I’m back with another set of bookmarks for students and teachers. Because I’ve taught the IB Environmental systems and societies course for several years, this set of online resources is closest to my heart. Some of these links are here simply because I think they’re cool or fun. Many may also be applicable for studying biology and chemistry as well. Let’s get to it:
- United States Census Bureau. Extensive database of global human populations. Can be used to create age-sex pyramids, as well as other applications.
- Earth wind map. A cool interactive resource to check wind patterns in real time anywhere on the planet.
- Visualizing Environmental Science, 1st edition. By John Wiley and Sons, Inc. Online textbook and animations. Much of the site is password protected, but parts are available for free.
- IB Environmental systems and societies worksheets and past questions. From Pearson, a of publisher of one of the IB-aligned student textbooks.
- Edge of Existence, by the London Zoological Society. Full of resources on endangered species.
- Living National Treasures. A guide to threatened and endangered species which are endemic to a single country and nowhere else. Searchable by country or species.
- Aquatic and Terrestrial Biomes. University of Miami, Florida, USA. The page looks a little dated but is still a wealth of information.
- The Habitable Planet. An extensive digital platform for teaching “the systems approach to environmental science”. By the Annenberg Foundation and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
- Ecology and geography fieldwork techniques.
- Survey techniques for beginners. From Wild About Britain.
- Field survey methods from the New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage. More advanced than resources above.
- Wildlife Surveys presentation 1. A powerpoint presentation about how to conduct wildlife surveys.
- Wildlife Surveys presentation 2. A powerpoint presentation about how to conduct wildlife surveys.
- Wildlife survey field lab template. This PDF from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection has a good layout to help middle school teachers and students design their own field surveys.
- GRID-Arendal Maps and Infographics Library. In association with UNEP. This is one of my favorite resources for teaching environmental science. Searchable by topic, keyword, or geography. All maps and images are free to share. Awesome!
- Timelapse. Watch the world change over the course of nearly three decades of satellite photography.
- Ocean Health Index. A searchable database around several components of ocean health.
- NicheScience. An IB ESS YouTube channel, with podcasts for most of the old syllabus and a growing list of videos aligned with the new syllabus.
- AP Environmental Science. Another YouTube playlist from the very talented Paul Andersen.
- Kyoto Protocol. A website dedicated to the organizations and research involved in the effort to understand climate change.
- IPCC official website. Home of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service homepage.
- Animation gallery from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Searchable. Reliable. Lots of visual data.
- Visualizing global carbon footprints. Interactive data maps from National Geographic.
- Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process. From the World Food and Agriculture Organization.
- ARKive photo and video collections organized by species, conservation status, geography, environmental topic, habitat, and student age group. UK-centered.
- Edible Schoolyard. All the resources you need to create a food garden at your school. Based on the very successful program in the U.S.
Posted in Environmental Systems, MYP Science, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized
Tagged 21st century learning, Africa, agriculture, biodiversity, biology, chemistry, climate change, conservation, cool stuff, ecological pyramids, ecology, ecosystems, Education, elephants, energy, Energy resources, environmental perspectives, environmental science, ESS, evolution, food resources, human impact on the environment, human populations, life science, online resources, photosynthesis, plants, poaching, population growth, research, resources, science, Science education, trophic levels, videos
There’s a serious problem with elephant poaching in Tanzania, and it seems to be getting worse by the day. The series of articles below outline some of what’s happening in this beautiful country and just how devastating the Asian demand for ivory is to Tanzania’s natural resources.
We can consider elephants as natural capital, a resource base which may be replenished given enough time for growth. However, it would appear that current rates of destruction from ivory poaching far outstrip elephants’ natural replacement rate, meaning that overall populations in Tanzania will continue to decline.
Have a read through the following articles, all of which were sent to me by my fellow science teacher, Matt Erdosy, while we wee in classes today. The first one describes the armed robbery of a tourist bus in the Ngorogoro Conservation Area (NCA) in northern Tanzania – a bold move on the poachers’ part, showing that they’re not too concerned about police enforcement here.
The second article details the other end of the ivory trade – the retailers in New York and other large cities who pass along ivory to the final consumers. This article in particular discusses the regulatory shortcomings of laws in the consumer countries.
The final few articles delve into some of the internal politics influencing the failure to effectively police ivory and rhino poaching in Tanzania, including a petition to return a government minister to his role combatting poaching.
At the current rate of killing, there may be no more elephants in Tanzania within a decade. That means no elephants on safari anywhere – not in Serengeti, not in Mikumi, or Selous, Ruaha, Katavi, or Tarangire. Nowhere!
