Salty Ancient Seawater Found Beneath Chesapeake Bay

GEOGRAPHY AWARENESS WEEK! SCIENCE Scientists have discovered a pocket of ancient seawater that’s been trapped underground near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay since the time of the dinosaurs—strong evidence that the Atlantic Ocean was once much saltier than today. (NPR) Did someone say Chesapeake Bay water quality?! Discussion Ideas The pockets of ancient Atlantic seawater found near Cape Charles, Virginia, are twice as salty … Continue reading Salty Ancient Seawater Found Beneath Chesapeake Bay

Get to Know a National Park with FieldScope

In just two days, hundred of scientists, students, and members of the public will head out into Rocky Mountain National Park as part of the 2012 National Geographic BioBlitz. Their goal: count as many different species in the park as possible in a 24-hour period. The ornithologist will count birds. The water bug specialist will count water bugs. The vascular plant scientist will help identify … Continue reading Get to Know a National Park with FieldScope

Kid-sourcing Teaches 21st Century Skills and Makes a Real Impact

Written by Alison Michel, Producer for National Geographic Education   You’ve probably heard of “crowdsourcing,” the very 21st-century term coined in 2006 in Wired magazine. This new word, a twist on the idea of outsourcing, describes the practice of posing a question or challenge to the public, and asking for individuals to contribute a small piece to the project goal. Successful examples of online crowdsourcing include … Continue reading Kid-sourcing Teaches 21st Century Skills and Makes a Real Impact

Five for Friday: Best of BioBlitz 2011!

On October 21-22 National Geographic and partners hosted BioBlitz, a 24-hour event in which teams of volunteer scientists, families, students, teachers, and other community members worked together to find and identify as many species of plants, animals, microbes, fungi, and other organisms as possible; in Saguaro National Park, Tuscon, Arizona. The results were fantastic: Scientists and citizens identified 859 species in one day (This is an unofficial count, the final numbers will be confirmed in January.). Congratulations BioBlitzers! To celebrate the outstanding success of this year’s event, My Wonderful World is highlighting five of the many fantastic factors that made this year so special.

1) Glowing scorpions
Quite literally, these unusual creatures were a major highlight of the BioBlitz. Found most easily at night, glowing scorpions are located by using black lights, which then re-emit the light as green light. According to Paul Marek, an entomologist at the University of Arizona, “[if] you go out at night into the Sonoran Desert with one of these UV lights, these scorpions light up and glow like a little star field on the ground.”

glowing scorpion.jpg2) The “Water Bear” (Tardigrades)
–a microscopic species found for the first time in Arizona! Watch this video of Baker University Student Kyrie Bair as she talks about this exciting new discovery.
waterbear.jpg3) BioBlitz-inspired technology is an awesome new way to participate in the event year-round. For starters, check out the social media website, Project NOAH, a tool to explore and document wildlife and harness the power of citizen scientists everywhere. This community-based site “makes a scientist out of all of us” as it allows users to report species and share them with tens of thousands of others. Another way new technology has expanded the reach and longevity of the event is through an electronic field trip designed to allow students around the world to “attend” the BioBlitz in Saguaro National Park. Although the event itself happened October 21, the recording of the electronic field trip can still be enjoyed by following this link:

Continue reading “Five for Friday: Best of BioBlitz 2011!”

The BioBlitz: In 5s

Disclaimer: OK, so this post is 2 weeks late as a result of my temporarily misplacing my thumbdrive and getting caught up with other work. Sincerest apologies! The good news is, it’s still plenty relevant, because BioBlitz is a year-round initiative. And in fact, planning is already underway for the 2010 signature event in Biscayne Bay, Florida. Look for more BioBlitz news in upcoming months here on the blog!

BB LOGO green blitz_Resize.jpg
This past weekend [er, May 15], I trekked out to Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore (INDU) to take part in the 3rd annual BioBlitz, a 24 hour species inventory hosted by National Geographic and the National Park Service. While not quite as sunny as last year’s event at Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA or “SAMO”), it was no less rich of a scientific endeavor. At SAMO, I was primarily occupied with public outreach, manning an activities booth. This year, my focus was a citizen science collaborative mapping project. Along with a few other staffers, I led four groups of local students using National Geographic Education’s new Fieldscope tool to track ecological succession along the dunes. But that was just one of the activities taking place at the park. Here are some highlights, in the spirit of “Five for Friday.”

5 Favorite Blog Posts
For the past two years, National Geographic’s Ford Cochran and Emily Landis have braved extreme temperatures and sleep deprivation to bring round-the-clock coverage of the Blitz. Here are my five favorite posts from this year’s Blog:

Born of Nature and Industry
An intro to INDU.

Where the Wild Things Are
BioBlitz kickoff.

I Love Everything About this Event!
Students and teachers sound off about WHY they decided to participate in the BioBlitz.

Are You Recycling Tonight?
“Green-E,” the Environmental Elvis, made a special appearance at INDU. He did not disappoint.

Fair Warning
Enough said.

5 Favorite INDU Memories

Continue reading “The BioBlitz: In 5s”