Here is a challenge that may be of benefit for many students and to help you encorage students to communitcate all the great things you are doing in your classrooms!
the next generation of innovators at the forefront of scientific discovery has
been a goal of The DuPont Challenge Science Essay Competition for the past 29
years. The DuPont Challenge encourages students to develop a better
understanding and passion for STEM (science, technology, engineering and
mathematics) by researching and writing an informative essay offering solutions
to today’s challenges regarding food, energy, protection and innovation, or a
story on a science discovery.
year’s competition has expanded to include all students in
grades K-12 from across the United States, Canada and U.S. Territories.,
including children of DuPont employees.
Division (grades K-5) asks teachers to help their students explore STEM
topics in a classroom-based challenge. Together, the teachers and students will
show their imagination and originality by writing a science story about what
they discovered. Submissions are accepted from Nov. 1, 2014, to March 1,
students in the Junior and Senior Divisions (grades 6-12) may submit
a 700–1,000-word essay, from Nov. 15, 2014, to Jan. 31, 2015, addressing
one of the following four categories: Together…feeding the world, building a
secure energy future, protecting people and the environment, or innovation anywhere.
information including official rules, entry forms and award details about the
Elementary Division, please visit thechallenge.dupont.com/elementary
and for the Junior and Senior Divisions, please visit thechallenge.dupont.com/essay.
Let’s Talk Turkey About Our Favorite Bird
Posted on Saturday, November 22,
2014 by eNature
It’s almost Thanksgiving and many of us are thinking about our annual feast and
the turkey that’s often at the center of it.
But how much do you know about the
creature that many folks think is our REAL national bird?
Turkeys are interesting birds—
they’re large, colorful and hard to miss when they’re in a demonstrative
mood. Many researchers have devoted
their entire career to studying them and their complex social structure.
Bird For All Americans
As recently as a generation ago,
folks rarely encountered Wild Turkeys.
Hunting pressure had eliminated them from much of their original
range. But extensive reintroduction
efforts brought the turkey back from the brink and just about every state in
the continental US now has populations of wild turkeys, some in the tens of
Wattles and Beards
So what exactly is a turkey’s
snood? Male, or tom, turkeys have a
number of features that experts believe are intended to attract female turkeys
(hens). These include the familiar
fleshy red wattles on its neck and throat as well as a fleshy mass over their
beak known as a snood. As turkeys are
polygamous and happy to mate with as many hens as they can attract, it seems
reasonable to conclude that a more spectacular wattle and snood will result in
more breeding success.
A tom’s plumage follows the same
principles. Bright colors and unique
features rule the day. His feathers have
areas of green, copper, bronze, red, purple, and gold iridescence. Most males also have a beard; in reality a
group of specialized feathers growing from the center of his breast. The photo to the above clearly shows many of
the tom’s irresistible (to hens at least) qualities.
Males attract hens by a behavior
known as “strutting”, in which they display for females by puffing out their
feathers, spreading out their tails and dragging their wings. Gobbling, drumming or booming and spitting as
signs of social dominance are also techniques toms use to attract females.
Sounds a bit like high-schoolers at
a Friday night football game!
Wildlife managers estimate that the
entire population of Wild Turkeys in the United States was as low as 30,000 in
the early 20th century. By the 1930s, they were almost totally extirpated from
Canada and found only in remote pockets within the US. Populations have rebounded spectacularly
since programs across the country were put in place to protect and encourage
the breeding of surviving wild populations.
The rebound has reached the point where hunting has been legalized in in
the lower 48 states and current estimates place the entire Wild Turkey
population at over 7 million.
Turkey or Bald Eagle?
A rather interesting bit of American
history, is in the early days of the republic, Benjamin Franklin strongly
objected to the choice of the Bald Eagle as our national symbol, preferring the
Franklin thought the Bald Eagle’s
habit of stealing prey caught by other birds, particularly ospreys, an inappropriate
quality and wrote, “For the Truth the
Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true
original Native of America”.
We tend to agree with Ben— the
turkey, a uniquely North American bird, is an American original and worthy of
- See more at:
Great Read: All about turkeys by Jim Arnosky
Recorded Turkey Sounds
Try taking the students for a walk in the woods to find items to make arrays with.
This group from Discovery School in Columbus were very found of acorns, though sticks, boot prints, berries,
stones, mushrooms, and many other items were tried with mixed success.
Great way to blend math and the outdoors.
Make sure they write the mathmatical sentence that goes with it, as they work.
