Welcome to our class!

We are an environmental science course at St. Benedict's Prep in Newark, NJ, taught by Mrs. T. We'll be blogging about environmental issues all term, so please stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Culture of Pollution

A lot of our everyday, "civilized" existence generates pollution; this includes things from running a car to using electricity to throwing away packaging from something that you buy.  Do you think that people, in general, are willing to make changes in their lifestyles to reduce pollution?  What could convince them to do so?  What changes would you be willing to make in your own lifestyle?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Rosa Multiflora

Rosa Muliflora:
Rosa multiflora is native range is Japan, Korea and eastern China. They are invasive plants because they form impenetrable thickt that don't allow the native plants to develop. This plant was first introduced in the U.S. in 1866 from Japan and can easily invade open woodlands, forest edges, successional fields and savannas. The Rosa Multiflora is all around the East of the U.S; the only place that Rosa multiflora is not found is in the Rocky Mountains,the south eastern and deserts of California and Nevada. This plant has tolerance for various soil, moisture and light conditions. This plan is bad in NJ because when the birds eat the pulp of the fruit they dropp the seeds, and these seeds rapidly grow and become thick and the only thing that can penetrate them is bulldozers.This plant can be dangerous to us humans but is not dangerous for some wild species like grouse, wild turkeys, cedar waxwings and robins. The leaves and hips are consumed by chipmunks, white-tailed deer, black bears, mice and more. In my opinion Rosa multiflora should be regulated because they are dangerous to us but wild species depend on them,they can reproduce really fast they produce a million seeds a year so when the governement starts to see that there are a lot of them the governemnt should kill some of them that way they wont be that dangerous to us humans and the wild animals can still depend on them.

Invasive Species

Invasive Plants
The purple loose strife was introduced in the United States through European immigration in the 1890’s and made the wet lands of North America its new home. Although it has some ornamental and medicinal uses (cure diarrhea, dysentery), it is threatening to the natives of the wetlands of North America and it targets both the fauna and the flora. The purple loose strife impedes the natural floods of the wetlands and in some cases it even stops the flow of water causing the death of the native plants that are indispensable for the survivals of herbivorous species of those areas. Purple loosestrife enjoys an extended flowering season, generally from June to September, which allows it to produce vast quantities of seed. The flowers require pollination by insects, for which it supplies an abundant source of nectar. A mature plant may have as many as thirty flowering stems capable of producing an estimated two to three million, minute seeds per year. Until now, there are no effective ways of reducing the threat of the purple loose strife other than the use of pesticides which ends up harming the soil. 

Sources:  http://www.invasiveplants.net/plants/purpleloosestrife.htm

Friday, March 16, 2012

Japanese Stiltgrass

​The Japanese stiltgrass is an annual grass with a wide range of habitat. It begins to appear during early spring and grows throughout the summer up to three feet. The leaves are a light green shade and can be up to three inches long. The reason they are a threat is because they are able to adapt in low light conditions. It threatens native plants and natural habitats that are located in moist and dark areas. White tailed deer make the invasion of the stiltgrass easier because they feed off the native plants so then the stiltgrass could take over. The stiltgrass could also impact other plants by changing the soil chemistry and shading other plants. An effective way of terminating the weed is by using a product called Roundup Pro. Work Cited http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/fact/mivi1.htm

Emerald Ash Borer

The Emerald Ash Borer is an exotic beetle that was discovered in Michigan in 2002. The adult beetles are a minor problem because the only thing they do is nibble on ash foliage. The baby beetles while in their larval stage are the real problem. The larva eat the inner bark of ash trees, and prevent the tree from transporting water and nutrients. Like other invasive species, the Emerald Ash Borer more than likely arrived from cargo coming into the United States from overseas in Asia. The Emerald Ash Borer is slowly spreading and reached New Jersey in 2009. These beetles cause millions of dollars in damages.

Hole left by the Emerald Ash Borer

Source: http://www.emeraldashborer.info/

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

The Woolly Adelgid is a bug native to East Asia. It feeds by sucking sap from Hemlock trees. In the US it poses a big threat to Eastern and Carolina Hemlock trees. It was accidentally introduced to the US in 1924. It is now established in 11 different states and causes widespread death of the Hemlock trees. It can be identified by its egg sacks which look like cotton balls hanging off the Hemlock trees' branches. When it feeds it sucks the sap from the trees and also injects a toxin which weakens the trees and causes it not to produce anything. If a tree would survive the infestation it would die due to a secondary cause because it would be greatly weakened by the Woolly Adelgid. If we didn't take steps to stop them, like inspecting homeowners and nurseries hemlock seedlings or trees from adelgid-infested states into any other state without an inspection permit certifying they are pest-free, New Jersey's Hemlock trees would be in trouble and who knows how that would affect us and our ecosystem. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woolly_adelgid, http://www.northgeorgia.edu/uploadedImages/Centers_and_Programs/Environmental_Leadership_Center/Info/HWA.jpg, http://greenindustry.uwex.edu/diagnostics/images/Adelges_tsugae1.jpg