Oct 20 2010

Closed for business but…

Published by under Mr. W and tagged:

While this group has now graduated and our discussions have ended, you can check in on our current class at this link:


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May 25 2010

Senior Project Blogs

Published by under Mr. W,On My Mind and tagged: , ,

Since we have several APES folks involved in senior exit projects in environmental science areas, I thought I would feature their reflections.

Kyle’s experiences with the wind power industry:

Syd’s experiences with the solar power industry:

Jessica’s experiences with a behavioral ecologist (birds) at Davidson College:


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May 18 2010

Mr. W signs off…

Published by under Mr. W,On My Mind

Ok, so here is my final post for the year. I wanted to share some of the results of questions on the 2nd semester class survey. Of 34 students in two classes, 31 of you responded.   If you’d like to add another comment on what you see here email me or leave a comment below this post.


The bold numbers after each item are the average ratings given by the entire class.

1.  The teacher was enthusiastic about teaching the course.  4.8

2.  The teacher encouraged critical thinking.  4.4

3.  Students were encouraged to ask questions and were given meaningful answers. 4.4

4.  The teacher showed a genuine interest in students as individuals and tried to find ways to connect with or engage them during the year.  4.5

Besides these ratings, there was ample written feedback on how I teach the course.  Thank you so much for that–I will use it to tweak the course for next year. 

Thanks also for all your hard work on this class blog. I hope you are impressed with the global audience you have attracted.  If you click on the ClustrMap, note that you’ve attracted over 1,600 unique visitors from all over the globe!  Check out the list of visitors by country below:

ClstrMap Countries APES8th

*Congrats to Kyle for his election to the Scribe Post Hall of Fame this semester!

Again, my wishes and advice for you all as you go on to bigger and better things:
1. I hope you make conservation a part of your life–most resources are not unlimited. Maybe give up those darned bottled waters at a minimum?
2. I hope you become mindful of your consumerism–businesses want you to buy their products whether you need them or not (that’s capitalism).  They’ll throw in a little greenwashing and “ecoguilt” to get you to buy also…
3. I hope this course has not left you feeling depressed or guilty–we’ve studied some revolutionary solutions AND we can all make small changes that add up.  Awareness is useless–change something.  No one person can do everything, and there are always tradeoffs in the choices you make.
4. Be a giver, not just a taker (remember the mint jar).  Too many takers will ruin the commons (the planet).
5. Finally, I hope you get outdoors more often than not, life happens outside books and classrooms.  Enjoy it!

Davidson College Field Trip

Davidson College Field Trip

Enjoy your senior projects-see you all at graduation…

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May 17 2010

Eyewitness to the Blowout

Here, in two 10-minute segments, is a recent 60-Minutes report on the accident in the Gulf of Mexico and a link to a report on progress (finally) capturing some of the escaping oil:

Part I:

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Part II:

Watch CBS News Videos Online

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May 13 2010

Polar Bear

This is a video I’ve seen that will make you wonder about fuel emissions. Be ready. It’s kind of scary.

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May 13 2010

Oil Leak Video Released

Published by under Mr. W,On My Mind and tagged: , ,

Day 23 (May 12): Check out this 3 minute report from ABC’s World News:

and here is a great interactive history lesson on major old spills from the NY Times.

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May 12 2010

Oil Disaster Update

I doubt many of you are still checking this since the AP exam is over, but here are some Gulf oil disaster updates for those that might be…

After Setback, BP Scrambles to Find New Solution

Sopping Up an Oil Slick with Castaway Hair (“hair sausages?!”)

And, here is the slick viewed from space on April 30th:
Image Source: NASA Earth Observatory

And, here is another showing the progress of the slick over time:


Image Source: The Official Google Blog (using uploaded NASA imagery)

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May 10 2010

Last minute question on CFCs

Published by under On My Mind,Syd and tagged:

So I am hoping someone will be on here and want to answer this:

I understand the equations for CFCs and how they destroy our ozone:

CCl3F + UV > CL + CCl2F

Cl + O > ClO +O2

ClO + O > Cl +O2

which then creates a positive feedback reaction. But what part of this is destroying our ozone? Do the CFCs break down the ozone into O and O2 or do they only bond with free agents of those and just keep ozone from being created?

Alright, thanks in advance and good luck tomorrow to everyone.

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May 10 2010

Regrets? Maybe just Reclamation?

Published by under Mr. W,On My Mind and tagged:

Ok, so it is the night before.  As a teacher, am I anxious? Naw, I think we’ve really done a great job with covering the AP syllabus.  If I had to think of one topic we just did not get to spend much time on, it might be reclamation. This is a Chapter 12 topic, so we never had a test on it (I asked you to read that chapter-did you?). Anyone remember this term?

Definition: The process by which lands disturbed as a result of mining activity are reclaimed back to a beneficial land use. Reclamation activity includes the removal of buildings, equipment, machinery and other physical remnants of mining, closure of tailing impoundments, leach pads and other mine features, and contouring, covering and revegetation of waste rock piles and other disturbed areas. The Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 requires mining companies to restore most surface-mined land so it can be used for the same purpose before it was mined.

*Since your text (Chapter 12) has very little to say about reclamation, maybe investigate these resources and make notes on reclamation methods:

1. Bureau of Land Management-Cartoon Explanations of Reclamation


*read the entire page top to bottom–good source for notes

2. Mineral Information Institute–Mine Reclamation


*investigate at least three reclamation projects and the link for “Erosion and Sediment Control (read it all)”

3. United States Dept. of the Interior, Office of Surface Mining


*only if you are bored and want to know more…

Good luck!

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May 09 2010

NAAQS and the AQI

So…did you laugh at my memory-trick email about the six compounds the EPA must track under the Clean Air Act? If you missed, it here is is again:

Q: How do you remember the 6 air pollutants covered under NAAQS (National Ambient Air Quality Standards)?



So, get it? You need a NOSeCLiP to protect yourself from the NOSCLP pollutants! Now, click on this link to study using an neat interactive “The Nitty Gritty on the 6 Most Harmful Pollutants.”

You guys are most familiar with this monitoring system when you see the ozone alert days here in Charlotte. This is part of the AQI (Air Quality Index) system used to notify the public when ozone and particulates reach levels that can cause harm-especially for those who already have compromised lungs.

Have you noticed this in the paper or on the news?

Have you noticed this in the paper or on the news?

Image Source: http://www.airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=aqibasics.aqi

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