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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Tamalpais Students Learn About Salmon and Watershed Protection

Ms. Bruno's students continue to learn more about the environment and journalism this semester. EarthScope Media's Catriona McGregor introduced the English Literature Class to the Marc Reisner book Cadillac Desert. The book explores water issues and land development in the Western United States.

Watershed Biologist Preston Brown knows a lot about water use issues. The Project Manager with the Turtle Island Restoration and Watershed Network introduced the students to some of the issues that California's once bountiful salmon populations now face. "Salmon are a keystone species" Brown said, "so many animals and plants depend on a healthy salmon population for food and for nutrients." Students got to ask questions about the salmon life cycle, which salmon are okay to eat, and what they can do to help preserve local salmon species. They also took turns learning how to record Brown's presentation to use for their radio stories.

Brown encouraged the students to "visit a state or regional park, take a hike, or have a picnic, enjoy the outdoors." Getting to know nature is the first step in learning to care for it.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

EarthScope Media takes Tamalpais High Class to The California Academy of Sciences

EarthScope Media is teaming up again this winter with Ms. Bruno's class at Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley. 25 students recently joins a field trip to The California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco where they learned about Ocean Acidification and sustainable building practices.
Matthew Tucker, a Public Programs Presenter at the academy, explained how important the planet's oceans are to our habitat on land. Tucker described how CO2 emissions enter ocean water making it more acidic and harmful to shell fish. Tucker said small habit changes could make a big difference in the amount of carbon emissions, "If everyone in the U.S. did laundry with cold water instead of warm water, 30 million tons of CO2 would be eliminated each year. That's the equivalent of taking 5 million cars off the road!"

Aaron Pope, Manager of Sustainability Programs at the California Academy, Told students about the importance of building sustainably and smart. Weather stations atop the building's living roof help gather information about which windows in the building need to be opened or closed, providing a more natural air conditioning. "The key," Pope said, "is to figure out what works well in terms of lessening out impact on resources and reduce out carbon footprint and pass that information along to others. We have thought very carefully about to build this building as efficiently as possible."
The students were impressed with their visit. Sophomore Usama Azam said "I didn't know you could heat and cool a building like that." While junior Fitri Sakwan enjoyed the academy's rain forest exhibit, "I liked getting to see and take pictures of the really big snakes."
The students will write blogs and produce radio programs for KALW in San Francisco, and KWMR in Marin County.