racism is real. The same systems of oppression that are creating environmental catastrophe are also hitting queer people, women, and poc the hardest. This cannot, must not, be forgotten. I believe that it is easy to talk about environmental issues in a way that centralizes narratives about landfills, marine life destruction, facts about carbon footprints, and endangered animals. Often times, the human side of things is left out, and those narratives must be just as important. We all suffer as a result of climate change, and certain populations suffer first and most. Our narratives should strive to be more inclusive.

2. The environmentalism movement absolutely must recognize that it takes enormous privilege to be zero waste, vegan, minimalist, etc.

I had a friend point out to me recently that they admired my lifestyle choices, but felt that certain things were exclusive to them because they lived with disability. They had a perspective that I had never considered and really appreciated hearing. I often see people in this community push back against these statements and argue about the ease of “simple swaps” or “lazy veganism” but this just silences and closes out those voices even more. This seriously needs to change. I love figures like the Vegan Bros because they don’t think purity should ever be the goal of veganism. The goal should be drawing people in to this community as much as possible, and listening to the very real challenges and barriers that people face. For example, buying high-quality, long-lasting clothing plainly is not an option for people of low income, and buying second-hand is nothing new or revolutionary when that’s what you’ve always done to get by. This needs to be acknowledged. Most importantly though, shutting down marginalized people when they express their struggles needs to stop, because we should be trying to draw a wider circle to grow as a movement.

3. I come from a place of privilege, which makes it my responsibility to be better and do everything I can to dismantle systems of oppression.

I am white, middle class, able-bodied, neurotypical and educated. I am “woke” to the deep problems in our current food system, and our fashion industry. I have enough financial independence and autonomy to chose to support better products and businesses. I live in a city where I can recycle and compost almost anything, so there’s no reason I should be sending much at all to the landfill. I have a job that allows me to push my university community to do better, and educate others. Because all of this is true, I choose to be vegan, to be zero waste, and to work for environmental and social justice as much as possible. As a friend of mine keeps reminding me “if you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor” (Desmond Tutu). I firmly believe that complacency is a privilege, and I choose to use my privilege for good whenever and wherever I can.

anonymous asked:

My dad says Zoo's are becoming politically incorrect. I've seen both arguments but I wanna hear your opinion on it: do you think Zoo's are a good idea?

Well, let’s see if I can keep this response short.

First, I’m guessing that by ‘politically correct’ you mean ‘ethically sound.’ So, is keeping animals in zoos an ethical thing to do? As with many things, there is no easy or even single answer to that question.

Without a doubt, there are bad zoos- private or roadside zoos, zoos that keep their animals in abhorrent conditions, zoos that allow visitors to engage in unsafe things like cub-petting schemes. It is obvious that these types of zoos are unethical and exploitative.

(Hint: something like this is never a good sign.)

On the other hand, what constitutes a ‘good’ zoo? In the best captive conditions currently available, is it okay to keep an animal locked up? Some say no, no matter what; some say what we have now isn’t good enough. Others say yes- the best zoos are able to provide their captives with good lives.

This of course brings us to just what a ‘good’ life is. Those who say that animals should never ever be placed in captivity usually value a sense of freedom above all else. Even in perfect captive conditions, an animal will not be free, wild, or ‘natural.’

However, we must acknowledge that ‘freedom’ is a concept created and defined by humans. A human locked in a prison knows the difference between captivity and freedom, and is able to conceptualize that certain ‘rights’ that they have are being violated. But for animals, this may be too complex to perceive. How far back do you have to move a fence before a kudu decides that he is wild again? The idea that animals sense when they are ‘free’ versus ‘not free’ is, to me, not realistic.

Animals do, however, benefit from the ability to be free to make choices, such as what they eat, where they will go, who they will interact with, and so on. Undeniably, captivity presents animals with fewer choices of these kinds than they would have in the wild. The best zoos are now implementing programs to accommodate these choices, particularly with highly intelligent animals such as elephants and apes.

One such example: the “O Line” at the Smithsonian National Zoo allows orangutans to choose one of two buildings to stay in during the day. Other animals, such as the otters, can choose whether or not to be on exhibit via spaces in their enclosure that are sheltered from the public. Scatter feeding and foraging enrichment is yet another way that zoos allow animals to choose what food they want to eat.

Still, despite these improvements, there will always be limitations of choice in captive environments compared to wild ones by the very definition of ‘captivity.’ Furthermore, while many strides have been taken to update enclosures with choices in mind, the fact remains that the implementation of behavioral science in zoos lags behind the research due to the costs, and often due to the stress of the animals themselves when trying to adjust to new schedules and norms (even if they are theoretically better ones).

A forty-year old captive elephant will have lived through decades of zoo reform, and we can’t erase those negative experiences from her mind.

