One morning, the old wooden dam on the Rappahannock River went up in clouds of smoke. It was a huge thing—ancient and strong, built in layers to tame the river so that the power of the water pushing against it could provide electricity for the town. But it had been years since anyone tapped that power. Now, the dam was falling apart, and it was decided that it had become dangerous. So the Army Corps of Engineers blew it up one morning, and the river was flowing freely again—just as it had in previous centuries. By getting rid of the dam, the river had a chance to go back to being more like it once was. There would be more fish, which would mean more birds, and, really more of everything.
Cells make up you, your friend, your hamster, and your mom's broccoli surprise. If it's alive or ever was alive, it is made of cells. Space scientists looking for life on Mars are trying to find microbes made of simple cells—not little green men—and biologists who search for cures to diseases work with cells. Small as they are, cells determine how life unfolds from its beginning to its end.
Have you ever been in a place where there were lots of buildings but no trees? New housing developments or parts of a city that have been neglected for a long time may not have the shady spots and fresh air that trees give. As trees breathe, they let out oxygen that humans and animals need to survive. Their roots hold the ground together, making sure the soil doesn't blow away in the wind. When a tree dies naturally in the forest, its wood becomes a home for insects and a cafeteria for the hungry birds who eat those insects. Trees provide so many good things for the Earth.
An aquarium is a watery world in miniature. It can be as complicated as you want or just a simple and safe place to keep a beautiful and patient pet. If you're new to fish keeping, you should start with the basics, but even beginners can have a terrific aquarium. Both beta fish (also known as Siamese fighting fish or bettas) and goldfish are good for first-timers. They're attractive and not so demanding of a special environment in order to thrive.
When winter skies turn gray, and the air thickens with a chill, life becomes harder for the feathered ones. Food is scarcer, and handouts from us humans can make a difference to them. Take just a few minutes to create a place for the birds to hang out on a frosty day. Once you've got your feeder hung, check out a bird identification book from the library to learn the names of your grateful guests.
Sometimes, it seems like everybody goes hiking and camping in the great outdoors in the sticky, sweltering summertime. Those are the days when the bugs are at their worst, and the heat alone can leave you panting on the side of the trail before an hour is done. For an easier time of it, grab your gear in the spring or fall. Cooler days and mostly bug-free trails make for great hiking adventures, whether by the ocean or in the mountains. November 17 is Take a Hike Day, but any day is a good day to hike.
Climb a tree, and act like a nut!
If you've got trees, you've probably got squirrels. Whether gray or black or red or white, all squirrels act pretty much the same. However, there are other animals which are close kin to squirrels which are a little shyer of people. Chipmunks and prairie dogs are cousins.
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Are you looking for books on animals and insects? Check out these fun non-fiction and easy readers below.
Animalogy: Animal Analogies by Marianne Collins Berkes
Uses analogies to teach the similarities and differences between animals, including their sounds, physical adaptations, behaviors, and classes. (catalog summary)
Animals: A Visual Encyclopedia by James Buckley
Animal Planet Animals: A Visual Encyclopedia profiles the seven major animal classes—mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, arthropods, and other invertebrates—and features more than 1,000 stunning color photographs of animals in action. (catalog summary)
On June 10, 2017, 10th Annual GO Day, or National Get Outdoors Day, will be celebrated around the nation within national parks, large cities, and small towns. Hiking is a popular activity many share during GO Day. In the book Families on Foot: Urban Hikes to Backyard Treks and National Park Adventures, experienced hikers Jennifer and Brew Davis inspire families of all shapes and sizes to get outdoors and start adventuring.
They have sweet faces and tough guy moves. Kangaroo mothers carry their babies (called joeys) around in their pouches, which is part of what makes them a kind of animal called a marsupial. And, that's only the start of their strangeness. Read on to learn more about these amazing creatures from Australia's outback.