1st Quarter ScrapESbook: My Environmental Science Journal
Mady Jurcev

E: Backyard Phenology

Our lives move so fast that we never stop every once-in-awhile to take in what's around us. How many of you can truthfully say that you've sat outside and simply observed nature? I'm sure very few of you can, and to be honest, I haven't either until this project. Doing so definitely opened my eyes to the world around me; especially since this is what Environmental Science is all about. The hour and a half I spent outside made me wonder why we are destroying the planet bottle by bottle and factory by factory.

Feeling stressed, sick, or anxious? Sit outside! Sitting outside and observing nature may not seem like much of an activity, but in essence it is. In a way, you are multitasking by reducing energy usage and improving your mood! By being outdoors on a sunny, beautiful day, you are not wasting the energy you would be by watching television. And even though watching television is relaxing, it does not relieve any stress or anxiety you are feeling. Studies have shown that being outside is one of the best things you can do when it comes to your health. When outside, our levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate our mood, rises. "One study found that regular outdoor runners were less anxious and depressed than people who ran indoors on a treadmill, and had higher levels of post-exercise endorphins, the feel-good brain chemicals associated with 'runner’s high.' " [http://www.athleta.net/2011/02/23/reduce-stress-in...

Now I finally understand where all my energy came from growing up because I was always outside with my neighborhood friends running around from dawn to dusk. From all of those hours out, I never took the time to watch the birds fly by, the rabbits hop past, or the squirrels run across the tree branches. And now that I'm reminiscing, I don't think I have ever said, "Wow Maura, look at that bird," or even, "Maura, look how tall that tree is!" Being so young then explains it, but I have no excuse now.

Sunday September 21, 2014

Bees were consistently hovering around my mom's flower pot.


Leaves from the same three trees four days later.

       O: Underwater Robot Tracks                         Endangered Sea Turtles
           Katie Sola - June 24, 2014

The Executives Briefcase - Flipboard

"For the first time ever, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) scientists have tracked endangered turtles remotely - using an underwater robot.

The Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) uses side-scan technology to detect the creatures swimming and resting on the sea floor at a known turtle hotspot near North Carolina.

'This is the very first time that we used our AUVs to look for living creatures,' says Rob Downs, AUV project manager at NOAA's Office of Coastal Survey. His team used the devices to inspect damage in Texas after Hurricane Ike, as well as checking for navigational obstructions at a naval air station in Jackson Hole, Fla. and searching for debris in a Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

Unlike man-made debris, turtles are difficult to spot because they have rounded shells and spend most of their time on the sea floor. 'They're living natural objects, they move about,' says Downs. The turtle carapace does not strongly reflect sonar waves the way steel or concrete does.

'We're looking for aspects of the acoustic signature that are turtle-shaped,' explains Larisa Avens, a research fishery biologist at NOAA fisheries. The team found juvenile and adult Loggerhead turtles, as well as Kemp's Ridley turtles in Cape Lookout Bight in North Carolina's Outer Banks.

The AUV has a communication range of just 1500 meters,  or less than a mile, so is best suited to shallow water exploration. It propels itself through the water along a pre-programmed course, powered by a lithium ion battery and surfacing periodically to get its bearings.

The expedition helped the AUV experts train their staff and gather meaningful data for the turtle researchers at the same time, says downs.

Monitoring sea turtle populations is essential if you're trying to develop conservation strategies and measure their success. Seeing the population rebound after the introduction of Turtle Excluder Devices into fishing nets was one of her most rewarding moments, says Avens.

According to this post on the NOAA website, scientists usually count sea turtles from the air as they surface. The robot method allows for quicker and more accurate counting.

The AUVs expand the range of surveillance because they can access difficult areas without disturbing the sea turtles, who tend to avoid vessels for fear of being struck. 'It's a quieter, smaller object just passing through,' as Avens puts it - unnoticed by the endangered animals rooting through the mud."

Because turtles are my favorite marine animal, I can't say that I've ever read an article more beautiful than this one. The efforts NOAA is giving are astounding due to the fact that turtles are such small creatures compared to sharks and other large animals in the ocean. Even though I just commented on the size of the turtles, I agree with conservation efforts being made.

Since counting and conserving the turtle population is the main focus of this article, you would think it is completely made up of benefits. Well, for every benefit, there is a disadvantage. It truly is amazing that a machine like this has the ability to follow the turtles while still being careful not to hit or scare them. The only downside I can see here is the surveillance range. 1500 meters is not much when it comes to the ocean, especially since the turtles can easily move out of that range.

     O: Nuclear power is our future   Kristen Ferries, Commentary      Published Thursday, May 22, 2014

I one hundred percent disagree with Alexander Cuomo and his plight to stop nuclear energy. It has proved to be safer and less costly in the long run than renewable energy has.Yes, there was an issue with the radiation after an earthquake in Japan, but you can't let one bad thing make a decision. Thanks to that disaster, we can make a new and improved design to prevent the radiation from leaking again.

If Cuomo takes the nuclear power away and replaces it with another source, our air will become even more polluted than it is now. Dangerous greenhouse gases will result causing health issues, premature deaths, and global warming to worsen. You and I both know global warming is a big enough problem as it is, so why make it worse? As stated above, the burning of greenhouse gases will cause $120 billion dollars in medical bills. In my opinion, anyone who wants these conditions for our planet and people is sick.