Archives for November, 2011
We all left the Annapurna with a bit of sorrow wishing we could have stayed longer, but we know Kathmandu will be another amazing adventure.
Our first stop was to an orphanage to drop off warm jackets for the children. During the summer I had a lemonade stand with my friend Olivia. The money we earned went towards the orphanage. The children have been through some pretty horrible things in their life so it was nice to give back and help them.
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Our trek in the Himalaya mountains was awesome! When we left our lakeside cottage in Pokhara with our guide K.B. and our porter, who happens to be K.B.’s dad, it was fogged in and hard to see the mountains.
Our first day was relatively easy. We trekked about 4 hours among rice terraces and little villages. We ended our day in the pretty mountain town of Hille and checked in to our first teahouse, Mamta’s. The sun was shining. We rested and started talking with some great ladies from Portugal. Then we enjoyed a nice dinner of Dal Bhat, a traditional Nepalese dish with rice, lentil soup and vegetables. The Nepalis believe it will give them 24 hour power.
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Phenomenal Friday Fact
This Thursday is Thanksgiving! Chances are you will have a lot of leftovers after your family feast. There’s a lot of extra food in American houses between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day–an extra 5 million tons!
What can you do to cut down on food waste this holiday season? Here are some tips from Nourishing the Planet on how your family can cut back.
Make a List
Create a shopping list of all the items you will need for holiday meals and stick to it.
Take Smaller Portions
Use a smaller plate to help you take smaller portions of food at mealtimes. That way you’re less likely to have leftovers on your plate.
Store Leftovers Safely
Proper storage of leftovers keeps them safe to eat for longer. Food that hasn’t been served properly have to be tossed.
Instead of throwing out food scraps, add them to your compost heap.
If you have extra (unopened) dried or canned foods, donate them to food banks or shelters.
Photograph by Tyrone Turner
BOOK NAME: Heart of a Samurai
AUTHOR: Margi Preus
Traveling can be a unique, exciting, and sometimes scary experience. The experiences you have can be remembered for ever and possibly change your life. However, what if traveling came at the cost of never returning home again? Would you still be willing to leave?
14-year-old Manjiro lives in a small village in Japan. One day, in the year 1841, while Manjiro is out fishing with four other fishermen, a terrible storm blows their small boat out to sea, eventually stranding them on a deserted island. Manjiro and the other fisherman are rescued by the crew of the John Howland, an American whaling vessel. Manjiro has grown up hearing tales about “barbarians” from distant lands, but because of his country’s isolation, he is overcome with curiosity about the strange culture of the people around him. It’s this curiosity that leads him on an epic journey to distant countries like America. Even though Manjiro is fascinated by the wondrous places he visits, all he really wants is to go back to his family and homeland. Due to Japan’s isolation policy at that time in history, that may not be possible. If he returns from his travels, he may be imprisoned or executed.
This book was a unique story that I truly enjoyed reading. I am part Japanese, so the story had a special impact on me. I enjoyed learning more about the culture and history of the country to which I owe some of my family’s origins. Manjiro is an interesting character because he is based on a true life diplomat, adventurer, and negotiator. The book even included sketches that Manjiro actually drew about the places he visited and the things he saw. The only aspect of the book that I was not fond of was that it involved whaling. Whales are my favorite animals, and although whaling is a major part of the world’s history, I do not like reading about humans slaughtering such majestic creatures.
BOOK NAME: Soul Surfer
AUTHOR: Bethany Hamilton
You may be familiar with Bethany Hamilton, a surfer who lost her arm to a shark. Check out her book, Soul Surfer, a memoir of this tragedy in her life. The book shows that with strength and faith, one can always overcome challenges.
Bethany Hamilton was a 13 year old girl living on the island of Hawaii. Since childhood she had been practicing the sport she and her family loved most – surfing. Little did she know how one calm Halloween morning would change her life forever. She was surfing gentle waves at dawn that day when she felt the tug on her arm. She realized that her left arm had been bitten by a shark and she was rushed to the hospital. Her family was in a panic, but Bethany kept her faith in God and got through the surgery. Bethany soon recovered and got back to her normal life. She exercised, never gave up, and showed that the loss of one arm would not prevent her from getting back to the waves. Bethany is thankful to God for helping her out through this tragedy.
