Plants

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For the Techie Kids blog, click on Techie Kids

Dear Katey,

As promised, here is a post showing some of the things to see in my region. My town is on the southern coast of the state of New South Wales, Australia. Our shire has a history in dairy farming, gold mining, fishing, whaling and tourism. Gold mining and whaling are now part of history. Some people still use metal detectors to try to find gold in the hills and the only whaling is whale watching where tourists see the annual whale migrations along our coast. Dairy farming, fishing and tourism are important parts of our region's economy.

It was back in 1847 the first of my family migrated from Scotland to the Bega Valley. They established their farm in the 1850s. This means my mother's side of the family is one of the oldest families in our shire. A cousin still runs a dairy farm, his milk going into the making of Bega Cheese, naturally a favourite of mine. With my family's history, I thought I'd start with some photos of the old family dairy farm.

On the Dairy Farm

When the weather has been kind, the farm is a mass of green but drought can turn this scene brown.

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Location: Bega, N.S.W., Australia

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Location: Bega, N.S.W., Australia

This is an aerial view I took from a plane. From the coast, across Wallagoot Lake and to the mountains on the horizon is much of my shire. The farm is on the far right towards the distant mountains.

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Location: Bournda National Park, N.S.W., Australia

In My Town

We have two main beaches in my town. This is the longer one to the south. It is known as Pambula Beach. It stretches to the town of Pambula. The photo was taken along a coastal walking track in town.

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Location: Merimbula, N.S.W., Australia

A view from the same track across the lake to my town, Merimbula.

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Location: Merimbula, N.S.W., Australia

Surfing and other beach sports are popular.

 These photos were taken at our annual surf competition, the Merimbula Classic.

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Location: Merimbula, N.S.W., Australia

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Location: Merimbula, N.S.W., Australia

In The Bega Valley Shire

We have the latest ships come to our shire's harbour in Eden, Twofold Bay.

This really is the replica ship, HMB Endeavour. It was modelled on the Endeavour sailed by Captain James Cook in 1769 till he was killed in Hawaii in 1779. For more about the HMB visit to my area, here is the link to a post on another of my blogs...

HMB Endeavour at Eden – May, 2012

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Location: Eden, N.S.W., Australia

There are historic, picturesque towns popular with tourists. This is Tilba.

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Location: Tilba, N.S.W., Australia

There's even an annual jazz festival.

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Location: Merimbula, N.S.W., Australia

National Parks with coastal walks - This is in Bournda National Park

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Location: Bournda National Park, N.S.W., Australia

And just in case this is all boring, here are some more animal photos some of which I have not before shared.

This is a white-bellied sea eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) seen along our coast.

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Location: Bournda National Park, N.S.W., Australia

Swamp Wallaby (Wallabia bicolor) . A marsupial. This little girl was orphaned and lives in an animal sanctuary.

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Location: Potoroo Palace, N.S.W., Australia

Brushtail Possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) A marsupial

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Location: Potoroo Palace, N.S.W., Australia

Laughing Kookaburra  (Dacelo novaeguineae). Click on the link and you will see the Wikipedia page. On the right is a picture and information about the laughing kookaburra. Below that is an audio file. Click to play and you will hear the kookaburra's call. I sometimes wake to hear them in the park near my home.
This photo was only taken a day ago when one landed on my TV aerial.

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Location: Merimbula, N.S.W., Australia

Soldier Crab (Mictyris longicarpus) When conditions are right for them, they can emerge in hundreds or thousands at low tide. The "army" of crabs wander across the sand feeding.

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Location: Merimbula, N.S.W., Australia

Sea Urchin (I'm not sure which species)

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Location: Eden, N.S.W., Australia

You said you like dogs...

Each year, one of our local country shows has a wall climbing event for dogs. There prize is a large bag of dog food. The first two photos is of an eventual winner of the large dog section by clearing a higher wall.

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Location: Pambula, N.S.W., Australia

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Location: Pambula, N.S.W., Australia

The last is an entrant in the small dog challenge... not quite a champion wall climber but a good try. 🙂

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Location: Pambula, N.S.W., Australia

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Christian is interested in Tasmania. Below are some photos from my collection taken in 1988...

Natural Beauty to Discover

 Coastline

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Caves

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Beaches

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Wateralls

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Hiking

A famous hike in Tasmania follows the Overland Track. Starting at Cradle Mountain, you head across mountain and valley until you reach Lake St. Clair. Catching a boat across the lake, you then make your way home. You can go with a group of friends or join a walking tour but allow about six days and make certain you're fit. 🙂

Cradle Mountain and the start of your journey.

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Location: Cradle Mountain, Tasmania, Australia

Lake St.Clair

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Location: Lake St. CLair, Tasmania, Australia

For details about the Overland Hiking Tours... Cradle Mountain Huts Tour details

 

Mining and Logging

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Location: Queenstown, Tasmania, Australia

These are the hills around the town of Queenstown. Mining and smelting of copper had eventually killed the trees on the mountains. The town is proud of its mining past but mining ended in 1994. Tourism is now a big money earner for the community. With the rebuilding of the old mining railway, the West Coast Wilderness Railway offers a wonderful scenic ride across the mountains to Strahan (pronounced "strawn") where tourists can ride boats along the beautiful Gordon River (pictured below).

