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The lastest Adventures of The Sizzling Six:
Monarch Mysteries


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YA Eco Mysteries, Memoirs, Novels & Travel

Eco Mysteries

Manitou Cave of Alabama

Manitou Cave on Lookout Mountain, Alabama

On a brisk spring morning, we arrived at Manitou Caves on the outskirts of Fort Payne, Alabama, where Annette Reynolds, founder and steward of the caves, welcomed our group with a radiant smile.

Intrepid Spelunkers Manitou Caves Read More...

Earth Day Migratory Bird Day

Helping Birds Along the Way

On a perfect spring day, citizens celebrated the first
International Migratory Bird Day at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens’ Earth Day festival. At the Media Mint Publishing Booth, visitors learned that birds fly thousands of miles from their wintering areas in South America and the Caribbean to their summer nesting sites in the United States and Canada. A Piping plover, for example, can travel over a 1,000 miles from the Caribbean to the breeding areas in northern United States and Canada.

Media Mint Publishing Earth Day Read More...

UAB Scientists Explore Antarctica

Margaret Amsler Antarctic Researcher

Claire: How fortunate for me to have attended two of your thought-provoking presentations in one week! Thank you for taking the time to share your work with us, Maggie. As the author of an Eco mystery series, I am fascinated by the intricate research you do to solve the Antarctic’s ecological mysteries. It’s my sincere hope that your work will inspire the next generation to follow in your footsteps. What first sparked your interest in Antartica?

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Dr. Margaret Amsler at Palmer Station (photo credit: C. Amsler)

With a declared major of marine biology I was assigned an academic advisor who studied both freshwater and marine crustaceans.  Research on the latter was conducted in Antarctica.  I had to meet with her once a term to review coursework progress.  Each meeting she shared enthralling stories about the remarkable organisms of Antarctica and their various adaptations to the frigid south polar waters.  My junior year I volunteered in her laboratory on campus and during my senior year was asked to be a participant in her field work in Antarctica after I graduated.  Read More...

Green Ribbon Schools Award

Alabama Green Ribbon Schools
On a day filled with sunshine, it was my pleasure and privilege to attend the celebration recognizing the three schools and a university as Alabama Green Ribbon Schools Award Winners for 2015.

Green Ribbon Shirely Farrell
Shirley Farrell, State Dept. of Education, with Liz Ellerson of E.A.T. South (Boris Datnow)

Congratulations to the winners:
Auburn University
Bluff Park Elementary School, Hoover City Schools 
Lincoln Elementary School, Talladega County Schools
Lincoln High School, Talladega County Schools Read More...

Connecting to Nature with Apps

Green Apps for Outdoor Classroom Adventures

If you are an environmental educator — teacher, nature guide, or parent— you will find this lesson plan,
Eco Detective Nature Hunt, exciting. In my Eco Mystery series, The Adventures of The Sizzling Six, six feisty teens solve an intriguing eco mystery in order to save an endangered species. Now students can create their own eco mysteries with the new “green” apps. These inspire kids to go outside and observe nature closely. In other words, outside time and screen time do not have to be mutually exclusive. Instead of battling to keep kids away from gadgets, why not use technology to encourage kids to explore outdoors? In this blog I outline a way to use nature-based apps that enhance kids’ experience outdoors, and then arouse their curiosity to learn more through reading and research. 

Read More...

Environmental Project Based Learning

How to Launch Environmental Project Based Learning

1. LAUNCH PARTY. To arouse the students’ curiosity, plan the event to be novel and dramatic. Design a presentation that encourages students to generate questions that plunge them into an intriguing ecological mystery that they must solve in order to help save an endangered species. You could invite an author of eco mysteries or non-fiction books with environmental themes. For example, for my school presentation I dress up as Mrs. Margarita Mariposa, a character in The Adventures of The Sizzling Six: Monarch Mysteries (Book Six). I wear a striking mask with flowers and butterflies, and send
paper monarch butterflies into the air. 

Mexico in Birmingham
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