Tuesday, April 30, 2013

TRIO SSS Student of the Month, April 2013: Dave Brennan

Dave was chosen as the student of the month for April because of his hard work in his classes and his non-stop dedication.  Dave is always on top of what questions he needs to ask, his direction in school, keeping up on all of his assignments, seeking out resources to benefit his time while in school, and balancing work and school.

Dave is a strong participant in the Trio program and we are happy that we got the chance to work with him during his time at Anoka-Ramsey.  In the Fall of 2013 Dave will be transferring into the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences at the University of Minnesota. We wish Dave the best of luck in his future endeavors and congratulate him on being Trio’s Student of the Month.

        Congratulations, Dave!!!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Save The Earth and Make A Living

Are you passionate about saving our planet? Would you like to feel you've made a difference in the health of our environment? There are lots of careers that engage you in conserving our natural resources.

Consider Conservation Forestry: This includes Wildlife Management; Soil Conservation; Native Species Conservation; and even pest control.

Have you ever climbed to the top of one of these observation towers? Imagine if it was part of your job!

Atmospheric Scientists study problems such as global warming, air pollution, water pollution, air and sea transportation and its risks to the environment (plants and animals) and our climate. You can specialize in Air Resources, Coastal Management, Fisheries Management, or even Fire Management.

******We interrupt this blog for a word from Sierra Club-Including "The Best Internship On Earth" -according to them. The Sierra Club was originally founded to save natural forests, but has expanded to support all environmental protection: Here is the Sierra Club website: http://action.sierraclub.org/site/PageServer#fun-stuff    And for the internship, go to: http://content.sierraclub.org/bestinternship/home    ********

Biologists can specialize in particular species and how they are faring in their environments, such as Marine Biology, Microbiology, Botany (plants), or a specific animal, or may work with ecology, as well as particular ecosystems such as the rainforest or the Arctic areas of Earth.

Marine Biologists Collecting Data

You could also work with one species, such as birds, or a sub-species such as raptors (birds of prey) or birds indigenous to a certain geographical area, with a degree in Raptor Biology or Zoo and Wildlife Biology or  Veterinary Science.

An owlet ready to be weighed at the Raptor Center.

You could make a career discovering Green Energy, or sources that do not deplete or harm the earth's resources, including wind, solar, marine, and tidal energy, as well as creating biofuels, building 'green', and waste management (disposal of garbage). This might involve a degree in Environmental Science or Studies with a specialty in energy resources.

You might develop appliances for use in households or businesses that are more energy-efficient, or cars that can run on fuel other than gasoline: A degree in mechanical engineering with a specialty in automotive applications, or in Industrial Design to work on the body and interior of car design, would be the degrees to pursue to work in that field.

  It is always a good idea to unplug your car before you leave.

If your interests are more political, you could study political science as well as environmental science and make a career of helping to set government policy regarding conservation, including urban planning-that is, planning a city so that it uses less of the available natural resources, and uses them well.

You could research and then write about environmental issues using a journalism degree.

An Energy Analyst studies how energy is used and works at trying to reduce our dependence on traditional sources such as oil and coal. There are Energy Traders who work with other countries to trade resources, as well.

Energy Traders at work

There are well over 100 careers that are related to protecting our environment. Take a look:

Monday, April 15, 2013

They're Never Wrong When You Want Them To Be

Quick! Name someone who hears complaints all day, every day:
--Not only your parent, spouse, friends, or the IRS..........

It's the Meteorologist.

What different kinds of meteorologists are there?

Television and Radio Meteorologists: These are the folks who make their best attempt at letting us know what to expect weather-wise, for today and over the next few days. They take data from the National Weather Service and NOAA (see below) , map out their predictions, and then let us know what they forecast.

Research: These meteorologists find out how the weather changes and why. They track historical weather patterns and environmental changes that relate to weather; they may also study particular weather phenomena such as tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, or even wildfires.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association website is here: http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/

Interesting:  You can participate in the PING (Precipitation Identification Near the Ground) program to help them collect data. Details are on the website.

A Climatologist is a meteorologist who specializes in studying climate change, whether that's in a local area or a particular part of the world (such as rain forests) or possibly the world as a whole. Other specialized meteorologists study air quality or water quality as it relates to the weather.

Military: A meteorologist in the military serves an important purpose: tracking weather conditions that affect military operations.

Teaching: You might teach others about meteorology, whether as a part of studies such as in K-12 education, or on the college level, whether students major in meteorology or not.

Here is the National Weather Service website: If you scroll down you'll see lots  of weather-related  information..  http://www.weather.gov/.

Where else is weather predicting important?

