Sunday, March 22, 2009

Spring Is Here!!



Its official--Spring has arrived to Northern Ohio!! Well, actually, it is official that Spring has arrived all over the northern hemisphere. We don't usually think about Spring in other parts of the world, or Fall for that matter. Not until we start traveling to other places that is. My best friend (is that "bff" ?) teaches biology and other sciences in Melbourne, Victoria. That is in Australia and that is in the Southern Hemisphere. He just saw the arrival of Autumn and he is extra happy this year. You see, the past Summer brought incredible extremes to southern Australia. You may have heard about the terrible fires that "broke-out" just outside of Melbourne this past month. I put quotes around "broke-out" because arson is suspected. But mother nature created the conditions that led to this disaster. You see, I have been following the weather in Melbourne for the past 5 years or so. Ever since I traveled to Trinity Grammar School one year and the University of Melbourne the next to teach teacher workshops. They have had a drought for the past 7 years. About a month ago I noticed that there was a 90 degree F difference in the temperatures of Concord, Ohio and Melbourne, Australia. It was 14 degrees here in Ohio and 104 degrees in Melbourne. Later that same month it got up to 114 - 116 degrees with strong winds. It was very dry and the conditions for a fire disaster were perfect. That's when the fires "broke-out." Over 230 people perished. Two educational aids at my friend's son's school are included in this total. Here is a link for a short video about how the fires impacted one of Australia's most beautiful parks--Wilson's Promontory.

Why did I bring this up? Well, for lots of reasons.

First, it connects to "Where In the World Are We?" If you are here in Northern Ohio, it is now Springtime. If you are in Melbourne, it is Autumn. In fact it is 9:23 Monday morning (I am typing this at 6:23 pm Sunday evening.) The students are closer to the beginning of their school year, Ohio students are starting to look for the end of the year (some Ohio students actually start thinking about the end of the school year in October, but that is another problem ;)
Second, I thought that we need to think about the impact our abiotic environment has on us and on the biota around us. The conditions for disaster in Melbourne were set in motion by the high air temps, the low humidity and the high winds (not to mention the years of drought that preceded the fires.) The beginning of Spring in Northern Ohio brings about lots of new plants, lots of returning birds and lots of moving amphibians, reptiles, fish, and insects.
That's what this entry is all about--the changing face of our environment, wherever it is. We visited Jordan Creek (or ________ Creek according to the USGS Topo map of the area--Be the first to tell me the name that is on the topo map and receive this week's great surprise -either here or in class.) We monitored the physical and chemical parameters of the Creek (Do you remember what a parameter is?) Now we will see what is living down there. All of this will help us to determine the nature of our environment. It is all a part of "Where In the World We Are!"
Let's hope the weather holds and our nets don't have holes that are too big !!


video


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