Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Ocean Health Index

With 7 billion people on the planet, our oceans are subject to countless kinds of stress, like changing coastlines, oil spills, and much, much more.

 The Ocean Health Index is an initiative funded by Conservation International, the National Geographic Society, and the New England Aquarium. This index will include all possible dimensions surrounding how humans interact with the ocean, considering the costs and benefits of different actions and decisions- both to people and to marine environments. calls the index "the Dow Jones for ocean health"

According to some, this represents a new way of thinking about the environment. The next step is determining what actions we should take.

For more information, read about the index on, or the New York Times.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Gift of Water

What's the perfect holiday gift? According to, it's...water! For $25, this organization will send a holiday e-card to your gift's recipient- and an individual in a developing country will be able to have clean water for life. The e-card reads: "A gift of water has been made in your honor. May the happiness that your gift will bring to others be with you this holiday season and throughout the new year." is a nonprofit organization that provides access to safe water and sanitation to communities in Africa, South Asia, and Central America.

What can you do?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

"Healthy Dishes With Wisconsin Fishes"

Send your healthy fish recipes to the Wisconsin DNR for a chance to be featured in the DNR online cookbook or Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine!

Judging criteria includes species diversity, creativity, and ease of preparation, among others. Keep in mind, though, that the recipe must use a Wisconsin species of fish.

Click here for more information. The DNR will be accepting submissions via email until April 1, 2012. Good luck!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Ecofriendly Holidays

Piles of used gift wrap, tangled lights that don't work, and heaps of plastic plates at the office holiday party have become a staple of the holidays. It's not hard to believe that Americans dispose of an additional 5 million tons of trash between Thanksgiving and New Years.  That's a 25% increase, but there's ways that you can help to minimize holiday waste without sacrificing fun or tradition.

  • Look for gifts that are durable, repairable, or recyclable, with minimal plastic packaging
  • Shop locally, or consider fair trade purchases
  • Give someone a membership to a museum or institute, plant a tree in their name, or consider purchasing a gift from Heifer International or Oxfam America
  • Recycle by wrapping gifts using sheet  music or colorful magazine ads- you'll save money, too!
Holiday Cheer
  • It takes 7-10 years to grow a Christmas tree- which is usualy useful for about one month. Consider purchasing a potted tree that can be kept alive outdoors throughout the year.
  • Ingredients for holiday meals usually travel about 1200 miles before showing up on our tables. That transit takes a lot of fuel and a lot of refrigeration. Purchasing locally-grown and in-season items can cut down on this behind-the-scenes waste.
Looking for more ways to make the holidays eco-friendly? Visit Ecology Center for a more complete list.

Friday, December 9, 2011

"How to Boil A Frog" at the Monona Public Library

On December 13, join the Monona Public Library at 6:30 pm for the film "How to Boil A Frog." This documentary uses comedy to portray the truths behind the need for sustainability, or, as the film's official website says, "too many people using up too little planet much too fast." The film isn't all doom-and-gloom, though- it also provides viewers with five ways they can act to help save the planet.

The film is part of Monona's Green Tuesdays and Thursdays Films and Lecture series, sponsored by The Natural Step Monona and numerous other local organizations. The series aims to spark conversation about the world and how we can help make it a better place.

Interested in seeing "How to Boil A Frog?" Click here for more information!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Holocene vs. Anthropocene?

The most recent issue of Science News (available today in the library) briefly discusses the current debate: should the current Holocene epoch end and an Anthropocene epoch begin? The Holocene epoch is agreed to have begun around 10,000 BC, and follows the last glacial period.

Why the possible switch? Anthropocene is a currently unofficial term meaning "Age of Man," first used in 2000 by ecologist Eugene Stoermer. Many scientists are thinking such a change is in order since humans are having such widespread effects on the planet- effects that can be measured in the geologic record. According to Science News, such factors include radioactive elements from atomic bomb tests spreading through the environment, the buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and sediment trapped by dams.

Interested in learning more? Check out the following:

Monday, December 5, 2011

Science Sites for Kids!

Educators are looking for ways to make STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education more interesting and appealing to students. Many students lose interest in these subjects as they grow older- a problem that could become crucial in future generations.