The World of the Whitetail is a new set of teaching
trunks filled with activities that are targeted for students in the
6th-8th grade. Twenty-four different hands-on activities explore
subjects such as biology, ecology, wildlife management, social studies,
history, math, reading, and creative writing. The activities in the
trunks were developed by Beth Mittermaier and John Cler, experienced
educators at the middle school level, with input from DNR Wildlife
Get your class thinking about the white-tailed deer, Wisconsin's most popular wild animal. Try out this new "Deer Talk" activity
before you check out the trunks. Or, view the "Checking Out the
Options" activity below, which is part of the trunk. Students can also
read about Wisconsin's state wildlife animal on EEK!
Whitetails Unlimited is a national non-profit grass
roots conservation organization supporting educational programs, habitat
conservation, and preservation of the hunting tradition. They
contributed substantial funds to create twenty sets of trunks from the
original proto-type that DNR developed.
Teachers may check out the trunks thorough any one of
Wisconsin's 12 Cooperative Education Service Agencies or at six DNR
offices listed below the activity. Typically, teachers check out the
trunks for two weeks, the first week to review the contents of the
trunks and the second week to conduct the activities.
Activity: Checking Out the Options
Wisconsin Model Academic Standards:
C.8.9: Evaluate, explain, and defend their investigations
F.8.8: Investigate interdependence in populations and ecosystems
C.8.1: Orally communicate information, opinions, and ideas
C.8.2: Listen to and comprehend oral communications
C.8.3: Participate effectively in discussion
Where can I get a trunk? Here's who to contact. Click on the name to send an e-mail (not all contacts have e-mail):
Cooperative Education Serivce Agencies (CESA) Contact information:
If a trunk is not available through your local CESA, contact the nearest DNR office to borrow a trunk.
- CESA #1 Pewaukee, Amanda Nick (262) 787-9500, ext. 9538
- CESA #2 Milton, Connie Isackson (608) 758-6232,ext. 339
- CESA #3 Fennimore, Jenni Pink (608) 822-3276, ext. 239
- CESA #4 West Salem, Mary Devine (608) 786-4800
- CESA #5 Portage, Janet Gaber (608) 742-8814, ext. 277
- CESA #6 Oshkosh, Sarah Loughrin (920) 424-3418
- CESA #8 Gillette, Lynda Zeitler (800) 831-6391 ext. 266.
- CESA #9 Instructional Media Center, Liisa Eyerly (715) 682-2363, ext. 168
- CESA #10 Chippewa Falls, Instructional Media Center (715) 720-2069
- CESA #11 Turtle Lake, Mary Matusewic (715) 986-2020, ext. 2165
- CESA #12 Instructional Media Center, Liisa Eyerly (715) 682-2363, ext. 168
DNR Offices with Deer Boxes
(Sturgeon Bay), Peter Gerl (920) 743-6777
This information is from the EEK (Wisconsin DNR) web site.
fall warblers have passed—but there's still plenty of great bird watching to be
done in November. Chances are, a weedy field near you is hosting throngs of
beautiful sparrows; ponds are coming alive with migrating waterfowl; mudflats
are like magnets for shorebirds; and raptors are passing overhead.
Weedy Fields for Sparrows
Overgrown pastures, abandoned lots, fields gone fallow—all are havens
for the next big wave of migrants to arrive after warblers: sparrows.
Looking for sparrows along grassy trails cut in fields can be fun
because your birds will flush as you walk and hopefully land on a branch
just ahead of you in clear view. Keep an eye out for White-throated
Sparrows, White-crowned Sparrows and American Tree
Sparrows all over.
Mudflats and Marshes for Dabbling Ducks
Late fall is to ducks what September is to warblers—prime migration
time. Dabblers are ducks that skim the surface of the water for seeds,
aquatic vegetation, and invertebrates, so look for them in shallower
waters. This group includes some handsome ducks: the Green-winged Teal
with its iridescent green face mask, the Northern Pintail with its
elegant tail plume, and the dashing Wood Duck. Females and young of
these species tend to migrate earlier and move farther south, while
males only move when the cold weather hits.
Bigger Lakes and Reservoirs for Diving Ducks
Divers are ducks that plunge underwater and paddle with their large feet
to reach mollusks, invertebrates, fish, and submerged aquatic
vegetation. Accordingly, diving ducks such as Common Goldeneyes and
Common Mergansers favor deeper waters. The gales of November bring a
bluebill wind out of the North, as rafts of Lesser and Greater Scaup
sweep out of Canada. Hardy divers are pushed south by Old Man Winter;
they migrate as their northern waters freeze over.
Need Some Help Finding Nearby Hotspots?
eBird contains a Google Maps-like tool for timely birding. Just visit ebird's Hotspot Explorer,
enter your location, and you’ll find a map with pinpoints of hot
birding locations. You can narrow the results by date, too, if you like.
Click through the pinpoints to see up-to-date lists of what local
birders are seeing at these locations right now. Here’s more on how to use Hotspot Explorer.