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Location: Gordon River, Tasmania, Australia

Then There Are the Animals

Bennetts Wallaby

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Location: Lake St. CLair, Tasmania, Australia

Cape Barren Geese

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Location: Lake St. CLair, Tasmania, Australia

Some of the Tasmanian animals in a museum display

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Aboriginal Heritage

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The picture is a museum display showing the type of shelters used by Tasmanian Aborigines. The animal you see is a Tasmanian devil. Unlike the Bugs Bunny Tassie, he is the size of a small dog. The devils are meat and carrion eaters and, like kangaroos, are marsupials, i.e. pouched animals.

There was once a vibrant Aboriginal culture in Tasmania but, with the coming of colonists, disease and official persecution brought an end to their language and much of their cultural heritage. It was one of Australia's saddest times in history. For more information on Aboriginal Tasmanians

Convict Past

The first Europeans to come to live in Tasmania were convicts sent by England. They have left behind the remains of their occupation at places such as Port Arthur and in bridges and buildings around Tasmania.

Port Arthur

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Location: Port Arthur, Tasmania, Australia

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Location: Port Arthur, Tasmania, Australia

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Location: Port Arthur, Tasmania, Australia

Convict built bridge at Richmond

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Location: Richmond, Tasmania, Australia

Convict built bridge at Ross.

I wonder if your can work out why I like the name of this town? 🙂

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Location: Ross, Tasmania, Australia

 

Tasmania lies about as far south of the equator as Iowa is north of the equator.

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Hello Emily,

You seemed interested in Australia and what can be seen. There are many natural and human things to be seen if you travel the country

whether it's in cities such as Sydney...

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or the natural Australian locations such as a quiet hinterland pool near the Sunshine Coast in Queensland

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a beach in north-east Queensland with the Great Barrier Reef off its shores

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Cradle Mountain in Tasmania

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under its waters

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(This photo is a bit of a cheat. I realised I didn't have any Australian underwater photos in my collection. I took this in New Zealand waters. I must see if I can add some Aussie ones to my collection if I get an underwater camera.)

or even along a track in my town half way between Sydney and Melbourne

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But one thing just about all tourists want to see are the animals unique to Australia

Blue-tongued lizard - cool and smooth to the touch

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Snakes like the non-poisonous black-headed python

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Echidna (spiny ant eater) a mammal which lays eggs

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emu  - a flightless bird not quite as big as the ostrich

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kookaburra - whose call sounds like it's laughing

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kangaroos - which can bound across open land

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Koala - which spends up to 22 hours a day sleeping

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These animals can be seen in the wild as I have with most of them but for many visitors their encounter is in a zoo or animal sanctuary. Some friends run such a place near my town. I made a short You Tube clip featuring some of their animals. You can see it below.

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If you one day do come to Australia, I don't think you'll have much trouble finding things to see and do.

@RossMannell

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for Global Grade 3's original post...

The POWER of a FLATTENED Classroom

*Recently I have been adding "Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes." under my photos and graphics so schools can use them without worrying about copyright if they find them useful. If you see the message below photos, graphics, audio or video, you will know it is okay to use on your school blogs or class projects.

Hello Global Grade 3,

What a wonderful surprise to be honoured by your class in this way. It’s hard to believe my blogging adventures started only early in 2011. At that time I wouldn't have imagined how much blogging would become a part of my life or how many classes I would visit through blogging. Like many things in life, I saw something interesting and tried it out.

Zubayda – The sample of iron sand came from a place in New Zealand’s North Island known as Awakino. The Awakino River enters the Tasman Sea at this point. The heavy iron sands were washed down the river from volcanic areas upstream.  I was able to check slides from a visit to Awakino in 1983 and found a slide of the beach with the iron sands. Below is  can of the old slide. In summer, the beach is too hot to walk on so people walk along a small stream to get to the water’s edge.

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Tre – The DVD was to show the sort of thing I make for schools and community groups. Almost every child in the school appeared in their production. I thought it might be fun for you to hear the Aussie accent and see the Aussie kids perform. For many years I used the iron sands when my classes were looking at magnetism. Because the sands don’t seem to rust, I was able to use them many times.

 

Cemre – I have been able to hold a real koala and have photographed and videoed them many times. They are cute looking but are only awake two or three hours a day. Below is a photo I took of Suzie. She lives at Potoroo Palace, an animal refuge near my home.

