Monday, September 27, 2010

Entry #5

So on this blog, I decided to get FESTIVE!

Halloween is spooky by nature, but it doesn't have to be a scary time for the environment. I've been keeping up on my environment issues and thought that this would be a great time to tie it into the upcoming holiday--Halloween! I was reading tips and "tricks" (haha) to help have a safe and eco-friendly Halloween.

1. Send your kids out with Reusable Bags
When I was younger I used something as simple as a pillow case to store my candy in. It's great because it saves you the trouble of going out and buying a plastic trick or treat container. It also holds more candy which would be a hit with the kids. Paper and plastic bags can also tear easily, spilling Halloween treats and disappointing children. Reusable bags are much more durable.

2. Make your own Halloween costume
Easy as 1-2-3! Just get an old bed sheet and you have the perfect ghost costume! BOO!
Instead of going out and buying a Halloween costume, which usually ends up in the trash after one year anyways, make your own! Have kids get creative and use their imagination. Kids never want to wear the same costume twice and usually outgrow their costume by the next year anyways. After Halloween, you can either wash and store your homemade costumes for other use, trade with friends, or donate the clothing from which they were made to day care centers, homeless shelters, or charitable organizations.

3. Give Eco-Friendly Treats
Instead of wasting money on candy have something else to give to trick or treaters such as fun shaped erasers, pencils, crayons, or other inexpensive gifts or gadgets you can find at your local dollar store. Let's face it most candy wrappers end up on the streets from anxious kids and this can lead to problems. Change it up a bit!
Haunted Halloween erasers!
4. Walk instead of Drive
Let's be serious, most kids draw up a full detailed map of their trick or treat route before the big night. Let them get some exercise by walking, or in some cases running, door to door instead of driving. This reduces fuel consumption and air pollution. If it's necesary to drive to a Halloween party or what not, try carpooling.

Entry #4

For this entry I was lucky enough to get the chance to get away from the lovely FGCU dorms one weekend and spend some time at "home-home." I am originally from the east coast of Florida; Merritt Island.
1. My house here is about 10 years old.
2. Wood, brick, cement, glass for windows
3. As much as I hate to say it, I don't think our house is that environmentally friendly. For example, there are many light switches in our kitchen where if you turn one light on, you turn them ALL on. You can dim them, but I still think it's silly to have 9 overhead lights when really you just need one. I don't think our house is that environmentally friendly, however, I think it's the people inside it that make it work :)
Property Size (sq ft)

Creepy what you can find online. As of now, only my mom and dad live there. I live there when I come home for holidays and summer.

My house at Christmas! Don't worry though, we only keep our lights on a couple hours a night, not the whole night :)

5. I used to work in the mall which was only a couple miles from my house (approximately 6 miles). My elementary, middle, and high school were all within a 10 mile radius of my house. The closest gas station was around 5 miles away and also the closest grocery store was about 5 miles away also.
6. My house is neatly landscaped. The community we live in actually has requirements for each household. All the same elegant mailboxes, palm trees have to be a certain height, and the "keep your lawn nice--or get out" policy. My parents put down mulch accordingly and I feel like they are constantly doing yardwork. We don't have a fence but we have a hedge that goes around our whole backyard.
7. Should have looked at this question. Like I said I feel like they are constantly maintaining our yard. We have a "rider" mower that allows my parents to save time cutting the grass (and their backs).
8. We have a somewhat small pool but we do always keep up with the chemicals because we do use it often. We use chlorine and muriatic acid.
9. This got a little messy while thinking of everything so I planned accordingly:
Auto Products- Brake Fluid, Lubricant, "Emergency" gas
Inside the House- Air freshener, Disinfectants, Wax
Pesticides- Animal Repellent
Landscape- Fertilizer
Personal Care- Eye makeup remover, soap, etc.
Home Maintenance- Paint, Plastic
Arts/Crafts- Adhesive, Dye
Pet Care- Tick and Flea Control
Home Office- Ink, White Out
Mostly just stored around the house or garage. Mostly in containers that they were sold in.
10. My dog Chance. We have birds outside and occasionally squirrels. We've had one gator incident in my past 10 years of living in the neighborhood when a gator went roaming around in yards/pools. Fire ants outside, and other pets that neighbors have; dogs or cats mostly.
11. My home would be an unnatural environment because it's man made and had to be built. The land there was once all orange groves, and now it stands as a neighborhood/community. The way we think is what constitutes natural vs. unnatural. Morals of the human nature. Although there were once orange groves, the population is constantly increasing and we need somewhere to build these houses and communities for people to live in.
12. I think I am "of nature" because like anything else, I was born and live just like the way nature does. I eat, sleep, and depend on other things to survive.

I don't necesarily think my home was built in the means to be enviromentally friendly. However, I think the people that live within a home can also determine or improve those statistics. I know in the winter, we turn the AC off and leave doors/windows open to get our air and try to conserve energy. We also always turn the lights off if we're not home or not using them and try to take short and minimal showers. In other words, we try to be considerate and aware of our surroundings.