One danger of comparing captive animals to their wild counterparts is assuming that captive environments should mirror the wild ones as closely as possible. But what the wild even is is not well-defined. ‘Wild’ deer roam my suburban neighborhood: should that habitat be replicated in their zoo enclosure? Wild environments include predators, diseases, and natural disasters: is it better that those be implemented in zoos as well?

In actuality, an animal born in captivity likely has no sense of what its natural environment should look like. Certainly it has natural instincts and inclinations- a tiger likes to urine-mark vertical objects and a gibbon likes to climb- but neither of them specifically needs a tree to do this with- a post or rope swing would also work. The ‘naturalistic’ look of many zoo enclosures is actually for the benefit of the visitors, not the animals. In fact, a lush, well-planted habitat could still be an abysmal one for an animal if all of its needs aren’t being met.

This brings us to one of the most important aspects of zoos: the visitors. Theoretically, one of the major purposes of good zoos is to educate and inspire the public about animals, particularly in regards to their conservation. But do zoos actually do this?

The answer is yes… to a small extent. People given surveys upon entering and leaving a zoo exhibit generally do know slightly more about the animals than they used to, but this depends a lot on how educated they were to begin with. While many visitors express an increased desire to engage in conservation efforts after leaving a zoo, not many of them have actually followed up on it when surveyed again a few weeks later. Still, most zoo visitors seem to leave the zoo with several positive if perhaps short-term effects: interest in conservation, appreciation for animals, and the desire to learn more. If a visitor experiences a “connection” with an animal during their visit, these effects are greatly increased.

However, certain types of animal “connections” and interactions can also produce a negative effect on zoo visitors. This reflects what I said earlier about the naturalistic design of habitats being more for the visitors than the animals. Individuals who view animals performing non-natural behaviors (such as a chimpanzee wearing clothes and acting ‘human,’ or a tiger coming up to be petted) are less likely to express an increased interest in their conservation, and even less likely to donate money towards it. Generally, our own perception of freedom and wildness matters much more than the individual animal’s.

The fact of the matter is that, worldwide, zoos spend about $350 million dollars on wildlife conservation each year. That is a tremendous amount of money, and it comes from visitors and donations. What amount of discomfort on the part of captive animals is worth that money being devoted to their wild counterparts? It’s hard to say.

This is a very, VERY general overview of some of the ethical issues surrounding zoos; to go over it all, I’d need to write a book. But hopefully, it got you thinking a little bit about what your own opinion on all this is. (I didn’t explicitly state mine on purpose, though it’s probably fairly clear.)

Refs and further reading below the cut!

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When the wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in 1995, they quickly restored the equilibrium of the ecosystem. 

From the TED-Ed Lesson From the top of the food chain down: Rewilding our world - George Monbiot

Animation by Avi Ofer

I have a lot of complaints about the CollegeBoard and I understand that some things cannot be easily changed, but I honestly do not understand why the CollegeBoard cannot provide students with their essay scores and how many multiple choice questions they got wrong as a default with the AP Score Report. Giving students the ability to understand their performances on an AP should be a priority, and their bare minimum score system does not do that justice. Students, for the most part, want to know where on that broad spectrum of a score they fall: were they a 3 that was just barely a 2 or just barely a 4? They want to know of they did worse on the multiple choice or the essays. They want to know how close they were to the score they wanted and how much more they needed to push to get there. Things like this *matter* and the fact that the CollegeBoard opts for the easiest method really speaks to what actually matters to them (hint: it’s not the well-being of students).

AP Score Positivity

It’s that season. Starting Wednesday, College Board has been making this year’s AP scores visible gradually by region. With everyone else posting their scores, I thought I’d go ahead and share my own.

•AP United States History: 4
•AP English Language and Composition: 4
•AP Environmental Science: 2

Yep, that’s right, a 2. On what is regarded as being among the easiest AP tests. Did I fail? Yes. But am I upset about it? No, not at all. Because a person’s worth is not measured in numbers. Because sometimes we have less than ideal circumstances. Sometimes we don’t have the best teachers, sometimes we have bad test days, bad weeks, or too loaded a schedule to adequately review the material or maybe we just neglect to do so. We are human, and humanity and perfection do not go together. It’s okay to falter sometimes; it’s okay to not always have the best grades or the best test scores. What isn’t okay is the way we try to quantify our worth, to measure our success in numbers. Taking an upper level class is a success. Learning something is a success (even if you don’t learn quite enough to pass an exam). Getting up and sitting though a three hour test is a success. And yes, even failing can sometimes be a success in disguise, so long as we learn new things about ourselves. Reflect on what you could do differently to study, reflect on how you respond under stress and what you can do to mitigate those responses and more than anything else, reflect on what your goal really should be; a number on a score chart, or learning and pushing yourself?
So be gentle with yourselves, and be proud. You took a difficult class, you sat through a difficult test. You tried, and that is worth so much more than a number.

