The Savanna Biome

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

The Savanna biome is a grassland scattered with shrubs and isolated trees. You can think of a savanna as a mix between a forest and a temperate grassland, The Savanna does not receive enough rainfall to support a forest. Savannas are also known as tropical grasslands. They are found on either side of the equator on the edges of tropical rainforests. They are found in Africa, South America, Asia and  Australia.In fact, nearly half of Africa is a Savanna.

savanna biome

Savannas have warm temperatures year-round. Temperatures range from 60 degrees fahrenheit to 95 degrees fahrenheit most of the year. There are actually two very different seasons in a savanna: a very long dry season in the winter and a very wet season  in the summer.During the dry season, a savanna may receive only 4 inches of rain.
During the wet season it may rain often and this biome may receive up to 10 to 25 inches of rainfall.

savanna biome
Location of Savannas

The Serengeti plains of Tanzania is a very well known savanna.  Here animals like lions, zebras, elephants and giraffes are found. Many animals in the savanna have the ability to migrate in order to find new food sources. There are different types of grasses that exist in the savanna and this biome is known for the acacia trees and baobab trees.

savanna biome

Plants of the savanna have the ability to grow in this environment of long periods of drought  Many of these have long roots to reach the water table or thick bark to resist fires, along with trunks that can store water and even leaves that drop during the winter to conserve water, fires are an important part of the savanna. During the dry season fires clear out old grasses and make way for new growth.  most of the plants will survive because they have extensive root systems which allow them to grow back quickly after a fire.

An Introduction to Biomes

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Biomes are large ecological communities in response to the climate in an area. As a result of the different climates biomes differ in, * Climate * Animals * Plants * Precipitation * Elevation * Salinity

Terestrial Biomes

Tropical Rainforest:

Location: Near the equator
Climate: Hot (20-25C) Very Rainy (400 cm +) Flora: Abundant plants, trees form a canopy
Fauna: Many insects, most biodiversity of organisms

For more on tropical rainforests this video will help.

Tropical Rainforest
Tropical Rainforest


A savanna biome contains a mixture of grass and trees with the trees being spaced apart so that a canopy is not formed.

Location: Africa, Portugal,Columbia, and South Wales

Climate: Warm to Hot 
Rainfall  76.2-101.6 cm (30-40 inches).
Savanna's have a wet and dry season
Wildlife: Home to several of the largest land animals like elephants, and giraffes


Location: Found on every continent. 
Climate: Hot, dry, cool to cold nights (-18 to  50 C)
 Little rain (less than 25cm)

Flora: Very little , Cacti, tumbleweed

Fauna: Little variety, many small, adapted to extreme heat or cold, and very dry conditions.

Deciduous Forest

Location : Eastern US (Kennesaw, GA) Europe, East China

Climate:  Above average rainfall (75 to 125 cm),  Moderate Temp. (-30 to 30C)

Vegetation: Trees drop leaves in fall, grow in spring. Oaks, Maples, leaves that change colors

Animals: Medium variety, average number of insects

Taiga/Coniferous Forest

Location: Northern Europe, Russia, Canada, Northern North America

Climate: Cold (-40 to 20C) Snowfall (30 to 90 cm)

Flora: Coniferous Trees

Fauna: Moose, Deer, Beavers, Insects


Location: Extreme north, Arctic

Climate: Very cold, dry (-40-18C)
Little rain/snow (25cm – 50cm)

Flora: few to no trees, limited plants, moss, lichen   (permafrost)

Fauna: Caribou, insects in summer, wolves, birds that fly south, polar bears

In addition there are marine biomes consisting of salt water and freshwater biomes.

Tundra Biome

In addition you have marine and freshwater biomes. Marine biomes have a greater salinity than freshwater biomes. Aquatic Biomes can be divided into two major categories.
Freshwater which includes rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, and wetlands. Marine which includes the ocean and estuaries.

  • Location: Near equator

  • Climate: Hot (20-25C)

   Rainy (400 cm +)

  • Flora: Abundant plants, trees form a canopy

  • Fauna:  Many insects, most biodiversity of organisms

  • Location: Near equator

  • Climate: Hot (20-25C)

   Rainy (400 cm +)

  • Flora: Abundant plants, trees form a canopy

  • Fauna:  Many insects, most biodiversity of organisms

  • Location: Near equator

  • Climate: Hot (20-25C)

   Rainy (400 cm +)

  • Flora: Abundant plants, trees form a canopy

  • Fauna:  Many insects, most biodiversity of organisms

Types of Erosion

Friday, May 5, 2023

Take a look at these examples of erosion

Grand canyon

grand canyon



Wave rock Australia

Erosion is a process where material from an object like a rock or soil is distributed to a new location.

Erosion involves transportation of material from one location to another.

The three main forces that cause erosion are water, wind, and ice.

Erosion by Water

Water is the main cause of erosion on Earth. water may not seem powerful at first, it is one of the most powerful forces on the planet. Here are some methods of water erosion. 

Rainfall - Rainfall can cause erosion both when the rain hits the surface of the Earth, which is called splash erosion,and the rainfall can eventually flow like small streams.

