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Welcome to the Knowledge Garden!  Get ready to raise your Enviromental IQ with engaging minds-on and hands-on activities, experiments, projects and articles for teachers, parents and students, of all ages!

 

The Sunflowers Project  Did you know Native Americans used to make flutes out of sunflower stems and dyes from the seed hulls?  Sunflowers have a long and interesting environmentally friendly past. Corn isn't the only plant that's yellow! 

Earth Buddy 365  Every little bit helps and we can all do our part are the foundational cornerstones of the Earth Buddy 365 program...one less light burning, one less trip in the car, one more recycled bottle, or just one more question you might ask yourself about what more you can do! Help make every day Earth Day with EB-365!

Scamper This! Plants Get those creative juices flowing with this easy to follow SCAMPER Strategy for all things science. Increase your problem-solving abilities and critical thinking and reasoning skills. Students can use this approach for science fair, class projects, or any time when thinking is required.

Solar Energy Challenge! Solar panels are cropping up everywhere...on purses, luggage, backpacks, even baseball caps. Why not...you're already outside so why not plug in your iPOD, cell phone or GameBOY and charge your batteries. Think of three (3) places where you might put a solar panel and let us know! Contact the Earth Buddy Team.

What is your carbon footprint? Visit myfootprint.org and fill in your stats. If you're not sure about some of the information, ask an adult to help you. Review your footprint profile at the end of the survey, taking special note of which aspects of your lifestyle contribute the most and the least to your footprint. Now try changing some of your input (keeping track of what you changed) and see what it might take to decrease your impact (i.e. your footprint). Can you take any steps to decrease your footprint or possibly help others decrease their footprint? Have you been involved in any community-wide projects that have decreased your community's footprint? Share your projects with other Earth Buddies! Graph your footprint profile using several different types of charts.

In the Pithy...Ask not what your planet can do for you, but what you can do for your planet.

HOT Summer Fun! A great way to put all those crayon nubs to good use is to crush them, set them in a mold or a small tin and let the sun do its job. You'll end up with a colorful homemade crayon. With the heat from the sun your solid crayons melted to a liquid, allowing the colors to mix. Once they cool, they will became solid again. Do you know what crayons are made of?

Try This! Find out what else will melt in the sun...how about a chocolate candy? What kind of chocolate candy would you choose? What if you compared two different kinds of chocolate candy. Depending on what you choose, there might be a difference in how fast each melts? Learn more about how monkeys make chocolate and other great foods and medicines derived from tropical rainforests at How Stuff Works! Where have all the honeybees gone?

What's the BUZZ? According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture about one-third of the human diet comes from insect-pollinated plants and the honeybee is responsible for about 80 percent. Scientists are alarmed by the dramatic drop in honeybee populations.

Alec Z. (age 11 of Denver, CO) thinks, "It's probably because of the ozone hole." How might the ozone hole be responsible for the decrease in the honeybee population? Even if the ozone hole is not the reason for the decrease seen in bee populations, how might the ozone hole affect bees? What does ozone do? What other insects might also be affected by changes in the amount of UV radiation reaching the Earth? What do you think happened to the honeybees?

KEYWORDS: Polarized light, dance, disorientation, radiation effects, flower patterns, disruption, ultraviolet light, visible light, electromagnetic spectrum

HOT LINKS: Learn more about bees and see what the experts are saying...
What's the BUZZ about Bees? || Bee Vision: The Latest Buzz in Space Exploration || Dance and Communication of Honeybees || Who Killed the Honeybees? || What Bees Eat

Why Earth Buddy?


Earth Buddy seeks to: 1) increase environmental literacy and understanding; 2) encourage environmental stewardship; and, 3) provide children (of all ages) with easy-to-do, proactive environmental activities.


Increasing Our Environmental Literacy


We can all do our part. Every little bit helps.

These pleasant platitudes are fairly abstract notions for many adults, let alone children. But we can transform "we can all do our part and "every little bit helps" into accessible, object lessons with a simple question...how.

By defining "how" we become active participants in the process, making "best practices" decisions, leading by example and encouraging others to do their part as well. In the classroom and beyond, we can provide children (of all ages) with real-world problem solving opportunities that allows them to apply critical thinking and reasoning skills. The translation from a call-to-action to action not only engages children in the process, but also encourages them to be independent thinkers, innovators and leaders.

Few would argue that the scope of the challenges presented by pollution, global warming and climate change are mind-boggling, and our ability to arrive at a comprehensive solution to solve the whole problem in one fell swoop is, at best, naive. On the flipside, it is often difficult to reconcile how one recyling bin filled with twenty-five plastic bottles, thirty-two aluminum cans along with a nice assortment of paper products including cardboard packaging, a weeks worth of newspapers and a 13" stack of junk mail and office paper can make a difference. But that's exactly where "every little bit helps" and "we can all do our part" comes in. One recycling bin multiplied by millions of sustained efforts aimed at reducing, reusing and recycling does make a difference. Similarly, we can approach the mind-boggling challenges presented by climate change by hyphenating the problem into discrete units and further dissecting the derived specifics into even more manageable pieces. These hyphenated challenges can then be addressed with elaborated solutions, actionable plans and accountable practices. In this way we can all do our part TODAY and indeed fulfill the hopeful promise that every little bit does help.


 

For feedback, comments or questions, contact the Earth Buddy Team.

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