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Nick – The pahoehoe is interesting. It crumbles into sand but, unlike the New Zealand sand, isn’t rich in iron. Did you know there are different types of lava?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lava

Dimitrios – The Australian flag has three major parts to it. The Union Jack is in the top left hand corner and shows our link with the United Kingdom. The five smaller stars on the right are known as the Southern Cross (or Crux to astronomers). While it can be seen in the northern hemisphere at some time in the year, it’s always in our night sky. I can use it to find south at night. The large star under the Union Jack is known as the Commonwealth Star. It has 7 points, one for each state and one for the Australian territories.

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Constantine – When you look at flowing lava, you can tell what type it is by how it moves along. The pahoehoe moves along almost like thick honey whereas the a’a’ seems to be chunky and harder.

Jayden – I know how much fun it can be to receive a surprise package. The mystery of what it contains can be exciting.

Chris – The scree was an unusual find in a way. After finishing my tour into the crater, I found many pieces had been caught in my clothing. The way in to the Mt. Tarawera crater is a very steep scree slope. Each step I took in the deep scree was well over a metre long as I made my way down. This meant I didn’t really have to collect it, it caught a ride with me. The iron sand was from New Zealand. The black pahoehoe and a’a’ were from Hawaii. The photo below is already on this blog but I thought I would repeat it. The arrow points to people on the crater rim. You can see a break in the rim to the right of the people where people start down. About half way down the scree slope you can see a trail start. It's a great experience going down the very steep slope. With the deep scree, it's not very likely you would lose you footing but it would be a very long way to roll to the bottom.

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AJ – How many rocks? That would be hard as I have from tiny gemstones to a large and heavy lead/zinc sample. I suppose there might be between one and two hundred samples. The Australian and Canadian dollar are almost in parity (the same value) when I just checked.  $A1.00 = $C1.03 The a’a’ and pahoehoe came from the same area of what Hawaiians call The Big Island. The Big Island is really Hawaii but the whole island chain has taken the name. The samples came Kilaeua lava flows. I don’t have very much of either. Your samples were the third I have sent out, one to England, one to Wales and one to you. You will see the name of the iron sand beach in Zubayda’s reply.

Davis – The small school in the DVD ended up buying around 60 copies of the disks. The money I take in helps me make more for others. I don’t make a profit by what I do but I have to charge for some otherwise I couldn’t afford to make them. The project I am doing for a choir now involves a special DVD for girls in a dance school and a DVD and 2 CDs for the choir. The girls pay $5 for their DVD and the choir gets the DVD and 2CDs for $10.

My favourite? I have recordings I’ve made in schools back to 1982. Each holds a special place in my memory but my favourites are probably the big shows involving 15 schools. There are so many talented students and teachers around.

Obsidian is also known as volcanic glass. Magma with high amounts of silica (also in sand) can form obsidian if it cools quickly.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obsidian

Christopher – There have been many special designs of the Australian dollar but the basic design, and my favourite, is the kangaroo dollar. I agree, sulphur is interesting and easy to find in volcanic areas. It is one of the three major ingredients in making gunpowder. I like sulphur crystals but they need to be protected if they are to keep their shine. My crystal sample was gather, with permission of the owners, from a volcanic area near Rotorua. Rotorua has the smell of sulphur everywhere.

Chelsea – You probably already know the Canadian flag also once had the Union Jack on it before it became what it is today. It wouldn’t surprise me if one day Australia takes a new design. There are many people with suggested designs often including kangaroos and/or stars. What I have always found strange is out $1 coin is bigger than our $2 coin. It always seemed the $2 should have been the bigger.

Rayann – How long to make a movie? I haven’t really kept record of how long it can take but, to give you and example, it has taken me about 8 hours just to design the titles at the beginning and credits at the end for the latest DVD project and more to do the same for the two CDs. There are many other tasks involved but, as a rough guess, my latest project might take around 40 to 50 hours before I make a master DVD for copying.

In my reply to Zubayda, I have shown a picture of the iron sand beach at Awakino in New Zealand.

In my reply to Dimitrios, I discuss the Australian flag.

James – One interesting thing many don’t seem to know is Australia only became a nation in 1901. Before that there were British colonies under the names we now call our states. The states voted to form a commonwealth under the name Australia. The original 1901 flag had only a six pointed star. Our current flag didn't become official until 1934.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_flag

Joyce – The schools DVD was fun to make. They only phoned me the day before to ask if I could film their play as parents had asked for a copy after their first night. The next day I was there checking out the hall and setting up cameras. They didn’t use microphones so the sound was only from the cameras therefore the baby noises.

What was interesting about the box for me is they were all amongst my favourite things. I have a number of glove puppets I’ve used in class, many rock samples, some flags, 30 years of school videos and I have always liked the kangaroo $1.

Ben – Until we can send objects to people on line, we’ll always need snail mail to send gifts. I always enjoy making the DVDs. My most successful can sell around 200 copies but I also give some away for free just because I enjoy making them. Schools know I charge them nothing for small projects. Schools always get a free copy of anything I make for them.

Danny – I probably started collecting rocks when I was your age. I have always been interested in science so geology was just one subject area I explored. My science degree was really in zoology and psychology but I also studied some maths, botany and chemistry at university. I didn't have time to study geology and physics.

