From the Bureau of Land Management:
“Snakes on a Plane” has nothing on Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area’s intrepid Laverne Dickey and Jim Cribbs. On May 1, they rescued a scared, little Northern Mojave Rattlesnake from near the visitor center and safely released him to less visited area nearby.
Full-grown, the Northern Mojave rattlesnake is about three to four feet long and is also known as Mojave green because of its green hue. It has a potent neurotoxic and hemotoxic venom. Its preferred habitat at Red Rock Canyon is scrub brush, low areas of sparse vegetation among the Joshua trees and open, arid areas. Mojave greens are most active from April to September.
There’s no better time to plant a garden than spring, when the weather is just right for plants and flowers. But you don’t have to do it alone. Planting a garden can be a great family activity that also promotes the environment.
There are several things you should consider before getting started.
Before Planting a Garden
Figure out how much space you have and what type of plants you’d like to have. There are different types of gardens for houses or apartments. Do some research and pick the one you like the most.
Once you are ready:
- Select the plants you want. If you’re not sure which ones to choose, go to a gardening store and take your family with you. Everybody can help pick the plants, flowers or fruit trees for your home.
- Make a budget for plants and materials to help you stay on track.
- Be careful with drainage holes as too little water or too much water can affect the growth of your plants.
- Make sure the soil has the right nutrients. Ask a specialist to recommend the right type of soil for your garden.
When Planting a Garden
Consider these tips as you begin:
- Separate your flowers and trees so they are not too close to each other.
- Figure out how much water and shade each plant will need.
- Make a layout of your garden so you know which plants need to go where.
Once you’re ready to start, get your family together and assign tasks such as spreading the soil and placing the seeds in the holes.
After Planting a Garden
Taking care of your garden regularly will help your plants grow healthy. Give family members weekly tasks to help maintain the garden. For a healthy garden, make sure to:
- Water your plants according to their needs. Some will need more water, some will need less.
- Add fertilizer to the soil to make sure your plants get the nutrients they need.
- Protect your garden from unwanted pests by using pesticides (check how to use pesticides safely.)
- Trim your plans and remove any dry leaves and fallen fruits. It will make your garden look clean and lush.
Image description: Top photo: the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument in New Mexico.
Bottom photo: San Juan Islands National Monument in Washington
On Monday, President Obama established five new national monuments across the country. The monuments protect natural resources and preserve rich history and lush landscapes in five different states: Delaware, Maryland, New Mexico, Ohio and Washington.
From the White House:
The monuments are:
Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument in Ohio: The monument will preserve the home of Col. Charles Young (1864–1922), a distinguished officer in the United States Army who was the third African American to graduate from West Point and the first to achieve the rank of Colonel.
First State National Monument in Delaware: The monument will tell the story of the early Dutch, Swedish, Finnish and English settlement of the colony of Delaware, as well as Delaware’s role as the first state to ratify the Constitution. The park is comprised of three historic areas related to Delaware’s rich history: the Dover Green, the New Castle Court House complex (including the courthouse, Green and Sheriff’s House), and the Woodlawn property in the Brandywine Valley.
Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument in Maryland: The monument commemorates the life of the most famous conductor on the Underground Railroad who was responsible for helping enslaved people escape from bondage to freedom. The new national park, located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, includes large sections of landscapes that are significant to Tubman’s early life in Dorchester County and evocative of her life as a slave and conductor of the Underground Railroad.
Río Grande del Norte National Monument in New Mexico: Located northwest of Taos, the Río Grande del Norte contains stretches of the Río Grande Gorge and extinct volcanoes that rise from the Taos Plateau. The area is known for its spectacular landscapes and recreational opportunities – like rafting, fishing and hiking – and serves as important habitat for many birds and wildlife.
San Juan Islands National Monument in Washington: Home to bald eagles, orca whales, harbor seals and other rare species, the San Juan Islands is a chain of 450 islands, rocks and pinnacles. Located in Washington State’s Puget Sound, the archipelago provides an opportunity for visitors, campers, kayakers and birdwatchers to experience the natural beauty of the undeveloped, rugged landscape.
Learn more about the five new national monuments.
View more pictures of Rio Grande del Norte and San Juan Islands national monuments.
Photos from the Bureau of Land Management.
Image description: Ferruginous Hawks enjoy a spring day in Idaho.
Photos from the Department of Interior
The vernal (or spring) equinox occurs just after 7 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, March 20. If you live in the United States or other places in earth’s Northern Hemisphere, spring began for you at that time.
The Latin word equinox means “equal night.” On the day of an equinox, daytime and nighttime are almost the exact same length. This will happen again on the autumnal equinox in exactly one half year.
Why doesn’t every day have equal parts day and night?
This constantly changing variation in the length of daytime is actually caused by the same thing that gives us changing seasons: the tilt in the earth’s axis.
The earth spins on an axis that has an angle which is 23.5 degrees different from the angle of the path the earth makes around the sun.
Here’s a longer explanation:
Night and day are caused by the rotation of the earth on its axis. Sometimes your part of the earth is facing the sun (day), and sometimes your part is facing away (night). One rotation takes about twenty-four hours.
Meanwhile, the earth is traveling around the sun in a path called an orbit. One full orbit takes one full year.
If the angle of the earth’s orbit and the angle of the earth’s equator were the same, the sun’s rays would hit all of the places of the earth the same way all year long. In addition, every place on earth would have one never-ending season with temperatures that got colder as you moved further from the equator.
However, our orbit and our equator don’t line up. The earth is tilted on its axis. For half a year’s time, the bottom half (Southern Hemisphere) of the earth gets more sun than the top half (Northern Hemisphere). During the next six months, the top half gets more. The vernal equinox begins six months of longer and warmer days for the Northern Hemisphere.
Learn more about the seasons of the year from NASA.