Rivers - Rivers can create a significant amount of erosion over time. They break up particles along the river bottom and carry them downstream. The grand canyon and the colorado river is an example.

Ocean waves can cause the coastline to erode. The shear energy and force of the waves causes pieces of rock and coastline to break off and then transported to a new location.

Floods - Large floods can literally wash away whole towns very quickly.

Erosion by Wind

Wind is a major type of erosion. Wind erosion occurs by deflation and abrasion.

Deflation occurs when wind picks up and transports loose particles and abrasion occurs when these loose particles strike other surfaces.

Erosion by Glaciers

Glaciers are basically slow moving rivers of ice that carve out valleys and reshaping they transport material to a new location.

Cuttlefish-Fun Facts

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Cuttlefish are the GOAT's of camouflage. They have the ability to blend into their environment by changing their color almost immediatly. Let's take a look at 10 facts about the Cuttlefish.

1. Cuttlefish belong to the class Cephalopoda which also includes squid, octopuses, and nautiluses.

2. Cuttlefish have large W-shaped pupils, eight arms, and two tentacles. 

3. They generally range in size from 15 to 25 cm (6 to 10 in), with the largest species, the giant cuttlefish being around 50cm 20 inches.

4. The average cuttlefish lives about 1–2 years.


5. Cuttlefish also have one of the largest brain-to-body size ratios of all invertebrates. In other words, they are smart.

6. Cuttlefish can be found in tropical and temperate ocean waters. They are found along the coasts of East and South Asia, Western Europe, the Mediterranean, as well as the coasts of Africa and Australia.

7. Cuttlefish like other cephalopods have the ability to produce venom, excreting it through their beak to help kill their prey.


8. Cuttlefish have the ability to rapidly alter their skin color.  Cuttlefish change color, the pattern and the shape of the skin to communicate to other cuttlefish, to camouflage themselves, and to warn off potential predators.

9. Cuttlefish use chromatophores within their skin to quickly change their color. Chromatophores are sacs containing hundreds of thousands of pigment granules which results in color change.


10. Despite their inability to perceive color, cuttlefish have the ability to detect their surroundings and match the color, and texture of their surroundings even in almost total darkness. We are not really sure how they do this.

Bonus : Cuttlefish like to feed on crabs and fish, they also feed on small shrimp. 

Find Joy In the Journey

Friday, April 28, 2023


Each March, elite ultra-marathoners gather at Frozen Head State park for one of the world’s toughest races. This race requires runners to complete five, twenty-mile laps around the park within 60 hours. Runners must navigate through the woods, ascend hilly terrain, run through the night, and cross several streams. Since the commencement of this event in 1988, only 15 runners have completed the race. The finishers receive no prize money and little press coverage. Moreover, it takes the body an immense amount of time to recover from a race like this. Which begs the question, “Why would anyone ever subject themselves to that kind of pain?” The answer: they have learned that there is great joy in completing a difficult task.

I myself have experienced this feeling of great joy. I coach cross country. Like many sports, practice starts well before the first race. Though the first race is usually in late August, we begin training in May and run all summer through hot, humid days. From May to November, I work on moving the team forward. It is stressful, tiring, and some days I don’t feel like running practice, but I do. Why? When your team runs well and you win a big meet, the joy is hard to explain. It is beyond rewarding for your hard work and dedication to manifest itself in the improvement and victory of your runners. 

My father recently died at 88 years old. He was full of joy and energy his entire life. At 88 years old, he was still running an insurance agency and loved every second of it. In fact, he was working on starting a podcast to help his business grow. His life was not always easy. The love of his life died young, his business ebbed and flowed, and technology kept changing. Nevertheless, he kept the agency growing for over fifty years because he loved the challenge. It forced him to learn new skills and problem solve, and it brought fulfillment and purpose to his life.

The movie Stand and Deliver portrays the life of Jaime Escalante. Mr. Escalante was a math teacher at James A. Garfield high school in Los Angeles. He saw untapped potential in his students and set a goal of teaching the first AP Calculus class at the school. Accomplishing this goal required implementing Saturday classes, convincing the feeder schools to change the math track for students, and countless hours teaching math. Only two students passed the AP exam his first year, but he persevered and every year he taught, this number grew. I’m sure when his students received passing AP exam scores, it brought him great joy.

Anyone can find a rewarding, challenging task to complete. I feel an easy place to start is physical challenges. Depending on your fitness level, set a challenging goal and then go for it. It could be things like: today, do 10 pushups. After school, walk a mile. Walk 10,000 steps a day. Complete 25 pull ups a day, or, for those more ambitious, become the next American Ninja. 

Start looking around you. Is there a problem you can help fix? Maybe it’s a simple problem, like someone left their trash on the sidewalk. Challenge yourself to clean up the area a little. Or, maybe it’s a more complicated issue, like global warming. Though global warming can’t be solved overnight or by one individual, there are small things each of us can do to care for our planet. Look for the little triangle on your cereal boxes, milk cartons, Cliff bar containers, etc. Those triangles signify that your container is recyclable. Challenge yourself to clean those containers and place them in the recycling bin. 

