Saturday, December 25, 2010

Retention Ponds, Bogs and Basins - Clean the Water

Linda Maree in Home-Sick Water: Retention Ponds argues the virtues of enhancing the natural filtration qualities of a retention pond, bog, or basin by planting turf up to the edge, planting a littoral shelf of aquatic plants at the outlet and in the deepest part of the basin, and planting more plants that can stand the dry-wet-flood experience of the retention basin.  The Florida Sarasota County Neighborhood Environmental Stewardship Team (NEST) program helps groups secure grants, provide advise, and offer referrals to professionals to develop effective retention basins. Start your own NEST group.

Students at Winterbery Christian Academy study our right-outside-the-door Boggy Bottom Bog.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Solving algebraic statements such as make the sentence y=x^2 + 2x true when x Is -3, -3, 1, and 2

Make the sentence y = x^2 + 2x true when x is -3, -1, 1, and 2.

Translate this into a "Given" statement and four "If" statements.

This is an "If - ish" problem, M. says.

Given y = x^2 + 2x

If x = -3, then find y
y = -3^2 + (2 times -3)
y = (-3 times -3) + (-6)
y = 9 + (-6)
y = 3

What is the "Given?"
What are the "If" statements?

Winterberry Christian Academy (WCA) students study online at their pace taking ownership of their own education by discovering the joy of learning.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Virtlab - A Virtual Laboratory - Online

For Students

Virtlab is the chemistry set you always wanted:
  • Experiment with Chemistry safely and independently.
  • Supplement classroom exercises to improve understanding.
  • Review classroom laboratories in your own home.
  • HAVE FUN while you study science.
Virtlab is a flight simulator for your ideas!
Click here to join Virtlab. It's free!

For Teachers

Virtlab is a virtual laboratory that provides:
  • A visual aid for your lectures.
  • Student homework that is fun, motivating, and insight building.
  • A supplement to laboratory exercises
  • Opportunities for independent exploration for your highly motivated students.
  • Opportunities for thoughtful visualization for your struggling students.
Virtlab is a flight simulator for your classroom!
Click here to join Virtlab. It's free!

Use ChemiCool - Periodic Table - Chemical Elements - Chemistry Dictionary

Monday, December 13, 2010

How children lost the right to roam in four generations

How children lost the right to roam in four generations

Last updated at 01:03 15 June 2007

When George Thomas was eight he walked everywhere.
It was 1926 and his parents were unable to afford the fare for a tram, let alone the cost of a bike and he regularly walked six miles to his favourite fishing haunt without adult supervision.
Fast forward to 2007 and Mr Thomas's eight-year-old great-grandson Edward enjoys none of that freedom.
He is driven the few minutes to school, is taken by car to a safe place to ride his bike and can roam no more than 300 yards from home.
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hattersley Sign of the times: Jack, Vicky and Ed
Even if he wanted to play outdoors, none of his friends strays from their home or garden unsupervised.
The contrast between Edward and George's childhoods is highlighted in a report which warns that the mental health of 21st-century children is at risk because they are missing out on the exposure to the natural world enjoyed by past generations.
The report says the change in attitudes is reflected in four generations of the Thomas family in Sheffield.
The oldest member, George, was allowed to roam for six miles from home unaccompanied when he was eight.
His home was tiny and crowded and he spent most of his time outside, playing games and making dens.
Mr Thomas, who went on to become a carpenter, has never lost some of the habits picked up as a child and, aged 88, is still a keen walker.
His son-in-law, Jack Hattersley, 63, was also given freedom to roam.
He was aged eight in 1950, and was allowed to walk for about one mile on his own to the local woods. Again, he walked to school and never travelled by car.
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By 1979, when his daughter Vicky Grant was eight, there were signs that children's independence was being eroded.
"I was able to go out quite freely - I'd ride my bike around the estate, play with friends in the park and walk to the swimming pool and to school," said Mrs Grant, 36.
"There was a lot less traffic then - and families had only one car. People didn't make all these short journeys."
Today, her son Edward spends little time on his own outside his garden in their quiet suburban street. She takes him by car to school to ensure she gets to her part-time job as a medical librarian on time.
While he enjoys piano lessons, cubs, skiing lessons, regular holidays and the trampoline, slide and climbing frame in the garden, his mother is concerned he may be missing out.
She said: "He can go out in the crescent but he doesn't tend to go out because the other children don't. We put a bike in the car and go off to the country where we can all cycle together.
"It's not just about time. Traffic is an important consideration, as is the fear of abduction, but I'm not sure whether that's real or perceived."
She added: "Over four generations our family is poles apart in terms of affluence. But I'm not sure our lives are any richer."
The report's author, Dr William Bird, the health adviser to Natural England and the organiser of a conference on nature and health on Monday, believes children's long-term mental health is at risk.
He has compiled evidence that people are healthier and better adjusted if they get out into the countryside, parks or gardens.
Stress levels fall within minutes of seeing green spaces, he says. Even filling a home with flowers and plants can improve concentration and lower stress.
"If children haven't had contact with nature, they never develop a relationship with natural environment and they are unable to use it to cope with stress," he said.
"Studies have shown that people deprived of contact with nature were at greater risk of depression and anxiety. Children are getting less and less unsupervised time in the natural environment.
"They need time playing in the countryside, in parks and in gardens where they can explore, dig up the ground and build dens."
The report, published by Natural England and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, also found that children's behaviour and school work improve if their playground has grassy areas, ponds and trees.
It also found evidence that hospital patients need fewer painkillers after surgery if they have views of nature from their bed.

