All About Black Skimmers
By: Callie Poznan 7/4/19
Happy July Greenies! Happy 4th as well!! We are about halfway through 2019, which blows my mind. July’s member meeting is at the Seabird Sanctuary! This month we will learn all about birds.
My parents go on a walk at the beach every night and recently, on one of their walks they came upon a huge flock of birds sitting in the sand. They estimated almost 300 birds. There was a nice lady standing around the roped-off area by the birds. She is a volunteer who stands there every day to protect the birds from harm. She explained to my parents that those birds are called black skimmers. So…what are black skimmers you may ask.
Black skimmers are a seabird that nest/live on ocean beaches and islands. They are medium-sized birds that have long wings. They have a unique looking bill. The lower mandible part of their bill is much longer than the upper part. The bills on these birds are black and red. The feet are orange. Their bodies are black and white. The diet of black skimmers consists of mostly fish.
Black skimmers like to coast just above the water when they fly. These birds are also very defensive over their nests. When I went to go see the birds for myself, I was standing there minding my own business, just looking at the birds. All of a sudden, one of the birds got up and started flying quite close to me. I thought that it was strange. Then, it started swooping down towards my face and circling me. One of the volunteers came up to me and told me it would be a good idea if I backed up. This specific bird saw me as a threat to their eggs and was warning me to getaway. How interesting! This is a very distinct characteristic that all black skimmers have to protect their babies. The nests of these birds are not what you’d assume the nest to look like. Black skimmers make their nests similar to turtles, except they don’t bury the eggs. They dig a hole into the sand and then take turns sitting on the nest to keep the eggs warm and protected.
These amazing birds breed in colonies, which can include thousands of pairs. Black skimmers are considered endangered in New Jersey. In North Carolina and Florida, they are a species of special concern because of the decreasing population. The biggest threat to black skimmers is human disturbance. Another big threat is dogs and cats.
If you have free time soon, go check out these amazing birds on Indian Rocks Beach.
Have you ever encountered a colony of black skimmers before?
5 Ways to Conserve Water Daily
By: Callie Poznan 6/4/19
Happy June Greenies! Our June member meeting is all about water conservation. So, I figured I’d topic this blog post about water. Summers are super hot in Florida and I know we all just want to stay cool the whole time and many of us do that in the water. I’m asking you all to just try and accomplish one of these tips on the list this summer.
Below are 5 tips to help you conserve water in your home and garden everyday!
- Turn the water off when brushing your teeth
- Think about if you really need to flush each time (if it’s yellow let it mellow) Of course, only if you’re comfortable with this
- Take fast showers!! Cut the lollygagging in the shower and just get done what needs to get done
- Make sure your sprinklers are positioned in the correct place so that they are actually watering your greenery, not the concrete
- Only run the dishwasher and washing machine when it is a full load
Comment at the bottom of this page what tip you are going to try to stick to this summer!
Environmental Movies for Children
By: Callie Poznan 5/3/19
Happy May Greentown Kids members! Since summer is just around the corner, I have put together a list of my favorite (kid friendly) movies with environmental themes! I am not a fan of watching TV and movies rather than being outdoors and playing. However, we have quite a few thunderstorms here in Florida during the summer. These movies would be perfect to watch during one of those crazy summer rains! I have included a short review of the movie, the trailer, and the cover photo for the movie. Enjoy!
*Click on blue titles of each movie to watch trailer!*
I watched this movie back in 2014 when it first came out. It is the cutest movie! However, it is not a cartoon and is real nature. Some scenes can be graphic because…well it’s nature. This movie/documentary would probably be more suitable for a slightly older group (ages 5+). My personal rating for this movie is an 8/10.
Another documentary/movie by Disneynature. All of the Disneynature documentaries are absolutely amazing! This one follows three different animal families around. It lets you get up close into the lives of our planet’s animals. Like any real-life movie, this one can have some harsh moments as well. My personal rating of Earth is a 9/10.
Wings of Life follows bats, bees, butterflies and birds throughout nature. It shows you the path of butterfly migration from Mexico to the U.S. every year and explains it. This movie analyzes how the listed winged creatures above impact the Earth’s food chain. The one downside to this movie is that it may become boring to your little ones after a while. It is not as action filled as the other Disneynature movies. My personal rating is a 6/10.
Hoot was one of my favorite movies as a kid! This inspiring movie takes place on Florida’s Gulf Coast (what a coincidence!). Hoot is about three middle schooler’s efforts to conserve the land where many owls burrow. The movie consists of them fighting with adults to not put a restaurant over these owl’s home. This movie may be slightly difficult for a younger child to follow, however. My personal rating is a 9/10.
The good old Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax is a favorite of many. We showed this at our movie night at Indian Rocks Beach Nature Preserve a few months ago. Kids absouletly love this movie! I am sixteen and I even adore this movie. It is super sweet and I do believe children get the message of reducing waste from this movie. My personal rating is a 10/10.
This movie follows a family of blue macaws. This movie doesn’t have a very strong environmental conservation message. I thought this movie was important to include because blue macaw species is actually going extinct. This movie also includes many other animals who live in Rio de Janeiro. My personal rating is a 7/10.
