Imagine you’re a frog. Because you’re cold-blooded, your body is the same temperature as your surroundings. So as the temperature around you drops, your body also gets colder and colder, and you move slower and slower. You don’t have clothes or a furnace to keep you warm. You don’t even have fur! So what do … Continue reading Why Is That?How Do Frozen Frogs Survive the Winter?
Lumber companies set their eyes on the Chippewa Valley in the 1850s as a prime spot for business, with impressive riverways and ample pine in the northwoods. Soon, workers from all over the country and the world immigrated here, often as lumberjacks or farmers. At first, everyone lived simply. They built log cabins and then … Continue reading Why Is That? Why are there huge, ornate houses downtown?
More than 800 years ago, Norway was caught in a civil war. Two groups fought over who should rule the country. The ruling party made fun of the rebels by calling them Birkebeiner (“Birchbarkleggers”), because they wrapped bark around their legs to stay warm and protect them in battle. In the winter of 1206, the 18-month-old prince … Continue reading Famous Wisconsin Ski Race Has Origins in Norwegian History
Originally appeared in Chippewa Valley Family Magazine. Birch bark can be so tempting to peeeel off. But wait! Is that a good idea? Why is the bark coming off, anyway? Is the birch sick? Let’s look at the layers of a tree. Bark is made of two layers, outer and inner bark. Outer bark is … Continue reading Why is That? Why Does Birch Tree Bark Peel Off?
Ever wonder what happens to poop and toilet paper after you flush the potty? All your house’s drains empty into the same outgoing sewer pipes. Water (and other things) from your toilet mixes with the water from your shower and your sinks. Any food chopped up with your garbage disposal goes into the sewer, too. … Continue reading What Happens After You Flush?
Have you ever noticed that early in the winter, snow is almost silent when you step on it, but as the temperatures drop, snow squeaks? Molecules in ice crystals, even snowflakes, line up stiffly in a strong structure, held together by hydrogen bonds. It looks almost like the steel frame of a skyscraper. However, all … Continue reading Why Is That: Why does snow squeak when it’s cold?
Get some binoculars and try counting the birds outside your home sometime. It might seem easy at first. You might see a couple of cardinals, maybe a crow. But then those birds fly away, and you see another cardinal. Is that the same cardinal as before, or is it a new one? Now try to … Continue reading How Do Scientists Count Birds?
Trash haulers must accept items that counties decide should be recycled. In Eau Claire County, that’s clean glass jars, aluminum, steel, paper, cardboard, and all plastics except those labeled No. 6 (which is very hard to recycle). When the garbage trucks pick up your garbage, they flip a switch and put your recycling in a … Continue reading What happens to my recycling?
Spring is often a time of confused weather: warm one day, chilly the next. This kind of unsettled weather can sometimes develop into strong storms, like thunderstorms or tornadoes. Although tornadoes are not as common in the Chippewa Valley as they are in other parts of the Midwest, they do occasionally develop in the area. … Continue reading Why Is That? How Do They Predict Tornadoes?
The next time you’re looking out your window, pay attention to the squirrels in your yard. It may be hard to see grey squirrels against tree trunks or shadows on the ground. However, the white squirrels stand out clearly. White squirrels are rare in other parts of North America. White and grey squirrels belong to … Continue reading Why Are Some Squirrels White?