Mike Hillstrom of the WI DNR found this turtle
shell while participating in the Newman Catholic Schools Fall Bio Blitz on Sept
25. There were approximately 130 students in the morning participating and 60
more students came in the afternoon.
It was a beautiful fall day, the trees just starting to turn
there brilliant colors, frogs hopping
around everywhere getting prepared to enter into hibernation as the pond
temperatures started to drop. The facilities at the Rudolph Environmental
Center on the north edge of Wausau were great, it was fun to experience the
composting toilet and see how the solar panels provide for the electricity need
to run scientific equipment on site.
All in all it was a very productive day with 150 species
recorded. There were 20 tree
species, 6 shrubs, 3 mosses, 5 ferns,
12 herbaceous plants, 1
sedge, 12 amphibians, 28 Insects, arachnids and bugs, 4 worms, 2
moths,1 slime mold, 13 fungi, 5 lichen, 13 birds, 11 mammals, 1 snake, 15
assorted critters from the aquatic study area. This being the first inventory
of the area it was fun to find such diverse plants and animals in an area
reserved for education of our youth.
The classes attending ranged from 3rd grade
through 9th grade biology and had diverse interests for
participating. Thank you to all who participated from the local volunteers, DNR
employees, school staff LEAF staff, UWSP professor and students. With a special
thanks to Steve Schmidt for all his coordination of the site, students and
volunteers. Looking forward to doing this again and getting into some of the
areas where we did not get data from and possibly in the spring when the
ephemerals are more abundant.
Running a bio blitz
Bio Bliltz Guide
MS Lesson Plan: Why does Bio Diversity Matter?
I wanted to pass on this Post from Monday, October 06, 2014
Steve Bailey is a bit of an
Whereas most people in Danville,
Illinois, wish the crows now in their midst would find themselves another
winter home, he welcomes the visitors with open arms. He’s a bird lover, of
course, and proud to live in the unofficial Winter Crow Capital of North
America—despite the noise, the mess, and the smell that comes with that
Danville is home to roughly 35,000
people. Its crows, however, number some 162,000 according to the recent
Audubon Christmas Bird Count. There are so many crows in the 6- to 8-block area
where they nightly roost that their weight sometimes snaps branches off trees.
And then there’s the endless supply
of droppings and the incessant racket. No wonder some desperate residents have
cut down healthy shade trees in order to force the birds to relocate. Others
have tried scaring the birds away with plastic owls and sirens, even recordings
of Barred Owl calls played throughout the night.
Still, the birds remain. The most
obvious reason for their stubbornness is that Danville offers a perfect
location for crows. It’s in a river valley surrounded by agricultural land in
all directions. As for the crows’ communal tendencies, the birds know that
there is strength in numbers. That is, roosting together helps them watch for
predators and increases their chances of finding food.
Given these tendencies, it should
come as no surprise that Danville’s is not the only large crow roost that takes
shape in the United States from fall to spring. In Jasper County, Iowa, for
example, thousands of crows settle down a little to the east of Newton. In
Massachusetts, up to 20,000 descend on the center of Framingham every
afternoon. Wichita, Kansas, has 100,000 crows spread among a few roosts. And in
the 1940s and ‘50s, Stafford County, Kansas, hosted upwards of a million crows
in winter, though that roost eventually disintegrated.
And perhaps the same fate will
someday befall Danville’s crows. No doubt most of the town’s residents would
welcome such a development. For bird lovers like Steve Bailey, though, Danville
just wouldn’t be the same without its winter crows.
Good or bad, they’re certainly a
Attend and create a groundwater model to take home to your classroom, along with the information you need to teach this concept!
Class dates are Jan 13th Stevens Point
Jan 28th Mount Horeb
Feb 11th Mount Horeb
Applications are due November 3rd! Click below and fill a to learn more about this fantastic oppurtunity.
by Margaret Boyles
The world has burst into bloom. The
forsythia and daffodils have faded, but azaleas, lilacs, flowering quince,
cherry and apple trees, the invasive but
sweet-scented autumn olive, dandelion, lawn violets and many more have exploded
with color and fragrance.
For centuries, humans have foraged
or cultivated flowers and flower buds for food, drink, and medicine. Think
broccoli, cauliflower, and artichoke, stuffed or stir-fried squash blossoms
dill-flower spiked pickles, chamomile and jasmine tea.
But did you know that the flowers of
hundreds of common wild and cultivated plants are edible? Dressing up your
soups, salads, drinks, and desserts with buds and flowers will add color,
diversity, and new flavor to your meals. Adventurous folks might also want to
explore some of the traditional medicinal uses of common flowers.
When preparing most flowers
(exceptions: squash, violets, and nasturtiums) for food or beverage, use only
the petals for best flavor. Remove the sepals, as well as the pistils and
stamens. In case you’ve forgotten your flower anatomy, here’s help.