Earth is Dying - and it's Our Fault.

I need to fully develop my conservation blog and post things like this there. But here’s the deal.

We are in the midst of the planet’s sixth mass extinction.

These are incredibly rare, and yes, it is what you think it is - when hundreds, thousands of species go extinct within a short period of time. But if it’s happened before, why is this one so bad?

Because the five before this have been due to completely natural causes. The warming or cooling of the planet, volcano eruptions, floods, droughts…

But this time, HUMANS are the primary problem. That’s right, us. You and I.

Sure, we are not the only reason for species going extinct, but everything we do harms the environment. Our hunger for expansion and a higher standard of living has caused us to keep destroying nature just so we can build on it.

So, habitat destruction is a HUGE problem. Along with littering, overpopulation, overusage of water, fragmentation, and carbon emissions (which contribute to global warming). We are invading and destroying rainforests - even the protected biodiversity hotspots are difficult to preserve - and disaster falls.

We are wiping out keystone species, plants and animals that could trigger the collapse of an entire ecosystem because they’re so important. We are losing species of plants that may have undiscovered medicinal value (like a cure for cancer).

Species are disappearing faster than we can blink. What will we do when the bees are gone? The sea turtles, the sharks? What happens when you wake up in the morning and the birds aren’t singing, what happens when you go to the beach and instead of clean sand and rocks, it’s filled with litter and trash?

So, yes. We are destroying our planet and ensuring the downfall of both us and future generations.

So how can we stop this?
1.) Conserve resources. The lower the demand is for products, the less people will go out and harvest them. Try and save water, drive less (public transportation may be a better option for example), save electricity by turning lights off. The littlest things can help.

2.) Don’t litter. This should be easy. But apparently, people haven’t been getting the message. Those garbage patches in the ocean can’t just be cleaned up.

3.) RECYCLE!! This is so important, and so easy! I’m astonished at the amount of people I know who don’t recycle. Please encourage everyone you know to participate, too.

4.) Educate. We have the world at our fingertips. Visit the IUCN red list, which documents all species of animals, and names their status. Look at other websites. Learn. Teach people. Let them know what’s happening.

5.) Donate. This can be the hardest to do because, well - money is hard to come by. But I urge you all to send this money to a good cause. There are soooo many environmental and conservation groups out there to donate to. Your money will be well spent. Just make sure you research each project before donating to ensure it’s not a scam.

Thank you for listening - and I urge you all to speak up about this. We need this planet. It doesn’t need us.


Great pictures from our visit to the Portola Branch of the San Francsico Public Library this summer!  Mr. Science came with Trucker the Red-footed Tortoise, Julie the Burmese Python, and many more.  The kids loved it, and so did the librarians!


New Adopt-a-Trout Program Combines Agency Research and Environmental Education.

The BLM Colorado Southwest District fisheries program is working with Colorado Parks and Wildlife to educate Gunnison High School students and improve fish ecology through the newly formed Adopt-a-Trout program. The project involves tagging trout and sparking students’ interest in natural resources careers while giving them the opportunity to learn about local watersheds, engage in community restoration projects, learn about trout based ecology and conduct research with biologists.

About 50 students in the Environmental Science and Wildlife Management class at Gunnison High School are helping CPW Aquatic Biologist Dan Brauch identify limiting factors in robust healthy trout populations, find areas for stream restoration projects and collect data to further understand how trout move throughout Tomichi Creek, a tributary to the Gunnison River in Gunnison, Colorado.

Keep reading



click images for descriptions

source-CENBAM Portal and PPBio Western Amazon
INCT CENBAM (Centro de Estudos da Biodiversidade Amazônica) (Centre for Amazonian Biodivesity Studies) was created in 2009 with the principle objective of consolidating outputs based on firm scientific knowledge that start with biodiversity studies and end with information, products and processes that are useful to specific users in the short, medium and long-term. It coordinates a network of Amazonian and extra-Amazonian institutions involved in biodiversity studies.
Programa de Pesquisa em Biodiversidade (PPBio) was created in 2004 with the aims of furthering biodiversity studies in Brazil, decentralizing scientific production from already-developed academic centers, integrating research activities and disseminating results across a variety of purposes, including environmental management and education.

Climate Change is like Pancake Batter

The chaos in the kitchen: how ecosystems are like pancakes. (Yum?)

To put this not-so-eloquently, Earth’s ecosystems are like grandma’s famous pancakes: her recipe, when followed correctly, produces the fluffiest, tastiest, most golden-brown pancakes of anyone in town. That’s where Earth’s ecosystems have been for millions of years. Before her recipe—that is, before Earth had stable ecosystems—too little or not all of the ingredients existed to make that perfect batter. No matter how hard you tried, it couldn’t be done.

