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!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Environmental Politics

For my presentation I focused on three major environmental politics. The first was the green versus green which in a nutshell is about which people care about the most the enivronment or the economy. The interesting thing about this is how it seems to be evening up, meaning that the people that care mainly about the environment is almost at a 50/50 with the people that care mainly about the economy. The next topic was on the race to use natural gas, the U.S. uses the most amount of gas due to how cheap it is and how there is so much of it. Russia and Qatar are trying to compete with the U.S in Natural Gas usage and other countries are joining in this Natural Gas rush. Lastly is the decline of bees and how important it is to keep these numbers up due to the bees polination across the nation. According to Einstein without bees we would only survive a couple of years afterwards

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

National Enviornmental Policy Act

National Enviornmental Policy Act is an act that requires each branch of government to consider the effects of a venture and what they may have on the enviornment. We need this act because man made changes to the enviornment can affect it in a negative way. The act was signed into law by President Richard Nixon on January 1, 1970. An outcry for the enviornment started because of an oil spill in 1969 Santa Barbara. This oil spill helped people realize how important protecting the enviornment is.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The English Ivy

The English Ivy is known as Hedera helix. English Ivy is native to places like Europe and Western Asia.
Although the English Ivy is native to places like Europe and Western Asia it is originally From England.
The English Ivy had came to America by some European Immigrants.
It was brought to America for ornamental purpose.
People use the English Ivy for designs around their gardens and houses.
The English Ivy is an exotic plant and this is People in America like it becuase of the word Exotic.
The English Ivy is an invasive species becuase first it is not from America and second when you put it to grow in America it kills all the native plants around it. The English Ivy grows up to 100 feet , 30.5 meters in lenght and sometimes it can grow more.
The English Ivy grows over plants to take up all the sunlight so the plants smaller would not survive around it. This is what makes the English Ivy a killer plant buy none the less it is an exotic plant so humans like them.
My help was English Ivy wikipedia and bio web English Ivy

Tree of Heaven

The tree of heaven is a plant that is deciduous tree which means it sheds its leaves annually. It is also part of a tree family called Simaroubaceae family. The tree came from the Northeast and Central China and Taiwan. The tree first went to Europe from China in the 174O’s and then to the United States in 1784. The tree has a rich, long, and strong tradition in China and it is well respected.  The tree grows very fast and can grow to about 49ft in about 25 years. The leaves, barks, and many other parts of the tree are used today as traditional Chinese medicine. In many urban areas it has gained the nickname as a “stink tree”.  This tree is call “invasive” because it crowds out many native species and it damages different pavements and building foundations in urban areas.      


The Rock Snot, Dibymo, is an aquatic invasive species that has been turning ecosystems upside down. The Rock Snot is native to Northern Europe and  Northern North America. The rock snot resembles a slimy blob mass. The rock snot is an invasive species because it has been traveling fast and growing in other river ecosystems, now this wouldn't be a problem if i didn't bloom, but it does. During the winter the winter in forms a thick layer on the bottom of streams and almost looks like a rug or mat, but in the spring the Dibymo blooms and spreads out and covers entire rivers. The biggest issue with the Dibymo is the fact that it stifles rivers cutting of food supplies and oxygen for the other marine life organism in the river. The rock snot has been causing problems in America and in many other countries. Governments have started campaigning agencies to commit to purely getting rid of these rock snots in rivers. The rock snot is an ever growing problem.

Japanese Knotweed

The Japanese knotweed (Fallopia Japonica) is originally from eastern Asia in places like China, Korea, and of course Japan. This plant was introduced to the United States ecosystem when it was brought over to us for ornamental purposes for lawn hedges. These plants were also intended for erosion control. This plant is highly invasive. It can crowd out all vegetation around it. It also has strong roots which can grow into concrete and break up foundations.

This plant is strong, it can survive in many different weather occurrences. It can survive in shade, drought, and high/low temperatures. Japanese knotweed is tough. It is a soldier.

Work cited: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/invasives/terrestrialplants/herbaceous/japaneseknotweed.html

The Northern Snakehead Fish is originally from China, Russia, and North and South Korea. It was introduced because this fish was a popular fish food in the Asian market. Its genus and species is Channa argus. Channa argus can weigh up to 15 pounds (7kg). The snakehead fish scale colors can be from golden tan to pale brown with dark spots on its sides and saddle-like spots on its back. This fish is a freshwater fish and can only tolerate salinity up to ten parts per thousand. Channa argus can breathe out of water, and survive out of water for up to four (4) days if it’s wet. They prefer to live in stagnant or motionless water with mud and water vegetation. They are invasive because they have no predators meaning they are top-level predators. The Northern Snake head fish can affect the populations of their prey because if they over populate then the pond it lives in will lose its biodiversity.

