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!

Friday, February 27, 2015


Superfund is the name given to the environmental program established to address abandoned hazardous waste sites by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA). This law was enacted in the wake of the discovery of toxic waste dumps such as Love Canal, Niagara Falls and Times Beach. Super works to conduct removal actions where immediate actions need to be taken, enforce against potentially responsible parties, ensure community involvement, involve states, and ensure long term protectiveness. The Superfund program follow the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan as a regulation applicable to all federal agencies involved in responding to hazardous substance releases. Superfund also works to raise awareness of vulnerabilities and applying climate change science as a standard business practice on site cleanup projects. There are 1,322 Superfund sites in the United States and 112 Superfund sites in New Jersey.

Tropical Monsoon Climate and Vegetation

Tropical climates range from 80 degrees and up. In the tropics there are usually a lot of sun showers and on and off rain. Usually areas around the equator are targets for monsoons and a lot of trees and vegetation. Monsoons is when rain tends to fall in an abundance and tends to cause a lot of flooding and is good for the vegetation. Examples of places where there is tropical climate and monsoons are places like Brazil, India and Myanmar (Burma).



Thursday, February 26, 2015

Monsoon Forest

     Monsoon forests are located in South Asia, Southern China, Northern Australia, and Southeast Asia.

     Interesting facts
  • Monsoon forests are especially well developed in Southeast Asia and are typified by tall teak trees and thickets of bamboo.
  • Monsoon forest, also called dry forest or tropical deciduous forest, open woodland in tropical areas that have a long dry season followed by a season of heavy rainfall.
  • The Monsoon forests extend over the Sahyadris through the peninsular, Ganga Plains till the foothills of the Himalayas.
  • One bird that thrives in the monsoon forest is the Orange-footed Scrubfowl that has evolved to bury its eggs in the monsoon forests piles of dead leaves and soft soil.     

wei zhang

temperate grassland
 gentilis,Canis lupus

Grasses are the  vegetation. dry climate or semi-arid climate

Eurasian Steppes and North American Prairie

-This unfortunate disaster took place in Chernobyl, Ukraine on April 26th, 1986. A major mishap took place in the Unit 4 of the the Nuclear Power Plant due to a power surge that occurred during a testing procedure. The glitch caused the reactor to lose power very quickly and the emergency shut down system completely failed. Thus, the core overheated and led to a reaction between the graphite control rods and the hydrogen(being highly flammable) caused a massive explosion. This explosion released 50 tons of radioactive material into the environment. The surrounding area was contaminated with radiation.

Nuclear power plants harness the heat produced by splitting of Uranium atoms through a process called Nuclear Fission. The heat produced is then transferred to the running water which in turn produces steam and spins the turbines to generate electricity.

The Chernobyl Disaster did not cause many casualties as the testing was done secretly. The people living near the area were evacuated. However, about 60,000 people were affected by radiation and very quarantined in the hospitals to prevent the spread.

Arid Desert Biome by Arnaldo Toro and Tyrell Gumbs-Frater

Facts About the desert:                                                                     
-No mass bodies of water.
-Covered with lots of sand.
-No subsurface water
-Desert covers 1/5 of earth land areas
-annually 1-5 cm of rain water 
-Soil of this land is very shallow and rocky. (Dry)
-Biggest arid desert in the world.(Sahara desert) 
-Highest avg. temperature 120F
-Lowest avg. temperature -18F at night 
Fun fact is that the biggest desert in the world is Antarctica, it doesn't have to be hot to be a desert.
Animals:(Most common)
-Camels, Scorpions, Lizards, Rattle Snake
Plants:(Most Common)
-Cactus, Barrel cactus, Palm trees, Elephant trees

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Alpine Biome by Daniel Cummings and Kamar McKnight

Image result for Arctic Biome

     The alpine biome is an interesting biome because has over 200 species of plants and a wide variety of animals. the animals of this biome are unique because they have high adaptibility.  Since there is very little oxygen in the air they need to have a higher oxygen capacity in their blood to survive . 16 percent of the earths surface is covered in Arctic biomes. Arctic biomes are also responsible for over 39 percent of the earths fresh water.

Image result for Arctic Biome

Tropical Rainforest

Fun Facts: The Amazon rain forest is the largest tropical rain forest in the world, covering over five and a half a million square kilometers (1.4 billion acres)

- 20% of Earth's oxygen comes from the Amazon Rain forest
-There are also a number of dangerous species living in the Amazon rain forest such as the cougar, jaguar and anaconda.

Fauna & Flora: 500 different mammals, 175 different lizard species, and 300 other reptiles.

Home of the black spider monkey and the Toucan

Kapok Tree is a strange tree that grows within the rain forest

40,000 different plant species are in the rain forest

Climate: Typically  humid, due to droughts the weather has been been arid in most places.

Physical Characteristics: Covers more than half of Brazil.

40% of South America is covered by it.

Around the same size as USA.