This is a very inspiring read for kids in middle-school. Since the story is written by Bethany herself, just one year after the attack, feelings and events are very accurate. Also, the book has quite some pages with photos which bring to life Bethany’s passion for surfing and her accident. It is remarkable how Bethany fulfills her childhood dream in spite of a horrific incident.
You might not know it, but water goes in to making many of the things we use every day. Did you know it takes 713 gallons of water to make one t-shirt and 3,170 gallons of water to make one pound of chocolate? Check out The Hidden Water We Use to learn more about how much water it takes to produce cheese, coal, and other everyday objects and foods.
National Geographic Adventure editors have chosen their ten Adventurers of the Year. Readers are now encouraged to vote for their favorites for the People’s Choice Adventurer of the Year. One of the adventurers is 19-year-old Carissa Moore (pictured above). She is the youngest ASP (the Association of Surfing Professionals) women’s world champion!
Carissa says that you can learn lessons about life from surfing. “Surfing has taught me how to adapt. Things are ever changing in the ocean, which is much like life. You have to be able to change your plans on a moment’s notice. Nothing is ever going to go your way, so you have to be able to take the losses with the wins and pick yourself up quickly.”
What was your best adventure in 2011? Leave a comment below and tell us!
Read about all of the nominees, then vote for your favorite on National Geographic Adventure.
Want to read more about kids having adventures? Check out the Hands-On Explorer blog.
Photograph by Simon Williams, Red Bull Photo Pool
BOOK NAME: The Son of Neptune
AUTHOR: Rick Riordan
Hello! It’s Hunter! My review today is on Rick Riordan’s newest book, The Son of Neptune. Have I mentioned before that Rick Riordan is my favorite author? This book is an example of why I love just about anything he writes.
In The Son of Neptune, Percy (from the Percy Jackson series, also written by Rick Riordan) is at a Roman camp for half-bloods. He has lost his memory though! The only thing he can remember is one name–Annabeth. We are also introduced to two demigods, Hazel and Frank. I really liked these new friends of Percy and hope that they appear in other books too. Hazel is interesting. She was once dead and then brought back to life by Nico (also from the Percy Jackson series). Frank is very cool. He has a special gift–he can be anything he wants to be! Anyway, they go on a quest with Percy to try to free Death. They also try to join the Greek and Roman camps together so that the Prophecy of Seven can be fulfilled.
I like the way Rick Riordan has a couple of plots going at the same time. It makes this book really exciting and hard to put down. So do you think Percy, Hazel and Frank are successful? Read the book to find out! If you’re 8 years old or older, I think you will love The Son of Neptune like I did.
This week is Geography Awareness Week. Explore your own school and neighborhood through geographic eyes by undertaking a series of missions using skills such as photography, storytelling, mapping, and taking action. Visit the Geography Awareness Week website to learn more.
Geography Awareness Week was created in 1978 as a time for families and
classrooms to promote geography literacy. Is your class doing anything
special to learn more about geography this week?
Photograph by Anoziram, NG Kids My Shot
The black rhinoceros is a critically endangered animal. To try to protect the remaining rhinos, some of them have been moved to a new location inside a reserve as part of the WWF’s Black Rhino Range Expansion Project. The rhinos will be safer from poachers in their new location in Limpopo Province.
One new technique involves airlifting 19 rhinoceroses by helicopter after they had been tranquilized! This is a fast and easy way to move the animals to transport vehicles. “It is also so simple a concept that we are all kicking ourselves that we didn’t do it long ago,” said project leader Jacques Flamand.