Kudzu Invasive Species

The kudzu is a plant native to Japan and Southeast Chine it is a part of the pea family. The kudzu is a climbing, coiling and trailing vine. It is considered an invasive species because it kills other plants by taking there sunlight. The kudzu plant is a noxious weed that climbs over plants, trees and shrubs and then kills them by eliminating there accessibility to sunlight and basically shading the other plants heavily. The kudzu plant however is edible but is often removed from other trees and shrubs by people who spray herbicides. Interestingly enough we can blame our own country for introducing this plant to itself. In 1876 the United States was celebrating its 100th birthday. At the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania other countries were asked to build almost gifts to celebrate the 100th birthday of the United States all together. The country of Japan decided to build a huge garden consisting of many beautiful colors and different flowers and plants. Unfortunately for the United States the Kudzu plant caught the eyes of many American gardeners and was introduced to gardens in the US because of this "special celebration". To sum it all up the Kudzu plants heavily shades other plants and trees and kills them off from the elimination of sunlight.                

The Wineberries

The wineberries also known as the Rubus phoenicolasius, was introduce to the United States in 1890 as a breeding stock. Wineberries is a native to eastern Asia but was introduced to the U.S. as a breeding stock for the rubus cultivars. The rubus contains both blackberries and raspberries. It can be considered harmful due to and raspberry yellow spot and wineberry which other plants believe that it is harmful so they began to relocate away from the wineberries. This plant can be found in moist conditions and areas with a lot of sunlight. Smaller animals and mammals use the brambles for shelter and to rest. The wineberries could typical be found in the U.S. around May-June when it starts getting warm. Workcited: nps.gov invasive.org

Monday, April 15, 2013

Invasive Species: The Emerald Ash Borer

The Emerald Ash Borer is an invasive species known for destroying green, black, and white ash trees. Since coming to the United States the Emerald Ash borer is responsible for killing at least 50 to 100 million ash trees so far and threatens to kill 7.5 billion throughout America. The Emerald ash borer is a native of Asia. North America detected the Emerald Ash Borer in June of 2002 in Canton Michigan. The beetle has said to been introduced to The United States by overseas shipping containers being delivered Yakazi North America, an automotive parts dealership. This invasive species has been found in Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, Maryland, Virginia, Indiana, Kentucky and most recently Northeast Iowa in 2010. The population of the species can grow pretty rapidly with a female being able to lay eggs two weeks after emergence. As a means of control woodpeckers eat many larvae.

Bradford Pear

Bradford Pears in the Fall
The Bradford Pear, a variation of the Callery Pear (pyrus calleryana) is native to China and Vietnam. It was first introduced into the United States by the USDA (originally thought to be seedless and sterile). It is tolerant of a variety of soil types and remarkably resistant to sickness. It is planted mainly for ornamental purposes in many urban and suburban communities.
Bradford Pears in the Spring
Its wood can also be used to make woodwind instruments. The Bradford Pear, while beautiful, is not the best smelling tree. This species is considered invasive mainly because of its ability to cross pollinate.

 The Bradford Pear is unable to pollinate itself or species strictly similar to it. This was the main reason it was brought into the United States. It can however, pollinate other types/variations of its species. These pollinated trees produce fruits with seeds, which are later consumed by birds. Birds excrete these seeds, which grow into new trees. The new Bradford Pear tree (different in genetic makeup as a result of cross pollination) grow and compete with other plant life, producing a dense shade which prevents anything from growing under it. As a result of this lack of grass and other plant life, the soil is more prone to erosion, making it even more impossible to plant anything under this tree.
Fruit produced by the Bradford Pear


Japanese Barberry or the Berberis thunbergii

Japanese Barberry(Berberis thunbergii) was brought to the United States from Asia in the late nineteenth century to originally be used as an ornamental, unfortunately it has escaped and naturalized  and can be found anywhere as far as Nova Scotia, south to North Carolina, and west to Montana. It is a threat to open and second-growth forests, it can eventually grows thick enough to crowd out native understory plants.Which makes traversing through dense patches of barberry can be difficult and even painful. It is spread by Birds who eat the red berries. It is recommended to be mechanically removed and can be distinguished by how early its leaves begin to bloom in the spring.

