We have been using GPS (Global Positioning System) to record the latitude and longitude of our study sites. In that way we can determine the exact location next year when we return to repeat the study. The picture on the right shows New Hampton students learning how to read latitude and longitude on the GPS.

Bud Burst

This spring we have begun a yearly project that will collect data on the timing of bud burst of trees. Students monitor a tree to determine the date that flower and leaves emerge from the buds that protected them from the winter. The first step of the study is determining the location of the study tree using a GPS. We then visit the site, first weekly, then on a daily basis until we observe bud burst. Using the GLOBE program we will be able to compare our data with that of other schools. This study will be part of the climate change unit that we finished this winter.

The Risk of Making a Decision

The last topic of the climate change unit was risk assessment. View the following website, "How it All Ends" for a interesting (and strange) lesson in using risk assessment to aid in decision making. It is an interesting argument to take action to stop global warming.

"How it All Ends"

If you really what the above information with even more details see the following link by the same lecturer

"How it All End: The Nature of Science" (in three parts)

Reducing Carbon Emissions

Each member of the ecology classes calculated their "Carbon Footprint" which is a calculation of the number of tons of carbon produced by an individual. Students where then asked to summarize their findings and brainstorm ways in which they could reduce their footprint. The following are a few of their ideas:

Drive less (car pool, consolidate errands, mass transit, walk or bike short trips)
Eat less meat
Buy locally (produce, etc.)
Buy organic foods
Take shorter showers
Turn off computers and surge protectors when not in use
Replace incandescent bulbs with fluorescent
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

You can find you own carbon footprint at the following site:

Climate Change

This winter the ecology class studied the atmosphere, how light is absorbed and the greenhouse effect. We then applied this knowledge to the global threat of climate change or global warming. This heated topic is muddled by input from media, business, politicians and grass root organizations. To make decisions regarding the environment, it is important to research carefully and find evidence that is reviewed by the greater scientific community. Since many of the students watched "An Inconvenient Truth" last year we, instead, watched Glenn Becks,"Exposed, A Climate of Fear". We then used the website, "Media Matters of America", a media watch group to evaluate the arguments presented by "Exposed". The students found the show's arguments were misleading and misinterpreted or misrepresented scientific evidence. To see "Exposed" (in 5 parts) and "Media Matters", go to the following web sites.

Exposed: The Climate of Fear

Media Matters of America