Category Archives: Educational

Nature Canada Photo Contest still open

There’s still time for all you amateur, professional or youth photographers to enter your favorite wildlife photo in Nature Canada’s 2015 photo contest.  The deadline is August 14th this year. The contest categories are: Canadian Landscape, People in Nature, Nature in Action, Fauna & Flora, Nature Nearby and Favorite Memory in Nature.

1-NATURE CANADA PHOTO CONTEST

Get your cameras ready… Nature Canada is happy to announce the launch of its 2015 Photo Contest!

Early Bird draw winner, a photo from Cyndy JohnsonLast year’s 75th Anniversary Photo Contest was a huge hit. We received over 3,000 entries and the top photos were featured in our 75th Anniversary Calendar as well as at the Canadian Museum of Nature!

Starting May 19th and running until August 14th, we will be accepting photo entries which capture the beauty of Canadian nature all around us. Special prizes from our generous supporters are available for the winners who will be announced.

Our top prize, generously donated by Copper Cayuse Outfitters, is a trip for two on their Historic Li-lik-hel Mine Expedition. According to their website, you will get to ride on trails that were originally cut by the miners and have been pounded in by years of horses transporting the gold ore to the rail-head in the early 1900’s. You’ll spend three days and two nights in BC’s spectacular Coast Mountain Range, exploring  the beautiful mountain range between Birkenhead Lake and the Li-lik-hel mine. Recently, this expedition has been officially designated as a Canadian Signature Experience! Read about the experience here.

In case you were looking for inspiration, we’ve created a variety of categories into which you can submit your photo(s)!

  • Canadian Landscape
  • People in Nature
  • Nature in Action
  • Fauna & Flora
  • Nature Nearby
  • Favorite Memory in Nature

There will be Early Bird draws, so get your submissions in early! See our rules and regulations for more information. Congratulations to Cyndy Johnson, winner of the first Early Bird draw of the 2015 contest!

It is our hope that by spending time in nature you will experience and learn about the natural beauty our country has to offer. So get up, get outside, and enjoy the great outdoors!

How to Submit

Make sure to always include the category into which you would like to submit your photo! We would also love to hear the story behind the shot!

Make sure to always identify yourself as either an Amateur, Professional, or Youth photographer.

Link to website:

http://naturecanada.ca/2015-photo-contest/

WATER DROPLET HAPPY ICON GIMPCROPPEDWe wish you all good luck and look forward to viewing all the 2015 winning entries. 

Pouring Water From The Air – Award Winning Invention

This is a re-post of one of our popular blogs. 

SOMETHING SPECIAL FOR OUR ‘TECHIE’ FOLLOWERS – AN AWARD WINNING INVENTION FOR COUNTRIES FACING

WATER SHORTAGES:

For those facing water shortages, there is much to be thankful for when it comes to the inventive spirit. Thanks to young Australian inventor Edward Linacre, there may one day be no such thing as a water shortage for Australian farmers.

He recently won the £10,000 international James Dyson Award for a “low-tech” device – the Airdrop – that can draw water from the air, besting the work of 500 other inventors.

Linacre, a graduate of Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, says he wanted to solve the drought problem afflicting farmers in parts of Australia suffering from drought conditions. His solution, Airdrop, can harvest 11.5 milliliters of water for every cubic meter of air in the driest deserts such as the Negev in Israel, which has an average relative air humidity of 64 percent. A small-scale prototype Linacre installed at his parents’ house created about a liter of water a day. Linacre will use his prize money for further testing on increasing the yield.

As reported in The Sydney Morning Herald, instead of using complex, energy-intensive methods such as desalination, Airdrop’s source of water is abundant – the air – and so it can be used anywhere in the world.

Linacre’s Airdrop delivers water to the roots of crops in dry areas by pushing air through a network of underground pipes, cooling it down to the point where water condenses. The water can then be pumped to the roots of plants using drip irrigation methods.