Same as Rio 1, listed above!
This movie makes my heart melt. I gurantee you, you and your children will absouletly fall in love with this little robot, WALL-E. WALL-E spends his time cleaning up earth and picking up one piece of garbage at a time. Eventually, he goes to explore the galaxy with his robot friend, Eva. Together, they work to save the last plant alive. My personal rating is a 10/10.
This movie is quite comical! The characters are very goofy. It shows us the effect of global-warming on a bunch of animal’s icy environment, leading to widepspread flooding. These animals seek out a safe place to go as their home gets destroyed. My personal rating is a 7/10.
Everybody loves Finding Nemo and Finding Dory! This movie is suitable for all-ages. It is a cute movie. Growing up Finding Nemo was one of my favorites. Then, recently Finding Dory came out, and I loved it even more than Finding Nemo! Both of these movies have a string emphasis on teamwork. My personal rating is a 10/10 for both.
Same as Finding Nemo, listed above!
This has to be my favorite movie put out by Disneynature! It follows a baby chimp named Oscar. Oscar is an oprhan chimpanzee. You will cry happy tears and sad tears during this movie. It is so sweet, though. Oscar lives in an African forest. This is a MUST watch! My personal rating is an 11/10.
What is your favorite movie with an environmental theme/message? Comment on the bottom of this page!
So...What Exactly is Earth Day?
By: Callie Poznan 4/1/19
Happy April Greentown Kids members! During the month of April, we celebrate earth day. Our event this month falls on earth day. Keep reading to learn more!
History of Earth Day
49 years ago on April 22nd, 20 million Americans protested the negative impacts of 150 years of industrial development. All of this industrial development was leading to deterioration of the environment. The protests were organized by Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin after a massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Senator Nelson wanted to educate the public about the environment.
The protests on April 22nd became known as earth day and is now celebrated annually. These protests were successful. Both Republicans and Democrats agreed to create the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Act.
In 1995, President Bill Clinton awarded Senator Nelson with the Presidential Medal of Freedom for being the founder of earth day.
Earth Day in the 2000's
In 2010 for earth day, 225,000 people gathered at the National Mall for a climate rally. During this time there were many climate change deniers (climate change is very real and is to be discussed in another post!). This climate rally launched the world’s largest environmental project called A Billion Acts of Green. Along with this, Earth Day Network launched a campaign to plant one billion trees. By 2012, this goal was reached. In 2016, President Obama signed the Paris Climate Agreement.
Why plant a tree?
Many people believe we plant trees for shade and just simply because they look pretty. This is true, however, there are many more benefits as well! Trees can create an ecosystem that provides a habitat for birds and other animals. Most importantly, trees absorb carbon dioxide and other potentially harmful gases (i.e. sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, etc.) from the air and then release oxygen. Did you know… one large tree can supply a day worth of oxygen for four people? By reducing carbon dioxide, dust and other potentially harmful gasses in the air, our air quality is improved through lower levels of ozone, carbon monoxide, and sulfur dioxide. In addition, trees are fun to climb as long as you are being respectful towards them, of course!
How will you be spending your earth day? Comment below!
Below is the March blog post!
Eco-Friendliness is the New Trend
By: Callie Poznan 3/1/19
Hello Greentown Kids members! Welcome to the first blog post. My name is Callie and I am the Greentown Kids blogger. I am a sophomore in high school who is currently studying medicine in a magnet program. I have a very strong interest in learning about the environment and keeping it clean. I believe that if the environment is not thriving, then neither can the human species. In order for us to make our mark on saving the environment, people of all ages need to be taught how. Before becoming a member of Greentown kids, I had no idea how much pollution I, personally, was making every day. This trash was polluting our oceans and hurting animals and I was clueless about it. After joining, I made and continue to make a conscious effort to limit my waste. For me, it was beginning with no plastic straws. Yes, it was definitely a struggle at first, but now it is not at all! My family and I have purchased many reusable straws and we keep them around the house, in the cars, and in purses! The next step for me was to stop using plastic water bottles. Before joining, I was using at least one plastic water bottle every day. My family was buying a pack of 38 plastic water bottles about every other week. We no longer purchase single-use plastic water bottles. Now, I bring a reusable water bottle to school everyday and everywhere I go. Even to the airport!! (Airport travel tip: bring a refillable empty water bottle to the airport and once you go through security find a water fountain and fill it up!)
I am a very observant person and have made many observations about others my age and their feelings towards being eco-friendly. I have noticed at school that many of my peers refuse to take a plastic straw from the cafeteria during lunch. I have also noticed the number of people around my age carrying around refillable water bottles. Many companies also sell reusable cups for their drinks. For example, if you bring a reusable cup/bottle to Starbucks and ask your cashier to use your cup from home instead of the plastic or cardboard, you receive a discount off your order! The fact of the matter is that REUSABLE WATER BOTTLES ARE A LOT CUTER LOOKING THAN TRASHY (literally) PLASTIC WATER BOTTLES. It’s almost as if it is an on-setting trend to carry a refillable bottle. There are so many design options for them, too!