Saturday, January 31, 2009

David Attenborough's new program: Darwin and the Tree of Life--

My favorite natural historian, Sir David Attenborough has developed a new program about Darwin and evolution. I am not sure when it will be broadcast, but I imagine it will be ready by the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth which is Feb. 12.
Take a look at this short interview of Sir David for a preview of the coming show.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Endangered Species Around Us...

Belding's savannah sparrow , Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve

This is the first in an occasional series about endangered species in Southern California.

Those of you in my classes have an opportunity to earn extra credit by working at Bolsa Chica to help restore the Bolsa Chica Mesa with native plants. One of the reasons Bolsa Chica is an important area is that it is home to a variety of threatened or endangered species. A threatened species is one that is likely to become endangered in the near future, and an endangered species is one that is in danger of extinction throughout all or most of its range.

Common reasons for species becoming endangered include habitat loss, pollution, or over hunting or fishing. Habitat loss is what caused the Belding's savannah sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis beldingi) pictured above to be placed on the endangered species list. This bird lives all year at Bolsa Chica in and around a plant called pickleweed. Pickleweed grows in salt water wetlands or estuaries. We have lost over 95 % of our coastal wetlands in California to development. This loss of habitat has pushed this small bird to the brink of extinction.

Preservation of remaining coastal wetlands is important for the recovery of this and other species.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The 44th President

I am so happy to have a President once again about whom I can feel proud. His acceptance speech was moving, hopeful, yet realistic about the challenges we face. He even mentioned restoring science to it's rightful place in his administration. How about that- a President who believe science is important. Yeah! So what do you think?

Monday, January 19, 2009

I've been Obamaized, and so can you!

Have you spent any time in community service today? Our soon to be President Obama, has called for us to remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by participating in community service. Many of my students participated in the Bolsa Chica Stewards work day on Saturday. We weeded, watered and planted native grass and wildflower seeds on the Bolsa Chica Mesa. With the help of volunteers, the Bolsa Chica Stewards have planted over 15,000 native plants on the mesa as part of a project to restore the area to its native Costal Sage Scrub plant community.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Baja Coyote

My friend in Baja leaves water out for the birds, and the coyotes have also discovered it. Early in the morning this female appeared, as she slowly made her way up out of the arroyo.

She was very cautious, but finally came up toward the water.