Lastly, identifying an area in your life where you would like to improve is a good way to find a challenge. For example, maybe you want to improve your social and conversational skills. Like many others, you may have grown up shy and feel nervous talking to people. Challenge yourself to start a conversation with at least one new person today. It could be your bus driver, one of the ladies in the cafeteria, the person who delivers your mail, a classmate, or the person you like. Go for it kid, be bold. It does not have to be the deepest conversation, just get to know the other person a little more. 

You can work towards accomplishing a big, difficult task by breaking it up into smaller, easier tasks. So, as one more example, perhaps you want to improve your grades. You can start working towards this goal by setting small goals for yourself like studying for a few extra minutes a night when you know a test is coming up, getting enough sleep (at least 8 hours) the night before a test, and turning all your homework in on time. 

The scary part of a difficult task is that there is no guarantee that it will be accomplished. 

There is a chance of failure. However, both failing at and achieving a difficult task can produce good outcomes. In both situations, you learn. It took Thomas Edison numerous attempts to build a working light bulb. After this experience, he quipped this famous quote: “I have not failed, I have just discovered 99 ways not to make a light bulb.” The important takeaway from this story is that you may not succeed the first time you try, but please, try and try again. Accomplishing a difficult task is not necessarily about succeeding the first time. Rather, it is about learning new skills, persevering in the face of adversity, and building confidence as you improve. 

When you accomplish your difficult task, relish in the joy and sense of achievement you are likely to feel. Also, do not forget to reflect over your experience and the learning process. Think about how your experience will benefit you in the long-term.    


5 Types of Renewable Energy

Friday, April 14, 2023

In 1931 construction began on Hoover dam. It took several years to complete because it is massive. From the base to the top is almost 60 stories tall. 

hoover dam

Hoover dam produces  4.5 billion kilowatt hours a year and serves the annual electrical needs of nearly 8 million people and burns zero fossil fuels.This is just one example of a renewable energy source.

A renewable resource is one that is replaced by natural processes faster than humans can consume the resource.

5 renewable resources that produce electricity for households.

  • Solar
  • Hydroelectric
  • Energy from the Ocean
  • Wind Energy
  • Geothermal

Up first, the amount of solar energy that shines on the United States is 1000 times more energy used. However, currently around 3% of our energy needs in the United States are met with solar power. There are a couple of ways to produce energy from sunlight. One way is a photovoltaic cell which converts radiant energy directly into electrical energy.

Another method uses parabolic troughs which  focus sunlight on a liquid, which turns water to steam, which drives a turbine.

photovoltaic cell

Hydroelectric Electric is electric current produced from the energy of moving water 

Basically a dam is built to create a body of water, which turns turbines, which creates electricity. Currently hydroelectric energy produces around 6% of United States energy.

Energy from the ocean The ocean has tides and waves. This up and down motion, along with side to side motion can be harnessed to produce electricity. Technology has been developed to capture the energy of tides along with the energy of waves.The United States does not have any commercially operating tidal energy power plants

Wind Energy   Windmills can convert wind energy into electrical energy. As the wind blows it spins a propeller that is connected to an electric generator that produces electricity.

Wind is America's largest source of renewable energy, and produces 10% of the country's electricity and is growing.

Geothermal energy inside the Earth can be converted into electrical energy by taking the heated steam from the Earth and then  this steam is used to drive turbines to produce electricity. Currently geothermal power plants produce less than 1% of the power in the United States.


Grand Canyon Facts

Friday, April 7, 2023

I just returned from the grand canyon. While I was there I realized that I didn't know a lot about the canyon. I hope you will find this list of facts interesting and learn something new.

The Grand Canyon is a mile deep, 277 miles long and 18 miles wide.

Grand Canyon Facts

The Grand Canyon is located in the state of Arizona.

Although this is debated, the grand canyon is estimated to be 5 to 6 million years old.

The Colorado river runs through the Canyon. It averages 300 feet (91 m) across and about 40 feet (12 m) deep.

Grand Canyon Facts

The Grand Canyon is one of the most visited national parks in the United States. An estimated 5.9 million people visit the Grand Canyon a year.

Phantom Ranch is the only lodging below the canyon rim. It has dorms and cabins. A lottery system is used for reservations. You can only hike in, ride a mule in, or raft the Colorado river to Phantom Ranch.

Grand Canyon Facts

From personal experience, although the canyon is amazing to look at from the top, the real beauty of the canyon is discovered at the bottom of the canyon.

The popular Kaibab trail ( Kaibab means mountain lying down)  was dedicated on June 15th, 1925. The trail built at a total cost of just under $73,000.

Temperatures vary greatly within the canyon.Temperatures at the bottom can be 15 to 30 degrees warmer than the top rim. The coldest temperature recorded was –22 °F on the North Rim on February 1, 1985. The warmest was 120°F at Phantom Ranch on several dates during summer months.

Many people take organized mule trips into the canyon. John Hance is believed to be the first to put tourists on mules for a ride  into the canyon. He opened a hotel about 15 miles east of where the present Grand Canyon Village sits, and advertised lodging and mule rides as early as 1887.

The Grand Canyon became a national park February 26.1919.

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