Jumat, 17 Agustus 2012

What to Expect When Joining Outdoor Learning Programs

If you are thinking of participating in an outdoor leaning program but could not decide whether to go or not because you don't know what to expect, read along. Outdoor learning activities could vary a lot in scope, place, and the program's goals. However, there are some aspects that don't change that much. The main reason for such is that when an environmental education specialist tries to come up with a program they make sure that they include the necessary elements. So without delay here are the reasons that make outdoor learning programs a lot of fun.


Outdoor leaning programs for sure are full of challenges. These activities will have you creative juice flowing and might even be physically challenging. Of course, the level of challenges would vary depending on which program you enrolled to. Forest school training might sound easy at first but could really push you both mentally and physically. For me, knowing that you would have done just fine if you were born in the ancient times is enough reward for completing these challenges.


Joining outdoor learning activities can give you a lot of fresh knowledge. Everybody today live with all the protection that modern life provides. These activities strip us with these comforts and allow us to experience living differently. It is just like going for a vacation but the difference is that all you'll be learning here have very practical applications.

You will learn about the natural world and on how to appreciate it. You could also improve your communication and negotiation skills while participating in group activities where a lot of ideas pour in to get a certain task done. With these group activities, you will also learn more about your strengths and weaknesses, and make you value sharing creative ideas and solutions to problems. If you are joining a program that's designed for teenagers, a good part of that is for sure allotted to give you time to improve self-esteem and self-awareness.

These programs are also designed so that participants will learn about the many survival skills. You will learn about safety precautions and solutions to possible scenarios that could occur while you are in the outdoors.

New Friends

New friendships are bound to occur as well. Since you will be working as a team in completing tasks, you will have to trust your team members. And while people who join these programs come from different background, they seem share many common interests. With this, you should expect not only to gain fresh knowledge but win new friends as well.

Rabu, 18 Juli 2012

Starting a Butterfly Garden Is Easy

So, you want to start a butterfly garden? They bring beauty and motion to your garden. Making your garden hospitable is the place to start. You will need three things to make your garden attractive so they will want to make your yard their home.

Food for the adults.
Place for breeding
Plants for the caterpillars
You will want to choose some nectar producing plants that will bloom throughout the summer. The female needs plants to lay her eggs and for the caterpillars to feed on. Annuals are good to plant as they bloom all throughout the summer. You will want to have blooms mid to late summer when the butterflies are most active. Flowers that have multi-blooms are best.

There are some perennials, like coneflowers and astors that are well liked. It is good to plant different plants that bloom at different times of the season. The black swallowtail seems to enjoy parsley and dill herbs. Besides annuals and perennials, there is a bush that they enjoy immensely, called a "butterfly bush" that will definitely, attract a swarm of butterflies. I, always, liked to sit in my gazebo to watch them fluttering around and sipping on nectar, in one of my two bushes that I had and it was guaranteed that they would be there. These are the simple things in life that I appreciate.

Other than the plants that are needed, they, also, need some place away from the wind to shelter their eggs so they won't be disturbed. You can purchase butterfly houses that you put in a woodsy part of your garden. Mourning Cloaks, Angelwings and Tortoiseshells would likely be the ones to use it. Be sure to put the nectar producing plants close by. Painting the outside of the house bright colors may aid in attracting them, also. Sometimes, the house works and sometimes it doesn't.

You will want to supply at least one mud puddle or dampened area in the garden. They seem to gather around the edge of mud puddles. It's not clear as to why they do this, but it may be the moisture or a mineral they may need.

Please, don't use insecticides in your garden if you don't need to. Think about using a natural insecticide that you can purchase or make by yourself. There are many natural insecticide recipes that you can obtain online. Insecticides kill the caterpillars and can kill the adults.

Starting a butterfly garden is simple by making your garden hospitable for them and knowing what will attract them. Simply keeping a small wet area for them and planting a few plants that they'll enjoy is often enough to attract a number of butterflies.

Rabu, 13 Juni 2012

Fifteen Centuries of History

Known throughout Ireland as the Orchard County and also as the Garden of Ulster, Armagh has a long history of apple-growing. In the fifth century, St Patrick is said to have planted an apple tree at an ancient settlement, Ceangoba, east of the present Armagh city. Meanwhile, the Culdee (Céli Dé - 'companion of God') monasteries of Armagh record that the brothers, whilst forbidden to increase their intake of bread at festival times, were instead allowed treats such as apples.

By the twelfth century, apple-growing was widespread here, as detailed in historical documents, with orchard planting increasing over the years. Several hundred years later, during the Plantation of Ulster, the planting of apple (amongst other fruits) orchards by local farm tenants was encouraged; they were to have an enclosed ditch and a white thorn hedge. The importance and good-standing of Armagh apples was highlighted with the arrival of King William in Ireland; before his victory at the Battle of the Boyne he sent equipment and his cider maker, Paul le Harper, to Portadown to ensure his army would not go without their favoured cider.