Deepwater Horizon

On April 20,2010 a oil rig exploded, killing 11 workers on the rig  and spilling tens of thousands of barrels of crude oil the Gulf of Mexico. The spill, which was estimated to be more than 130 miles long and 70 miles wide, has impacted the coastlines of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida.  This impacted the animals more because that's where they live and get their food. This impacted the animals that live in the oceans because the oil went into their bodies and the oil destroyed their feather.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tundra Biome- Justin Pickney and Rodney Flores


  1. The ground is frozen year round. 
  2. 6-10 inches of precipitation per year. 
  3. Average summer temperature is 37-54 degrees F. Average winter temperature is -30 degrees F.
  4. There are no trees.
Plants: Bearberry, Arctic moss, Caribou moss, Diamond leaf willow, etc.

Animals: Polar bears, Musk oxen, Arctic fox, Caribou, Elks, Cod, Salmon, etc.

Subarid Desert Biome

Plants: thorns and waxes to protect and preserve water such as cactuses 

Animals: herbivores (wildebeest, zebras, giraffes, gazelles, deer, bison) and carnivores (coyotes, jackals, hyenas, lions, wolves) 

Climate: varies depending on surrounding region (African climate in African sub arid desert)

Physical Characteristics: mostly sand dunes and no water bodies

Environmental Importance: medicine is made from plants growing in this biome 

The map below shows where sub arid desert can be found around the world

Subtropical Rainforest

- Divided into 3 layers Canopy, Understory, and forest floor.
- High level of rainfall
- Annual temperature varies from -86 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit depending on their location.
- Half of the worlds species live here.
- Largest forest is located in North America.
- Dominated by evergreen, and decidous trees.
- A tree can grow 75 feet in height in the span of 5 years.
- Most of these forest are threaten by humans due to deforestation for farm land.

Animal species:
Bears, Bandicoots, Koalas, Wallabies, Owls, Insects, etc...

Plant species:
Coniferous trees, Deciduous trees, Red Cedar, Orange Thorn, Steelwood, Giant peper vine, Cunjevoi, etc...

By: Frank Valente, and Marcos Nuñez

Temperate Forest - Zaire and Leo

Facts :
1. The forest biome is divided into 5 different zones.
2.  Recieves 30-60 inches of rain each year, also ranked second of most rainest biome.
3. Soil is highly fertile and rich with nutrients.
4.  4 seasons; each last about 3 months
5. Average temperature is 50 degrees F.

Plants and Animals -

Plants : 
Most have three levels of plants. Lichen, moss, ferns, wildflowers and other small plants can be found on the forest floor. Shrubs fill in the middle level. Trees like maple, oak, birch, magnolia, sweet gum and beech tree make up 3rd level.

Animals :
Mammals, reptiles, birds. Deer, squirrels and wild boar are most common. Also American Black Bear, cougar, Eagle, Elk .


The Mediterranean Biome

Fun Facts
-Also Known As A Chaparral
-The Mediterranean Sea is 4,900 deep
-Coast of Mediterranean runs past 22 countries
-Mediterranean Sea was formed due to the collision of African and Eurasian plates
-Climate of the Area is Hot and Dry in summer
-During the winter, it is mild and wet
-Mediterranean Coast is the best place to live to avoid Earthquakes and Volcanoes
-Takes 80 years for water in Mediterranean to clean out plastic

Plants in Mediterranean
-Bee Orchids, Daffodil, and Grasses
-Plants usually grow more in the Winter and Spring
-Contains over 1,000 Types of Plants

Animals in Mediterranean
-18,000 species of Plants and Animals live in the Mediterranean. 1/3 do not exist anywhere else
-Monk Seals, Spanish Imperial Eagle, Loggerhead Turtle, Barbary Macaque, Rabbitfish, Gran Canaria Giant Lizard

By: Jose Estrella & Kevin Calva

Boreal Biome

Another word for Boreal is Taiga.  It is the Russian word for forest and is the largest biome in the world.  The winters are very cold with lots of snow while the summer is mostly warm, humid, and rainy.  The main seasons are winter and summer due to the spring and autumn being extremely short, that you hardly know they exist.  The only plants that are there are coniferous trees like pine or white spruce due to harsh conditions.  The animals that you could find there are: American Black Bears, Bald Eagles, Bobcats, Gray Wolves, Red Foxes, and River Otters.  The Boreal Forest is important to all living things.  Its trees and peat lands is one the worlds largest carbon reservoir.  Carbon that is stored this way is not released into the atmosphere where it would trap heat and cause global warming.

