2011 was both the International Year of Forests and of Chemistry. It was also the first year in the United Nations Decade of Biodiversity. I continued the series of articles on Biodiversity activities in the Home Education Network‘s magazine Otherways,, firstly with a focus on Forests and then combining Forests and Chemistry.
From_Biod_to_Forests was not much of a jump! Such International Years are part of sequences coming from the United Nations. They have logos which can be explored for their ways of communication. As a first step for the year, the definition of ‘forest’ is tackled. Forests can be looked at on many scales from one tree to global and national forest zones. Given the floods over the summer, wetland forests and the Murray Darling System would be a good focus. Web links are given to Wetland Care, Science Talent Search, Perth Zoo, the Green Wave and the United Postal Union for their forest/tree projects.
‘River_Red_Gums’ focuses on this key tree to explore the aims of the IYF. It covers: the benefits of floods for these trees, their distribution along streams and lakes, naming the parts of this/any tree, fitting creatures into their homes within it, clues for identifying trees, changes over time and uses over time. Suggested websites and book references are given.
The third 2011 article changes the focus to the International Year of Chemistry. ‘chem_models_link_to_forests’ gives ideas for making models based on Carbon. It starts with assembling blocks to make compounds, then breaks them up and remixes them for photosynthesis, then runs Carbon in compounds through all the structures of a plant that it helps build. All are a link to plants and thus a link to forests.
‘carbon_in_&_from_forests’ is the second article linking the two International Years together and it concludes the 2011 series. Activities suggested are for identifying Carbon in materials in the natural and man-made world, and considering Carbon’s place in long-term cycles. Understanding Carbon’s contribution to the many structures in plants opens up the link between Chemistry and Forests through plants in modern and traditional medicines. Many web links are given to explore these aspects in detail. The final review is of meeting the aims of the two IY’s and a reflection on the photos on the Perth Zoo Global Forests web photo album.
A final article – Nat Water Wk 2011 Water quality, a small wetland and tourism – reported theWimmera Home Educators Group’s National Water Week event at a small wetland in Horsham and using water we had brought from locations across the Wimmera. The tourism theme came from Australia’s World Wetlands Day theme.