Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Time For An Environmental Pop Quiz!

Lessons from the Environment:
Test Your Environmental Knowledge!

An environmental awareness quiz, brought to you by the National Environmental Education Foundation. This quiz covers issues that have been discussed in the media. The questions are designed to illustrate how much accurate information people are getting from television, newspapers, magazines, and other sources. Write down your answers and compare them to the correct answers below.

1. There are many different kinds of animals and plants, and they live in many different types of environments. What is the word used to describe this idea? Is it:
. Multiplicity

b. Biodiversity
c. Socio-economics
d. Evolution
e. Don't know

2. Carbon monoxide is a major contributor to air pollution in the U.S. Which of the following is the biggest source of carbon monoxide? Is it…
a. Factories and businesses

b. People breathing
c. Motor vehicles
d. Trees
e. Don't know

3. How is most of the electricity in the U.S. generated? Is it…
a. By burning oil, coal, and wood

b. With nuclear power
c. Through solar energy
d. At hydro-electric power plants
e. Don't know

4. What is the most common cause of pollution of streams, rivers, and oceans? Is it…
a. Dumping of garbage by cities

b. Surface water running off yards, city streets, paved lots, and farm fields
c. Trash washed into the ocean from beaches
d. Waste dumped by factories
e. Don't know

5. Which of the following is a renewable resource? Is it…
a. Oil

b. Iron ore
c. Trees
d. Coal
e. Don't know

6. Ozone forms a protective layer in the earth's upper atmosphere. What does ozone protect us from? Is it …
a. Acid rain

b. Global warming
c. Sudden changes in temperature
d. Harmful, cancer-causing sunlight
e. Don't know

7. Where does most of the garbage in the U.S. end up? Is it in…
a. Oceans

b. Incinerators
c. Recycling centers
d. Landfills
e. Don't know

8. What is the name of the primary federal agency that works to protect the environment? Is it the…
a. Environmental Protection Agency (the EPA)

b. Department of Health, Environment, and Safety (the DHES)
c. National Environmental Agency (the NEA)
d. Federal Pollution Control Agency (the FPCA)
e. Don't know

9. Which of the following household wastes is considered hazardous waste? Is it…
a. Plastic packaging

b. Glass
c. Batteries
d. Spoiled food
e. Don't know

10. What is the most common reason that an animal species becomes extinct? Is it because…
a. Pesticides are killing them

b. Their habitats are being destroyed by humans
c. There is too much hunting
d. There are climate changes that affect them
e. Don't know

11. Scientists have not determined the best solution for disposing of nuclear waste. In the U.S., what do we do with it now? Do we…
a. Use it as nuclear fuel

b. Sell it to other countries
c. Dump it in landfills
d. Store and monitor the waste
e. Don't know

12. What is the primary benefit of wetlands? Do they…
a. Promote flooding

b. Help clean the water before it enters lakes, streams, rivers, or oceans
c. Help keep the number of undesirable plants and animals low,
d. Provide good sites for landfills
e. Don't know

Click here to compare your responses to the responses of a random survey of Americans. Click here for a report card on Americans' environmental knowledge.

(Answers: 1. b, 2. c, 3. a, 4. b, 5. c 6. d, 7. d, 8. a, 9. c, 10. b, 11. d, 12.b)

Quiz, answers, and links from the National Environmental Education Foundation website.

Friday, November 13, 2009

How can you help Hawaii's unique and beautiful natural resources?

Here are a few ideas:

Get outdoors! Try out a new Na Ala Hele trail, visit a forest or spend some time in your neighborhood park. Appreciate what's out there, and spread your enthusiasm to others.

Before and after your hike, make sure to clean your shoes and pant legs. Seeds from invasive plants can stick to the bottoms of your shoes and pants, which can spread to native areas. Help the native forest by keeping it free of weeds!

Plant a tree! For advice about planting the right tree in the right place, visit the Kaulunani Urban and Community Forestry Program webpage.

Plant some native vegetation. For a list of native plants, and tips for how and where to plant them, visit pages 6, 7 and 9 of the Backyard Conservation publication distributed this year on Oahu. Did you get your copy in your newspaper? If not, you can utilize this informative online resource right on your computer! While you're browsing through the booklet, learn about xeriscaping, compost, and water conservation.

Keep the environment free of litter. Make sure your trash goes into the trash can, and join beach and park clean-ups. Visit the Keep America Beautiful webpage for a list of community organizations working to keep Hawaii beautiful. If there are no clean-ups in your neighborhood or at your favorite beach, get friends and family together to start one!

Like spending time at the beach? Volunteer with the NOAA Hawaiian Islands Humpback Ocean Count program. Each winter when the humpback whales stop off in the islands during their annual migration, volunteers post up at beaches on Oahu, Hawaii and Kauai to watch for whales, and monitor their behavior. This information is then reported back to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration by location team leaders. For more details about dates, locations and registering to help, visit the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale webpage.

What else can you do to help Hawaii's environment? Leave your ideas in a comment below!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Free Resources for Teachers

Are you looking for a fun activity to teach your students about Hawaii's special plants and animals? Check out the coloring books and other resources available for educators online from Division of Forestry and Wildlife!

Click here to see the other pages to the fun and educational Endangered Animals of Hawaii coloring book available free to educators of all kinds. Simply print out the pages and have fun!

Check out the Forest Jewels of Hawaii coloring book online too. Learn about pueo (sample page above), 'i'iwi, 'amakihi and more of the unique and beautiful birds that call Hawai'i home.

Also see the Teacher Resources page to see curriculum, lesson plans, posters and other great resources for educators.

While you're on the Forestry and Wildlife kids page, explore some of the resources available from other agencies like NOAA.

Have fun and happy teaching!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

See a Snake? Don't Wait - Report a Pest!

Hawaii residents are urged to use the new pest hotline to promptly report sightings of invasive pests such as snakes, unusually aggressive stinging ants, and illegal or unknown animals.

643-PEST (7378)

Fire AntsCoqui Frog
The new Pest Hotline number, 643-PEST (7378), can be dialed from any island in the state, without dialing a “1” or an area code. This Pest Hotline is also the Amnesty Line, where people can turn in illegal animals without fear of prosecution.

The new Pest Hotline relies on a computer program to route calls to the nearest Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) office during normal business hours. On weekends or afterhours, calls are routed automatically to the HDOA office at the Honolulu International Airport, which is staffed 20 hours a day, seven days a week.

The implementation of the new number means that neighbor island callers will NOT incur toll charges as they have in the past when calling the original pest hotline, 586-PEST. The original pest hotline will continue to be operational. An existing HDOA database used to log interceptions of pests at airports and harbors has been modified to also log pest hotline reports.

For more about invasive species and pests in Hawaii, including a guide to high profile invasive species with photos, visit

Click here to watch short videos about pest species and how you can help "Stop the Silent Invasion."

Pictured above, clockwise from top left: Brown Tree snake, Miconia, Coqui frog, and Little Red Fire ant.