This video interview,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=cXe-4XE2QVI

posted by gizmag, helps explain the invention and the sound reasoning behind it. Linacre say he was inspired by the Namib beetle, which survives in landscapes that get just half an inch of rain per year by consuming the dew it collects on the hydrophilic skin of its back. Similarly, the desert rhubarb can harvest 16 times the amount of water than other plants in its region by using deep water channeling cavities in its leaves.

James Dyson, whose charity sponsors the award, said that the device is a low-tech solution that could be installed and maintained by the farmers themselves; it powers itself using solar panels. Dyson offered this insight into the clever invention:

“Biomimicry is a powerful weapon in an engineer’s armory. We chose Edward’s project because it was a very good and original solution to what has become a real problem.”

In addition to Linacre’s cash prize, a further £10,000 has been awarded to Swinburne University. Linacre said without the university’s help he would never have got his idea off the ground.

The James Dyson Award is run by the James Dyson Foundation and each year students of product design, industrial design or design engineering from around the world are invited to enter.

 
Image: James Dyson Awards

Source: EcoLocalizer (http://s.tt/15ngo)

2nd Annual Float for Life Event

COUSTEAUThe day includes a float and a talk by Alexandra Cousteau, the granddaughter of Jacques-Yves Cousteau, the conservationist, filmmaker, photographer, and author who studied the sea. She will talk about her love of the oceans and growing up with her grandfather as her guide. Her father, Philippe, who co-produced numerous projects with Jacques, died when she was 3.
“Our oceans are in trouble,” Cousteau said. “Float for Life gives people an opportunity to reconnect with the ocean be reminded that we all have an important role to play in ocean conservation. After all, people protect what they love.”
SANIBELThe float promotes the environmental, economic, psychological and physical benefits of water as part of a fundraiser for the Sanibel Sea School. The school is a nonprofit focused on marine-based preservation and offers day camps, outings, and adult classes centered on wildlife and habitats in Sanibel.

“One of our favorite things to do with our campers is a soul float,” said Director of Operations Leah Biery.
A soul float is similar to a Float for Life. While being supported by life jackets or laying back on paddle and surf boards, the children float along the beach.
“We feel the water around us, catch the current,” she said. “They are feeling and connecting with the ocean and enjoying it.” And it’s done with the same goal as Float for Life.

Image result for float for lifeThe school is “in hopes that falling in love with the ocean will make them want to protect it,” Biery said.
In the inaugural Float year, 60 people participated, and Lynch is hoping for far more this year.
Participants will form groups of three; as one person floats, the others will support them gently for about 10 minutes. Then they will rotate.
“We believe the positive floating connection to the water will inspire individual calls to action to protect our oceans,” Lynch said. “It is pretty amazing how restorative it is. Some people feel like it’s an hour, others feel like it’s 2 minutes.”
She explained that the Gulf water is roughly the same salt content as human blood, creating a connective bond.
“When somebody is floating, they naturally feel at home because of the lightness,” she said. “When you lay in the water, you feel the quiet. The water is calming to your nervous system, and, along with the likeness of the salt content, the body lets go naturally. Muscles start to let go.”

By enforcing the body/nature connection, she said it leads to action, whether it’s “picking up plastic bags or straws on the beach or voting your conscience at the polls.”
Participants will receive an eco-friendly water bottle and samples of Earth-friendly sun screen.
Biery said the school is enjoying the partnership with Float for Life.
“We’re always amazed about how well the communities of Sanibel and Fort Myers come out to support us,” she said.
COUSTEAU2CROPAlexandra Cousteau
The granddaughter of Jacques-Yves Cousteau, known for his ABC show “The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau” from 1966-76, will speak about her famous family and her conservation work at the second annual Float for Life at Pink Shell in Fort Myers Beach.
Image result for float for life“After our first year, we wanted someone to draw more people and bring awareness to ocean conservation,” said Float for Life founder Shelley Lynch, a mental health therapist from Orlando.
Image result for alexandra cousteau blue legacyAlexandra Cousteau founded Blue Legacy, a non-profit organization to empower people to reclaim and restore the world’s water, one community at a time.
She has co-hosted “Blue August” on the Discovery Channel and was chief correspondent on water issues for Dicovery’s “Planet Green.”
She lives in Washington, D.C., and Berlin.