Posted on January 21, 2014 in Environmental Systems, Grade 9 Science
Tagged biodiversity, conservation, ecology, elephants, ivory, natural capital, natural income, poaching, rhino, rhinoceros, Tanzania
Here are a few more links relating to this topic, which seems to be all over the news lately.
This first item, from the Wildlife Conservation Society and the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the same organization which just declared the Western Black Rhino officially extinct) is a publication called Pachyderm. In it, there are several case studies about both rhinos and elephants, including some information on using micro-chemical evidence to trace the origin of poached ivory. Here’s the link to the complete PDF.
Edge of Existence is a website I recently stumbled across, and I think it has a lot of well-researched information about a lot of issues in wildlife conservation. EDGE stands for “Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered” species – unique creatures threatened by human activities around the world. Their page for elephants, linked here, has some really useful information on elephants’ role in maintaining the savanna ecosystem, conservation initiatives currently in use, links to organizations involved in elephant conservation, and references to more scientific information about Loxodonta africana.
The International.org posted a brief article in June 2012 about the impact of poaching on ecosystems, which is a nice model for the 9th grade poaching project currently underway.
A younger-looking Sir David Attenborough with lemurs from Madagascar. (Screen capture image from www.bbc.co.uk)
And finally, no wildlife conservation unit would be complete without at least one video from Sir David Attenborough (probably my favorite scientist of all time). The short video clip linked here is from Sir David’s earlier work in Madagascar, so he looks a bit different than most of you are used to seeing him. It was originally released in 1961 – 52 years ago!
Posted on November 11, 2013 in Environmental Systems, Grade 9 Science
Tagged biology, conservation, david attenborough, ecology, elephants, ESS, human impact on the environment, lemurs, poaching, rhino, rhinos, topic 4, wildlife
The University of Washington’s Center for Conservation Biology released this study a few years ago, detailing the impact of poaching on elephant populations in Mikumi and Amboseli.
Graphic credit: University of Washington’s Center for Conservation Biology
I post this link for several reasons:
- The topic is clearly relevant to both the grade 9 biology unit, as well as ESS’s Topic 4 – Conservation and Biodiversity.
- The study was carried out in conjunction with Sokoine University in Morogoro, just a couple of hours from here.
- The targeted areas are Mikumi National Park in Tanzania and Amboseli in Kenya, so it’s entirely relevant to where we live.
- The inclusion of simple graphs with the article complement and support the written work of the authors, and it can serve as an example to you students about how to use visual aids in your scientific writing.
- Follow the ‘Research Programs’ and ‘Elephants’ tabs to see how DNA analysis is being used to track poached ivory.
- I like the graphic at the top of the page.
I also found this 2006 document from the World Wildlife Fund – the Wildlife Trade Factsheet 2006.PDF – which “is designed to give a broad overview of the environmental harm that illegal and unsustainable wildlife trade can cause, and to give examples of WWF and TRAFFIC’s work and solutions on the ground.” (www.panda.org)
WWF Image Credit: Martin Harvey
Posted on November 6, 2013 in Environmental Systems, Grade 9 Science
Tagged biodiversity, biology, CITES, conservation, elephants, ESS, Grade 9, human impact on the environment, poaching, rhinos, topic 4, wildlife, World Wildlife Fund, WWF
Thanks to Matt Erdosy for passing this along to me, and to Neil and Liz Baker of the Tanzania Bird Atlas for their contribution. Below please find a short version of a recent report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, which details the extent of ivory poaching in Tanzania and other east African nations. The numbers are just staggering:
- Over the last 10 years a third of Tanzania’s elephants have been slaughtered.
- 20 elephants were killed in the 2nd quarter of 2013 in Tanzania’s protected Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
- One prominent Tanzanian Game Reserve and a National Park have lost 42% of their respective elephant populations over the last 10 years, amounting to a staggering count of 31,348 carcasses.
- 10,000 elephants are killed annually (that’s 27 elephants a day, or just over one every hour!).
The rest of the report is pretty fascinating as well. It details migrant smuggling in the Horn of Africa region, heroin trafficking from Asia into Africa, and piracy from Somalia. Click on this link to read the full document, Transnational Organized Crime in East Africa: A Threat Assessment.
Posted in Environmental Systems
Tagged biodiversity, conservation, drugs, east Africa, ecology, elephants, ESS, ivory, poaching, Tanzania, topic 4, United Nations