Photograph courtesy Green Renaissance/WWF
Phenomenal Friday Fact
After a long drive and a late night arrival at Sapana Lodge in the Chitwan National Park, we woke up to the sound of stomping elephant feet. When I looked out the window through the mist I saw a huge elephant and her mahout (the driver and keeper of the elephant). Later that morning my mom and I got to get in the river with our elephant and bathe her. The best part was when she splashed us with her trunk and got us all wet.
To top off the outstanding day, I got to make treats for the elephant and then feed them to her. Her treats were made with dried rice and rice stalk.
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BOOK NAME: Tangerine
AUTHOR: Edward Bloor
Paul Fisher is a pretty nerdy-looking kid. It’s mainly because of the thick, Coke-bottle like glasses he has to wear since he lost some of his eyesight in an accident as a child. Paul was perfectly happy with his home in Houston, Texas, having friends he enjoyed spending his time with. However, all that changed when he moved to Tangerine, Florida, in the 7th grade. Florida was quite different from Texas with its muck fires and sink holes. But Paul really doesn’t mind all of those things though. What does bother him is his older brother, Erik. Erik is a high school football star and his dad has plans from him to join the pros one day. In fact, the family is so focused on the “Fisher Football dream” that they don’t see what Erik is really like. Erik has a dark side and to get what he wants, he will do anything. He puts on a nice act when adults are around, but even then he is scheming. Ever since Paul was a child he has been in constant fear of Erik. As Erik’s actions become more and more terrible, it is up to Paul to show his parents what sort of person Erik really is.
Paul finds that the one good thing about moving is that he can look forward to soccer at his new school. At his old school he didn’t make the team, so moving presents an opportunity to do what he loves instead of being overshadowed by Erik. Along the way, Paul learns lots of life’s lessons from his new classmates.
There is a lot of symbolism in this book, so try to think about the actual meaning of the text and how the symbols enhance the story. I was impressed with the action and how intense the story was. This is one of the best books I have read in a long time and it will engross you from start to finish.
In 2009, a metal detector enthusiast found a huge Anglo-Saxon treasure hoard in England. It’s the largest collection of gold from this period ever found! Terry Herbert discovered the gold and has worked with a team of archeologists to dig up more than 3,500 different pieces. National Geographic Museum has more than 100 of these shiny objects on display in Washington, D.C.
The exhibition explains the history of the Anglo-Saxons, and explains why the gold may have been buried. In a kids area of the exhibit, you can search for buried treasure with a metal detector, find out how heavy Anglo-Saxon swords and shields were, and make your own Anglo-Saxon helmet. The exhibit will be at the National Geographic Museum through March 4, 2012.
Photograph by Robert Clark, National Geographic
Namaste is the traditional Nepali greeting where they bow and put their hands together and to show respect. It always makes me smile. Our first stop in this beautiful country is Bhaktapur, an old village close to Kathmandu with amazing architectural buildings and stone streets. Our hotel here is great and the staff was beyond nice, especially Martin. Our first morning we drove up to the village of Nagorkot and saw the tip of Mt. Everest and other Himalayan mountains. It was amazing, the mountains were stunning!
BOOK NAME: Hothead
AUTHOR: Cal Ripken, Jr.
Do you play baseball? If you do, you probably know how important sportsmanship is during any athletic competition. Even so, sometimes it’s hard to be a good sport. Have you or anyone you know ever thrown a tantrum about missing a catch, striking out, or making a bad throw?
12-year-old Connor Sullivan is the last person anyone expects to lose his cool during a game. He is usually a very humble but extremely talented shortstop for the Babe Ruth League Orioles. In fact, he is the star player on the team. He has helped the Orioles achieve a perfect season so far, and now he has his sights set on the league pennant. Connor is also normally a good-natured guy who is good friends with everyone on the team.
Lately, however, Connor has been acting very strange. A recent event has greatly affected his family, and Connor’s attitude is taking a turn for the worst. Whenever he misses a catch or strikes out on an important play, he freaks out. His temper tantrums usually involve nasty, condescending remarks to his teammates and kicking and throwing his glove and other baseball equipment. Other players in the league nickname him “Psycho Sully” because of his wild fits of rage. No one else knows why Connor has suddenly started letting his temper get the best of him, but Connor’s coach wants it to stop, immediately! He just might end up forcing Connor off the team, even though he is their best player. A fellow classmate and reporter for Connor’s school’s newspaper plans to do a headline story on Connor’s sudden outbursts. Connor better shape up and get his act together, or his future as a baseball player could be in jeopardy!