Connect with this reporter on Twitter @stacey_henson

Home Gadgets Part II

14. NARWHAL SKEWERS

NARWALS

Doing what narwhals do best, these skewers pay homage to one of the weirdest whales, which features a giant canine tooth sticking out of its head and a silly face. And now, these guys can hold your shish kebabs.

15. MOUSY CHEESE BOARD

CHEESE

This cheese board comes complete with a mouse-shaped knife that can be stored in a little hole underneath.

16. FLASK BANGLE

Flask bangle

Sometimes you know you’re going to need a quick drink, but it might be hard to hide a flask on your person when you’re wearing a summer dress. That’s where this hollow bangle bracelet steps in. It has a cork stopper and enough room for a decent swig. Just don’t be too obvious about sucking on your jewelry.

17. TREE MEASURING CUPS

Tree measuring cups

These stackable measuring cups form a lovely ceramic tree, each with its own branch handle. It includes a quarter, third, half, and full cup.

18. GEODE COASTERS

Geode coasters

These blue agate coasters are a nice departure from typical wood or ceramic. They add some sparkle to your home. They’re also fully lined on the back so they won’t scratch surfaces.

19. LABORATORY SHOT GLASSES

Laboratory shot glasses

Get your science on with these beaker-shaped shot glasses. They’re not just for drinking, since you can measure all sorts of things with them….but they’re mostly for drinking.

20. HEDGEHOG DRYER BALLS

Hedgehog dryer balls

Stop buying dryer sheets and snag some of these little guys instead. They tumble around in the dryer with your clothes, separating the fabric and leaving clothes soft and free of static. Plus, they cut down on the waste that dryer sheets produce.

21. SQUIRRELY STEEPER

Squirrely steeper

Fill this squirrel’s tail with loose leaf tea and set it on the rim of your cup. Perfect for when you just want a single cup of tea.

22. PANDA TEAPOT

Panda teapot

This is more than just a teapot; it’s a whole tea set for one. The head comes off, and when it’s inverted, it becomes a cup. There’s also a little infuser included for loose leaf tea, and a lid for the pot to keep the heat in when you’re enjoying a cup. Just look at it. This thing is adorable.

23. SHOWER SQUIDS

Shower squids

These dangly shower friends helpfully hold your bathing essentials. Their adjustable tentacles can hold bottles and bars of soap. They’re also great for storing bottles upside down to get the last few drops out.

24. TABLET-HOLDING CUTTING BOARD

Tablet-holding cutting board

If you’re using a new recipe you found online and you don’t want to take up counter space with your tablet (or put it in something gross), try this cutting board. It comes with a built-in tablet stand so you can check back on the instructions more easily. Just make sure you keep an eye on that knife.

25. MAGNETIC HOURGLASS

Magnetic hourglass

This hourglass functions like the ancient timer that it is, but with a twist. Instead of regular old sand, this one uses ferrous sand, which is black and magnetic. This causes it to form all kinds of spikes and stalactites as it counts down a minute.

Use the following link to shop for these items:

http://www.viralnova.com/awesomer-gadgets/?mb=vnnl&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Viralnova%20Daily&utm_campaign=ViralNova%20Daily%202015-06-12

To find out more about these gadgets, click the text below the photos, which will take you to each respective shop. These make perfect gifts for anyone in your life who likes all things cute and unusual — and that can totally include you.

WATER DROPLET HAPPY ICON GIMPCROPPEDHave a great weekend everyone!

