Tag archives for United States
This spring, swarms of periodical cicadas will emerge on the east coast of the United States. These Brood II (or Brood 2), 1.5-inch long cicadas spend most of their lives underground, coming to the surface 17 years after they were laid as eggs by their mother! The cicadas start appearing after the temperature in the ground rises to 64°F. The year’s first cicadas have been spotted in the last few days.
They don’t sting or bite, but there will be millions of them crawling and flying around.
Andrew Evans, National Geographic’s Digital Nomad, recently traveled to South Padre Island in Texas. During his stay, he visited Sea Turtle Inc, an organization that helps injured sea turtles recover before releasing them back into the wild.
Andrew met a turtle named Allison at the facility. Allison is a green sea turtle that has lost three out of her four flippers, probably to a shark. Allison has been given a prosthetic fin to help her swim.
Water is a very important resource for life. Every day we use it for drinking, washing, farming and cooking. But it’s not an unlimited resource, so we need to find ways to use it more wisely.
The Colorado River is one source of water that is disappearing. It stretches 1,450 miles (2,333 kilometers), but can barely even reach the sea anymore. The water is split up among seven states in the U.S. and Mexico. Around 30 million people use this source of water for drinking and irrigation. This means that there is little water left over to support the ecosystem that lives along the river’s path.
It may be hard to believe, but we all use the water from the Colorado River. It isn’t just farmers who use it for irrigation or big cities like Las Vegas. Many of us consume items produced in the region, such as hamburgers and cornmeal.
Did you know that the average American uses twice as much water as the global average? That’s about 2,000 gallons per person every day!
To make a difference, adults are pledging to change what they do on a daily basis, by eating less meat or carpooling. For every pledge that an adult makes, Change the Course will help put back 1,000 gallons of water to the Colorado River. Ask your parents if they want to learn more about Change the Course.
And yes, please do turn off the faucet when you brush your teeth. Every drop counts.
What will you do to change the course?
You probably know that the election for the President of the United States is coming up on November 6. But who can run for President, and how does the president get elected? Kids.gov had a contest in 2010 where people had the chance to design a poster that explains the whole process–from how old you have to be to get in the running, to how the election’s final decisions are made. The winning poster is now available on the Kids.gov website.
Illustration courtesy of Kids.gov
Nine-banded armadillos are expanding into areas of the United States where they have never lived before. The animals have been spotted in South Carolina and Illinois, and experts predict that they may someday be seen around Washington D.C. or New Jersey! Why are the animals moving northward?
Colleen McDonough, a biologist at Georgia’s Valdosta State University, says armadillos have been moving north for a variety of reasons, including changes in land use and fewer predators, and not necessarily due to climate change. “Because this movement has been consistent over the years, I think it is a continuation [of a longer-term trend] and not directly the result of recent climate change,” she says.
Whatever the reason, these adaptable animals may be coming soon to a neighborhood near you!
Photograph by Bianca Lavies, National Geographic
This past weekend, Hurricane Irene swept up the East Coast of the U.S. The Category 1 hurricane first touched land in North Carolina. People living in Virginia to New York experienced flooding and downed trees. By the time it reached New York City and New England, Irene was downgraded to a tropical storm.
Hurricanes get weaker after they pass over land. Irene did slow down, but it remained large and destructive much longer than most hurricanes as it moved north through Vermont.
Photograph by Hyunsoo Leo Kim, The Virginian-Pilot/AP
Snowmelt and heavy rainfall in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota have swollen the Mississippi River to near-record levels. Flooding has occurred in Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Some rural areas have been flooded by opening spillways on the river. Doing this might help keep flood water out of big cities.
Photograph by Patrick Semansky, AP
The tamarisk tree was brought to the United States in the 1800s as a decorative tree, and it was also used to help stabilize the soil on rivers. The tree has thrived in the southwest, crowding out native trees. For many years, biologists have removed the invasive trees by digging them up or using herbicides In 2001, land managers began releasing imported salt cedar leaf beetles in an attempt to help stop the spread of the trees (tamarisk trees are also called salt cedars).
The beetles are doing their job more effectively than expected and have migrated up to 100 miles away from where they were released. Scientists are now concerned that species that have gotten used to the tamarisk trees may have trouble adjusting when the trees are gone. One example of this is the endangered southwestern willow flycatcher, which prefers nesting in tamarisk trees even when there are other native trees available.
Iggy Arbuckle has tried a similar trick to eliminate invasive species in the Kookamunga! Watch the video on National Geographic Kids.
Photograph by Michael Melford, National Geographic
This weekend is the perfect opportunity to pitch a tent, take a hike, or tour a national park near you to celebrate National Park Week, from April 17 to April 25. The park service is also waiving the entrance fees at all 392 parks in the U.S., and many parks are holding special events during the week, including some Earth Day activities.
Learn more about National Park Week on the National Park Service website.
Photograph by Caity Lynch, My Shot
Have you ever hiked or camped in a national park? Then you probably have seen a park ranger on duty. The National Park Foundation wants kids ages 9 to 12 to enter a contest and write an essay answering this question: If you were a National Park Ranger for a day, how would you describe the national parks to someone who’s never been before?
The winner of the contest will receive $200 in Merrell gift certificates, an Olympus camera, and an America the Beautiful pass. The pass allows free entry to all of America’s recreation lands.
Learn more about the contest on the National Park Foundation website.
Want some inspiration? Visit the photo gallery to see great shots from the parks, then Quiz Your Noodle and see how much you know about these national treasures.