Category archives for Conservation
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.
The University of Maryland is the winner of the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2011 Solar Decathlon, a program that challenges international teams of college students with designing, building, and operating cost effective, energy efficient, and attractive solar-powered houses.
WaterShed, the University of Maryland’s house, is focused on water conservation and recycling. The house features a “green” roof that reduces rainwater runoff and increases the house’s energy efficiency, a garden, an “edible wall,” and a composting station.
Check out more photos of WaterShed and the 18 other competing houses.
Which house would have gotten your vote?
Photographs by Jim Tetro/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon
Photograph by sgf-pictures, NG Kids My Shot
Who’s this octopus? He’s Marmo, the mascot for PUMA’s new ocean conservation campaign. He is a smart, strong sea creature. In this photo, he is standing with PUMA’s boat the Mar Mostro, which sails with the PUMA Volvo Ocean Racing team.
During the upcoming 2011-2012 Volvo Ocean Race, Marmo will share his experiences as well as information on marine creatures, habitats, and ocean issues. He will also make appearances at local aquariums and schools in stopover ports along the race’s route.
Marmo will share his experiences on PUMA’s website. Click here to visit!
Photograph courtesy of PUMA
From April 16 to 24, 2011, the U.S. National Park Service will offer free admission to its 394 park sites. Grab your camera and explore a park (or two). Upload your pictures to NG Kids My Shot with the tag “Park Week.” Your photo might be featured in a gallery of the best park images.
In the meantime, click through U.S. National Parks pictures and get inspired to capture images of your own.
Also, check out the Most Visited Parks photos.
Photograph by David Yegerlehner, My Shot
Saturday, Nov. 27
The flight from Baltra arrived in Quito Sucre International Airport. We
were immediately escorted to the Hilton Colon Hotel, where we would stay
for the next three days.
That afternoon, we decided to go to the Mitad del Mundo or the center of
the world. This is the monument dedicated to the location of the Equator.
Did you know that?
We learned that the equatorial monument was not exactly on the Equator
and second museum, which was built later, actually was. We visited the
GPS-accurate one first. It was called the Museo Inti-Nan. We learned
about many native Amerindian cultures in the area, including the Shuar
tribe, which makes the famous tsantsas or shrunken heads and there was a tsantsas on display. How eerie!
Read the whole post »
Monday, Nov. 22
We arrived in Floreana, the mystical island. Before breakfast, we had a small excursion to Post Office Bay. This was the post office of the Galapagos Islands. One would deposit mail in the mail box and anyone who could deliver it would pick it up.
After breakfast, we went deep-water snorkeling around Champion Islet, off the coast of Floreana. The waters were pretty cold that day at around 68 degrees F. We did manage to see and photograph fish, however. After snorkeling, we went in the glass bottom boat to see hundreds of different fish we didn’t see while snorkeling.
We went on a mission, by zodiac, to shoot the elusive Floreana mockingbird, now only found on Champion Islet (on Camera). We saw two of them, which was nearly 5% of their total population!
After lunch, we went kayaking in the waters off Punta Cormorant. It was really fun. We saw many turtles. We nearly bumped into a sea lion taking his afternoon nap. He was startled at our arrival. He groaned and then we left him to his nap.
Next was the hike on Floreana Island. This island was pretty green. There was a big lagoon right in the middle where we spotted some flamingos. We learned that these came from the Caribbean and were lost here! At the end of the hike, we came to the other side of the island. There we spotted countless turtle nests. Right off the beach, there were sharks and sting rays swimming. There was also an abundance of crabs on the rocks. Alas, it was getting dark and we had to leave the pristine landscape.
Read the whole post »
The average American uses a lot of water. In fact the total can be as much as 2,000 gallons of H2O a day. That seems impossible, doesn’t it? Surprisingly, very little of that–only five
percent–runs through toilets, taps, and garden hoses at home. Nearly 95
percent of your water footprint is hidden in the food you eat, energy
you use, products you buy, and services you rely on.
Work with your mom or dad to help you figure out your water footprint, and then pledge to reduce it.
Have you ever been asked, or have you ever thought: Why might having some species that aren’t normally found in a place create a problem for nature? Can this be the case for both plants and animals?
Remember back in my first dispatch to you, when the problem of the hyacinths in Lake Ravelobe was introduced. (See Madagascar Research & Conservation post.)
We’ve been working with the local park service (called Madagascar National Parks) and other partners to come up with potential solutions. The first step is, of course, removing as many hyacinths as we can. As the easiest way to do this is by hand, we’ve coordinated with a local “Friends of the Lake” association and additional people living here to recruit and pay for pulling the hyacinths out of the water from the banks. The park service’s tractor will then take the loads and loads of the pulled plants away for disposal. This way, not only do we have conservation action to help the ecosystem here, the local economy gets a boost, too!
The dental team has finished their work in Madagascar now, and we were lucky enough to have them with us in Ambodimanga (the village where our camp is in Ankarafantsika National Park) for 2.5 days. They were in Madagascar for almost 3 weeks total at different sites. While they were staying with us, the dentists treated more than 125 local people and pulled 500+ teeth free of charge during that time!
Sponsored by The Ankizy Fund (an organization founded by paleontologist, friend, and National Geographic grantee Dr. David Krause), this team of dentists and dental students from North America comes to Madagascar and our site almost every year. While they were here, they converted our meeting area, called “the refectoire” into a makeshift clinic where they could treat up to 8 people at a time.