The obsidian was bought from a rock shop in New Zealand. I wasn’t able to find any in areas where you are allowed to take samples so rock shops are a great source of interesting ricks and fossils.

Lauren – The school on the DVD is in a small coastal town. It has a beautiful beach, small boat launching inlet, some rugged coastline and is between two national parks with beautiful scenery. I holidayed there as a child as did my mother when she was a girl and my grandfather when he was a boy. My mother’s side of my family has been in this area since 1847. The photo below is taken from a wharf and shows Tathra Beach in the background.

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Ella – The koala puppet was bought in a local shop. I have another type of koala in my collection as well as a platypus, kookaburra, and cockatoo plus some non-Australian animals. My favourite local animal refuge has three koalas. I was able to film the first time Suzie’s baby poked its head out of Suzie’s pouch. They also sell Australian animal glove puppets.

Elijah – It wouldn’t be a good idea to use a’a’ as soap as it would be a little too scratchy, There is a volcanic stone I wasn’t able to send that can be used but not as soap. Pumice is a light volcanic stone. When superheated rock is thrown out and cools quickly, bubbles can form. Because of these many small bubbles, pumice is able to float in water. People can use it to rub calluses off their skin. I am out of samples at the moment or I would have included some.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pumice

Rebecca – When called in to film shows, I often don’t know what is going to happen. For the show in the DVD, I had no idea what would happen. I found it fun to watch. The only catch is I can be standing in the same spot for two hours while filming to make sure everything records well. Only when I edit the film on this computer do I have the chance to watch each act and cut out the bloopers or times when nothing is happening.

Tyler – Videoing in schools has been a part of my life since 1982. All the old videotapes are now on DVD so I have 30 years of school history recorded on them. Looking at the 1982 video, it can be hard to believe cute little 5 year old Nathan and Jenny would now be 35 years old. There are many memories stored in my DVDs, slides, negatives and photos. I hope to eventually have all stored on computers so they won’t be lost. J

For the class…

Do YOU know the significance of the six stars on the Australian flag? What do the symbols on YOUR flag represent?

(My reply for Dimitrios)  The Australian flag has three major parts to it. The Union Jack is in the top left hand corner and shows our link with the United Kingdom. The five smaller stars on the right are known as the Southern Cross (or Crux to astronomers). While it can be seen in the northern hemisphere at some time in the year, it’s always in our night sky. I can use it to find south at night. The large star under the Union Jack is known as the Commonwealth Star. It has 7 points, one for each state and one for the Australian territories.

Do you have a national bird, or flower or animal?

Australia

Flower – Golden Wattle

I didn't have a photo of the golden wattle in my collection but here is a photo of a similar wattle.

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Bird – emu

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Mammal – kangaroo

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The three emblems appear of Australia’s Coat of Arms.

This is not my graphic. It was sourced through Wikimedia Commons.

As well as national emblems, each state has its own emblems.

Floral emblems of Australia…

http://www.kidcyber.com.au/topics/emblemsAust.htm

Animal emblems of Australia…

http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/journal/australias-animals-emblems.htm

Bird emblems of Australia…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Australian_bird_emblems

Do you have a favourite rock, mineral or fossil sample in YOUR collection? What makes it your favourite?

My favourite is crystal pyrite. It has the colour of gold and is also known as fool’s gold. It is much prettier than gold although worth very little. It’s easy to tell the difference. Hit a sample with a stone. If it flattens, it’s gold. If it shatters into little pieces, it’s pyrite.

Pyrite is iron sulphide. Here is a sample from my collection. It comes from Northern Territory in Australia. I have seen very beautiful examples from Italy. It measures 6cm across and weighs 250g.

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Pyrite is often found mixed in with other minerals. Below is a photo of lead/zinc ore from Tasmania. You can see the golden coloured pyrite at the top of the sample. The sample weighs 2500g mainly because of its lead content.

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@RossMannell

Teacher (retired), N.S.W., Australia

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To view Global Grade 3′s original post, click below…

Global Grade 3

The following photos were taken because if a promise in a comment I left.

Hello Global Grade 3,

I promised to photograph and share fossils in my rock collection so here they are. There is nothing too spectacular, not even a single dinosaur although I have something connected to them. You'll find some links on the names of the samples if you want to find out more.

Ammonite

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Ammonite this time it has been cut to show the inside,

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DInosaur coprolite from U.S.A.. Coprolites are fossilised animal droppings.

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Fossilised leaf. I gathered this at a rock fall. I found it when out hiking.

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Petrified wood.

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More petrified wood.

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 Trilobite

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 Trilobite

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Kauri wood. This is not a fossil. A kauri log was found in a swamp in New Zealand. It was tested and found to be around 44,500 years old but looks as though it was freshly cut. The quality of the wood and the lack of oxygen in the swampy waters probably protected it.

