Apr 072015
 
 April 7, 2015  activities, Around the World in 12 Dishes, Earth Day, Education, education3 Comments Off on Endangered Animals: Learning about African Manatees

Endangered Animals: Learning about African Manatees | Alldonemonkey.com

To continue our theme of learning about endangered animals, we turned our attention to Senegal (our next country in Around the World in 12 Dishes) and began to study the African manatee.  There are three species of manatees, but the African (or West African) manatee is perhaps the least known of the three and the most endangered.

Disclosure: This post contains a sponsored link for your convenience.

These animals are known locally as “Mamiwata”, an African name (unfortunately I wasn’t able to discover which African language) for the spirit believed to be embodied by the manatee.  The gentle manatees are marine mammals, which means they must surface periodically to breathe.  Most manatees are primarily herbivores, but now there is evidence that the African manatee actually eats fish, mollusks, and clams.

The African manatee can be found in the shallow coastal waters, rivers, and estuaries of West Africa and is under threat from poaching, fishing (because of getting caught in fishing nets), and habitat loss from construction of dams.  While firm numbers are difficult to come by, it is clear that the African manatee is under grave threat and its population is in danger of disappearing from several of the countries – including Senegal – where it has traditionally lived.

Endangered Animals: Learning about African Manatees | Alldonemonkey.com

To learn more about the African manatee, I created a word search and word puzzle, which you can download and print here:

African Manatee Word Search

African Manatee Word Puzzle

 

Additional Resources on African Manatees:

From Save Our Species

From Save Our Seas

From Wildlife Conservation Society

From Sirenian International

From EDGE

From IUCN Red List

Title image via http://currencewiki.wikispaces.com

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.  If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission.

Earth Day Books and Music Giveaway

To inspire earth-friendly practices with your family, I’m so excited to be taking part in an awesome Earth Day giveaway with several other kid bloggers. Several publishers have offered earth-themed books and music prizes for your Earth Day celebrations. Hopefully, these wonderful resources will inspire a love of nature in your children and motivate them to make a difference in the world. Amazon affiliate links are below for your convenience.

The Earth Day Giveaway co-hosts are:

Kids Yoga Stories, Mama Smiles, Spanish Playground, Creative World of Varya, Crafty Moms Share, the piri-piri lexicon, All Done Monkey, and Eva Varga

Earth Day Giveaway Prize Pack #1

EARTH DAY GIVEAWAY

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Water Rolls, Water Rises, by Pat Mora
Celebrate the wonders of the water on planet Earth with this poetic and illustrative bilingual book.

Call Me Tree, by Maya Christina Gonzalez
Act out this beautiful bilingual story following a young child mimicking the growth of a tree.

Kings & Queens of the Forest CD, by Kira Willey
Act out a journey to the forest with Kira Willey’s enchanting yoga-inspired music.

Imaginations 2, by Carolyn Clarke
Use guided imagery to explore nature while learning to calm the mind and body with these relaxation stories.

Sophia’s Jungle Adventure, by Giselle Shardlow
Join Sophia and her family on a jungle adventure while learning to appreciate jungle life and doing yoga along the way.

Every Day is Earth Day Kids Yoga Lesson Plan PDF, by Next Generation Yoga
Create an earth-themed yoga session with this kids yoga lesson plan.

Compost Stew, by Mary McKenna Siddals
Dig into composting with this engaging rhyming text.

Too Much Junk song, by Elska
Get inspired to enjoy nature and simplify your life with this new musical adventure.

Backyard Garden CD, by Earthworm Ensemble
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Earth Day Giveaway Prize Pack #2

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Change the World Before Bedtime, by Mark Kimball Moulton, Josh Chalmers, and Karen Good
Find out how the simple things in life that can inspire huge differences that change the world.

Picture a Tree, by Barbara Reid
Discover new ways to experience trees in this book with stunning imagery.

This Tree Counts, by Alison Formento and Sarah Snow
Practice counting with animals that live in trees.

Miss Fox’s Class Goes Green, by Eileen Spinelli and Anne Kennedy
Join Miss Fox as she teaches her forest animal students how to go green.

In the Garden with Dr. Carver, by Susan Grigsby and Nicole Tadgell
Step into the historical world of Dr. Carver as he teaches children about gardening.

What’s So Special About Planet Earth?, by Robert E. Wells
Learn how planet Earth is different from other planets.

Polar Bear, Why is Your World Melting?, by Robert E. Wells
Learn why and how the world is getting warmer and what we can do about it.

