Exploring nature through wildlife education programs

I have always been an avid nature explorer and my connection to the environment through nature was fueled by attending one of the wildlife educational program on Saturday, January 27, 2018 at Biodiversity Education Center at Coppell Nature Park, Texas (http://www.coppelltx.gov/bec). The center promotes and provides hands-on environmental education for both school and the community where the participants observe and learn about local flora, fauna, and environmental sustainability issues. One of the most reputable wildlife educators and party entertainers, Zooniversity been awarded with “Best of the Metroplex — Family Choice Award” seven times in a row in North Texas, conducted wildlife program on mammals at the center.

trails

Participants exploring the trails at Coppell Nature Park

Mammals are among the most adaptable animals on the planet. They are found on every continent and in every ocean, and range in size from tiny bumblebee bats to enormous blue whales. All warm-blooded vertebrates (have backbones) including humans belong to mammals. They feed their young with milk and have a more well-developed brain than other types of animals.

info

The class reviewed mammal characteristics, unique habitats, adaptive anatomy, feeding, defense and weird animal behaviors. The insight on the “Zooniversity: Meet Mammals; Our Furry Friends” program is described below:

1. Basic study on characteristics/habitats of herbivores, omnivores, and carnivores.

herbivore carnivore omnivore

Figure 1. Basic characteristics of herbivores, carnivores and omnivores explained.

2. Awesome experience of touching the fur/of mammals as coyote and skunks and studied/observed their skulls.

skuls

Figure 2. The skulls of mammals as coyote and skunk.

3. Adults and kids of all ages were welcomed to participate in hands-on experiments on blubber.

blubber

Figure 3. Hands-on experiment on “Blubber”

4. Kids were excited to draw and color the pictures of animals.

20180127_114355

Figure 4. Kids engaged in drawing and coloring

Let us explore the nature and find ways to preserve and/or conserve our beautiful environment.

Do you have any such stories and/or involved in programs that instill love for the environment? Write to us!

Wetlands and their importance

Learn about why wetlands are so important for the environment and share how to conserve the ecosystem.. Wetlands and their importance

Why is studying and understanding science so important in our lives?

The effects of science and its applications are seen everywhere nowadays, be it talking about life in Mars, internet, medicines….and lots more. With the knowledge of science, we learn to think logically and solve a problem. Communications, medicine, transportation, and almost everything you see around are because individuals have used their knowledge of science to create real life applications. Science is an extremely important field. Technology has given automation, while science has given the cure to so many diseases, raised awareness and made so many possibilities come close to us.

The main benefits of studying science are listed below:

  1. Understanding science helps people acts responsibly towards the environment.
  2. Science gives us superpowers, like looking across the universe, seeing atoms, flying across the Earth or to the moon, moving mountains, and harnessing the energy of the sun.
  3. we can use scientific knowledge and skills to make informed decisions about the communication, application, and implications of science as these relate to their own lives and cultures and to the sustainability of the environment.
  4. Attempt to find solutions to problems arising from their own needs and experiences in daily life.

Trends in Crop Protection Methods vis-a-vis Global Climate Change

Agriculture is extremely vulnerable to climate change and vice-versa. Climate changes as higher temperatures, changes in precipitation, soil moisture and sea levels contributes to global warming through ‘greenhouse gas’ (GHG) as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitric oxide (NO) emissions into the atmosphere. Various agricultural practices are contributing to climate change as well as will be affected by the climate change. Although there will be gains in some crops in some regions of the world, the overall impacts of climate change on agriculture are expected to be negative, threatening global food security. With an average global yield loss of upto 50% by 2050, the agriculture sector is at risk amidst global climate change (1), (2). In some of the tropical countries, agriculture is very important for economic development, poverty alleviation, employment and food security (3). How should we then overcome the setbacks and achieve breakthroughs in this area?

http://ecosystems.wcp.muohio.edu/studentresearch/climatechange02/agriculture/agroproject.html

http://ecosystems.wcp.muohio.edu/studentresearch/climatechange02/agriculture/agroproject.html

Thus, comes the need of an effective new agricultural practices and technologies, that can bestow to climate change mitigation and adaptation. These improvement should be in an order that will largely help the farmers to use them profitably, without any detrimental effects on the environment. However, without sound and appropriate governmental and institutional policies and regulations, the innovative technologies could not be put into practice.

The forms or methods for improving crop protection which in turn can prevent global warming issues are as follows:

 

A.    The Crop Systems and Global Change Lab (CSGCL), Baltimore, http://www.ars.usda.gov/research/projects_programs.htm?modecode=12-45-25-00 applies systems theory to the solution of complex agricultural problems and to the development of computer-aided farm decision support systems and assessment tools for environmental study and analysis. It carries out research to improve the growth, yield and quality of crops in the face of climatic changes, through increased understanding of mechanisms controlling response and adaptation to CO2, light, water, temperature, and soil chemistry.

