Thursday, June 23, 2011

Climate Change Potpourri

Several items and resources of note have come across the Water Library's desk in recent days, all related in one way or another, to climate change.

Climate Hot Map - Global Warming Effects Around the World. From the Union of Concerned Scientists ("the leading science-based nonprofit working for a healthy environment and a safer world") a visually pleasing website that allows the user to explore a variety of signs of global warming. The signs include heat waves, sea-level rise, flooding, melting glaciers, earlier spring arrival, coral reef bleaching, and the spread of disease. It's important to note that there is a larger number of notations on the US and Europe and this is due to a large amount of climate change research being conducted. As research goes on in the developing world, it will be added to the map. It's a well documented website, including endnotes of references of the scientific studies.

Climate Change Beliefs study - Very interesting snapshot from Yale University and George Mason University showing American's attitudes and beliefs regarding climate change, as of May 2011. The public is skeptical today and it is less likely to believe in human impacts of climate change than it was five years ago. Big question for scientists - why is that? The report does not answer that question, it only shows the survey results over time.

What are greenhouse gases? - From the US Energy Information Administration, a detailed, science-based description of what exactly is a greenhouse gas and how much is emitted in the US. the EIA is a goverment agency whose mission is to "collect, analyze, and disseminate independent and impartial energy information to promote sound policymaking, efficient markets, and public understanding of energy and its interaction with the economy and the environment." In short, the EIA communications information we can count on.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Gardening with kids

It is summer vacation in our neck of the woods and that's got this librarian thinking about what children are up to during the lazy months of sunshine and heat. Many people are heading out their back (or front) doors to work in their gardens. And there is a movement afoot for those gardeners to bring along their children to garden. Children naturally gravitate, even at a young age, to dirt. What a better way to cultivate love of our world that to show them how to sow seeds.

If you are thinking of bringing some kids along to the garden, here a couple of websites that might be useful:

Got Dirt? (UW Extension, Brown County)

National Junior Horticultural Association

U of Illinois Extension - My First Garden

Gardening with Kids

another Gardening with Kids

Kids Gardening

Wisconsin Master Gardener program works with youth

And don't forget the importance of being kind to the earth and integrating green gardening techniques. This recommended reading list has lots of suggestions to get you started. The library just ordered a few "gardening with children" books that we'll add to the list.

Happy digging!

photo above courtesy of UW Extension.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Book Review: Leap Back Home to Me

Over the past year, the Water Library has enjoyed presenting story times to children in Wisconsin on a variety of water-related topics. Our favorite theme, by far, has been our readings about one of our favorite critters - frogs. It was with great anticipation that we opened a lovely new book today and read what may become a delightful addition to our story times.

In LEAP BACK HOME TO ME, Lauren Thompson presents the joy that frogs (and maybe children, too) feel as they grow in size and confidence. As the frog in our story leaps over many wonders of the world - from ladybugs to owl's nests to even the sun - it is secure in the knowledge that it can return home again to mom. At first glance, the text may seem simple. But the story engages children so they will sit in anticipation, wondering where our frog will go next. Matthew Cordell has illustrated the book with a keen eye toward the message of the story. The illustrations show the joy of the frog's adventure and the deep love our frog feels when reuniting with its mom.

The library is looking forward to integrating LEAP BACK HOME TO ME into its frog story time - we hope our littlest readers love it as much as we do.

Happy reading!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Look what we found in the library!

Award-winning books.........

Water Library staff recently cataloged the book, "Burning Rivers: Revival of Four Urban-Industrial Rivers that Caught on Fire," by Michigan writer Dr. John Hartig. It recently won the scientific category at the Green Book Festival in San Francisco. It was also a finalist in the science/nature/environment category at the 2011 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.

I am reminded of another award-winning book in the library, co-authored by Wisconsin Sea Grant's very own Kathy Kline and Fred Binkowski, with Ron Bruch of the Wisconsin DNR, with photographs by the late Bob Rashid. People of the Sturgeon tells the poignant story of an ancient fish. Wanton harvest and habitat loss took a heavy toll on these prehistoric creatures until they teetered on the brink of extinction. But in Wisconsin, lake sturgeon have flourished because of the dedicated work of Department of Natural Resources staff, university researchers, and a determined group of spearers known as Sturgeon For Tomorrow. Purchase your 'People of the Sturgeon' from the Aquatic Sciences Center Pub Store.

So many books. so little time!