Celebrate Geography Week

“The Future of Food” is the theme for this year’s Geography Awareness Week.

Did you know that National Geographic Society has been promoting the awareness of geography with a special week since 1987? Geography is not just finding locations on a map; geography is a great way to connect people and cultures.

One great way to learn about geography, food sources and the need to preserve our natural habitats is to learn about migration.  Many animals instinctually travel at certain times of the year to find food. Here is a list of fun geography and migration facts.

ElephantElephants love water! They need a lot of water and food to sustain a healthy size and weight, and they spray it over their backs with their trunks to keep cool. When the dry season hits the savannas elephants travel to some of the forests. As the populations of Africa increase the conditions for successful migrating and food sources have decreased.

Learn more, here are a few questions to research:

  • What are the preferred foods of African Elephants?
  • When is the dry season?
  • What herds migrate and where in Africa does this occur?

Caribou live in some of the northern most points on a map across many continents. While not every subspecies migrates for the summer many do leaver their forests, lichen and mushrooms for the tundra filled with grasses. The migration is quite a sight to see a large groups travel hundreds of miles to reach their final destination.Caribou

Learn more, here are a few questions to research:

  • What time of year is the peak of the caribou migration season?
  • Why do the female caribou travel first?
  • Do the caribou in Greenland or Europe follow the same pattern and eat similar foods as the North American population?

A bird that you won’t see gather by the thousands, but is a well known migratory bird is the orange bellied parrot. This bird breeds in Tasmania, but prefers the rich salt marsh of South West Australia for winter feeding. These rich lands are quickly being developed leaving the bird with little food or space and now this bird is one of Australia’s most endangered creatures with about 50 wild birds.

Learn more, here are a few questions to research:

  • How do the Bushmen of Tasmania help “feed” the orange bellied parrot?
  • What are conservation organizations doing to save the population?

Finally, the gray whale takes one of the longest journeys in nature to find food. This migration is also very easily FCM-Breachdocumented as they very close to the coast during the winter and early spring months. These whales scoop food from the seafloor and filter it through their baleen. When their food rich waters start to ice over, they head south to the lagoons of Baja for warmth and breeding.

Learn more, here are a few questions to research:

  • How are gray whales eating habits different from other whales? Do you eat any of the same foods?
  • How long is the journey from the Bering Sea to the Baja lagoons? How long does it take?
  • What are the gray whales predators on their journey?

Get more information about migrating animals in On the Move and coming in January Little Gray’s Great Migration!

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One Strong Bug: Monarch Butterflies

butterfliesIt is official fall is here! Time for pumpkins, changing leaves, apple cider and cozy sweaters, but one tiny insect is working hard to make it to their winter home in Mexico. The great migration of monarch butterflies is mysterious to many researchers, but this week a group of scientists have identified genes that may be the key to why certain monarchs are better suited to make this long journey.

A study published in the journal Nature found that the collagen gene which dictates structure, connective tissue and muscle is a distinguishing factor in migrating and non-migrating butterflies. They also found that migrating butterflies were able to efficiently use their oxygen, where the non-migrating butterflies rapidly used oxygen when tested in 20 minutes of flight.

In the past few years the migrating monarch population has declined, but this year reports or migrating butterflies seem to be moving in a positive direction. A St Louis weather team’s radar picked up a cloud of butterflies instead of rain in September.

Do you want to learn more about butterflies? Here is a sample of Arbordale Books that feature the strong, winged creatures.

Ten For Me
ten for me coverTwo friends take off on a butterfly hunt, only to find themselves tangled in a mathematics net! Written in rhyme, award-winning author Barbara Mariconda takes you along as the narrator Rose and her friend Ed race to see who can catch the most butterflies on this addition adventure. “How many in all? Let’s add them again!” shout the butterfly hunters. Who will win? Ten for Me makes math fun, easy, and entertaining, while adding a touch of the natural world into cross-curricular education.

On the Move
OnTheMove_187Imagine seeing hundreds of the same type of animal gathered at the same place and at the same time! Right here in North America many animals gather in huge numbers and can be seen at predictable times and locations. Not all migrations are tied to seasonal food changes—some are tied to life cycles and the need to gather in huge numbers. Certain birds, reptiles, mammals, amphibians, fish, and even insects migrate during spring, summer, fall, or winter. Travel along with them as you learn about what puts these animals On the Move.

A Butterfly Called Hope
ButterflyHope_187The colorful flowers in Mama’s garden reveal a strange-looking creature. “What is it? Does it sting, does it bite?” Join in this photographic journey as the young girl and her mother care for the caterpillar. Watch as it transforms into a chrysalis and then emerges as a beautiful monarch butterfly. How can the young girl “claim” the butterfly as her own but still let it go free?

Multiply on the Fly

Multiply on the FlyFrom pirate bugs to spittlebugs to lovely Luna moths, children will love learning about the world’s insects in Multiply on the Fly! Following in the footsteps of What’s New at the Zoo? and What’s the Difference, this rhythmic book teaches multiplication in a way that will make children “bug” you for more. Teeming with fun facts, readers will multiply a variety of insects, including daring dragonflies, hungry honeybees, and stealthy walking sticks. The “For Creative Minds” section in the back of the book keeps the fun rolling with facts about the insect life cycle, matching insect activities, and multiplication guides to make anyone a multiplication master.

