Monthly Archives: April 2004

Giant African snails seized from schools

Giant African SnailsCNN reports that giant land snails have been seized from Wisconsin classrooms by federal health officials.

The snails are illegal in the U.S. because they reproduce quickly, eat native plants (as many as 500 different varieties), and can transmit meningitis via their mucous trails.

“In 1966, a Miami boy smuggled three Giant African Land Snails into the country. His grandmother eventually released them into a garden, and in seven years there were more than 18,000 of them. The eradication program took 10 years, according to the USDA.”

Yikes! This is a good example of an “invasive species.” The article also notes that “people who have the snails without knowing they are illegal will not face punishment.”

All About Birds

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology offers tremendous resources for identifying birds. Their website “All About Birds” has information about:

  • some great locations for birding in the United States
  • how to identify birds that you find AND
  • how to report your observations as part of the “world’s largest bird studies research team”.
  • They also have an Online Bird Guide where you can find descriptions, pictures, sounds, conservation status, other names, cool facts and a full detailed species account for an ever-increasing list of bird species.

    Check it out!

    Project Dragonfly

    Dragonfly logoProject Dragonfly began as a collaborative project between the National Science Teachers Association and Miami University funded in party by the National Science Foundation. The Dragonfly website contains collections of on-line articles written by children about specific scientific topics.

    These topics include: Butterflies, Houses, Baseball in Space, Family Ties, Navigation, Space, Time, Water, People and Plants, and more…

    “[Project Dragonfly] celebrate[s] good questions and investigations, rather than science as “following directions.” Avoid cookbook science and static “activities.” Making a leaf collection, for example, would not be sufficient unless the leaf collection answers a particular question, or unless it generated certain questions and investigations. Also, tell us of your different predictions, different possible methods for their study, different interpretations of their findings. What went wrong? What surprised you? Science is rarely perfect or undisputed–when it is, it is usually boring. We value students’ reasons for conducting their inquiries and their personal feelings. (We prefer inquiries generated by students and teachers or parents, but if the inquiry came from, or was based on, a suggestion in a book or other publication, please include the title, author, and publication information with your submission.)”

    Children are invited to submit their own work (including articles, narratives, poems, stories, artwork, jokes, interviews, etc). Information on how to submit can be found at the following link.