That animal you see here and in my first post is called a fosa (it has also been spelled fossa). It’s scientific name is Cryptoprocta ferox. It is the largest mammalian predator and top carnivore on Madagascar. We call these animals at the top of the food chain “keystone species” because they act to hold an ecosystem together, much like the keystone of a bridge. (Homework assignment for readers: find out why Pennsylvania is called “The Keystone State.” How does this relate to a “keystone species?”) Fosa help keep a higher level of diversity and (this is a good vocabulary term) species richness in the forests where they live. We only find fosa in healthy, little-disturbed forests and the fact we captured two in one day means great things for Ankarafantsika National Park.
I am one of the National Geographic Emerging Explorers and I am a conservation scientist. One of the winners of the Hands-On Explorer Challenge in 2009, Pete, recently sent me a question about my work. I hope other kids will send me questions about my conservation efforts in Madagascar, and any questions you have about exploration in general!
Please read the blog and send in your questions in the comments below!
Pete’s Questions: Are you in Madagascar yet? If so, what are you hoping to learn or explore in this expedition? How long are you going to be in Madagascar?
I’m in Madagascar now and we’re staying really busy in the forest (called Ankarafantsika National Park). We’re trapping for the fossa (also spelled fosa) here, while also doing census of all the other animals in the forest like lemurs, birds, snakes, lizards, and chameleons.
National Geographic’s Environment website has created a new Personal Energy Meter tool to help you and your family measure the amount of energy you use. Ask your mom or dad to help you figure out what your carbon footprint is based on where you live. The site also gives you tips on how you can reduce your energy use!
Check out the Great Energy Challenge and the Personal Energy Meter.
Get more tips on how you can Save Power.
This year’s BioBlitz species study in Biscayne National Park near Miami, Florida begins today. The 24-hour event teams together volunteer scientists, families, students, teachers, and other community members to find and identify as many species of plants, animals, microbes, fungi, and other organisms as possible.
A BioBlitz gives kids and adults the opportunity to join biologists in the field and participate in a real-life research expedition. It’s a fun and exciting way to learn about the biological diversity of local parks and to better understand how to protect them.
National Geographic is helping conduct a BioBlitz in a different national park each year during the decade leading up to the U.S. National Park Service Centennial in 2016. Volunteers at the 2009 Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore BioBlitz turned up more than 1,200 species compared with more than 1,700 in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in 2008, and more than 650 in Washington, D.C.’s Rock Creek Park in 2007.
Would you consider participating in a BioBlitz?
Did you know that the average bathtub holds about 40-50 gallons (151 to 189 liters) of water? So when you take a bath you use a lot of water. Why not skip the bath on Earth Day and save some precious water?
Or take a quick shower to wash off the day’s grime. If you have a water-saving shower head installed on your shower, you might use only 10 gallons (38 liters) of water during a 5-minute shower.
What other water-saving tips do you have to share with other kids?
Did you take part in the fourth annual Earth Hour on March 27, 2010? People around the globe turned off their lights, computers, TVs, and other energy consuming devices for one hour from 8:30 – 9:30 p.m. local time to show their commitment to saving energy.
Last year our blogger Ayat participated in Earth Hour from Jordan. Read her post!
Learn more about Earth Hour 2010 on National Geographic News.
If you didn’t participate this year, will you try this next year?
You want to save energy and help the environment? Why not start with your school? DoSomething.org and Hewlett-Packard want to see your ideas for making your school more energy efficient and they are handing out some cool prizes!
Check out a video with Nick Cannon explaining the program and find out how you can get involved. Check out Increase Your Green.
Photograph courtesy DoSomething.org
The wild tiger population in Asia’s Mekong River region has dropped by 70 percent in just over a decade, from 1,200 tigers to only about 350 remaining, according to the World Wildlife Fund. Poachers are hunting the tigers for use in traditional medicine.
This year, 2010, is the Year of the Tiger in the Chinese Zodiac. Later this month,
ministers from 13 tiger range countries will meet in Thailand for a
conference on tiger conservation. It’s hoped the governments will agree
on future needs in protecting this big cat from extinction.
Read more about the tigers on National Geographic News.
Learn about the Big Cats Initiative.
Luke Dollar is trying to save big cats. Read an Interview With Luke Dollar.
Photograph by Stefano Paltera/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon
Team Germany won the Solar Decathlon contest to create a house that uses solar power to supply energy for everything in the house, from the computer to the TV. Architecture and engineering students from around the world competed in the decathlon. The winning house, built of solar panels and colorful acrylic panels the team called “sun freckles,” was one of 20 designs that were set up on the Mall in Washington, D.C. for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon.
Watch a video and see the winning house on National Geographic News!
Would you want to design a solar house?
Help Valerie and her otter pal Oscar save Oscar’s estuary home, and find out why estuaries and all waterways are important. Play Waterlife, a new game from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration game.
Read about the 2007 Coastal Cleanup on National Geographic Kids.
Image courtesy NOAA
Do you know what healthy coral reefs looks like, how many sharks swim there, and what makes them stay so vibrant? National Geographic Fellow Enric Sala and a team of marine scientists want you to help them uncover the secrets of the last healthy, undisturbed parts of the ocean.
Photograph courtesy Enric Sala
Follow them on a six-week journey to a chain of pristine islands in the South Pacific Ocean.
Send them your questions, meet the crew, see pictures of coral reefs, watch videos, read their blog, and track the expedition on a map,