Universal Water Access ~ “Muddled Policy…”

The following article, “Is Water A Right, Commodity, Or Service?”, Sara Jeromewritten by Sara Jerome, is taken from Water Online, posted June 12, 2015

faucet.reg

Is water a commodity, a service, or a right? Recently, the debate has raged.

Daniel Van Abs, a water policy professor at Rutgers University,raised that question in a recent editorial published in NJ Spotlight. Van Abs is a water policy professor at Rutgers University who served as senior director for planning and science with the New Jersey Highlands Council, a water-protection implementation body. He has since retired from state government.

VAN ABS TO CROPVan Abs posed this question in his post: “Is water, as the U.N. states, a fundamental human right? Or is it a commodity that must be purchased at the going rate? Or is it a public service, in which the focus is on satisfying a social goal for provision of general needs?”

WATER HUMAN RIGHT TO CROP“Our history shows us that water supply has aspects of all three, which makes for a muddled policy setting. What do we do when basic water services exceed a customer’s ability to pay? As water rates rise to address the costs of system rehabilitation, enhanced drinking-water treatment, and source-water protection, we need to make sense of this mess,” he continued.Image result for Detroit water service
DETROITDetroit officials sparked protests last year by shutting off water service for thousands of delinquent customers, a move that prompted questions about whether shutoffs violate human rights. “The city, which continues to close as many as 400 accounts a day, has been widely criticized for its actions,” CBS News reported. United Nations advisers have argued that Detroit violated human rights during a frenzy of water shutoffs.

Image result for Detroit water serviceCities other than Detroit have also used water shutoffs to handle ratepayer delinquency. “In Michigan, Hamtramck, Warren, Pontiac, Eastpointe, Romulus and other cities have shut off delinquent customers as a way to improve collections. Elsewhere, so have other big cities such as Baltimore and St. Louis,” the Detroit Free Press reported.

Van Abs noted that New Jersey is no stranger to ratepayer delinquency. “New Jersey has areas of high poverty that have lost most of their industrial water customers. And much of the state’s water-supply infrastructure is old, if not decrepit,” he wrote.

Maude Barlow: “Water a right, not a commodity”, uploaded on Mar 18, 2009 – Canadian water activist Maude Barlow, leading protesters at the World Water Forum in Istanbul, says access to water is a fundamental human right.

To Van Abs, there are problems with calling water a guaranteed public service. “The costs could be handled like many other public services (such as police or courts), through the property tax, with local governments paying the water utility to provide the service. Doing so would remove incentives for efficient water use, unless provisions are made to limit the service by household to only what is necessary. Just imagine the problems with this approach. Government would have to track the number of people per household to ensure that a single-person household and a five-person household are provided for equitably,” he said.

There are also problems with calling water a commodity, since it means water shutoffs if customers cannot pay. “Clearly, this approach is not socially acceptable for those of limited means,” Van Abs writes.

Image result for water a guaranteed public serviceWhat if water were treated as a basic human right? For utilities to be empowered to treat service as such, policy changes would be needed in many places, including New Jersey.

“The problem is that New Jersey has no routine system for helping poor households afford water (and sewer) services. For residential energy, the NJ Board of Public Utilities regulates essentially all providers, and New Jersey has established several programs for temporary and long-term assistance. The same is not true of water supply utilities, since there are hundreds of government and privately owned water utilities in New Jersey. Establishing a unique household assistance program in each of these utilities would be an administrative nightmare, and some are too small or serve too poor an area to provide this aid,” Van Abs wrote.

“A broader approach is needed. New Jersey needs to take a hard look at how its poorest households will maintain access to water utility services as water and sewer rates increase. We shouldn’t allow the Detroit question to become the New Jersey problem,” Van Abs wrote.

Image credit: “running faucet,” Steve Johnson © 2010, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

WATER DROPLET HAPPY ICON GIMPCROPPED

This is a very serious universal topic – one that affects each and everyone of us.  Let’s make it a priority to be pro-active – do research, access local resources, attend meetings, lobby your Members of Parliament. There is a plethora of related videos on Youtube – well worth viewing!  

http://www.wateronline.com/doc/is-water-a-right-commodity-or-service-0001?