Work Citied:

Domestic Cat

The Domestic Cat also known as the household cat may seem as a great American pet but in fact it is an invasive specie. The Domestic cat is a descended of the African wildcat and have tallied up to a total of 60 million. One issue we face with these domestic cats is the fact that people take these cats in but then abandoned them and if not tamed they have a rapid breeding rate so once in the wild they breed uncontrollably. These high breeding rates cause for population control to become in affect right away. Another and bigger problem we face with these domestic cats is the fact they are the main predator of birds. 30% of house sparrow deaths are from domestic cats. 31% of Ringed Robins and Dunnocks deaths are also at the hand of the domestic cats. In certain areas birds are 60% of a domestic cats diet. The domestic cats do not travel alive or live alone they live in what are called feral colonies and are all over the world with a large population living in Rome. Volunteers are trying to catch these cats give them shots to prevent rabbis and other disease and me tag them so they can keep control of these cats also by tagging them it has been seen that the cats level of behavior problems have been reduced.

http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/domestic-cat/-work cited

Garlic mustard


                     Garlic mustards binomial name is ( Alliaria petiolata ).  The garlic mustard plant was oringinated from Europe, central and western part of Asia. It is in the Brassicacea family. It has a triangular hart shape scallope-edge and gives of an odor that is similar to the smell of garlic when it is crushed. It is a darkish geen color Its defense to other insects is to smell like garlic. The plant surprisingly survives the winter and can be seen under the snow. The leave of the plant is easy for people to pick of so some people put it in their salads or even saùte them. These plants are typically found growing up around hedgerows. In the US the garlic mustard have been spotted in 1868 in Long Island, NY. The garlic mustard seed can survive for more than four years and they grow mostly in the spring time. It is an invasive specie because it spreads into high quality woodlands. It also shades out wildflowers and out competes native seedlings. It also can disperse most native plants within 10 years. https://www.google.com/search?q=garlic+mustard&client=safari&hl=en&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=zLFsUf-GFMqt0AGI-oHgCg&ved=0CAgQ_AUoAQ&biw=320&bih=416#

Mile-a-minute weed

The mile-a-minute weed also known as devil's tail generally colonizes open and warm areas, it grows along the edges of woods, stream banks, and roadsides. The mile-a-minute weed grows very rapidly up to six inches a day; it has barbed stems and leaves the shape of triangles that attaches to other plants. The mile-a-minute weed climes over other plants to reach more sun light in the process killing the native plant. The mile-a-minute weed is also a threat to trees that are regeneration in open areas and plantations. The mile-a-minute weed also can be spread easily by birds eating the berries then transporting the seed to other places this is the key to the plans survival. The mile-a minute-weed is a native to Asia; it was introduced accidentally in the 1930s to the United Sates as a hitchhiker with other important plants to nursery in Pennsylvania. The plant was left to grow and very quickly it got out of control and spread threw out the east coast.       

Japanese HoneySuckle

The Japanese honeysuckle also known as the Lonicera japonica; Suikazura スイカズラ/吸い葛 in Japanese; Jinyinhua in Chinese; 冬 in Chinese and Japanese (Wikipedia Translation), is a  species of honeysuckle native to eastern Asia including China, Japan and Korea. The Japanese honeysuckle should be accurately identified before attempting any control measures. If identification of the species is in doubt, the plant's identity should be confirmed by a knowledgeable individual and by consulting appropriate books.

The Japanese honeysuckle is native to Japan, introduced to the U.S. in 1806 for the culvating ground-cover purposes. It was slow to escape and did not become established over the eastern U.S. until the early 1900s. It occurs as far north as Illinois and Michigan, from Texas to Florida, and north to Massachusetts, New York and Ohio.
Japanese Honeysuckle has become an invasive exotic weed in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, New Zealand and much of the United States, including Hawaii, as well as a number of Pacific and Caribbean islands. It is classified as a noxious weed in several US states, including Illinois and Virginia. It has done severe damage to eastern American woodlands, often forming vast colonies on forest floors that displace virtually all native ground plants, and climbing into trees and shrubs and severely weakening and even killing them by cutting off sap flow and shading their leaves.

Work Cited:


The Norway maple tree is a deciduous, broadleaf maple tree. The Norway maple tree works great as a shade tree, specimen plant or street tree. Norway maple trees will also tolerate hot and dry conditions much better than the sugar maple.
Norway maple trees are native to Europe, but have been widely planted throughout the eastern United States. Norway maple trees are able to reach heights of up to ninety feet if given enough room and the proper growing conditions.
The leaves of a Norway maple tree are dark green and simple. The shallow roots of the Norway maple tree make it difficult for other plants to grow near its base.
  A wide range of soil condition will work for a Norway maple tree, including sand and clay.
The shallow roots of the Norway maple tree make it difficult for other plants to grow near its base, that's why it is considered an invasive species, its roots are a drag for plant around it and that makes it difficult for other plants to grow, it being able to live in several different types of climates makes it easier for this tree to tower above others.