  • Airlines need to know when visibility is poor or if weather conditions might make it dangerous to fly.
  • Road crews need to know when enough snow is expected to make plowing necessary
  • Electric companies find it helpful to be able to predict high usage of air conditioning
  • Shopping malls, stadiums or arenas, schools, or hospitals need to be aware of any dangerous weather.

 What degree(s) do you need to be a meteorologist?

There are specific degrees in Meteorology, but you could also look into related studies such as Geology, Atmospheric Science, Earth Science, or Hydrology, as well as computer-driven research of weather, such as studying patterns, analyzing air movement, and predicting floods and other nature-related disasters including blizzards, floods, and tornadoes. You can also study how pollution affects weather.

Coursework for this degree generally includes a high concentration on science-related subjects with an emphasis on Earth Science; you will study Atmospheric physics, chemistry, as well as computer science, statistics, instrumentation, and measurements. Depending on your specialty, you will need other courses. For example, if you want to be someone who broadcasts weather predictions on radio or television, you will need courses in journalism, speech, and communications.

Here is a link to St Cloud State University's meteorology program: http://bulletin.stcloudstate.edu/ugb/programs/ahs.asp

And to the American Meteorological Society:

Did you know?

  • Aristotle is considered the father of Meteorology.
  • The most rainfall in one day was 73.62" in the Indian Ocean, in 1952.
  • The highest temperature in the world was 136 degrees Fahrenheit, in Libya, in 1922.
  • The lowest temperature in the world was -128.6 degrees Fahrenheit, in Antarctica, in 1983 (not counting the windchill).
  • The longest path of a tornado on the ground was recorded at 293 miles, from Missouri to Indiana in 1917.

Monday, April 8, 2013

What Does That Mean? Terms to Learn for Earth Day

What does "Carbon Footprint" mean?

  • The total carbon emissions for a given person, organization, building, operation etc. For example, the carbon footprint of an office would include the carbon emitted by staff when traveling to and from work in their cars.

What is The "Greenhouse Effect"?
  • The greenhouse effect is a phenomenon where the atmosphere acts like the glass of a greenhouse. The Sun heats the atmosphere which contains chemicals called greenhouse gases. These gases absorb some of the sun's heat by trapping the infrared rays emitted by the Earth.

What is The Ozone Layer?

And a closeup:

  • Ozone is the name of a gas that naturally shields the Earth from the sun. The Ozone Layer is the layer of the upper atmosphere, from 10 to 30 miles above the Earth's surface, where most atmospheric ozone collects, absorbing harmful ultraviolet radiation from the Sun.

And the hole in it....at the left about a third of the way down you see the tip of South America. You are looking at the South Pole; the blue area is the hole; see how it got larger from 1982 to 2011:

What is 'El Nino?"

  • This refers to the warming of the surface of the Pacific Ocean area. It occurs at irregular intervals about once every 2 to 7 years.
What does 'Post Consumer' mean? 

  • A product or material which has been recycled or reused after its original purpose has completed. An example would be plastic bottles which have been recycled into new plastic bottles. The label may say “made with 95% post-consumer waste”.

What's a VOC?

  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
    A toxic chemical contained within and then released as a gas from materials such as paint, glue, sealant, solvent and petroleum products over time. These chemicals are found in most items of furniture and surface finishes. Another source is new carpeting. These vapors have a negative affect on the environment and human health-have you ever been in a house with new carpet, or felt dizzy from a strong paint or lacquer odor, or later had breathing issues? Even hair spray can make you cough and make your eyes sore.

  • What is Climate Change?
  • A recorded and prominent change in the earth’s temperature over a long period of time, which changes local weather conditions. It is linked to global warming and things that we humans do, such as manufacturing and transportation.  

How does the term "Sanitary Landfill" make sense?
  • This refers to a method of controlled disposal of refuse on land. The method was introduced in England in 1912 (where it is called controlled tipping) and involves natural fermentation brought about by microorganisms. Usually the garbage is deposited in shallow layers, compacted, and covered within 24 hours with earth or other neutral material to form an effective seal. Mechanical equipment such as a bulldozer is used to grade, compact, and cover the refuse. The method often is employed to reclaim otherwise useless land, i.e., to fill sloping land to levels convenient for buildings, parking lots, city parks or other public purposes.

What is light pollution?

  • It doesn't mean there's a small amount of pollution. It refers to the fact that we have so much man-made light that it interferes with astronomers trying to look at the night sky. Check out this site for a look at light pollution: http://www.brighthub.com/science/space/articles/68641.aspx

What is "The Big Bang Theory"?

