ncli

No Child Left Inside Day

I really like the name given to Tuesday of Earth Science Week: No Child Left Inside day. This photo shows a US Forest Service interpretive guide teaching a group of children about the geology of Mendenhall Glacier in Alaska, a rapidly retreating glacier near Juneau, Alaska. This is what we want to happen on NCLI day – kids get outside and experience all that this planet has to offer.

Anyone out there running any events for this year’s No Child Left Inside day? If so, let us know in the comments below!

-JBB

Image credit: USDA Forest Service
https://flic.kr/p/kxe3bK

More:
http://www.earthsciweek.org/ncli

The State of Our Oceans

As you may already know, water is a limited, non renewable resource. About 72% of the Earth is covered by water, and 96.5% of Earth’s water lay in its oceans, with the other 3.5% being in lakes, rivers, streams, icebergs, ice caps, and water vapor. Only about 4% of all of Earth’s water, however, is suitable for drinking and domestic use. 

With such a limited supply of water to use, it is crucial to take care of our oceans and other water resources and the organisms living there. 

In recent years, marine animals have been dying on account of trash disposed in oceans. These animals may mistake our garbage for food, or they may simply be caught in it as they swim. 

When plastics are dumped into the ocean, they may block out sunlight, causing autotrophs, organisms who produce their own nutrition from sunlight, like plankton and algae below to be deprived of their food source. If plankton and algae populations are threatened, so will the animals who eat them, like fish and turtles. If there is less food for fish and turtles, there will also be less food for tuna, sharks and whales. The entire system could collapse if too much plastic blocks out sunlight.

At this point, you may be asking yourself, “So what?” or “Why should I care?”

Well…


Sources: 

http://education.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/great-pacific-garbage-patch/ 

http://water.usgs.gov/edu/earthhowmuch.html 

    So its finally starting to feel like spring outside, birds are chirping, flowers are growing, and the river is thawed. In a couple of months we’ll all be ready to start swimming. Believe it or not, our own Hudson River is a good safe way you can enjoy water fun and the Hudson Valley. For many years the Hudson River has been given the negative stigma of a dirty, smelly, brown river. But thanks to different environmental organizations over the years the river is now swimmable, if you’re smart that is. After testing, the Hudson River measured out to have a 7% failure to meet safe swim guidelines, the same percentage of the average U.S. beach. Just like swimming in any open water area, there are important guidelines to follow; be aware of river currents, swim with a buddy, be supervised, don’t swim if you’re not familiar with the area, and be aware of river traffic. Also it is important to remember that there are still dangerous areas of the Hudson where sewage and factory pollution still leave the water highly contaminated. Know where you’re going before you leave and check first. There are plenty of safer areas you can take a plunge into.

To learn more:

http://www.riverkeeper.org/patrol/antibiotic-resistant-bacteria-study-response/

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Last Saturday the NCLI team went hiking at Shaupeneak Ridge in Esopus, Ulster County. We came across beautiful views over the Catskill Mountains and the Hudson River. Shaupeneak Ridge is owned by Scenic Hudson and is a popular nature site. Each trail varies in difficulty and length, there are trails for both beginner hikers and trails for expert hikers. The woods are absolutely beautiful and are a sight to see no matter which season. If you live in the Hudson Valley or close to it you should definitely not miss out on seeing some beautiful nature at Shaupeneak Ridge, just remember to be safe! For more information you can visit http://hikethehudsonvalley.com/shaupeneak-ridge/  or http://www.scenichudson.org/parks/shaupeneakridge

All photos were taken by The NCLI team, the map was taken from Scenic Hudsons website.

You see those gutters on the streets? those are there for Stormwater. Stormwater is water that comes from precipitation and lands on the ground either permeable or impermeable and flows to the nearest storm drain or water body, this causes major pollutions in our major water bodies because whatever is on the streets of a city will get caught in the stormwater and follow it to the water bodies. Some ways to prevent this type of pollution is having a rain garden, a rain barrel, or having your at home gutters flowing into the grass and not on a drive way.

Leave no Trace is a way to go on a hiking or camping trip and stay environmentally friendly. When you are in the wilderness, you should not leave anything behind. This helps keep the environment the way it was and not ruin it. Something as simple as an apple core can affect the environment.
Image found at: http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/CubScouts/resources/LeavenoTrace.aspx

CAFOS (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations)

As the population of the United States, and the world for that matter, continues to climb, we often face the obstacle of providing food for everyone. 

As a result, some people have decided that the solution to this issue is to try to raise and farm hundreds or even thousands of animals at the same time. The problem with this is, although more livestock can be farmed this way, the livestock are not healthy while they live. In addition, running a CAFOS farm is more expensive than farming organically (free range farm). 

In a free range farm, animals are raised in an environment that mimics their natural one. Because they are not raised in huge numbers, they do not need to be given steroids or antibiotic shots, so their meat is much healthier, not to mention it is less expensive to raise them that way anyway. In free range farms, animals eat their “normal” diet, like grass for cattle, unlike corn and soy they would be given on a CAFO. 