Norway Rat

The Norway Rat is not a native species to North America. This rat is supposed to be originally from Asia, but it was able to immigrate into North America by following people. As strange as it sounds, these rats live almost anywhere there are people except Antarctica. There are several places where these rats could be found such as sewers, basements, dumps and etc. The Norway Rat is also known for being really good swimmers and climbers. They also have a short gestation period of twenty two days and they have at least seven litters every year. In each of the litters, there are approximately two to fourteen newborns. Unfortunately, the Norway Rat has a short lifespan of about three years. The Norway Rat is categorized as an invasive species due to the amount of diseases it transmits and the destruction of property where it dwells.


The Gypsy Moth

The gypsy moth was brought into the United States Of America in the year of 1868 by Leopold Trouvelot mainly to help silk spinning native caterpillars build up an immunity against specific fatal diseases. The idea, as presented by Leopold Trouvelot himself, mainly focused on creating a specific hybrid caterpillar species with some sort of resilience towards those specific diseases that native caterpillars had a very poor immunity to. During further extensive research and testing with the gypsy moths inside the testing facilities, several species managed to escape and began to populate throughout the northeastern part of the United States, throughout parts of Ontario, and throughout parts Quebec.
The gypsy moth is mainly considered an invasive species because of the disastrous affects it can have on the forests they become apart of in great multitudes. Since the year of 1980 the gypsy moth's larvae has managed to "defoliate," over one million acres of forest each year. When a tree experiences "defoliation" it essentially loses its leaves in some manner mainly due to opportunistic species,which causes that tree to use the remainder or majority of its energy during the "re-foliation process." During the re-foliation process trees have a high risk of becoming susceptible to great damage or complete devastation by certain diseases, insects, or fungi which usually kills the remainder of the tree within two to three years after their exposure to those various threats.
In the United States, the most commonly used pesticide used against gypsy moths contains carbaryl, diflubenzuron, or acephate. Diflubenzuron is mainly preferred in controlling or regulating gypsy moth populations because it does not affect the "adult" insect local inhabitants of the gypsy moth population in any negative form or manner. On the other hand, pesticides that do contain Diflubenzuron do generally affect insects that are still undergoing their molting process. Though pesticides are proven to effective in controlling the population size of gypsy moths, "mating disruption" is one of the preferred methods in controlling gypsy moth population as it can enhance the affects of "pesticides" on gypsy moths.

Work Cited: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gypsy_moths_in_the_United_States

Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

Adelgids are aphid-like insects. The hemlock woolly Adelgid is a tiny exotic invasive species that gets its name from it's woolly white appearance and because its host is the hemlock tree. This bug is considered invasive because they Destroy Eastern hemlock trees. The tree will lose health and begin to drops needles, this can cause defoliation, which will in turn lead to death. If left alone and uncontrolled, the Adelgids can kill a tree in a short time span, 3 to 4 years. Trees of all sizes are attacked by the adelgid, but natural strands of hemlock are at greatest risk for death. Hemlock Woolly Adelgid is believed to be a native of Japan and China. It is found in the eastern United States from South Carolina and is moving north all the way up to New Hampshire.

Fun Facts: 
 -All populations are made up of females that reproduce.
-A fully grown adult of the hemlock woolly Adelgid is only about the size of a period on this printed page. 
- In early spring, overwintering females lay between 100 and 300 eggs in the woolly egg sacs beneath the branches.

Japanese Beetle

The Japanese beetle is originally from Japan. It is classified as Popillia japonica. The Japanese beetle belongs to the Scarabaeidae family. The insect was first found in the United States in 1916 in a nursery near Riverton, New Jersey. It is thought the beetle larvae entered the United States in a shipment of iris bulbs prior to 1912, when inspections of commodities entering the country first began. The beetle has a broad, thick body about 1.3 cm, which is about 0.5 inches long and is iridescent green, with tan wing covers. During the larval stage for the beetle, it lives in lawns, forests and other grasslands, where it eats the roots of grasses. Roses, fruit trees, beans, tomatoes, and corn are usually their favorite foods for the adult Japanese beetles. The adults most likely feed during the day, especially in warm weather and on plants in full sun. Studies have shown that traps to get rid of them won’t work. So the way to get rid of them is by using 2 traps. One way to trap it is a Japanese beetle sex pheromone that attracts male beetles; the other trap consists of a blend of three chemicals, which gives off a floral scent and attracts males and females. This insect is considered invasive because they are hard to kill and they’re species is from another part of the world.


