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Posts Tagged ‘environment’

Celebrate Earth Day on April 22nd

Earth as Seen from Space via Flickr [Public Domain]

Earth as Seen from Space via Flickr [Public Domain]

Earth Day rolls around every year on April 22nd, but why can’t we celebrate Earth Day every day! Small changes can make a big difference, such as picking up trash, never littering, and planting trees. These things and many others help to make our earth a cleaner and better place to live.

Earth Day started 46 years ago, on April 22, 1970. It began as an environmental movement to make world leaders aware of issues such as climate change, pollution, deforestation, endangered animals, and more. With millions of people wanting to help better the environment, “the first Earth Day had led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.

This year, Earth Day Network is promoting the “Trees for the Earth” event. The goal is to plant 7.8 billion trees around the world by the year 2020. That year will represent the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.

Many places around the world celebrate Earth Day each year with festivals, clean-up events, and other types of celebrations. These events help bring awareness of many environmental issues. This year, find a way you can contribute to cleaning up the earth and make every day Earth Day!

Teachers, direct your students to ProQuest SIRS Discoverer to learn more about Earth Day and the environment. Here are some links to get you started on your search:

Earth Day

Environmentalism

Environmental Protection

Share Earth Day with Your Students

Children, Teacher Gazing at Globe <br \> U.S. Department of Education, via ProQuest SIRS Government Reporter [Public Domain]

Children, Teacher Gazing at Globe
U.S. Department of Education via ProQuest SIRS Government Reporter [Public Domain]

Young students love learning about Earth and discovering ways that they can help the planet. As adults, it’s our responsibility to teach them ways and encourage their ideas. The classroom is an ideal place for this type of learning and exploration. And Earth Day, which is April 22, is the perfect time!

SIRS Discoverer, and its April Spotlight of the Month on Earth Day, can assist in planning for this significant global holiday. Founded in 1970, Earth Day began and continues as a day of environmental education and action. In honor of our Earth, plan activities that promote awareness and appreciation of nature, recycling, and the environment.

An outdoor garden is a great classroom. Lessons that occur there can help students develop listening, comprehension, and collaboration skills, as well as providing a solid foundation in Earth sciences.

Try an activity that helps students understand the parts of a plant and how they grow. The printable PDF version of the associated Teacher’s Guide provides information, photos, and activities. You can help your students dig deeper and understand more about plant growth with this article and associated activities on composting.

Your students can learn the art of recycling–literally–with this activity, which provides age-appropriate ideas and instructions for recycling newspapers into papier-mache, collages, or weavings. Or, impress them with the power of nature, and show them great ways people are using wind, water, and sunlight to generate “clean energy.” A diagram, quiz, and activity are provided.

We can also help the Earth–and help young students help the Earth–by learning about what is happening around the globe, from the deteriorating condition of our oceans’ coral reefs , which can lead to discussions about the warming of our planet, to the destructive and growing Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which emphasizes the necessity of recycling and limiting our use of plastics.

SIRS Discoverer’s Animal Facts feature is a wonderful way to introduce students to the many amazing creatures of our planet. Some are endangered, like the Asian elephant; yet some have recovered from the brink of extinction, like the Galapagos tortoise. Why are some animal populations struggling? How can we help the diversity of Earth’s life thrive?

Celebrate life on Earth, and Earth itself, this Earth Day. If it is important to you, it will be important to the children you reach!

Real-Life Classroom Connections: Endangered Species

Big Debates, Local Impacts

Getting students to engage in debates about controversial Leading Issues like endangered species protection is difficult. Using local examples is one strategy to help students understand that abstract debates have practical, local implications. If students understand local impacts, then they are more likely to understand larger debates.

Include these four major steps in your locally-focused lesson:

  1. Find local examples
  2. Discuss impacts
  3. Formulate opinions
  4. Debate viewpoints

Sea turtles are an example of an endangered species in my community. Take a look.

Find & Discuss

Walk down Fort Lauderdale Beach right now and you will see the Endangered Species Act in action. Roped-off sea turtle nests scatter the shoreline. Artificial lighting, which disorients sea turtles, is reduced. Signs warn beachgoers to back off or else face fines and imprisonment.

Sea turtle nesting season in Florida runs from March through October. Under normal conditions, female sea turtles emerge from the ocean at night. Once on the beach, they dig holes and lay eggs. After almost two months of incubation, the hatchlings emerge and, barring any natural or man-made obstructions, find their way to the ocean.

Sea Turtle Nest on Fort Lauderdale Beach in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  (Credit: Victor Bullen)

Roped-Off Sea Turtle Nest on Fort Lauderdale Beach
in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
(Credit: Victor Bullen)

Formulate & Debate

Unfortunately, humans and coastal development have helped drive sea turtles toward extinction. Conservation efforts are trying to reverse population declines, which is why many sea turtle species, including the Green, Leatherback, and Hawksbill, are listed as endangered species. Some argue that the Endangered Species Act helps prevent vulnerable species from becoming extinct. Others, however, contend that the Endangered Species Act hinders economic development. The debate over federal endangered species protections will likely continue to be a contentious issue in South Florida.

A Sign Warns Against Disturbing Sea Turtle Nests  (Credit: Victor Bullen)

A Sign Warns Against Disrupting Sea Turtle Nests
(Credit: Victor Bullen)

Tell us about an endangered species in your neighborhood. List it in the comments section below or Tweet us at #ProQuest.

(Video Credit: AP via YouTube)

SIRS Leading Issues: World Environment Day

“Planet Earth is our shared island, let us join forces to protect it.” –United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

World Environment Day, June 5th, is a great opportunity for an earth-friendly lesson plan. The United Nations’ aim for the day is to raise awareness and spark action over the environmental challenges we face as one world, together. With alarming headlines about persistent drought, sea level rising and anthropogenic global warming becoming increasingly commonplace, take full advantage of SIRS Leading Issues to illustrate the risks of our environmental impact to your students.

Top 10 Countries by CO2 Emissions

Meet Common Core standards by putting our recently added infographics to use, or explore our latest additions to the Leading Issues, pointing out how our Energy Policy decisions impact global carbon dioxide emissions, or how Energy Conservation can ultimately improve both public and environmental health.

The United Nations’ goal of World Environment Day is to engage all of us in active, environmentally responsible living. SIRS Leading Issues can help make that objective attainable in your classroom now, and into our sustainable future.

Easy Ways to Celebrate Endangered Species Day

“Nothing is more priceless and more worthy of preservation than the rich array of animal life with which our country has been blessed.”
–President Nixon, upon signing the Endangered Species Act, December 28, 1973

baby gorilla

Photo credit: Heatherlyone/Foter/CC BY-ND

Endangered Species Day provides an opportunity for people young and old to celebrate our biodiversity and promote the conservation of wildlife, fish and plants threatened with extinction.

Endangered Species Day is held the third Friday of May (and throughout the month) by zoos, aquariums, parks, botanic gardens, museums, schools and communities.

Here are tips students, educators, families and communities can use:

Students: Learn more about endangered species and habitat conservation in your area. The first step in protecting threatened animals is learning how important they are to our world.

Educators: Encourage students to get involved in wildlife protection. Start with resources available on SIRS Discoverer. You’ll find plenty of articles and activities focused on biodiversity and conservation.

Families & Communities: Take Action: Attend an endangered species event in your area. Visit your local zoo, aquarium or natural history museum. Get social: Show your support for Endangered Species by updating your Facebook timeline photo with your favorite wildlife species.

Want even more inspiration to get involved in conservation efforts? Check out this must-see list of the 10 Cutest Endangered Species.