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As you settle in for the new school year, here are a few things that may interest you and your students.
2) Sadly, many children in this country worry about where they will get their next meal. Even when children receive meals at school, they may not consistently have food at home. September is Hunger Action Month and a chance for you and your students to take action and make a difference. In conjunction with Mrs. Supriya Jindal, the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, and all food banks around the state, LPB encourages you to consider how you might help. You can make a donation in the orange food barrels that will be out soon. Some schools have food drives or school gardens to raise produce for area food banks. These efforts not only aid food banks, but you can add a school garden to your curriculum and have fun. Wonder how to grow a successful school garden? Here’s the answer. Your county agent can also help.
• Wonder where your local food bank is? Check the Louisiana Food Bank Association http://www.lafba.org/site/Default.aspx.
• The LSU AgCenter’s Louisiana Young Ag Producer Program (LaYAPP) is a one-year intensive classroom/hands-on, mentor-based experience that introduces high school juniors and seniors to the options available in the areas of food and fiber production and encourages them to consider a career in agricultural production. You can find out more about the program and look at last year’s application at http://www.lsuagcenter.com/layapp. Around November the new application will be available online and through county 4H extension agents. A due date has not been set, but it will likely be the beginning of 2012. In addition to the application, an interview is part of the selection process. Selections will be finalized by early spring.
4) We all know that it is best to establish healthy eating and activity patterns early in life. That’s why in September LPB will launch a new web site called STEP IT UP! for teens and tweens. The site http://www.lpb.org/stepitup, developed by LPB and funded by a grant from Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Louisiana, will help teens and tweens control and reduce their weight. It will provide information from health professionals to motivate and encourage young people to get active and eat healthier. It will have handy excerpts from LPB’s program Kids: Trying to Trim Down and our series Step by Step: Kids Trimming Down. Students will also be able to ask questions on the site that will be answered by health professionals. Tips will be provided to help tackle the problem of childhood obesity. You don’t have to be a teen to benefit. Everyone is welcome to log on to the free site http://www.lpb.org/stepitup and take part in the program. It might be great to start the new school year by doing something nice for yourself. We can all Step It Up!
6) If you ever wondered about the science behind the Japanese earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011, or pondered how you should react in such a disaster, then you will want to watch the special back-to-back NOVA episodes on September 8, 2011. Japan’s Killer Quake airs at 8 p.m. followed by an all new program, Surviving the Tsunami: A NOVA Special Presentation at 9 p.m. on LPB HD. These programs should also be available in the New Orleans area on WYES, but check their schedule because air times may differ.
Japan’s Killer Quake combines authoritative on-the-spot reporting, personal stories of tragedy and survival, compelling eyewitness videos, explanatory graphics and exclusive helicopter footage for a unique look at the science behind the catastrophe. Amazingly, amateur and professional photographers captured the Japanese disaster on video. Surviving the Tsunami: A NOVA Special Presentation relays remarkable tales of human survival, as ordinary citizens became heroes in a drama they never could have imagined. As the waves rush in, a daughter struggles to help her elderly mother ascend their rooftop to safety; a man climbs onto an overpass just as the wave overtakes his car. These never-before-seen stories are captured in video and retold after-the-fact by the survivors who reveal what they were thinking as they made their life-saving decisions. Their stories provide lessons on how we should all act in the face of life threatening disasters.
8) Are you looking for reports on the impact of the BP oil spill along the Gulf Coast from Louisiana to the Florida Keys? Then check out GulfWatch.org, a collaborative website that LPB and a dozen public television and radio stations have developed to provide news about incidents such as the BP oil spill, challenges and activities involving the Gulf Coast region. The news department of these public media stations produced more than 430 reports examining the impact of the oil spill on people, marine life, birds and marshland that are havens for many species in the Gulf. The video and audio reports are available free on the website.
9) Congratulations to Heather Howle, an eighth grade earth science teacher from West Feliciana Middle School in St. Francisville, who was among 50 educators from across the nation who recently participated in the 2011 Siemens STEM Institute. From July 31- August 5, Heather spent the week at Discovery Education’s global headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, learning from experts in the STEM community and seeing real world applications of STEM subject matter at leading Washington, D.C. institutions. She engaged in discussions and workshops around key topics, such as 21st century school reform and changing the face of science and engineering.
10) The National Science Foundation would like you to save the date for an all day conference on Science: Becoming the Messenger, Communicating Science to a Non-Technical Audience scheduled for November 17, 2011, 7:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. with a Reception from 6:00 - 7:00 p.m. at the Baton Rouge Marriott in Baton Rouge. Advanced registration will be required; the NSF online registration link will be announced later. One speaker will be Chris Mooney, a bestselling science journalist, commentator and the author of three books, most recently Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future.
11) It seems to happen every year that tragic car accidents claim the lives of young students. State Farm’s $2,000 Project Ignition Grants are for public high school students and teachers to address teen driver safety through service-learning. For eight years students in the United States and Canada have used their service learning to create awareness and engagement campaigns to reduce auto deaths. Twenty-five schools will receive $2,000 grants. Ten schools will receive an additional $5,000 to participate in a significant national conference or event. Applications are due November 15, 2011, and can be downloaded at http://www.sfprojectignition.com/.
12) State Farm Youth Advisory Board member applications are now available at http://statefarmyab.com/apply/the-board . If chosen, the student would become part of a diverse group of 30 youth, aged 17-20 charged with managing and distributing $5 million per year in service-learning grants.
I hope that you find something here of interest. We’ll have more to come!
Ellen W. Wydra, Ph.D.
Director, Educational Television and Technology
Louisiana Public Broadcasting
(800) 272-8161, ext. 4453