Eurasian Starling

The Eurasian Starling, also known as the Common Starling, is a medium sized bird with black feathers that have white spots during the winter. It has pink legs and its beak changes from black in the winter to yellow during the summer. This bird belongs in Eurasia and came to North America around the 1890’s, in New York. They are considered invasive because they are very energetic and aggressive when it comes feeding and nesting. They have found their way to northern Mexico, the United States and southern Canada, these birds are very good in being able to expand and populated different parts of the world.
European Starling


3 Mile Island Disaster

In 1979 the worst nuclear disaster ever happened on American ground. In Pennsylvania on an island spaning 3 miles long held 4 nuclear reactors that help power the state. The 2nd reactor because of human error had malfunctioned and was headed towards a complete nuclear meltdown. The gears that were suppose to alert the workers of the malfunction were never put in place, because of cost issues. The 3 mile island incident was resolved when the teams quickly moved into action and cold down the reactor seconds away from meltdown. The incident stands in human history as a testament to just how much we pay for our luxuries and convenience.

The Multiflora Rose

Multiflora is an actively growing rose having array of various small flowers, used for the barrior of fences.  It was introduced to the eastern United States in 1866 as rootstock for ornamental roses. In the 1930s, the U.S. Soil Conservation Service promoted it for use in erosion control and as “living fences” to confine livestock. It is native to eastern Asia, China, Japan and even Korea. It has also been planted in the median strips of highways to prevent glare and act as a crash barrier. It has many plants or roses that look just like it such as the swamp rose and the pasture rose. It can be found on roadsides and also found in fields, waste areas, pastures, and edges of forests. The Multiflora rose is extremely fast in producing and it shuts out native vegetation, commonly in areas such as successful fields and forest edges.  On average, a multiflora rose plant produces 500,000 seeds each year or more. The seeds are also spreadable by birds over vast distances. There are no predators killing or feeding on this particular plant. Therefore it goes vast and in numerous area throughout the United States.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Disaster in Love Canal

The Love Canal is a 36 square block neighborhood located in Niagara Falls, New York. The Love Canal was used to bury 21,000 tons of toxic waste from Hooker Chemical, now known as Occidental Petroleum Corporation. Later on the Love Canal was purchased by the Niagara Falls school Board with a deed explaining the presence of the waste and a clause about the contamination of the chemicals. The development of houses and heavy rain let the chemicals come up from the soil and started to affect the people in the neighborhood. The sicknesses that people got from these chemicals are miscarriages and cancer. After the government saw people were getting sick they had to relocate people to different areas whose houses were highly contaminated. The houses that were not badly contaminated decided to stay in the neighborhood. Up to this day the neighborhood is still contaminated.
A picture of how the Love Canal use to be.

Japanese Stilt Grass

The Japanese Stilt grass (Microstegium vimineum) was originated from Korea, Japan, China and Malaysia. And was introduced in the United States in Tennessee around 1919 and escaped as a result of its use as a packing material for porcelain. Stilt grass germinates in Spring and grows slowly in through the Summer months. It grows up to the heights of 2 to 3 ft. and has a pale green leaves. The plant is found in 15 States in the country, including New Jersey our States, Georgia, Maryland, Tennessee, North Carolina, New York etc. The Stilt grass dwell well in areas such as moist ground, floodplain forests, wetland and gardens. Because of its ability to grow well in such areas, it produces more seeds ranging from 100 to 1000, which are sometime spread by water during heavy rains. Stilt grass covers the floor of the forest, whereby preventing the growth of other plants including shrubs and young trees, making it an invasive plant. Because of its taste other animals and insects do not eat, hence continue to grow in number in the country.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

House Sparrow

The House Sparrow is from Britain and is one of birds well known in the British. The male House Sparrows have a black bib, a grey crown with chestnut sides, and white cheeks. Female and baby House Sparrows have a duskier appearance, and lack the black bib seen in males. House Sparrow mainly feed on seeds, but during breeding season they will feed their young’s insects for the first nestling period. House Sparrows usually make their nests in holes in buildings, tree holes, and nest boxes. The House Sparrows habitat is closely associated with human habitats like farmyards, villages, parks, and suburban areas. The House sparrow was first seen in Brooklyn, and later on their species had spread to the Rocky Mountains and were brought here to control insect populations, but the House Sparrow don’t always eat insects outside of the nestling season, but by the time this was noticed their population has already spread rapidly. The House Sparrow is seen as an invasive species because they can cause a lot of problems for native birds. House Sparrows compete for nestling sites, kill adult birds, hatching's, and eggs; they also take a lot of food source and reduce the diversity of backyard feeders. The House Sparrow population has declined tremendously in the past years.