Now imagine grandma’s recipe was so good that your family opened a restaurant. For years, it was the talk of the town. Now you’ve taken over, but other breakfast restaurants have opened in recent years, and some of them serve breakfast food 24/7. 

To stay in business, you’ve adopted a new strategy: you turn off your water supply and every day, customers bring their own water to help you save money for better advertising. Today, you have all the ingredients to serve 1,000 people. All your customers come in, and one by one, you add their water to the mixture—the mixture that everyone is eating from, mind you. At first, as you’re adding water to the mixture, it all seems to be going fine. It’s almost to the right consistency when you get a phone call, so you step away. While you’re gone, everyone in line pays your assistant, who is lazy and just lets whoever brought water dump it in the batter…without filtering it. Worse yet, some people didn’t measure how much water they actually had; they just filled glasses of different sizes and dumped them in.

When you get back from your phone call, you look inside the vat and see that the batter is soupy, watered-down, and has dust and dirt from people’s unfiltered water. But it’s too late now. Most people are sitting at tables, eagerly waiting for their stack of grandma’s famous pancakes. There are a few people left in line waiting to pay, and a few of them brought glasses of water. In anger, you take their money, but tell them to dump their water in a flower pot and go sit down.

To compensate for the soupy batter, you cook the pancakes longer than grandma’s recipe says to, hoping the excess water will cook out and save the pancakes. But no: they spread out until they’re thin as paper. So you turn up the heat—and the pancakes start to burn.

Outside, people are getting restless. They paid good money for grandma’s famous pancakes, and they all have places to be and things to do. Several of them come back to the kitchen to ask what’s taking so long, only to see you scrambling around and yelling at your assistant for being so negligent. When the small band of customers asks what’s going on, you angrily tell them the pancakes will be out soon.

Unconvinced, the customers go back to the dining room and explain what they saw. Some of the first-time customers leave; they like the other restaurants anyway. The long-time customers—those who have been loyal for years—refuse to believe that the pancakes could be ruined, and tell other customers how grandma’s pancakes are the best they’ve ever had, and how, if people leave, they will never find better pancakes anywhere in the world, ever. The customers who witnessed the chaos in the kitchen argue with the long-time customers, but are called out as liars who are trying to promote competing restaurants. In the confusion, some undecided customers peek inside the kitchen, see the chaos, and sneak out of the restaurant. One stays behind and manages to convince a few loyalists to go see the chaos in the kitchen for themselves. Those who refuse, say, “We’ve never gone back to see it before, and the pancakes always come out fine. Why should this be any different?”

By this time, you have managed to produce a couple good-looking pancakes and threw them on top of the pile to cover them up the terrible ones. Still, a majority are coming out ruined, and there’s no way you’re going to feed everyone in the restaurant. Then the door opens, and a few of your most loyal customers see the good-looking pancakes you threw on top. You just smile and assure them their pancakes will be out soon. Some, however, notice you covering up the burnt and watered-down pancakes, and leave the restaurant. Some switch sides and say the restaurant is clearly failing and needs to be shut down, while others say that nothing like this will ever happen again.

When you finally manage to cook a few dozen good pancakes and several hundred bad-but-edible ones, you roll them out to the dining room—only to see that, of the 1,000 people who were in your restaurant this morning, a mere 300 remain. You force yourself to smile and start serving them. Only the first ten customers get the best pancakes of the batch, and don’t notice the ruined ones underneath, and promise to bring even more water the next day to compensate for the idiots who walked out. They go on eating breakfast happily, their consciences clear. But then the best pancakes are gone, and other customers pick at their pancakes in disgust, or throw them in the trash, refusing to accept the pancakes at all. And when all the pancakes are gone, there are still 100 people who haven’t been served at all, and demand refunds, or storm out and vow never to eat at your restaurant again.

The point of the story is this: fossil fuels were once the best-of-the-best. Yes, they provided the foundation society needed to get its feet off the ground, but then they got too big, and started doing long-term damages. Some people turned to more sustainable energies and grew their own niche markets that provided energies around-the-clock, which was attractive to an even larger market. Now that fossil fuels are being proven to have adverse effects on Earth’s ecosystems, people are switching to the sustainable resources, which are becoming cheaper and more abundant every day. Only the loyalists, the people who have been in the business their entire lives, refuse to see what’s going on behind the scenes and keep supplying the necessary economic resources. Only by educating the general public, showing them the damages for themselves, and converting them to cleaner, ever-cheapening, and near-infinite energy sources can we begin to heal Earth’s damaged ecosystems.

“But it’s tradition” is no longer a valid excuse. There will always be a better recipe.