 

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Shell. This is also not a fossil. The shell was found in a quarry in South Australia. The rocks are thought to be about 30,000 years old.

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Another shell from the same rock deposit.

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Tree fossil. It seems to have come from rock about 220 million years old. If you can see the blacker colour on the front of this fossil, that's coal formed from the original tree. I suspect the tree was covered perhaps because of flood. In time the wood was replaced by minerals. You can see it's reasonably large.

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To see 2/1's original post, click below...

Class 2/1 = Our class bears

Hello 2/1,

Lily – I have never been to Brighton but I recognised the Brighton Pavilion and Brighton Pier from photos I have seen. It looks like you and Eleanor had fun. 🙂

Douglas and Max – The party looks like you had fun. I’m sure Max enjoyed being with you. 🙂

Douglas and Cara – Did Skyla or Max come along to keep you both company? Seeing penguins can be very interesting. I have seen them in Australia and New Zealand. If you see them underwater, they look as though they’re flying through the water. There’s even a colony of little penguins not too far from where I live. Here is a photo of a crested penguin I took in New Zealand.

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Douglas and Skyla – When I was in London, I made sure to visit the Science Museum and also have a photo of The Rocket. There were so many interesting things to see.

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Lily in Australia? I hope you had a wonderful time. Koalas do tend to sleep 20 to 22 hours a day but that’s because the eucalypt leaves they eat take some time to digest and aren’t packed with energy.

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Baby koalas (joeys) are born about the size of a peanut but grow in their mother’s pouch. When they are big enough, the babies start looking outside the pouch. If it’s okay for you to watch, here is a link to a video clip I made of Suzie the koala and her baby girl’s first look at the world.

Douglas and Charlie – I also visited the Natural History Museum and found it interesting. I see you are pictured with a whale model. Each year whales migrate along our coastline. From my town people can take boat or plane rides to see them. I didn't have a whale photo handy so I'll share one of dolphins I took from the beach.

 

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News from Lily – Wow! You certainly have been doing some travelling. Canberra is the closest city to where I live on the coast but it is a three hour drive from here. Snakes are a part of Australian wildlife. While out walking, I have seen diamond pythons (non-poisonous) , eastern browns (poisonous), black snakes (poisonous), and tiger snakes (poisonous). Around here, black snakes are the most common but they are shy and would rather keep out of our way. Here is a photo of Olivia. She is an olive python (non-poisonous) and is being held by a friend in a nature reserve...

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Crocodiles aren’t native to my area because they like warmer places but I have seen them. I also have seen many types of lizards in my area, the largest being goannas. Here is a collection of four I've photographed. The goanna is bottom left.This one was over 1m long...

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I see you are pictured with one of our flowers, although it isn’t a bottlebrush. They flower is a banksia. There are many types here and are beautiful to photograph. Here is a banksia I photographed near my home...

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Meeting an emu… When I was teaching in western New South Wales, I often saw emus. Did you know it’s the fathers that look after the babies? Mother emus lay their eggs in nests then leave. The fathers then take over. Sometimes a father emu looks after a crèche of babies. I can remember once seeing a father emu with about 15 babies following They are magnificent birds second in size to the ostrich (not a native bird here).

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We have termite mounds in my area but the biggest are to be found in northern Australia. The redness of the soil out has to do with iron in the soil (rust). We have red soils and ironstone in my area because millions of years back we had volcanoes around here.

@RossMannell

Teacher (retired), N.S.W., Australia

13 Comments

To see 4KM and 4KJ's original post...

Spring Is Here and Happy Father's Day

What do I enjoy about spring?

Perhaps one of my favourite activities in Spring, or really any time of year, is hiking in a national park or nature reserve. Spring adds the added pleasure of a burst of colour from flowers and life from the animals growing more active. Spring is the time I like to have a camera in hand. Here are two photo collages made from some of the photos I've taken.

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You can click on a picture to enlarge it.

The Seasons in Australia

For most Australians, the seasons start at the beginning of certain months of the year.

Autumn - March 1st
Winter - June 1st
Spring - September 1st
Summer December 1st

But not all countries judge the start of seasons by a date on the calendar. Many countries, and many cultures in history, judged seasons to start with an equinox or solstice. The Northern and Southern Hemispheres have seasons opposite to each other. When we in Australia have Winter, the north has Summer.

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Solstice

A solstice is the time of year with the greatest difference between length of night and day. The Summer Solstice has the longest day and the Winter Solstice the shortest day. For the Southern Hemisphere, the date of the solstices for 2012 are...

Winter Solstice - 21 June

Summer Solstice - 21 December

Equinox

An equinox is the time of year when the length of day and night are the same. There are two each year. For the Southern Hemisphere, the date of the equinoxes for 2012 are...

Autumn Equinox - 20 March

Spring Equinox - 23 September

 

Has Spring Sprung in Australia?

As most Australians take the beginning of Spring at the first day in September, Spring has sprung in Australia but I prefer to believe Spring only truly begins this year on 23 September when day and night are once again the same length.