Please read the caveats below before you begin.
A few of my favorites
sits at the top of my list. It’s easy to grow from seed, indoors or out,
and every above-ground part is edible. Its buds and delicate, voluptuous
blossoms spice up a bland salad or cooked vegetable platter. Nasturtium
leaves and flowers are rich in antioxidant and antiinflammatory compounds,
and have a long history of medicinal use in indigenous cultures for
urinary-tract, cardiovascular, and respiratory disorders. Extracts of this
cabbage-family relative are currently under investigation as possible treatments
for many diseases, including antibiotic-resistant infections.
Harvested fresh, the plump buds and meaty flowers of this common garden
plant are delicious sauteed in a little oil or butter, then seasoned with
salt and pepper. Some people stuff the just-opened blossom with a favorite
stuffing mix, then saute the stuffed flowers in a little oil or poach them
in broth. Use only freshly harvested buds/flowers.
I’ve already written about my love of the
irrepressible wild violets that pop up all over my lawns and gardens. Give
it a read, and tend your lawn violets with care!
A lovely and easy-to-grow annual flower, calendula petals will add color
and spice to just about any cooked or fresh dish. Carefully remove the
petals and toss them into salad, stir-fries, or your favorite rice
flowers are renowned for skin care and healing. You’ll find calendula listed as
an ingredient in many high-end skincare products and healing creams.
a nice recipe for homemade calendula oil or cream: Pull the petals from enough dried or fresh calendula
blossoms to give you a cup. Add petals to a cup of olive oil in a large glass jar
with a lid; seal and leave in a sunny window or outside for a week or two.
After straining out the petals, you can use the oil as is, or heat it in a
double boiler with ¼ cup of melted beeswax to make a spreadable cream.
The darker-colored, more aromatic the variety the more flavor it will
have. Strew rose petals across a fresh salad, brew them into tea, or use
the entire blossoms to decorate a cake.
Carefully separate the petals and sprinkle them into salads. For a real
treat, harvest the unopened buds, remove the sepals, and steam the buds
until tender. Meaty and filling, they taste like artichoke. Mmm!
Dried or fresh, chamomile tea is renowned as a safe and gentle calming and
sleep-promoting agent. It’s readily available in stores (buy flowers in
bulk), and easy to grow in the home garden. Plus, take a gander at this review of the traditional
medicinal uses of chamomile and current investigation of the herb as
Here’s a longer list of edible flowers. Have fun!
- Never eat a flower you can’t identify with absolute
certainty and know to be safe.
- Don’t eat commercially grown flowers or flowers that
came from a florist; they could have been sprayed.
- Don’t forage wild flowers on treated lawns or along
well-traveled roadways (possibility of chemical contamination).
- Introduce a new edible flower or floral tea slowly and
gradually, especially if you have a serious ragweed or other pollen
allergy. On your first try, take a few deep sniffs, then only a bite or
- Because flowers may contain powerful phytocompounds (which
confer their healing virtues, as well as their flavors and colors), check
with your healthcare professional before eating edible flowers if you’re
pregnant or taking prescription drugs.
Take note of the
grants program for teachers below. Deadline is coming up.
2014 Conservation and Education Grants Available (Deadline:
your nature center, land trust, local municipality, or other non-profit
have a conservation project that needs funding? Are you a teacher in need
of extra funding to take your students on field trips or do an
Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin's C.D. Besadny
Conservation Grant and Teachers' Outdoor Environmental
Education Grant applications are now available for small-scale
natural resources projects and programs that support the responsible
stewardship of Wisconsin's natural resources at the local level.
ranging from $100-$1,000 are awarded annually to projects or programs in
Wisconsin that benefit the public, involve management and restoration of
Wisconsin's natural resources, and/or contribute to knowledge about
Wisconsin's natural resources through education. Recipients are required to
match the grant award on a 1:1 basis with funds or in-kind services.
funded projects have included citizen-based monitoring in the Bad River
watershed, expanding hiking opportunities in southwest Wisconsin's savannas
and prairies, garden planting by Green Bay Area Public Schools to reduce
flooding and attract native species, and installing signage about wildlife
at the Tamarack Preserve in Waukesha County. In 2013, our Foundation
awarded more than $26,000 to 30 community partners across Wisconsin.
more information and to apply, please visit our website at wisconservation.org.
Applications must be postmarked by September 6, 2014.
Questions about the program may be directed to Caitlin Williamson at (866)
246-4096, or email@example.com.
Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin
The Natural Resources Foundation is a
statewide non-profit organization that raises private funding for publicly
owned lands and waters in Wisconsin. Our mission is to connect generations
to the wonders of Wisconsin's lands, waters, and wildlife.