I’ve played baseball before, so I can relate to the events that take place in this book. Even though I was a good sport, one of my teammates often went on a ranting rampage whenever he struck out or missed a catch. He yelled at me and the other members of the team whenever we made an error. No one wanted to be his friend because of his foul temper and the way he made us feel about being member of the team. The author of the book, Cal Ripken Jr., also had many of the same experiences as his fictional character. That was the most interesting aspect of the book, both the author and myself could relate to some of the events that occurred in the story. Maybe you will have a similar connection. I could empathize with Connor because of my own personal experiences. Definitely read this “grand slam” of a baseball book!
Churchill, Manitoba, will get about a thousand polar bear visitors this fall. Every year, tourists flock to Churchill to see the polar bears, which are in the area while they wait for the Hudson Bay to freeze over. If you can’t make it to Manitoba, you can watch live footage of the polar bear migration on National Geographic, courtesy of Explore.org, Polar Bear International, and Frontiers North.
Photograph courtesy of explore.org
We arrived in Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, after the camel fair. Jaipur is a Pink City, but it is a bit grimy. We rested here for a couple of days and caught up on school. When we arrived the first day we went for a little tour of the city in a tuk tuk. We had a great meal at a restaurant called Little Italy that was recommended in our guide book. The pizza and bruschetta tasted so good after one month of Indian food.
The next day was a bit lazy, but we did go to the observatory. It was really cool. The former king was very interested in astronomy so there were several inventions for us to look at. Hundreds of years ago they could figure things out like what time it was with only the shadow of the sun and a piece of marble.
After learning a lot at the outstanding Observatory we had a ice cream that was really yummy. I picked a vanilla almond drumstick.
When we woke up the next day we went on a hunt for a white outfit. My mom had this crazy idea to do a photo shoot with all the family in white outfits. While we were shopping we found a mall that had a little pool with big inflatable balls that you could climb in and play.
Everest and I both went in it at the same time and it was awesome!
Can you imagine 50,000 camels coming together in one field at one time? This happens every year in Pushkar, India, and I was able to experience this insane festival. Picture the craziest thing you know then multiply it by ten and what you will get is the Pushkar Camel Fair.
Everywhere I looked I saw camels. There were camels with hairdos, camels with funny noses, and camels with jewelry. Have you ever seen a camel chew? When they chew it looks like they are chewing bubble gum.
Eleven-year-old Aubrey has lived in Santa Barbara, California for the past five years. Her mom and dad just sold their house and car, and Aubrey and her brother Everest have left the school that Aubrey has attended since she was in kindergarten. Now they are on an amazing adventure together traveling the world!
This isn’t Aubrey’s first big travel adventure. She also traveled with her mom and dad from when she was three until she was five. Now she is ten years old and going into the fifth grade.
Aubrey enjoys volleyball, swimming, and acting. She loves to eat Mexican food. Her favorite band is The Beatles, and her favorite color is green. She is most excited to visit Africa and Brazil because she loves animals and tropical beaches.
FAST FACTS ABOUT AUBREY
Favorite Food: Fish tacos with rice and beans
Least Favorite Food: Asparagus
Favorite Relaxing Activity: Read
Favorite Movies: Bedtime Stories and Secretariat
Favorite Books: The Mother Daughter Book Club series
Hobbies: Singing, acting, and pottery
Favorite Music: The Beatles
Favorite School Subjects: Language Arts and Art
Favorite Sports: Volleyball, swimming, and snow skiing
WHERE IS AUBREY GOING NEXT?
November: India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka
December: Sri Lanka and U.S.A.
January: U.S.A. and South America
February: South America
Phenomenal Friday Fact