Read more:

Head Out for a Daily Dose of Green Space

Head Out for a Daily Dose of Green Space

New York Times – November 29, 2010
By Jane E. Brody

First, the bad news: Americans are suffering from an acute case of “outdoor deprivation disorder,” and the effects on physical and mental health are rising fast. Children aged 8 to 18 today spend more time than ever using electronic media indoors — seven and a half hours a day, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation — and less time in outdoor unstructured activity. In response to the No Child Left Behind law, 30 percent of kindergarten classrooms have eliminated recess to make more room for academics.
The resulting lack of physical activity and a growing disconnect with the natural environment have been linked in a host of studies to obesity and obesity-related diseases in children and adults, including Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, asthma and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, as well as vitamin D deficiency, osteoporosis, stress, depression, attention deficit disorder and myopia. Dr. Daphne Miller, a family physician affiliated with the University of California, San Francisco, calls them “diseases of indoor living.”
Now, the good news: There’s a simple remedy — get outside and start moving around in green spaces near and far, most of which are free. A consortium of physicians, health insurers, naturalists and government agencies have banded together to help more people of all ages and economic strata engage in health-enhancing physical activity in parks and other natural environments.
This grass-roots movement has already reached the White House. This year President Obama started the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative, proclaiming June “Great Outdoors Month.” The initiative aims not just to counter sedentary lifestyles but also to reacquaint Americans with the farms, ranches, rivers, forests, national and local parks, fishing holes and beaches that provide opportunities for people “to stay active and healthy.”
The goals dovetail with Michelle Obama’s battle against childhood obesity and her initiative Let’s Move Outside, a program that’s part of her Let’s Move campaign. Dr. Miller said that the aim was to “turn our public lands into public health resources. Doctors around the country are beginning to realize that getting patients out of doors has benefits even beyond getting people to exercise.
“It’s a lot cheaper to go outside and move than it is to build gyms and a lot of hospitals,” she said.
Doctor’s Orders: Be Active
Accordingly, Dr. Miller and a growing number of like-minded doctors have begun writing specific prescriptions for outdoor activity, providing patients with maps, guidelines and programs of gradually increased activity based on their abilities. She said that such prescriptions are necessary because many people “are unfamiliar with the outdoors — they’re scared to walk through a park, and they don’t know what to do when they get there.”
Among possible sources of help: volunteer health guides in parks who can tell people where to go and what to do and park rangers who are trained to advise people who may have health issues. “Our parks provide a huge opportunity,” Dr. Miller said. “Currently, fewer than 40 percent of visitors use them for any form of exercise.”
Some health insurers have come on board as well. SeeChange Health in California and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation in North Carolina are supporting outdoor programs in their areas, like the Kids in Parks Initiative of the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation. SeeChange Health this year announced a pilot project to reimburse members for visits to California state parks.
Other movers and shakers include the National Wildlife Federation, which established the “Be Out There” public-education campaign to foster a daily “green hour” during which every child could enjoy 60 minutes of unstructured play and interaction with the natural world. On its Web site,, the federation has posted the rationale and specific suggestions for schools and families to counter the physical, emotional and educational drain of an “indoor childhood.”
The campaign’s mission “is to return to the nation’s children what they don’t even know they’ve lost: their connection to the natural world,” with activities suitable for all children, whether rural, suburban or urban.
As for its health and educational benefits, the federation cites scientific findings that outdoor play enhances fitness, raises blood levels of vitamin D (which in turn protects against bone loss, heart disease, diabetes and other health problems), improves distance vision, lowers the risk of nearsightedness, reduces symptoms of stress and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, raises scores on standardized tests and improves students’ critical-thinking skills.
The National Environmental Education Foundation is now training pediatric health care providers to serve as nature champions in their communities.
One study of children living in poor urban environments found that those who relocated to greener (though not more affluent) home surroundings “tended to have the highest levels of cognitive functioning following the move.” The author of the study, Nancy M. Wells, also found in research among rural children that nearby nature can act as a buffer against stressful life events and improve children’s psychological well-being.
Lest you remain unconvinced, I urge you to read the best-selling book “The Last Child in the Woods,” by Richard Louv, who coined the phrase “nature-deficit disorder.” Mr. Louv describes dozens of studies demonstrating the benefits that wilderness outings can have on mental and physical health.
‘Park Prescriptions’
The National Park Service, too, has joined the “park prescriptions” campaign, offering free wellness services that are accessible to all, regardless of health status. (I was shocked to learn on a recent visit to Grand Canyon National Park that, despite many well-maintained trails, only 5 percent of visitors ever venture below the rim of the canyon; about half the people I encountered on the trails were from other countries.)
The park service helped Dr. Eleanor Kennedy, a cardiologist in Little Rock, Ark., create a downtown “Medical Mile,” a section of the Arkansas River Trail, and now hopes to support access to similar open spaces in communities nationwide. Dr. Kennedy reports that once she gets her patients outdoors “they are more likely to be consistent about exercise.” The Medical Mile project, which had an initial goal of $350,000, managed to raise $2.1 million in two years.
Dr. Robert Lambert, a cardiologist at the Heart Clinic of Arkansas, said: “We see too many patients who need our assistance because of their lifestyle, not because of factors beyond their control. That is why my colleagues and I decided to become involved.”
Other programs include Prescription Trails, established in Santa Fe, N.M., with the help of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to counter runaway rates of diabetes in the community. Local physicians get trail guides to distribute to their patients. The Web site is a guide to some of the state’s best park and trail walking and wheelchair rolling paths.

The Post - Florida Department of Environmental Protection

The Post -  December 12, 2010