Earth Day Giveaway Prize Pack #3EARTH DAY GIVEAWAY

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Earth Day CD and Recycled Musical Activities eBook, by Daria Marmaluk Hajioannou
Sing and dance to catchy folk music to celebrate our beautiful rainbow world.

Nature Anatomy, by Julia Rothman
Take a look at nature in a new way with this book that explains all about the nature with sketches.

Catch the Wind, Harness the Sun, by Michael J. Caduto
Learn about renewable energy with 22 activities on producing and using it.

Ecology eBook – Ecology Explorations, by Eva Varga
Explore your local ecosystems with this hands-on ten-week life science curriculum.

When the Animals Saved Earth, by Alexis York Lumbard
Read a tale about how animals teach humans to restore balance in nature.

Just Like Me, Climbing a Tree, by Durga Yael Bernhard
Explore trees all over the world and see what a child sees when climbing those trees

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Apr 032015
 

Endangered Animals: Learning about Andean Condors | Alldonemonkey.com

As part of our study of Bolivia and the “Around the World in 12 Dishes” series, we looked more closely at one of the great symbols of the Andes – the condor.  A really great online resource about the Andean condor (cousin to the also endangered California condor) is, of course, National Geographic.

Many Americans are familiar with the famous song “El Condor Pasa,” written by a Peruvian composer last century and based on Andean folk melodies.  It was later popularized by none other than Paul Simon, who added his own lyrics.  He can be seen here singing on Sesame Street:

The condor had been respected by the native Andeans as a mystical bird, but the newly arrived Spanish saw it as a nuisance.  Ironically, the Spanish hunted it to near extinction out of a mistaken belief that it was killing their cattle.  Yet this was not the case, as the condor is a scavenger, meaning it feeds off of carrion (dead meat), just like a vulture.

My Monkey was quite indignant over this devastating mistake: “They should have killed the eagles instead!” he told me many times.  Well, not quite the “living in harmony with the natural world” sentiment I was aiming for, but at least he does have an emotional attachment to the condor!

The Andean condor is one of the largest flying birds on the planet – in fact, it is the largest if you go by wingspan, as they measure an enormous 10 feet (3 meters) from tip to tip.  They need that wing power, as they are also some of the heaviest flying birds around!

To help Monkey get a sense of just how large these birds were, we did an activity based on a display I saw at our local zoo.  The idea is to have children measure their own “wingspan” and compare it to the wingspans of various birds, including the condor.

First we researched the wingspans of various birds, from the Andean and California condors to the hummingbird.  Then, of course, we measured his!

Endangered Animals: Learning about Andean Condors | Alldonemonkey.com

Here are the measurements we used:

 Hummingbird: 4 inches
Mandarin duck: 28 inches
My Monkey: 46 inches
Bald Eagle: 7 feet
California Condor: 9.5 feet
Andean Condor: 10 feet

Then we marked the measurements all on our floor with masking tape.  (We had planned to do more birds, but Little Monkey thought the game was to pull up all of the tape markings as soon as we had put them down, so we decided to keep our list relatively brief).

We first marked a spot that would serve as our center then marked each wingspan on either side of this, so that when you look down at the floor, the wingspans line up on top of each other and you can really see how they size up.

Endangered Animals: Learning about Andean Condors | Alldonemonkey.com

Beyond learning about the Andean condor and other birds, this is a great exercise in measuring and counting.  Older kids could also help halve the wingspan measurements, since half (one wing) is on either side of the middle mark.

Our conclusion: Andean condors are big!  But don’t worry – they’ll only eat you if you’re already dead 😉

Title image via http://indiracevallos.wikispaces.com/

 

natural-parenting-hop

Find more natural parenting resources by clicking on the image above! You can also find great posts on our Earth Day Is Every Day Pinterest board:



Be sure to enter our amazing giveaway! Most prizes are for US and Canada shipping only.

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Apr 212014
 
Below is the next installment in the popular series on Random Acts of Kindness. Each month, a blogger shares the random acts of kindness they have committed with their little ones. You can visit the Random Acts of Kindness page to see previous installments of this series. You can also follow the Random Acts of Kindness Pinterest Board. Today’s post comes to us from Jennifer of The Good Long Road, one of my favorite bloggers and a truly kind person who is making the world a better place.

