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?
Brrrr … it’s getting chilly out there! It’s fun to walk out in the mornings and see that lovely coating of white frost. But what is frost, anyway? There are different kinds of frost, depending on how they were formed. Radiation frost is the most common and is what accumulates on windshields in the morning. … Continue reading What Is Frost? Explaining Icy Winter Patterns
You’re in the woods, building a fort or exploring, and having a great time. A few hours later, you get a horrible, itchy rash. Argh, poison ivy! Despite the name, poison ivy does not make poison. Instead, every part of the poison ivy plant – leaves, stem, vine, berries, roots – makes an oil called … Continue reading Why Does Poison Ivy Itch?
My husband paused halfway between the trashcan and kitchen sink, clutching an apple core. “Tell me again what I do with this?” “Compost.” I pointed to the green compost bin, courtesy of our new trash haulers, Earthbound Environmental Solutions. He paused. “Why is that better than the garbage disposal?” “Climate change.” He paused. He pauses … Continue reading Waste Not, Want Not?: a deep dive into the wonderful, wacky world of organic waste disposal
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?
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?
Neat-o Mosquito is the first of my regular columns in Chippewa Valley Family Magazine. I've always enjoyed science and have long wanted to be a science writer. I've also enjoyed writing for my children, so a science column for kids seemed like a perfect fit. I've long wondered how insects survive the winter, so this … Continue reading Why is That?: Neat-o Mosquito
The Nautilus Shell Game was my first freelanceassignment, which I wrote after a summer internship with the National Zoo's communications department. That department maintains the website and publishes a bimonthly magazine called Zoogoer.