With such a tradition for apple-growing, customs and superstitions grew too. For instance, local people would gather to drink a toast to the best fruit-bearing tree of the season. Apples would be saved for St Brigid's Eve at the end of January to make griddle apple cake, sometimes known as St Brigid's tea. In July, a wet St Swithin's Day was taken to indicate a bumper crop of really large apples. At Halloween, a time often associated with apples, people who were single would throw apple peelings over their shoulder to reveal the initials of the person they would marry. On a darker note, a tree bearing both fruit and blossom was sign of a death to come before the next harvest.

First grown in England, the Bramley apple arrived in Armagh in 1884 through Mr Nicholson of Crangill, who had bought sixty Bramley seedlings from Henry Merryweather, the Nottinghamshire nurseryman who spotted the Bramley's potential in the early 1860s. Forty years on from their arrival in Northern Ireland, and the Bramley had become the main apple grown in Armagh. Even though there has been a decline in numbers since the 1920s, there are still approximately 5,000 acres of orchards in the Orchard County. (However, this is thought to have played a part in the decline of many heritage varieties such as Keegan's Crab and Milltown Cooker. A Heritage Orchard at Loughgall works to preserve these and many other forgotten apples.)

For anyone wishing to celebrate Armagh apples these days, there are a number of events throughout the year, including the Apple Festival in October, and Apple Blossom tours in May which visit the orchards and old houses of the area during the spell of beautiful pink blossom (of particular note is the Sunday in late May designated as Apple Blossom Sunday). Fairs, concerts and merry-making are a feature of the area at this time. As the locals know, there is much to celebrate about the Armagh apple, and long may its reign continue.

Rabu, 23 Mei 2012

Bramley Apples - Five Leaps to National Treasure

A primarily British-grown variety, the Bramley apple tree was first planted over two hundred years ago. It originates from Nottinghamshire, where a young girl grew it from pips. The name 'Bramley' comes from Matthew Bramley, a butcher who bought the house and garden in the mid-nineteenth century. When a local nurseryman, Henry Merryweather, asked to take some cuttings to sell, Bramley insisted that the fruit should bear his name. Perhaps fittingly for our tradition of 'bobbing for apples' at Hallowe'en, the first recorded sale of the variety was on 31st October 1862 (they cost two shillings).

It wasn't long before the apples began to be noticed and to win awards. Just fourteen years after they first went on sale, Bramley apples were exhibited before the Royal Horticultural Society's Fruit Committee and were highly commended. The apples went on to win the RHS first class certificate at the Apple Congress of 1883. The Committee of the Royal Jubilee Exhibition of Apples also awarded the Bramley first class in 1887. Further first class certificates came in 1893; one more from the RHS and one from the Nottingham Botanical Society.

In the early twentieth century, these apples began to be widely planted. During the First World War the apples were useful sources of food to the nation. By the time of the Second World War, a fruit census revealed the number of its trees in British commercial plantations; six and a quarter million by 1944. Come the occasion of the Queen's Golden Jubilee of 2003, the Bramley tree was chosen as one of fifty great British trees, just as it had been recognised the century before at the time of Queen Victoria's golden jubilee of 1887. The Bramley apple celebrated its own anniversary in 2009; the bicentennial of its first planting in a Nottinghamshire garden.

In terms of its commercial development, Bramley apples have moved far beyond their original two-shilling start. Today the industry is worth approximately £50 million, with one major UK supermarket alone selling 4,000 tonnes of the apples in 2011-2012, a 27% share of the variety's sales. The apple accounted for 95% of the country's total culinary apple orchards in 2007. About 25% of the crop is sold fresh for eating, around 30% for juice and cider, and another 45% for food processing in pies, crumble fillings and related food products. One of the best-known commercial uses of the apple is the apple pie, a family tea-time favourite.

The apple continues to win awards; it recently held the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. To ensure it is celebrated in the way it deserves, the town in Nottinghamshire where it was first grown holds a Bramley Apple Festival every October. Bramley apples have come a long way in the past two hundred years, from young girl planting a seed, to Matthew Bramley giving them their name, to wartime national food supply, to golden jubilee success, and finally on to multi-million pound industry. Where will the Bramley go next?

Kamis, 26 April 2012

Sound - A Short View of Definition and Behavior

Sound is a mechanical vibration of a medium in the hearing range.

A medium can be practically anything: a gas, a liquid or a hard material. Most commonly we perceive sound propagation in the air, where it travels with the speed of 343 m/s at the room temperature (20°C). The speed varies with temperature, but in the human habitat's thermal range, that's not a big variation (a couple of percent).

Some aircraft can reach the speed which is higher than the speed of sound (343 m/s= 1,235 km/h), also called the supersonic speed. Some other phenomena in the nature can reach that speed, such as meteorites entering the Earth's atmosphere, There are also scientific speculations about the fact that some dinosaurs were able to move their tail with the ultrasonic speed, generating intimidating sounds.

The speed of sound is different in different media: for example, in water, this parameter is 1,484 m/s, while for iron it is 5,120 m/s, again, both at the room temperature.

Basic parameters

The basic shape of a pure uniform oscillation is a sine wave. This is what we use as a basic signal shape in sound, too, especially in electronics. This is the shape that we use for most measurements to test the behaviour of sound equipment.

This signal is defined by two parameters:

amplitude (A), which is directly connected with the loudness, therefore how loud or quiet the sound is, and
frequency (f), which determines the pitch of the sound - it tells us how many times per second a sound vibrates.
The signal makes its full turn when it equally passes positive and negative half-period creating a full cycle.

The time needed for this signal to terminate a full cycle is called a period (t0) or wavelength and it is measured in seconds. Frequency determines how many periods are completed in one second. The unit for frequency is 1/s or, more commonly, Hertz (Hz).

For example: if a signal oscillates with a hundred periods in a second, that's 100 Hz.

From the definition "sound is a mechanical vibration of a medium in the hearing range", we have already covered a part of a medium, but "what is the hearing range"?

The hearing range is the range between the lowest and the highest audible frequency. For a human, this is between 20 Hz and 20 kHz (20,000 Hz). Different animal species have different hearing ranges. For example, a mouse can hear from 1 kHz to 100 kHz and a chicken from 125 Hz to 2 kHz.

Now we have covered the whole definition of sound: we know what a medium is and how the speed of sound behaves in it, and we know what the hearing range is.


Previously we have said that a sound/signal is defined with two parameters: frequency and amplitude. As there is a definition for the hearing range in frequency, there are also limits in amplitude: what is the quietest sound we can hear and what is the loudest sound we can bear?

The amplitude range for a human hearing is defined between 0 and 120 dB, where 0 dB is the "loudness" of breathing, and 120 dB is a threshold of pain.

dB is not really a unit, but a logarithmic way to define a ratio between a reference signal and a measured signal.

0 dB means that the ratio between a reference and a measured signal is 1:1, while 120 dB is 1:1,000,000, therefore we can't bear the sound that is a million times louder than our breathing. Another interesting ratio is 6 dB (1:2).

Just to give you a real life example of what dB means as a noise:

0 dB - minimal perceivable sound
30 dB - whisper
60 dB - conversation
98 db - hand drill
115 dB - loud rock concert
120 dB - pain threshold
140 dB - jet engine
180 dB - death of hearing tissue

Rabu, 28 Maret 2012

Rat Trapping - Considerations Before You Hire Someone for Rat Control

We own a business that deals with all kinds of Nuisance Wildlife and the conflicts incurred with homeowners. This includes: squirrel trapping, raccoon trapping, beaver trapping, bat control and also Norway Rat & Roof Rat trapping. So we have definitely had a lot of experience with the issues concerning rat trapping & rat control.

I can tell you this - every customer that calls me acts as if they should be embarrassed that they have nasty dirty home. Rats do not seek out dirt or filth. They seek out food, shelter & water. You have to provide one of the three to have a rat situation.

When I talk to potential customers I could get rich from betting that either they have dogs or one of their neighbors have dogs. Then I ask if the feces is left on in the fenced yard. 99.5% of the time they say YES - then ask... "How did I know"? Then I have to go into this long dissertation about how the dog food these days has a base of CORN. Corn is non-digestible by the dogs so it is passed right through to their feces. Rats love corn!!!! Disgusting, YES but factual. If they or the neighbors cleaned up the feces right as it occurred then this problem with rats "Might" have been avoidable.

Regardless when you are hiring someone with a wildlife license it is imperative that the traps are checked daily. Here in the State of Georgia it is the law. Unless it is a Pest Control company that uses poison then they do not have to do daily trap checks.

The reason it is important is because it makes the most out of your trapping dollars. A trap with a rat in it will NOT catch another rat. It is occupied. Plus if the rats eventually associate the dead rats with this trap then they will learn to avoid it. It is called "trap smart".

We used all kinds of traps to catch rats. Lice cage traps, snap traps (different appearances) to mix it up. Regardless of the type or appearance of the trap, any trap left inside a building or home is concealed. Concealed by an outer box so the client does not see the rat - alive or snapped. No matter - no one wants to see any of the unpleasantries.

One thing that I want to discourage is the use of poisons (bait stations). More often than not we see inexperienced pest control companies, the only ones legally allowed to use poisons, set them improperly and causing more of a problem with dead animal removal than creating the solution. Terrible! When bait stations are set at improper locations the rats find it easier to run into your attic or walls to suffer from internal bleeding and possibly DIE inside you walls or attic. Yucky!

If you need help figuring out the right questions to ask when hiring someone to resolve your rat problem we developed a website dedicated to consumer awareness called rat control dot biz.