What do you think?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Here are links to other extended comments I have made under the topic of seasons...

Winter Solstice http://rossmannellcomments.edublogs.org/2012/06/22/winter-solstice-for-mrs-ranneys-class/

for Royce on Seasons http://rossmannellcomments.edublogs.org/2012/05/23/for-royce-on-seasons/

Click to see Alexandra's original post  .....

Alexandra's Post

Dear Alexandra,

Gardening cannot only be fun to do, you can end up eating what you grow or admiring the flowers when they bloom. I see you know how to protect your young plants. In places where it can become hot and dry, mulch is a great way to keep the soil moister and cooler. We tend to use sugar cane mulch. It’s like hay and is a waste product from our sugar refineries in northern Australia.

Your choice of plants shows you have a nice variety. I think you’ll find the cucumber and pumpkin vines will try to take over so you might have to train them (move the ends of the vines to where you want them to grow).

Do I have a garden, if so what are the fruits or vegetables in it?

For me here in Australia, winter is beginning so our vegetable garden has little in it. There are broad beans and garden peas but they haven’t yet emerged from the ground. We also have rhubarb and spinach in the garden. Below is a photo of our vegetable garden taken a couple years back in spring...

In the photo are broad beans (at the back), onions, peas, tomatoes, zucchini, carrots, beans, and beetroot.

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I am now harvesting oranges from our orange tree. We normally get up to 10 buckets of oranges from the one tree.

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Our apples are long gone for this year but the trees will bloom in spring as will the guava.

Guava (they're sweet tasting) This was a late season fruit.

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We also have a native lillipilli bush. This plant produces small berries. The species we have is edible but doesn’t have a strong or sweet flavour.

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We have also had cucumber, pumpkin, strawberries and corn in our garden but have never grown artichoke

Do I like fruits and vegetables?

Perhaps the favourite parts of any meal for me are the vegetables. I like quite a variety. We have what comes from our garden as well as fresh produce we buy from our local supermarket.

For fruits from our garden, I like fresh orange juice, apples, tomatoes, zucchini, strawberries, cucumber (they’re a fruit), and pumpkin. From stores, I also like bananas. We also buy peaches, plums, apricots, grapes, and pears when they’re in season.

For vegetables, we grow and eat potatoes, carrots, and onions. We also buy vegetables from the supermarket when they’re in season.

Additionally, we grow sweet corn, lettuce, cabbage, spinach, peas, beans, and rhubarb at different times of the year.

Spinach (it's out of season but this one hangs on)

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Rhubarb

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I think this shows we like our fruits and vegetables. My mother is 81 and is still a keen gardener, although she has me dig her gardens these days. She loves to share with her neighbours.

Some people like to garden for the display by planting flowers and other ornamental plants. Below are some photos of what can happen when you're a keen gardener. It started with one man's hobby and created a large garden with the theme of the English Countryside. The photos were taken in a tourist attraction in Canberra, Australia's capital city. The attraction  is called Cockington Green.

 

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You can click on any photo to enlarge it.

@RossMannell

Teacher, NSW, Australia

5 Comments

Original Post...

Biographical Bonanza

Dear sirs, madams and colonials,

I see a number of American colonials have already written to you, all from my future. What strange world there must be when we can speak from your long past.

It is the year of our Lord, 1771. I have just returned from a successful journey around the world although there were times all might have been lost. I share with you some of my experiences.

The Royal Society requested service from the Admiralty. Their scientists wanted to observe the transit of the planet Venus across the face of the sun. They had determined the viewing would be most clear from the Tahitian isles on 3 June, 1769. They called on me, Lieutenant James Cook, to take command of His Majesty’s Ship, Endeavour. She is a fine ship. She had started her days as a coaler along the coast of England but had been refitted for our journey. It was in the admiralty’s wisdom to grant me freedom of movement once we were done in Tahiti.

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We departed England in 26 August, 1768 with 94 souls on board and provisions for 18 months. I had chosen a course around Cape Horn, the shortest route to Tahiti, arriving on 13 April, 1769. We awaited the transit. I will share from the ship’s log…

“Saturday 3 rd This day prov'd as favourable to our purpose as we could wish, not a Clowd was to be seen the Whole day and the Air was perfectly clear, so that we had every advantage we could desire in Observing the whole of the passage of the Planet Venus over the Suns disk: we very distinctly saw an Atmosphere or dusky shade round the body of the Planet which very much disturbed the times of the contacts particularly the two internal ones. D r Solander observed as well as M r Green and my self, and we differ'd from one another in observeing the times of the Contacts much more than could be expected.”

Once our observations were complete, I opened sealed orders given by the Admiralty. I had been tasked to find the land to the south known as Terra Australis, hitherto of unknown quantity. Thoughts of riches from the new land had been on mind.

We set sail from Tahiti along an approximate course south-west. A Tahitian had with knowledge of these waters provided us with information of lands once seen by Abel Tasman in 1642. On 6 October, 1769 we reached the islands of New Zealand whereupon I set to task mapping the islands’ coastlines.

