Archive | November, 2012

Cycling in the Peruvian Andes

Complaining won’t change a gosh-darn thing

We were cycling in southern Peru on the shores of Lake Titicaca at about 12,000 feet in the Andes. It was smack dab in the middle of the coldest winter on record and I was bundled up with wool tights, wool sweater, wool hat and gloves. My face, the only part of body not covered [...]

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Sea Turtles

Sea turtles are amazing animals. In this report, we’ll talk about the amount of eggs they lay, how they survive all of the dangers, and how many species there are. Common varieties of sea turtles The Leatherback is the biggest sea turtle in the world. It can grow to be over 6 feet long and [...]

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Leafcutter Ants

Once I was walking through a forest and came across an ant trail. There were thousands of tiny ants carrying huge pieces of leaves – all following one path through the forest. Leaf cutter ants are only found in the warmer parts of the Americas so I had never seen them before. Leafcutter Ant Nests [...]

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Types of lava flows

Depending on the type of lava flow, the resulting rocks look very different. This was a pahoehoe flow. A lava flow is caused by a volcanic eruption. The lava can flow down the volcano at speeds ranging from 1/24 to 50 meters an hour. They can be 1,300 degrees fahrenheit or more. They are very [...]

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What is coral?

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How Tortillas are made

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Forest fire benefits for wildlife

We all recognize Smoky the Bear and his message: Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires. Smoky’s message is very important – we don’t want to start fires in the forests. But that doesn’t mean that all fires are bad. Many times fires are started by lightning or the Forest Service might even start fires. Those [...]

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What to do if you meet a bear

Although there are many kinds of bears, the two types of bear you will be most likely to encounter in Canada are black bears and grizzlies. Know Your Bears The main differences between black and grizzly bears are: Grizzlies have a hump over their shoulders; black bears do not. The highest point on a black [...]

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History of the Alaska Highway

One very important segment of the Pan-American Highway is the Alaska Highway. The Alaska Highway was constructed during World War II and connects the Continental US with Alaska. It starts in Dawson Creek, British Columbia, and extends 1422 miles until it ends in Delta Junction, Alaska. Prior to World War II there was no land [...]

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Stone Sheep

Stone sheep are named after the American hunter-explorer Andrew J. Stone. They are a subspecies of Dall sheep, and are sometimes referred to as “thinhorns” because their horns are smaller than the bighorn sheep found farther south. Male Stone sheep have large, strongly curved horns , while the females have smaller, straighter horns. Their horns [...]

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twisted mountain

Folded Mountains

This mountain is an example of how the Rocky Mountains were formed. All the land on the earth is in a bunch of pieces of land that ‘float’ around on a deep layer of melted rock deep in the ground. These pieces are called ‘tectonic plates’. They move slowly, but over thousands of years, their [...]

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Growing up in an Inuit village

“I was born in a canvas tent back in 1953,” Murphy Patterson told me. “My mother told me they had just finished fishing season at the time.” Patterson, of the Inuit people, was telling me about his life in the far north. In his village of Narvik, there was no electricity or running water as [...]

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What is Permafrost?

Have you ever sloshed through a big mud puddle in the springtime? Or have you ever slopped through icky, gicky mud? You end up with mud caked on your shoes and your mom yelling at you not to track all that mud into the house – right? Maybe you are like me and think, “It [...]

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Why are there no trees in the Arctic tundra?

There are no trees in the Arctic tundra. In fact, the very first tree is 180 miles from the end of the road! A lot of people think there are no trees in the far north because of the cold, strong winds, permafrost, or the lack of water. While all those are contributing factors, they [...]

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Arctic Grasses

As you look out at the Arctic tundra, it appears to be a smooth, flat meadow of grasses waving gently in the wind. Once you try to walk across it, however, you quickly realize just how wrong you were. The northern slope of Alaska is covered with huge plains of arctic grasses. The tundra is [...]

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How Deadhorse got its name

Back in the 1960’s, oil companies flocked to Prudhoe Bay to explore the region. They hoped to find vast reserves of oil beneath the sea. Once oil had been discovered, it became apparent they needed a road north from Fairbanks. A 414-mile road across the Arctic tundra requires a lot of gravel, and the oil [...]

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