Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Who-Who's There? Owls in the City

Yesterday, my charges & I went on an "urban nature walk" in a local city park. We were looking for signs of wildlife in the heart of the city. Well, squirrels obvious. Lots of squirrels everywhere. But there were signs of other wildlife. Lots of hollows in trees, mounded heaps of earth. But it was hard to really locate these signs. But wildlife does thrive in cities. Sometimes, you just have to visit at the right time -- at night or dusk/dawn. At that very same park, I've seen 2 young raccoons. Good thing observing the botanical wildlife keep us busy. There were a variety of grasses, fungi, trees, and shrubs. We're still trying to learn all of them.

In meantime, enjoy this article about owls: Barred Owls respond well to city life. This is good news because owls are top predators. They prey on squirrels, mice, pigeons, sparrows and other small animals. Predators keep the system balanced and especially in urban environments it can be challeging to keep things in check. So look out for owls in your local park.
photo credit:

Keep having Urban Science Adventures!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Arctic Ice decline is modifying animals behavior

Melting Ice Drives Walrus Ashore. Okay this matter of climate change and the ice caps melting is very serious. Things are changing so much that now the movement and seasonal patterns of animals are being modified. Walruses are predators and when the predators move, that signals a pretty big thing is going on in the ecological community.

Think about the typical food chain. As a predator the walrus depends on primary consumers like fish species and mussels. These creatures consume plant material or microbes. This is also another example of how abiotic factors (like weather, climate, land, and water) can influence biotic systems (plants and animals). No doubt the unexpected presence of walrus in Alaska this time of year will have ripple effect on those local ecosystems.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

NC Science Blogging Conference

Okay, I'm really thinking about going to the NC Science Blogging Conference. I really can't afford it and I do have a job. But this sounds SO attractive. Great Professional Development. but who would pay for it. Even more, which friends can I convince to join me there??? Maybe I can convice the job (or the fiduciary agency) to cover some of the costs. After all I am trying to get my subordinates to Blog their learning and service experiences - all of which are science related. A long shot.

Dangit, the Conference Program is terribly attractive, too. And I'm thinking of applying for the AAAS Mass Media Fellowship. If I get accepted the job house will so hate me. Oh, well.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Tagged on ScienceBlogs!

I have been Blog Rolled on by A Blog Around the Clock. It is a real treat to be mentioned by anyone, especially a well-respected science site like ScienceBlogs.
Thanks, Coturnix.

ScienceBlogs is a growing online community of science bloggers. These scientists blog about every possible science discipline and society issues that stem from or are affected by scientific enterprise.

Oh, and if I'm not too far off, the community is sponsored by the publishers of SEED Magazine.
SEED Magazine is this century's popular science news magazine. I love it. I encourage everyone to get a copy, especially teachers, youth group leaders, and public libary custodians. It includes thought provoking essays, interviews with scientists and science policy makers, and it even includes science crib sheets! That Rocks!
So, please subscribe. Why? Well of the most popular science news magazines (intended for general audiences) like Discover, Popular Science, Popular Mechanics - the average reader is a white male, age 51, college-educated, with a middle income or better. That means there are a LOT of other people not reading about science. Let's see if we can do something about that.

My next recommendation is to check out and check out some of the essays. The writing style and links may be a little to thick for most of my target audience (teens and young adults) but by all means give it a try. Even I can't make out every word of the blogs about chemistry, space science, and microbiology. So don't feel intimidated.

If you come across something that even remotely touches on something you've covered in class. Print it off. Impress your teachers.

Happy science adventures!

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