Tropical Grasslands

Another word for the tropical grasslands is called the Savanna.  It is important because it is the largest place where you will find 46% of land.  This is why it is very hard for them to sustain growing their own food in many locations.  You will find it in Africa and see that it is a third world country and in a big part of it is that the land they have to work with is very difficult for such survival.  When we think of the Savanna Biome, it is okay to think of hot and dry areas.  However, it may surprise you that there is a very hot and a very wet season.  The African Savanna is home to a wide variety of animals, such as: warthogs, elephants, rhinos, hyenas, starlings, and even ostriches.  Also, the Savanna is scattered with shrubs and isolated trees. which could be found between a tropical rain forest and desert biome.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone was the first national park created by U.S. Congress and made official by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1872. It is located in Wyoming, extending into Idaho and Montana. There were people living in the area before it was made a park. There is a wide range of plants, animals and fish that call Yellowstone home. Temperatures change according to season and always drop during the night. Yellowstone also has plenty of popular attractions that are perfect for family vacations. Learn more at the link below.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

The  Great Pacific Garbage Patch one of the greatest environmental catastrophes  ever, yet still not many are aware of of what it is. It is this highly concentrated  area of plastic material in the Pacific Ocean. The reason why it is mainly made up of plastic material, and not other kinds of litter is because plastic is a non biodegradable material. Meaning that it never degrades, and just turns into tinier pieces of plastic called micro plastic. This not only has a huge impact on the ocean water from all the chemicals being released from the plastic, but also to all the marine life that lives there. The reason being since this area is so highly polluted with plastic the creatures can mistaken the litter for a source of food causing most of them to mistakenly choke themselves. The patch is not getting any smaller, but it is increasing size by the day. This is far too vast to be cleaned by any nation, but what we can do to help is to recycle, or just simply reduce the amount of plastic we use in our everyday lives.

James Locklove and the Gaia theory

James Locklove was born in 1919 in Hertfordshire, England to working middle class parents who believed strongly in education. After primary school James was unable to afford University so he studied at Birkbeck College until he acquired enough money for university. He believed that this prevented him from becoming over-specialized, helping him develop the Gaia theory. He later was accepted into the University of Manchester to study Chemistry, but he was only able to afford 2 of the 3 years he needed. But with a professors recommendation he earned himself a position on the Medical Research Council. He later earned his Phd in Medicine at the London school of Hygiene and Tropical medicine. He later invented the Gaia Theory. The Gaia theory is a hypothesis stating that the earth is more than just a floating rock in space. It states that the Earth is a living orgasm that regulates itself to be able to sustain life. This theory helps us understand just how important the earth is and just how urgent situations such as climate change, and pollution are.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Donora Smog

  • The Donora Smog of 1948 happened In Donora, Pennsylvania. Donora is also known for being a Mill Town. People began noticing on the last week of October 1948. The factories involved in the incident Donora Zinc Works and U. S. Steel Corporation. However, after the incident they DENIED any responsibility for the disaster even after the government’s findings. Approximately 500 residents became ill, they report symptoms of respiratory problems. No doubt, countless others suffered in silence. The Donora Zinc Works shut down its smelters to try and eliminate as much smoke and industrial fumes. Luckily, rain helped to disperse the Smog and the skies cleared eventually cleared. It  contributed to the deaths of 19 people within a 24-hour period. (20 died in total) The results from the incident; 2 had Active Pulmonary Tuberculosis and 17  had Chronic Heart Disease or Asthma.(All Between the Ages of 52 and 85.) Through this incident it began the environmental movement in the US. Focusing on the nation’s harmful and sometimes fatal side effects on life and the environment from airThe enactment of the Clean Air Act and creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are a legacy of the Donora tragedy.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Glacier National Park

Located in Montana, Glacier Nation Park is the tenth National Park in History. It was founded by George Bird Grinnell and other friends of his. They did not want nature to be ruined and therefore, they asked President Taft to sign a bill saying the park will not be torn down. On May 5th, 1910, Grinnell and his friends were proud that they were able to save a piece of nature. There, you can see many things starting from animals, flowers and also blue water. What makes this water blue? The water is so clean and clear that the reflection of the sky makes it blue. Hiking is an excellent choice for his trip, but if you're lazy, you can go horseback riding or even take a train. On your way there you can see animals walking around with other animals and they seem not to harm anyone. A few years back, the lynx and the grey wolf were endangered and still are and you can get fined for more than a thousand dollars for killing any animal there. Tourist have surprisingly been showing up more than the years before, due to the clean, drinkable water and also the long trails such as Mount Cleveland. Even though it may be incredibly cold while hiking up, or maybe even a bother to live in the mountains, it seems like a really cool experience.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Clean Air Act

The Clean Air Act of 1963, began because of the horrendous event during October 1948. When Donora, Pennsylvania had a thick cloud of air pollution formed above their industrial town. Which had killed 20 people and sickened around 6,000 people. The Clean Air Act requires the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate air pollutants in order to protect public health and welfare. It has protected us the people for four decades, by curbing air pollution. It was the first federal legislation to actually pertain to "controlling" air pollution was the Clean Air Act of 1963. Ways that us the people could reduce air pollution, at home you could conserve energy and recycle; buying smart you could choose products that have less packaging and are reuseable, last buy rechargeable batteries for those devices used frequently.      

Zion National Park

For my presentation I did Zion national Park in southern Utah. This is the biggest national park in Utah. This park was made to help grow population of animals that are on the edge of extinction. This park use to be the home of the great mammoth that is now extinct. It is home to the Peregrine Falcon and 288 more different species of birds. It receives a little over 3 million visitors annually. I would love to take a class trip and live the experience.