 

Summer Travel: Animal Migrations

In the summer, most of us pack up and hit the road for summer vacation. Animals are also “on the move” during the summer, though I don’t think they are heading to the nearest amusement park. Scott Cohn’s On the Move: Mass Migrations, illustrated by Susan Detwiler, released this past spring talks about the different reasons why animals all across the world to migrate throughout the year. The spring and summer months are a great time to witness some of these migratory behaviors. OnTheMove_128

For example, on the northwest coast, whale enthusiasts flock to catch a glimpse of some of these nomadic species. Watchers may see any species from orcas to humpback, minke, and gray whales. Whales are strict seasonal travelers who migrate south to warm waters for breeding in the late fall and winter months, while traveling back up north in the spring and summer for feeding in cooler waters. For those of us who can’t make the trip west to see this migration, National Geographic has posted a short clip of a gray whale and her calf on their migratory journey. map_whales

On the east coast, especially in our backyard, beach goers have a chance to witness another migratory species, the loggerhead turtle. These turtles are coming ashore to nest during the summer months. Many conservation practices have been included in city ordinances in order to ensure the safety and survival of the baby loggerhead turtles. For example, visitors staying at the Wild Dunes resort in Isle of Palms, South Carolina are asked to turn off any outside lights at night so that the baby turtles aren’t confused about which way leads to the ocean. You can keep up with reported nest counters, observe video feed from a nest, and more on the “SC Marine Turtle Conservation Program” page on the website of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

CrawlingOutMaTurtleTracksTo&FroAlso, pick up a copy of Scott Cohn’s On the Move, beautifully illustrated by Susan Detwiler, to find out more about animal migratory habits and check out the US Department of Interior’s National Park Service website for more on migration basics. Other suggested titles on this subject from Sylvan Dell include: Carolina’s Story, Turtle Summer, Ocean Seasons, and Turtles in My Sandbox.

http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/animals/mammals-animals/whales/whale_graymigration/

http://www.dnr.sc.gov/seaturtle/cc.htm

http://www.nps.gov/akso/parkwise/students/referencelibrary/general/migrationbasics.htm

A New Year A New Season

Welcome 2013, we are celebrating with the release of our seven new titles for Spring. Although it doesn’t feel like spring, it is right around the corner and we have new titles to share!

Animal Helpers: Sanctuaries by Jennifer Keats Curtis
AH-Sanctuaries_128What happens to exotic pets when owners realize they can no longer care for them but they can’t be returned to the wild? And what about big predators that get hurt or sick? This photographic journal takes readers “behind the scenes” at five nonprofit sanctuaries and rescue zoos, and one care farm, that have opened their doors and their hearts.

Balloon Trees by Danna Smith, illustrated by Laurie Allen Klein
BalloonTrees_128Balloons do come from trees—rubber trees. Told in rhyme, the story follows the wide variety of steps involved in making the air-filled decorations we all know and love. Starting with the tapping of the rubber tree, the ship that carries the liquid rubber to the factory, and the manufacturing process itself; readers will learn just how that balloon arrived at his or her house. This delightful, fun-to-read-aloud story is sure to give readers a new appreciation for balloons. key phrases for educators: change in state of matter, production of goods (how things are made), natural resources, transportation of goods, geography

Deductive Detective by Brian Rock, illustrated by Sherry Rogers
DeductiveDetective_128Someone stole a cake from the cake contest—who could it be? Twelve animal bakers are potential suspects but Detective Duck uses his deductive reasoning skills to “quack” the case. After all, the thief left hairs behind so the thief wasn’t a bird. Follow along as he subtracts each suspect one at a time to reveal just who the culprit was. This clever story will have children of all ages giggling at the puns and the play on words. Key phrases for educators: subtraction, deductive reasoning, animal adaptations, puns/play on words.

Ferdinand Fox’s First Summer by Mary Holland
FerdinandFox_128Follow this young fox as he explores the world around him during the first few months of his life. He’s about a month old when he first comes out of the den. Watch as he explores the world around him, learning how to hunt through play and by using his senses. See the changes as he grows from a young kit to a young fox. After all, by the next summer, he’ll have children of his own! Naturalist photographer and environmental educator Mary Holland has captured Ferdinand’s First Summer in a way that is sure to grab children’s hearts.

Nature Recycles: How About You? by Michelle Lord, illustrated by Cathy Morrison
NatureRecycles_128From sea urchins in the Atlantic Ocean to bandicoots on the Australian savanna, animals all over the world recycle. Explore how different animals in different habitats use recycled material to build homes, protect themselves and get food. This fascinating collection of animal facts will teach readers about the importance of recycling and inspire them to take part in protecting and conserving the environment by recycling in their own way. key phrases for educators: recycling, animal adaptations and behaviors, geography.

On the Move: Seasonal Migration by Scotti Cohn, illustrated by Susan Detwiler
OnTheMove_128Imagine seeing hundreds of the same type of animal gathered at the same place and at the same time! Right here in North America many animals gather in huge numbers and can be seen at predictable times and locations. Not all migrations are tied to seasonal food changes—some are tied to life cycles and the need to gather in huge numbers. Certain birds, reptiles, mammals, amphibians, fish, and even insects migrate during spring, summer, fall, or winter. Travel along with them as you learn about what puts these animals On the Move. key phrases for educators: life cycles, migrations, seasons, geography.

Shark Baby by Ann Downer, illustrated by Shennen Bersani
SharkBaby_128“Who am I?” wonders Shark Baby. When his “mermaid’s purse” egg case is torn loose in a storm, he finds himself on a journey through different ocean habitats: kelp forests, coral reefs, and seagrass meadows. He learns what kind of shark he isn’t, but not what kind he is. He needs to find the “mermaid” to learn where he belongs, but the ocean is big and full of dangers. Will he find out who he is—and what he can do—in time?

The new eBooks have just gone online, and are available for purchase at http://www.sylvandellpublishing.com. Paperbacks and hardcovers are coming next month, but you can pre-order now!