Check out the websites below to help promote STEM education to the students in your life:

Sid the Science Kid
Sid the Science Kid uses comedy to promote technology and science education for preschoolers. Check out show clips online- including fun interviews with robotics engineers, astronauts, and chemists. Kids learn the role science plays in their everyday lives, like how can openers were developed by engineers, how planes fly, and more.

NASA Space Place
NASA Space Place is a kid-friendly site that provides activities and projects- helping kids learn that science, technology, and space education can be fun.

Energy Quest
Energy Quest is a fun, interactive site, from the California Energy Commission, aiming to educate kids about sustainability and conservation.

Great Science for Girls
Great Science for Girls is a five year initiative from the National Science Foundation to broaden and sustain girls' interest in STEM. GSG will reach out to afterschool centers, providing resources like curriculum development, a website, and technical assistance.

For further information, visit the National Science Foundation's Resources for STEM Education.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Best Sci-Tech Books of 2011

Doing some holiday shopping for a science or tech-loving person? Consider a book! Check out these titles from Library Journals "Best Books 2011: Sci-Tech" list.
  • Eagleman, David. Incognito: The Hidden Lives of the Brain.
  • Greene, Brian. The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos.
  • Peterson, Dale. The Moral Lives of Animals.
  • Wolfe, Nathan. The Viral Storm: The Dawn of a New Pandemic Age
  • Yergin, Daniel. The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World
 View descriptions of the books and the full list at Library Journal.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Magazines, journals, newsletters, and more!

The Water Library's not just about books! Today we're checking in new issues of Science and WE&T (Water Environment and Technology), and we've got numerous other titles as well. Stop by and take a look!

Journals and Magazines
  • Journal of the American Water Resources Association
  • Scientific American
  • Science News
  • Lake and Reservoir Management
  • Journal of the American Water Works Association
  • Water Resources Impact
  • Wisconsin Trails
  • Land and Water
  • Science
  • WE&T
  • Water & Wastes Digest
  • Wisconsin Natural Resource
View our journals list for more information about these great titles. The library also holds the most recent two years of numerous newsletters. Visit our website or stop by to view the collection!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Online Resources: The Biodiversity Heritage Library

Next time you're looking for biodiversity literature, check out the Biodiversity Heritage Library, a consortium of natural history and botanical libraries who have worked to digitize their collections through principles of open access. Content from BHL is free to view or download. Partners include the Smithsonian Institutes, the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences, the Field Museum Library, and several other institutions.

Through this collaboration, the Biodiversity Heritage Library provides texts with information on over 1,060,000 species. Click here for more information about BHL's mission and holdings.


The BHL also maintains a strong social media and Flickr presence. Interested in trout or fly fishing? Trout fly-fishing in America is just one of BHL's many sets of photos on Flickr- check out all 384 sets here!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Newly Discovered 17th Century Shipwreck

Deep Sea Productions, an underwater research team, believes that a shipwreck they recently discovered in the Baltic Sea may be a 17th century warship called Svardet. According to historical reports, Svardet sunk in a 1676 naval battle in which Sweden was defeated by a Danish-Dutch fleet. Svardet's captain went down with the ship- refusing to abandon it.

The research team is now working with Swedish Maritime Archaeological Research Institute, both to document the discovery and to make a 3D documentary about the shipwreck.

You can research shipwrecks too- without having to go all the way to Sweden or the Baltic Sea. Check out the Water Library's great collection of shipwreck materials:
For more about this recent shipwreck discovery, visit Deep Sea Productions' website.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

"People of the Big Voice" Exhibit at the Steenbock Gallery

The Steenbock Gallery's final exhibit of 2011 is "People of the Big Voice," featuring photography of Ho-Chunk people by Charles Van Shaick. The photography collection comes from the Wisconsin Historical Society, and will be on display from November 7 until December 30th. This Saturday, November 12th, a reception will be held for the exhibit from 1-4 pm, free and open to the public. The Steenbock Gallery is located at the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters.

Van Shaick took portrait photographs in Black River Falls, Wisconsin, for over sixty years. In addition to the exhibit, the Wisconsin Historical Society has also published a book by the same name, People of the Big Voice, by Tom Jones, Michael Schudlach, Matthew Daniel Mason, Amy Lonetree, and George A. Greendeer, featuring this photography. The book is available for purchase from the Wisconsin Historical Society. You can also check it out from the Water Library's recent acquisitions!

For more information and details, visit the Steenbock Gallery's blog.