Sources: 

https://www.organicconsumers.org/sites/default/files/hidden_costs_of_cafos.pdf 

http://paicinesranch.com/pastured-meats/benefits.php 

http://www.cafothebook.org/ 

Fracking is the method of drilling holes deep into the ground to extract oils and natural gas. You drill 2 miles vertically into the ground where the oil is, then you’ll drill horizontally for a mile. You then pump the oil out. Some issues with this include that it can cause cracks in the ground, causing earthquakes. The cracks also cause the oils and gas to leak out into water bodies, causing the water to be polluted. Some of the fluids get left behind on the ground. This causes an issue because it isn’t biodegradable. When the fluid evaporates into the air, it leaves harmful VOC’s  (volatile organic compounds) in the atmosphere. Learn more about fracking with this cool website: http://www.dangersoffracking.com/

Watch on ncli.tumblr.com

CADDISFLIES! “Resemble small moths with wings held tent-like over their back when at rest.” “There are many species of caddisflies.” You can watch this short and sweet video, and learn more about them. Also you can vist the website, http://insects.tamu.edu/fieldguide/cimg245.html to get more information about them. (Information from site http://insects.tamu.edu/fieldguide/cimg245.html)

youtube

Here is an awesome short video on Climate change, narrated by Bill Nye.
Also, for even more information about climate change you can visit the website http://climaterealityproject.org/

BRR! WOW its cold! This is a lot of snow. They call a big snow storm a blizzard. A blizzard is where there is lots of snow, it is different then a regular snow storm because it has lots of wind. If you hear about a blizzard coming to town defiantly stay inside! Stay warm cuddle up by a fire and drink some cocoa.

More Than Just Catch

         Spring is here and the warm breezy afternoons are becoming more frequent.  Chances are you have an old Wham-o Frisbee tucked away in the garage just waiting to be tossed.  Going outside with a friend or two and playing catch makes for a great outdoor activity at an afternoon grill out,  but if you have a bit more than say 5 people and want to get more competitive, Ultimate Frisbee is the game for you. Very similar to football, Ultimate Frisbee,  or more commonly referred to as Ultimate, is a game played with two endzones with the goal to score as many points as possible.  Except in this game, once you have the Frisbee you can’t do anything but pivot with it. In order to set up a field any wide open space can be used preferably a soccer or football field with two distinctly marked end zones on either side. You want the field to be just a little longer than your farthest throw, making sure there is enough room for the recommended team size of 7 players. The game is started by one team throwing the Frisbee to the other side of the field to the other team, and the game is finished at either a decided number of points or a decided time limit. Ultimate is a great sport that offers a new skill set that many people don’t have the chance to experience.  Most importantly, have fun and enjoy the weather!

For more information, go to http://www.usaultimate.org/default.aspx to learn more about this growing sport.

Deforestation

Deforestation is the clearing of trees to turn a forest into clear land. Deforestation can lead to a lot of environmental issues. This is because trees act like a filter to watersheds and they hold the soil in place. Without the trees being there a lot of solid erosion and flooding happens, as well as droughts forming. Cutting down too many trees can change how much precipitation and transpiration occurs, causing there to be too much run-off. The less trees around a watershed can harm the marine environment because its stripping them from the coral reefs and aquatic habitats. Destroying these habitats  leads to loss of biodiversity and extinction of species. Even with issues, there is also many benefits of deforestation. Some of these benefits are, being able to make a lot more products that we depends on daily, people will be able to turn that land into farming grounds or turn the land into a plaza. There would be less carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere and some animals will be able to graze on the land. Deforestation done in moderation can be beneficial to grazing animals and to people in the community.

The basic idea of geocaching is a global scavenger hunt for anyone. Using basic knowledge of your latitude and longitude coordinates, you can find caches that people have hidden everywhere. Although there are a variety of different kinds of caches, like ones with a story or puzzle to go along with it, the majority of them are simple waterproof containers that contain a logbook and maybe some toys people have left. Caching is great because they can be found everywhere; on hikes, in parks, city streets, rest stops, etc. It’s a great way to spend extra time in a new surroundings or before an obligation. But perhaps, the coolest thing about caching is having that feeling that you know a secret that very few know. To get started visit https://www.geocaching.com/play and rid yourself of the title of muggle (you’ll soon know what that means in the caching world).

Happy Caching,

NCLI

THE GREAT PACIFIC GARBAGE PATCH KIDS 

     So the Great Pacific Garbage Patches are miles away in the oceans and affecting the wildlife, right? Well unfortunately it also negatively effects us, even hundreds of miles away. The plastics and Styrofoam after photo-degradation begin to work as sponges absorbing even more toxins that aren’t presently in them already.These toxins include lead, cadmium, and mercury, which are directly linked to cancers, birth defects, immune system problems, and childhood developmental issues. The plastics then sink down to the sea bed polluting the sea columns and allowing for the fish to ingest them. Fish that we as humans eventually will probably eat. Fish sticks children will eat!

Let’s go fishing! Ice Fishing that is. Because it’s winter, wherever you usually fish during the summer is most likely iced over, but don’t wait for warm weather just go ice fishing! Ice fishing is catching fish with lines and hooks through a hole in the ice. To drill a hole in the ice you would use a saw or chisel. Let your hooks and lines down and wait for the fish.You can bring a friend along and see all the fish you can catch during these ice cold days!

One may think there is nothing to do on a cold snowy day. But in fact there is many different activities. You can go outside and build forts and snowman but you can also go skiing, snowboarding, and snow shoeing. You can go up to Mohonk Mountain House and spend a day with family and friend cross country skiing, tubing,and snowshoeing! Maybe even after go and get some hot chocolate and take a dip in their heated pool! So instead of spending your days inside; Why not go outside and have some fun while exercising.

http://www.mohonk.com/specials/seasonal-specials/midweek-winter-getaway