From these waters, I was determined to prove once and for all there was no great southern continent. I headed westward hoping to find Van Diemen’s Land (I think you more modern folk call it Tasmania) but bad weather hit on 19 April, 1770. It was the next morning Lieutenant Zachary Hicks sighted land. I named the point of land after the Lieutenant.

To the south, the sea looked empty. I thought this was strange because Abel Tasman’s logs suggested I should see Van Dieman’s Land. The coast we found was not on any charts. With the weather clear, we had a good view of the coast as we headed north. It was 22 April when we sighted people on the land through our telescopes. They appeared dark of skin.

As we continued our voyage north, we had times of bad weather. On 29 April we took our ship into a large bay. Seeing natives on the beach, we tried to make contact but they didn’t speak a language we understood and had tried throwing spears at us with no success. We tried leaving beads and trinkets for them but they avoided us as we explored the area. Perhaps we had broken one of their laws so they wouldn’t meet with us. We did have clashes with them at times but no one had been hurt.

We found two streams and, although the soil was sandy, we saw some fine meadows that might be good for farming. Joseph Banks, our botanist, and Dr Solander, our naturalist, collected many specimens in their explorations. One species unknown to us seemed to be of the honeysuckle family. It was named after Banks and was called banksia.

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One of our crew had been ailing and had died while we were at anchor. Forby Sutherland was buried on May 1 on the shores of the bay we named Botany Bay. May God rest his soul.

Again sailing north, we saw a bay which might be a good anchorage. I named it Port Jackson although I think you modern folk now call it Sydney Harbour. Day after day we continued our journey north. Many nights I spent in my cabin working on charts of the coastline.

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We eventually reached tropical waters. There were plenty of waterfowl to hunt, mussels and large pearl oysters on rocks and fish to be caught. As we continued north, we saw islands to our east. I knew we would have to watch our depth lest we end up on a reef.

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On June 10, the depth under our ship was 15 fathoms as I retired for the night but by the morning, the depth suddenly fell from 14 to 8 fathoms. I ordered all hands to their stations. Our next cast found a depth of 21 fathoms. At 11pm the man at the lead called 17 fathoms but, before we could take another depth, our ship struck a reef. I ordered crew to boats. We needed to haul off the reef before the tide fell. We needed to lighten our ship so we cast overboard unneeded items, including six ship’s guns.

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At 10:20 pm on 12 June, we finally freed Endeavour from the reef. Our battle was not over as water poured in through the holed hull. Sail and packing was used to stem the flow. So far from home, if our ship was lost so were we.

We searched for a safe anchorage to effect repairs. On 18 June we found a safe place to effect repairs at a river near a town you modern folk now call Cooktown. It took six weeks to make repairs. Timber needed to be cut and nails made. It was during this time hunting parties were sent out. We saw strange animals hopping across the land.

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It was 6 August when we were finally able to set sail. We kept watch for further reefs and would send out a boat ahead to take depths. Huge seas threatened to throw us on the reefs on 16 August. I decided to keep the ship close to shore. If we were to be holed again, we could make land.

Our journey had now taken us into seas seen by the Spaniard Torres. If his records were true, we would come to a strait as indeed we did. We landed on a beach after passing through this strait. It was here I raised the flag and claimed the eastern half of New Holland in the name of His Majesty, King George III. I named this land New South Wales although I have heard you modern folk have divided it into smaller states with only a central portion keeping my naming.

I considered this land suitable for settlement.

Our journeyed continued west with a stop over in Batavia (you call it Indonesia now). From Batavia we headed a course WSW, rounding Cape of Good Hope before heading into the Atlantic and north to fair England on 13 July, 1771 where I was promoted to the rank of Commander.

I must leave you now as I have a meeting with the Admiralty to discuss a new voyage back to the southern seas.

Commander James Cook

Royal Navy

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I hope James Cook didn't mind me including some photos of a replica of his Endeavour. It is in Eden Harbour, about 20km fom here,  till Monday, May 14th. He didn't have access to cameras.

References used....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Cook

Discovery series by Marcia McEwan

@RossMannell

Teacher, NSW, Australia

2 Comments

Dear ♥Ell♥e♥ and ಢAcacia✄,

We also have daisies, lupins and sunflowers here. Many plants were introduced here over the years. For trees, the only place we would see an oak tree or sequoia would probably be in botanical gardens. They are not native to Australia. We do have pines, both introduced and native. There are pine plantations around for their timber but I do have a favourite native pine…

Fossils existed of my favourite ancient pines. They were some 90 million years old. That means they were around during the time of dinosaurs and may have even been by some dinosaurs. They were thought to be extinct.

In 1994, a NSW National Parks and Wildlife Officer was walking in a remote part of Wolemi National Park about 200 kilometres west of Sydney. He came across unusual trees in a rainforest gorge. Being interested in botany, he realised the importance of what he had found. The tree was named the Wollemi pine and is the same plant as the 90 million year old fossil. Isn’t that amazing?