First answer, it's a great show that airs Thursday nights on CBS.
  • Scientifically: This is science's best explanation of how the universe was created. It says that the universe was created when a tiny super-dense, super-hot mass exploded and began expanding very rapidly, eventually cooling and forming into the stars and galaxies we know now. This supposedly happened about 15 billion years ago. Facts of the day: The Earth is a planet, the Sun is a star. Our galaxy is referred to as "The Milky Way." The word 'galaxy' is derived from the Greek term 'galakitos' which means white or milky, the appearance of a galaxy from far away.
Here's a picture of the Milky Way and where our Earth is. And by the way, the center is called Sagittarius A, and is actually a black hole. (the center of the galaxy is not our sun. Our sun is relatively close to Earth in this picture).Read more about Sagittarius A at: http://www.universetoday.com/21875/center-of-the-milky-way/"

Now you have some new terms you can dazzle your friends with!


Monday, April 1, 2013

I Didn't Know You Could Recycle That!

Earth Day is officially April 22, but let's think about it every week this month.

How can we all be kinder to our planet? Recycle something! Here are things that can be recycled, and several also do good at the same time:

If you're sick of your clothes, trade some with a friend instead of buying new ones. Take the extra second to toss your pop can into a recycling bin and not the garbage. When you buy something, take it home without a bag...or bring your own bag. And, of course, donate unwanted items to Goodwill, Salvation Army, Disabled Vets, Lupus Foundation, or any other charitable organization. Some of them will even come and pick it up at your house at no charge.

Do you have some women's business attire that is up-to-date? Consider donating it to Dress for Success. This organization provides 'suitable' clothes for women who need the right outfit for an interview and to start work in a business environment. Some realtor offices accept these donations---visit http://www.dressforsuccess.org/affiliate.aspx?sisid=130&pageid=22   (scroll down for a list of places to bring your business attire to donate). Of course, if you are the person in need of business clothing, give them a call! An assistant will be assigned to help you personally.

Compact fluorescent light bulbs (the squiggly ones):   Ikea will accept them for recycling, or call your local recycling folks and ask.

You can swap exercise videos through www.videofitness.com

Eyeglasses that are of no use to you can be donated to your local Lions Club, which will get them to people who need them. Some Wal-Marts also have a donation bin for this purpose, or ask at your optician's office.

Foam peanuts - some mailing companies will accept them. Call first, but you will find somewhere that takes them. Or, call the Peanut Hotline (really) at 1-800-828-2214.

Cell phones are always welcome donations at womens' shelters. Be sure to erase all your contact numbers and include the charger. If you don't know of a shelter close to you, there may be a store that has a recycling bin for phones to be dropped off.

Technical gadgetshttp://greendisk.com/   will accept your technical gadgets; visit their website for details.

Trophies are a welcome donation to Special Olympics. Sometimes when a trophy is made of real metal and wood, it can be recycled in the 'traditional' way.

Do you have a  fairly new formal dress you would be willing to donate? Everafter Gowns provides young ladies with limited income, a chance to obtain a prom dress and accessories free of charge. Check out their website and see what they do:  http://www.everaftergowns.org/dropspot/dropspot.html .

Are you thinking about cutting your hair? If the hair cut off would be at least 10" in length, you can donate it to Locks of Love:  http://www.locksoflove.org/donate.html  where it will be made into wigs for young people age 21 and under. These people may have had cancer treatments, have been burned, or have a medical condition that causes baldness.

Help someone learn to repair bicycles--donate your old bikes to  http://fullcyclebikeshop.org/  (this is located in Minneapolis)

Old, clean, towels are always needed at your local animal shelter. They will also take blankets, place mats, newspaper, and food. Detergent and fabric softener is also appreciated.

Wine corks are recycled into shoe soles through http://recork.org/

Get in touch with the company who made your makeup; they may have a recycling program for used-up items. For instance, MAC has a recycling program called 'Back to MAC,' and if you send them six items to be recycled, they will send you a free lipstick. Also, Macy's has drop boxes for you to dispose of old makeup; the containers can be recycled.

Are there old bits and pieces of crayons sitting around your house? Recycle them through http://www.crazycrayons.com/recycle_program.html   --This is located in Minnetonka, Minnesota.

Nike sponsors a program to accept used tennis shoes at www.nikereuseashoe.com  and will donate them to athletes and other people in need of shoes.

Last but not least....Ever wonder what happens to an old computer when it's recycled? Check out this video from Best Buy showing how they recycle old computers (and by the way, they also accept your old TV sets and VCRs-please don't throw them in the garbage):            

Besides listing free items on Craigslist, you can also use Freecycle, where people offer and ask for things for free:  http://groups.freecycle.org/freecycleMpls/posts/all  .

Here's a great website for other sources: http://www.greenamerica.org/pubs/greenamerican/articles/21Things.cfm