Welcome to ON(line)SC's Virtual Learning!
Good morning naturalists,
Welcome to week five of ONSC online. We have an exciting new topic for you this week, in fact you might even call it….super! This week’s theme is all about how to be a nature superhero. When we think of superheroes we often think of the heroes we see in movies and comic books. However, you don’t need to wear a cape or a mask to be a superhero for nature!
Today we are going to discover how to be a good steward of nature. Have you ever flown on a plane before? If you have, there is usually somebody on the plane called the flight attendant. In the past, flight attendants were called stewards or stewardesses, and it is their job to make sure you are comfortable during the flight.
Basically, a steward helps take care of someone or something. Being a steward for nature means being somebody who helps take care of nature. Go ahead and start a list of people who come to mind when you think about people who are stewards of nature. What do they do to help protect our planet?
Foresters, park rangers, and interpreters are important people who both help protect nature while also sharing it with others to enjoy. But did you know that even everyday people like you and me are able to be stewards of nature as well?
You bet we can, every person on earth has the special power of becoming a nature superhero. In the movies superheroes often save the day by rescuing people from a disaster or by defeating an evil super villain. To be a nature superhero you just have to be a good caretaker, and thankfully you don’t need superhuman powers to be a good caretaker or steward. In fact, you might already be doing some of them!
Taking care of nature can take very many different forms. Can you think of things you can do that help protect and care for nature? Let’s write them down.
The easiest place to start being a steward for nature is in your own home. One of the easiest things you can do around the house is to turn off all the lights and electronics when you leave a room. If we leave the lights or tv on when we are not in the room they continue to use electricity. That means more coal has to be dug out of the earth and burned to create that electricity. By turning off lights and electronics when we are not using them, we reduce the amount of pollution we put into the air by burning coal.
Turning the lights off may not seem like it is making a big difference but every superhero starts off small, and these small differences add up over time!
Another very simple thing we can do in our homes is to use our water wisely. While 75% of the earth is covered by water, 97% of that is salt water in the oceans. Of the freshwater that remains 2% of it is frozen in ice at the north and south poles. That leaves only 1% of all the water on earth for all of the water that is easily usable by people.
Now think back to our first week when we were learning about the four spheres. What else do we use water for? Drinking, bathing, cooking, cleaning, recreation, and manufacturing by 7 billion people. But we left out the biggest use of water in the USA. Any guess as to what that might be? It’s not something we think of often-generating electricity to power our homes! That’s not a lot of water for a whole bunch of people, and when we send water down the drain, it must be cleaned before it can be used again.
What are some steps we can do to protect what little water we have? An easy way is to turn off the water when we are not using it, such as when we are brushing our teeth. When you brush your teeth, remember to turn the water off when you are not using it. Every minute you leave that water running, you could be using anywhere from half a gallon to a gallon and a half of water.
When we bathe or shower, that uses even more! We can help protect our water by making sure we are not taking showers that are too long (longer than 10-15 minutes). The average shower uses about 2 gallons of water per minute. A gallon of water weighs a little over 8 pounds. Think about your average shower-how many pounds of water do you use? Use these formulas to help keep track.
________ Minutes x 2 Gallons/Minute= _______ Gallons
________ Gallons x 8 lbs/Minute= __________ lbs of water per shower!
Some of us love to spend a long time in the shower, whether it’s to let our conditioner soak into our hair or to get away from noisy siblings for a little while. If you turn your water off while soaping up, and then turn it back on to rinse, you might even be able to get away with a longer shower!
Another simple way we can be nature superheroes is to practice the “Four Rs” of re-think, reduce, reuse, and recycle. Sometimes it’s astounding when you look at all the things we throw away needlessly! One of your nature superhero missions this week is to keep track of the things that your family throws away. For each one, ask yourself:
Why did we buy this in the first place? (“Re-Think”)
Was it necessary to have this item? (“Reduce”)
Is there anything else we can use this for before it goes in the garbage? (“Reuse”)
Can this item be recycled? (“Recycle”)
As you go throughout the week, be thinking about even just one item that you throw away on a regular basis, and if you can keep it from ending up in a landfill. Have you ever seen or been to a landfill before? If you have, write down some of the things you remember about it. If not, take a look at some pictures and try to imagine yourself there. What did it look like? Smell like? Sound like? How did it make you feel?
Landfills are basically hills made of garbage and every time a landfill becomes a landfull, they cap it off and must find a place for a new one somewhere else. And because it is costly and difficult to move lots of trash long distances, these will often end up near communities. Think about how you would feel if next week, you found out that your community’s garbage was going to end up being buried on your street.
When we throw things away this is often where they end up. These large smelly piles get bigger everyday but we can help slow their growth.
What are some other good things that come from reducing what we throw away? Make a list!
Other ideas of ways that you can be a superhero for nature. What superpowers do you already have?
You see, there are lots of simple ways you can be a nature superhero right in your own home! Now, it’s time to create your nature superhero persona. Using any art or craft supplies you have around your house, create your superhero. Does your nature superhero have any superhuman powers? If so, what are they and how do they help your hero be a good steward for nature? Who is their nemesis? Does your superhero have a catch phrase? If you’re feeling extra creative, design the first issue of your future best-selling comic book!
Well, fellow superheroes, that concludes today's discoveries of how to be nature superheroes! Before you take off your mask and go back to your secret fortress to get ready for the next super villain, remember to come back tomorrow for day two for more things we can do to protect our planet. Also, don’t forget to check out our Facebook page or Socialmedia@onsc.us and remember to send us any of those nature questions, comments, or art you have. We will continue to feature these on our Find-Out Friday at 11:00AM CST!
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