Friday Fun – Home Gadgets – Ingenious, Adorable, Fun, Kooky!

1. Acrobatic clothespins

Acrobatic clothespins

The figures on these clothespins add a bit of fun to anything you want to hang up. You can use them for clothes, or if you want them to be more visible, to hold papers or photos.

2. Laboratory organizer

Laboratory organizer

These test tubes can hold just about anything, like hard-to-organize office supplies (which are included). They’d also be perfect for holding spices in the kitchen. You could even get really experimental and try growing tiny plants and herbs in them.

3. Melting clock

Melting clock

This desk clock is a nod to the Dali masterpiece, and in true Dali fashion, it makes a unique addition to any desk or shelf. And yes, it actually tells time despite its floppy appearance. All it takes is one AA battery.

4. Moon nightlight

Moon nightlight

This little guy will help you bring the moonlight inside with you. This light, designed to look just like our favorite satellite, provides a soft glow that helps you see, but won’t keep you awake.

5. Owl-shaped tape dispenser

OWL

This two-roll tape dispenser will help you cut down on tape replacement. Most importantly of all, it sports an adorable bug-eyed owl who will help cheer you up on long days stuck in the cubicle.

6. The cyclist’s pizza cutter

The cyclist

Why settle for a boring pizza cutter when you can use this clever bicycle? The double wheels make slicing up your favorite Friday dinner much easier.

7. Egg-separating pig

Egg-separating pig

This rubber pig, officially called the “Yolkpig,” sucks up egg yolks while leaving the egg whites behind. The yolk can be deposited elsewhere by squeezing it out of the piggy’s nose.

8. Pirate corkscrew

Pirate corkscrew

Pirates are no strangers to booze, so it makes sense that this one is on board (ha!) to help you open your bottles. His arms double as a foil-cutting knife and a lever, respectively. His head can pop open beer bottles, and his leg serves as the corkscrew. Just don’t get in a fight with him.

9. Robot nutcrackers

Robot nutcrackers

The soldier look is so 19th century. Get with the times when it comes to nut consumption with these adorable robots. The crank lowers the screw inside and cracks the nutshell. Even though they’re robots, these guys are made of wood. It’s a modern take on a classic tool.

10. Toothpick whale

WHALE

The splash is actually a collection of plastic toothpicks, all conveniently stored in the nasal cavity of this whale. Okay, forget we phrased it like that. This precious ceramic whale contains 32 reusable picks.

11. Oliver the elephant

Oliver the elephant

Yes, that’s his name. This olive dish comes with a clever addition, since his trunk doubles as a pit receptacle, hiding them out of sight until cleaning time. They can be emptied by popping out the rubber stopper in the bottom.

12. Rainmaker

Rainmaker

This watering can attachment can be fitted to just about any screw-top beverage bottle (water, soda, etc.). It provides a gentle sprinkle of water, perfect for plants. The multiple streams ensure even distribution.

13. Nessie ladle

LADLE

Okay, we know we’ve featured this before, but come on. This thing is so cute, and thanks to its little feet, you never have to worry about where to rest it while you make sauces and soups. Her little head will poke out of the soup just like the real-life version does in Loch Ness. (Because she’s 100% a real thing.)

Use the following link to shop for these items:

http://www.viralnova.com/awesomer-gadgets/?mb=vnnl&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Viralnova%20Daily&utm_campaign=ViralNova%20Daily%202015-06-12

To find out more about these gadgets, click the text below the photos, which will take you to each respective shop. These make perfect gifts for anyone in your life who likes all things cute and unusual — and that can totally include you.