 

Being Kind to the Environment and Each Other

 
 
I’m honored to be a part of this fabulous Random Acts of Kindness Series. I wanted to focus on Acts of Kindness inspired by Earth Day — acts that are kind to the Earth. Of course, there are the obvious things like picking up trash and recycling, but I also wanted to think creatively about being kind to nature/living things and connect that kindness to helping those around us. Here’s my Top 10 Creative Acts of Kindness for Earth Day!
  1. Help Someone De-Clutter – Offer to help an elderly neighbor sort through paper clutter and shred and recycle their excess paper for them. (Every time I would visit my grandmother, I inevitably ended up doing this — piles of old magazines, catalogs, newspapers and junk mail were everywhere!)
  2. Do Yard Work for a Friend or NeighborAt Pennies of Time, Sheila shared of how she and her two boys (at 6 and 4) weeded the yard of a friend who battles a chronic illness. Nurturing our environment through planting, weeding and gardening is a great way to help the Earth. Assisting others with green maintenance, who may struggle to do it for themselves, is a great way to RAK a friend!
  3. Organize a Recycling Project and Donate Funds from Bottles and Cans to Charity – Perhaps your school, community center, gym or a neighborhood gathering place lacks adequate or clear options for recycling bottles and cans. Set up proper containers to collect those items. Let kids make fun and colorful posters that make it clear that all funds raised from recycled items will go to charity. The Corner on Character shared a great book to encourage recycling and repurposing as well as activities to go with the book that would be great for a family or school. 
  4. Commit to a Birthday or Holiday limited to Thrift Sale/Yard Sale/Reused Gift Items Only – Our family began doing this at Christmas time when I was in High School, we could only give each other gifts that were purchased at resale or yard sales. I suspect much of the reason my parents did this was to save money and to remove pressure from a high school and college student who had little money of our own to get gifts for each other and our parents. It became a tradition that we loved – often keeping an eye out many months before for that “perfect” item. Shopping in this way reduces packaging waste and limits resources and pollution that are incurred when new goods are shipped around the world. 
  5. Walk, Bike or Bus to Work and School – On Earth Day, walk or bike or take a bus to school, work, the gym or the store instead of driving. See if you can commit to doing this once a week – swapping out driving with a more ecological mode of transportation. Perhaps one day will turn into two! If you’re a two-car family, you might discover you can manage with just one car – saving resources and money. (We’ve been a one car family in Southern California for years).
  6. RAK someone by giving them a reusable water bottle or coffee mug – Pick a coffee loving friend or teacher and have your children pick out a reusable coffee mug or iced coffee drink container to give them as a surprise RAK Gift! Or, if you know someone who often has a plastic bottle of water with them, RAK them with a reusable water bottle. 
  7. Visit your Local Farmer’s Market – Buying produce or other items (like goat cheese or honey) from a farmer at a local farmer’s market is a wonderful act of kindness for that farmer and for the Earth. Typically, items at farmer’s markets are often grown in much more sustainable ways than conventional produce. Plus, less resources are spent getting those items from Point A to Point B as almost every item sold at a Farmer’s Market will be locally grown. Farmer’s Markets also offer amazing opportunities for children to learn about fruits and vegetables. ALLterNATIVE Learning recently shared a great post about taking kids to the Farmer’s Market.
  8. Host a Local Food Party – Invite friends over for a unique dinner party – local food only. Ask each guest to bring one local food item. Again, buying locally is kind to the Earth because of the pollutants and resources that are saved because of minimal transport needs. Plus, breaking bread with friends is one of my favorite acts of kindness.
  9. Map Your Food – Kid World Citizen has a great post about mapping food and having kids learn about the world by seeing where their food is from. An activity like this also helps children learn how far some food can travel and is a great activity for Earth Day as you can extend it by talking about the resources (energy, oil, etc.) and resulting pollutants that are used in the process. It will help children (and yourself) understand the value of eating locally grown food when possible – or get them excited about growing food themselves. 
  10. Share Garden Goodies with Others – If you have a garden, put together a basket of locally grown food or a bouquet of flowers or herbs from your garden and share those goodies with a neighbor, perhaps someone who is housebound or on a limited income. By sharing your own locally grown items, you’ll brighten their day and are doing Mother Earth a favor too! (If you’re like me and you don’t have a garden, then pick up some extra items at the Farmer’s Market to give to a friend or neighbor). 
Jennifer is a mom of two, as well as an independent filmmaker who has taught filmmaking to youth, most notably with her Spotlight On Hope Film Camp, a free film camp for Pediatric Cancer patients. She writes about her experiences with Wild Thing and Caterpillar at The Good Long Road with an emphasis on mindfulness, imagination, and creative activities related to her toddler and preschooler’s favorite children’s books. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.
Random Acts of Kindness - Alldonemonkey.comYou can see a full schedule of the posts in this series by visiting the main Random Acts of Kindness Challenge page. You can also follow the Random Acts of Kindness Pinterest Board.


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