So rare were these trees, their location was kept secret until enough of them could be cultured to save their species. Now they can be bought for gardens in Australia and other countries.

Here’s a link to some information…

http://www.biotechnologyonline.gov.au/enviro/wollemi.html

 

Have you ever seen any pictures of Half Dome?

While I have never been to Yosemite, I have seen documentaries on its beauty.  I have seen photos of Half Dome and recognised it as a granite mass. It makes you wonder how spectacular a landslide it would have been when the other half fell away.

We don’t have anything as spectacular as that in our area but we do have granite here. Like Yosemite, many natural features around here are due to volcanic activity. Volcanoes are long gone from my area. They were active perhaps 400 million years ago.

Are there any special kinds of flowers or trees in NSW( New South Wales)?

There are many trees and plants native to Australia around here. Many of the photos I sent were very Australia and are native only to this country. Some are related to plants in other places like South Africa and New Zealand but there are some that might be interesting to you.

Go back to the flower photos…

http://rossmannell.posterous.com/photos-for-ellie-and-others-interested-in-my

The first five photos in the yellow section are examples of wattle. Their scientific name is acacia. Does that name sound familiar?

 

Australia’s floral emblem is the Golden Wattle, (Acacia pycnantha). It appears on the Australian Coat of Arms.

 

Wattle does cause trouble for some people. If you have hay fever, you might find yourself sneezing.

Another very Australian flower is my state (New South Wales) floral emblem. It is the waratah in the photo below...

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How many flowers do you have in your backyard?

We have orchids, Geraldton wax, waratah, grevillia (a number of types of these as the parrots like their nectar m- Photos 2 and 3 in red), bottlebrush (for honeyeater birds - Picture 1 in the red section of flower phots), wattle (the first five yellow flowers), lavender, dahlia, anemone, lilli pilli, hibiscus as well as apple trees and an orange tree. One or two of the flower photos I sent were taken in this yard.

How many trees do you have in your backyard?

We have two trees  (pine and Japanese maple) as well as many bushes

What national parks do you go to the most?

Around my town there are three national parks and a nature reserve. I walk in each of them but my favourite is the nature reserve. They are…

Ben Boyd National Park

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Ben Boyd National Park covers a large area along our coast. You can see its northern most strip of trees running along the beach in the distance. Looking further back, the trees in the distance are mostly part of the South East Forest National Park.


South East Forests National Park

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South East Forest National Park covers a huge area of bushland. I've seen a large number of birds, mammals and reptiles in my walks. This guy is an eastern greay kangaroo. He stood to about my shoulder height. I took a few photos before he disappeared back in to the trees.


Bournda National Park

Bournda National Park runs along the coast for about 12 kilometres (7.5 miles) to the north of my town. It has an amazing 10 km (6.25m mile) coastal walk. The picture shows just one of the many wonderful coastal scenes along the track.


Bournda Nature Reserve (my favourite walking park near town)

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The track I follow is really a fire trail. It is about 10 km (6.25 miles) long. After a sometimes steep climb to a ridge, I walk along the track in the photo. At this point I no longer hear the sounds of traffic and in 10 years have rarely met anyone else on the track.

About 20 miles from us is another national park well know for is beaches and beautiful coastline scenes. It is…

Mimosa National Park

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I have to drive to get to this park as it would take me most of a day to walk to it. Once there, you have access to some wonderful bays and beaches. I also walk a less used track to a tidal creek the gives me access to more coastline.

What is your favorite kind of flower?

I think the grevillia are a favourite of mine as they attract many birds to our yard and in the national parks. I also have a soft spot for eucalypt flowers on often tall trees.

What is your favorite tree in the U.S you have seen in a picture?

Australia doesn’t have as many plants that change leaf colour in autumn (Fall) so I like plants trees like maples and others having colour change (as long as I don’t have to rake the leaves). I also like the sequoia because they can be so tall.

2 Comments

Dear ♥Ell♥e♥,

Here are some photos of fungi (e.g. mushrooms and toadstools). I find they can be just as interesting as flowers but they usually only appear after rain when it's warm. Only a few days after taking these photos, they were gone.

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The second last is a picture of some fungi on a tree. With a nose and a mouth, I couldn't resist adding eyes so the last photo of the fungi has a slight change.

 

3 Comments

Hello Ellie,

I've pulled some photos of flowers from my collection so you can see the types of colours I see when out walking. Most are in the wild. Some are from gardens. Many are native to my area. Perhaps my two favourites are grevillias and banksias. Grevillias have wonderful colours and nectar many birds in my area love. Banksias are unusual in shape and popular with bees and honeyeater birds.

Strange though, when I went through my collection, I was able to group the flowers into orange, purple, red, white and yellow but I didn't have any blue flowers. The colours photographed are common around here but I can't remember photographing any blue flowers.

Here is a collection of colours...

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