B.     Introducing crop varieties/traits that confer tolerance to drought and heat, tolerance to salinity, and early maturation, through advances in breeding programs/biotechnology, in order to shorten the growing season and reduce farmers’ exposure to risk of extreme weather events.  Attempts are in the direction to evolve varieties which respond positively in growth and yield to high CO2 and varieties with high fertilizer and radiation use efficiency. Plants are also being created that will use nitrogen more efficiently, reducing the need for added fertilizer and thereby lessening greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

C.     Improvements in technologies related to conservation of natural resources: in situ moisture conservation, rainwater harvesting and recycling, efficient use of irrigation water, conservation agriculture, energy efficiency in crop production and irrigation and use of poor quality water. The suggested strategies are: characterization of biophysical and socioeconomic resources utilizing Geographic Information System (GIS) and remote sensing; integrated watershed development; developing strategies for improving rainwater use efficiency through rainwater harvesting, storage, and reuse; contingency crop planning to minimize loss of production during drought/flood years. (4), (5) Build up soil organic matter and prevent erosion by applying techniques such as conservation tillage, nutrient management and the use of reclamation varieties. Initiatives are undertaken in countries  to develop ‘climate smart’ agricultural methods.

D.    The government should concentrate on integrating national development policies into a sustainable development in agriculture that would lead to technology advances/adaptation. These strategic policies would not only improve the welfare of rural populations now, but they will also do a great deal to mitigate the future impacts of climate change.

By considering these options, what else according to you, are the advanced technologies adopted in the agricultural sector that would lead to crop improvement amid global climate change and inverse? What initiative(s) the government are taking and should need to take in order to have a global food security?

 

 

References

 

1.      IPCC 2007 IPCC Summary for policy makers. Climate Change 2007. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp.18.

 

2.      Mendelsohn R. 2009. The impact of climate change on agriculture in developing countries Journal of Natural Resources Policy Research 1: 5–19.

 

3.      Wheeler D. 2011. Quantifying vulnerability to climate change: Implications for adaptation assistance. Washington, D.C.:Center for Global Development. 49p.

 

4.      Kapoor A. 2006. Mitigating natural disasters through preparedness measures. Proceedings of the International Conference on Adaptation to Climate Variability and Change, 5-7 January 2006, New Delhi, organized by Institute for Social and Environmental Transition and Winrock International India. 184 pp.

 

5.      Venkateswarlu B, Shanker AK. 2009. Climate change and agriculture: adaptation and mitigation strategies Indian Journal of Agronomy 54 (2): 226-230.

What is Happiness???

My happiness lies in making others’ happy. I feel that happiness and joy multiplies once you share or give other’s the same.
What is that little spark which makes YOU feel happy? Please share…..

Are Genetically Modified Crops safe for us?

All breeding leads to genetic changes, but in recent decades, advances in the field of genetic engineering have allowed  control over the genetic changes introduced into an organism. The process of genetic engineering is the targeted manipulation of a plant’s or animal’s DNA to modify specific traits,  involving the incorporation of new genes from one species into a completely unrelated species.  Crop plants, farm animals, and soil bacteria are some of the prominent examples of organisms that have been subject to genetic engineering. The crops or organisms being developed by such a process are known as Genetically Modified Crops or Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). The initial objective for developing plants based on GM organisms was to improve crop protection. The GM crops currently on the market are mainly aimed at an increased level of crop protection through the introduction of resistance against plant diseases caused by insects or viruses or through increased tolerance towards herbicides.

8150

But the discussion of my present topic is:

Are Genetically Modified Crops/Food safe for human consumption?

The answer is YES, although there are still ongoing for and against debates over this issue. However,  the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the European Commission, the American Medical Association and the scientific academies of Britain, France and Germany reviewed the evidence and concur that existing GM foods are as safe and nutritious as conventional varieties. These organizations believe that genetic engineering and GE crops should be considered important options in the efforts toward sustainable agricultural production. http://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Nicolia-20131.pdf .

Global food production is facing several challenges such as climate change, population growth, and competition for arable lands.  For this reason, conserving land to produce more food is a necessity for any long term plan. Biotechnology firms claim that transgenic crops promise bigger yields to create more efficient use of land, better resistance to weeds, pest and other diseases, , less use of herbicides and other pesticides, have better texture, flavor and nutritional value, and have a longer shelf life for easier shipping. In short, GM foods can create an essential sustainable way to feed the world. Read More

%d bloggers like this: