Monday, August 31, 2009

Tracking Climate In Your Backyard at the State Fair

The Paleontological Research Institution (PRI) and its Museum of the Earth will be measuring weather at The Great New York State Fair in Syracuse, NY from August 27 - September 7, 2009 at the 4-H Youth Building as part of their Tracking Climate in Your Backyard project .

Tracking Climate in Your Backyard is a collaborative project between PRI, 4-H of New York State, the citizen science project Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS), and the Cornell Institute for Resource Information Systems. The project teaches youth about weather and climate through a hands-on curriculum and citizen science precipitation gathering project.

Each time a rain, hail or snow storm crosses an area, CoCoRaHS volunteers take measurements of precipitation.. These precipitation reports are then recorded on the CoCoRaHS web site ( The data are then displayed and organized for its end users to analyze
and apply to daily situations, ranging from water resource analysis and severe storm warnings to neighbors comparing how much rain fell in their backyards. These data, along with the curriculum provided by Tracking Climate in Your Backyard, provide 4-H participants with insight into local weather and climate.

CoCoRaHS is administered in New York State by the Northeast Regional Climate Center at the Cornell University Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. CoCoRaHS is used by a wide variety of organizations and individuals. The National Weather Service, other meteorologists, hydrologists, emergency managers, city utilities (water supply, water conservation, storm water), insurance adjusters, USDA, engineers, mosquito control, ranchers and farmers, outdoor & recreation interests, teachers, students, and neighbors in the community. All precipitation measurements that are garnered at the Fair will be entered into the national database for these purposes.

Visitors from all over the state will have the opportunity to learn more about Tracking Climate in Your Backyard at the Fair and how they can take part in this citizen science project. They will also have the chance to hunt for fossils in 380-million-year-old shale from the Ithaca area. The Central New York area is rich in fossils from the Devonian period (about 400-350 million-years-ago), and it’s quite common to find them at parks or even in your own backyard. These fossils can tell us a great deal about what life was like millions of years ago and about the geology of our landscape.

“Geology is a local subject,” stated Rob Ross, Associate Director of Outreach at the aleontological Research Institution and its Museum of the Earth. “No two places share exactly the same sequence of geological events that led to the way the places are today. In this sense, geology is a subject to be explored in one’s own neighborhood, examining the detailed sequence of rocks for the history that has gone on under our feet, and finding clues to what life was like as the earth evolved over the last 4-billion years.”

For more information about Tracking Climate in Your Backyard please visit us on the web at and for more information about CoCoRaHS please visit

Friday, August 28, 2009

What states will be hit the hardest by climate change?

Image from The Huffington Post

Interesting article on The Huffington Post:

Climate change is, in fact, a regional issue, but not in the short-term way that the coal senators think, according to new analysis from The Nature Conservancy. The environmental group finds that rural Midwestern states will face the greatest consequences of climate change.

Read More: Small Midwestern States to Be Hit Hard by Climate Change

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Patterson Announces Plan for New Economy

Could New York lead the country in the drive to create new technology? That's what Governor Paterson is saying. Tamara Lindstrom tells us how his new plan to bring together university researchers and business leaders just might edge the state to the forefront of the energy industry.-News 10 Now

Read the whole article here: Patterson Announces Plan for New Economy

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A "Scopes" Trial For Climate Change?

A colleague sent me this post from the Wall Street Journal's Environmental Capital blog. It seems as if the United States Chamber of Commerce is encouraging the EPA to put the science of Climate Change on trial, a la the famous Scopes Trial.

Here's the post: Inherit the Wind

What do you think? Let us know in the comments section!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Free Dave Matthews Music????

The Dave Matthews Band is giving away music to those that make an eco pledge. It all started in 2008 with their tour and they carried it over with their So Much To Save campaign.

Learn how you can get your free music downloads: Dave Matthews Band

Monday, August 24, 2009

Marcellus Shale

There has been a lot of discussion about energy from coal the past few days, what about the cleaner alternative natural gas? In Central New York you might have heard a great deal about Marcellus Shale in local papers, on the radio and even on the regional nightly news. What is it?

The Marcellus Shale is a natural gas rich unit of rock that lies beneath the Southern Tier of NYS, most of Pennsylvania, and West Viriginia. Due to the demand for natural gas, as well as high gas prices, the previously too expensive to produce Marcellus Shale is now being actively pursued by oil and gas companies as a natural gas source. PRI has been working as a part of the Cornell University "Marcellus Shale Team" to provide outreach and education to communities that have already been or could potentially be impacted by gas well drilling in the Marcellus Shale. In the months of July and August, we have participated in 4 Marcellus Shale 'roadshows,' bringing important information to impacted communities. The Marcellus Shale team also works together to maintain a website, with pertinent sections for landowners, concerned citizens, and municipalities. You can visit the website here:

Trisha Smrecak is PRI's representative to the"Marcellus Shale Team." Here's a clip from a recent interview on the subject below:

Friday, August 21, 2009

Things That Make You Go Hmmmm....

I received a link from a Facebook friend from Greenpeace. It's a letter that was written to Jack Gerrard, CEO of the American Petroleum Institute (API), asking him if an email that he wrote and sent to API members about upcoming protests against the Climate Bill is in fact from his office.

It's a pretty interesting letter and email.

Read it here: Greenpeace

Let us know in the comments section what you think!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Lobbyist and Fake Letters?

I came across an interesting article about letters that were sent to the US Congress and Senate regarding the "Climate Bill" that passed the House and will eventually move its way through the Senate. It seems that 13 letters that were sent in opposition to the bill were actually sent by a lobbying firm that was hired to help in the opposition of this bill.

The article is from the Guardian a news outlet in the United Kingdom. I haven't heard much about it here in the states.

Here's the article: US Congress inquiry reveals fake letters from 'voters' opposed to climate bill!

What do you think? Have lobbyist gone to far on this issue? What do you think about the bill? Let us know in the comments section!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Edible Estates...

Photo from The Huffington Post

I just came across this interesting blog post on the book Edible Estates: Attack on the Front Lawn. It's about how people are using their front lawns for edible gardens rather than just for decorative plants. Here's the post:

Kerry Trueman: Bring On The Front Yard Farmers

Let us know in the comments section if you are doing this in your front yard!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Paperless Textbooks?

It seems that some Universities are looking at using the KindleDX from Amazon in an effort to be more "green". Six universities will be piloting this program: Pace University, Princeton University, University of Virginia, Arizona State University and Reed College.

Learn more: The New York Times

What do you think of this program? Let us know in the comments section.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Power of Two...

I just came across this great blog post from Planet Green about two teachers from New York City who really got their recycling program going.

"New York City schools have been legally required to recycle since 1989, but until recently, the only schools that actually did were ones in which faculty members took it upon themselves to implement the practice. Enter Micki Josi and Coquille Houshour!" Read more of this blog post at


Monday, August 10, 2009

Climate Change: A Threat to National Security?

I came across this great article on the New York Times website this past Saturday. It's a pretty interesting and compelling read. It speaks to how the United States is having to think about Climate Change as a threat to our security at home and abroad.

I must admit that I had not thought of climate change in these terms. It gives one pause when you do!

It's interesting what our nations military are having to prepare for. See below:

An exercise last December at the National Defense University, an educational institute that is overseen by the military, explored the potential impact of a destructive flood in Bangladesh that sent hundreds of thousands of refugees streaming into neighboring India, touching off religious conflict, the spread of contagious diseases and vast damage to infrastructure. “It gets real complicated real quickly,” said Amanda J. Dory, the deputy assistant secretary of defense or strategy, who is working with a Pentagon group assigned to incorporate climate change into national security strategy planning.

To read more of this interesting article follow the link after the jump:

A growing number of policy makers say that the world’s rising temperatures, surging seas and melting glaciers are a direct threat to the national interest.

Friday, August 7, 2009


So how much will the Climate Bill, that was just passed by the US House of Representatives, cost you -- the taxpayer? Well, roughly $0.23 a day!

The above picture was from coins I found in the bottom of my desk drawer. Tell us in the comments section what you think about this. To much? Not enough? Do you think it will pass the Senate? Interesting stuff for sure!

For more on this check out
The Climate Bill Will Cost You Just $0.23 a Day, EIA Analysis Shows

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

What's your major?

I just came across a good article online at USA Today about how college students are flocking to sustainable jobs and careers. I thought you might find it interesting.

Click Here: USA Today

Monday, August 3, 2009

Can I compost this?

Did you know that we compost here at PRI and its Museum of the Earth? Well, we do! If you ever find yourself out behind the Museum you will see our compost bins. As many of us begin composting at home, I just came across a list that we might find useful:

75 Thinigs You Can Compost, But Thought You Couldn't