Entry #3

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary has been where it is long before humans started to develop land around it. Historical events that have kept it that way may be storms that created the area in the first place. Also, there are conservation acts that have kept the land/swamp the way it is now and have kept people from building on the land.

Wetlands are important in many ways. Wetlands manage storm water runoff and help recharge and purify aquifiers (which hold water). They also serve as a habitat to many species. Like I said, wetlands often function like natural sponges storing flood water and slowly releases it. Periodic burning allows the proliferation of fire-evolved plant species and reduces of eliminates competing species. Obviously, we all need water to live. It provides food and nutrition to everything living in the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. Higher elevation can been seen as symbols of perseverance and tolerance. This sanctuary has been here for ages, not to mention some of the trees were here before our generation were even born. I think it's great that this sanctuary hasn't been cut down because it's a memorable place and serves a purpose in the community.

I got to see many species when I went on the Corkscrew field trip. There are endless species of plants and animals at the sanctuary but here are some that our tour guide pointed out:
From the bird family- Cranes, Doves, Hummingbirds, Owls, and Vultures
Different Fish and Insects- Trust me, I "interacted" with the mosquitos
Mammals- Alligators, frogs, snakes, turtles, racoons, fox, deer, squirrels, bobcats, florida panthers
Plants- Lillies, Duckweed, Pine trees, and saw palmettos

We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us.  When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.  ~Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac

Entry #2

Throughout my 21 years of life, I have had many experiences outdoors. When I was young I lived in Virginia and would love to "adventure." My backyard was woods and trails and I absolutely loved it. I definately got to use my imagination whenever I ventured off with friends or family. It was full of huge trees, creeks, mud, dirt, and in the winter-time of course snow. It was also full of animals; deer, rabbits, crawfish, squirrels, etc.
My old house in Virginia.

Being the youngest of 2, I had to follow in my big sisters footsteps and join a girl scout tribe. Although I don't remember the name of our tribe or the exact locations we went, I have very fond memories of the outdoors during these years. (..and the time we got locked out of our cabin and my mom had to climb into the 2nd story window to let us in and save the day)

Like everyone else, I had to grow up, and my time "playing" in nature lessened. However, I have been playing soccer ever since I can remember. I was always at soccer practice after school or at night and my weekends were also full of soccer. My family also liked going places that had to deal with the outdoors also. While we lived in Virginia, we would go on tours to visit the White House and walk around to different historic locations. When we moved to Florida, our family time was spent outdoors at Disney World, Sea World, etc.

This made my overall relationship with the outdoors a great experience, and the fact that I'm still playing soccer in college makes me still feel connected to nature in the same way I was as a child.

I was a little worried about starting the class I admit. Some anxieties I had were having to memorize endless animal names and ecosystems. One thing that I have definately learned is that there isn't always necesarily a "wrong" or "right" answer to things asked in this class. It's very opinionated and open minded which I love. I love getting the chance to share my stories about my past experiences with nature and also being able to listen to everyone elses stories.

In all honesty, I felt like a kid again when we went on our wet walk. (My favorite field trip thus far) On the campus tour, I felt like I learned and gained knowledge about our campus that I hadn't really known before. I knew we were a "green" school but I learned about our highly engineered buildings and their connection with the AC units to help save energy, our newly installed solar panels which hope to save money in the long run, and even our boardwalks on campus share a purpose.

Entry #1

"The University Colloquium brings together students from all five colleges in a series of interdisciplinary learning experiences. These experiences are designed to address the ecological perspective outcome in relations to other university outcomes and guiding principles."

My expectations for learning have actually differed from the first few weeks of school. Although my class has only met 3 or 4 times, my expectations are constantly changing; in a positive way. Like all Colloquium students, I thought this was going to be abother boring environmental class. Having to spend hours learning and memorizing names of animals and ecosystems. However, I have learned it is much more than that.

I enjoy being outdoors at times and these field trips have actually been enjoyable. I have been relating my readings to our field trips also. The outcomes so far from this class have been awesome. Our first couple field trips were a campus tour, a visit to the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, and a campus wet walk.

Here's us ladies and gentlemen. Florida Gulf Coast University. Through both our campus tour and wet walk I have learned a great deal about our campus history and our overall interaction with nature. An example is the newly installed solar panels on campus. I have also heard and now realize that FGCU practices and promotes environmental sustainability.

Like I said I have always loved nature but with this class, already, I have deepened my thoughts towards the outdoors. On our Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary field trip I really got to open up to nature. The sites were beautiful and I found the boardwalk very peaceful.

We were given time to take a break on our walk on the boardwalk to write down some notes or thoughts in our journals. Here's what I wrote:
I feel like I could be anywhere I wanted. I could just get lost in nature here; in a good way. It's quiet and peaceful and the sounds are sounds I feel that I have never heard before in a way.
My favorite note I wrote was: This place feels like it's protecting me from the world.