WATER DROPLET HAPPY ICON GIMPCROPPEDWe’ve got a great sunny and warm weekend coming up after being drenched for almost a week – hope your weather is as great.  Get out and have fun

World Oceans Day 2015 ~ Must See Videos

ocean dayThe following article, “4 Must-See Videos on World Oceans Day” was posted yesterday on EcoWatch 
The PEW Charitable Trusts | June 8, 2015

The ocean covers nearly three-fourths of the globe and is home to nearly half of the world’s known species—with countless yet to be discovered. It helps support more than 250 million people who depend directly or indirectly on fishing for their livelihoods. Still, human activities increasingly threaten its health. Although 72 percent of the world is covered by the ocean, less than 2 percent of these waters are fully protected.

Global Ocean Legacy, a project of Pew and its partners, works with local communities, governments, and scientists around the world to protect and conserve some of our most important and unspoiled ocean environments. These efforts have helped double the amount of protected marine habitat worldwide over the last nine years. That includes two recent achievements: expansion of the U.S. Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument in September 2014 and the British government’s announcement in March 2015 that it will create the world’s largest fully protected marine reserve in the Pitcairn Islands in the South Pacific Ocean.

Research shows that large, fully protected marine reserves are essential to rebuilding species abundance and diversity and protecting overall ocean health. To commemorate World Oceans Day on June 8, we invite you to watch four videos that highlight why fully protected marine reserves are critical to safeguarding these waters and the broader environment.


Caring for the environment has long been an important element of Palau’s culture. For centuries, chiefs have acted to protect these Pacific waters through the traditional “bul,” a moratorium on catching key species or fishing on reefs that provide critical habitat. Commonly referred to as “one of the seven underwater wonders of the world,” Palau’s ecosystems contain remarkable biodiversity, including more than 1,300 species of fish, more than 700 species of hard and soft coral, seven of the world’s nine types of giant clam, and non-stinging jellyfish. Pew was invited by Palau’s president to help create a large fully protected marine reserve in the island nation’s exclusive economic zone.


Located in the southeastern Pacific nearly 2,500 miles (4,000 kilometers) from mainland Chile, Easter Island has a rich cultural and environmental heritage. The island’s monumental sculpted heads have stood sentinel over this natural wonder, known as Rapa Nui in local Polynesian language, for centuries. Ancient Polynesians traveled through Easter Island’s waters for thousands of years using only the stars and the ocean for navigation. While largely unexplored, these seas are known to contain geological hot spots and areas of rare biodiversity that sustain highly migratory fish species. They also are known for ancient seamounts, 8.4 million to 13.1 million years old. Pew is working with the Rapa Nui community and the Chilean government to protect these ecologically important waters.


In March 2015, the British government announced its commitment to create the world’s largest fully protected marine reserve in the waters surrounding the Pitcairn Islands. A small U.K. overseas territory in the South Pacific, Pitcairn has one of the largest exclusive economic zones in the world. Within these waters lies one of the best-preserved ecosystems, a complex community of hard and soft corals that is home to hundreds of species of fish, including two found nowhere else on Earth. Pew, on behalf of the Global Ocean Legacy campaign partners, is working with the British government and the Pitcairn Island community to implement the Pitcairn Islands Marine Reserve to safeguard this important habitat for future generations.


The Kermadec region, a remote area between New Zealand’s North Island and Tonga, includes some of the most geologically active and biologically unusual features on Earth. Extending in places to a depth of more than 6.2 miles (10 kilometers), the Kermadec-Tonga Trench is the deepest in the Southern Hemisphere, five times deeper than the Grand Canyon. The waters are teeming with birds, whales, dolphins, fish, turtles, and many unique sea creatures, some that exist only there. The area provides important habitat for deep-diving mammals such as sperm whales. Half of the known beaked whales—at least 10 species—are thought to inhabit these waters, perhaps the world’s richest habitat for these rare and elusive animals.

http://ecowatch.com/2015/06/08/videos-world-oceans-day/?utm_source=EcoWatch+List&utm_campaign=bbecb54128-Top_News_6_8_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_49c7d43dc9-bbecb54128-85936497