This spring, I've been tasked with creating a one-acre farm for the Science Museum of Virginia. Ever since I was a child, I've been fascinated with growing plants. I still remember growing a bean in a wet paper towel wadded up into a baby food jar when I was in third grade. I remember my fourth grade teacher taking us to her parents' farm to visit on a field trip. It's experiences like these that I hope to be able to pass on to a new generation of students.
Maps are invaluable tools whether you are looking for adventure or just trying to find the nearest fast food. Many of our original maps were produced by brave explorers who ventured beyond their known world. Think about it: would you want to board a small ship to sail across an ocean when you had no idea how big the ocean was, how dangerous the journey would be, how long it might take or what you might find? In honor of these intrepid explorers, let’s look at some adventurous Virginians who challenged the unknown and explored the world.
At 12:47 pm today, December 21, 2009, winter begins in the Northern Hemisphere. The first day of winter is called the Winter Solstice; likewise, the first day of summer is the Summer Solstice. The word solstice is derived from Latin and means “sun standing still.” On these two days of the year, the sun’s apparent position in the sky has reached its most southern or northern extreme. Today there will only be 9 hours and 33 minutes of daylight in Richmond, but tomorrow the number of daylight hours will once again begin to increase.
1. Top 5 turkey-producing states: Minnesota, North Carolina, Arkansas, Missouri and Virginia.
2. The average American consumed 13.8 pounds of turkey in 2007.
3. Turkey sales are estimated to be $3.8 billion in 2009.
4. Towns named for the bird: Turkey, TX (2008 pop. 456), Turkey Creek, LA (361) and Turkey, NC (272)
Data from the US Census Bureau.
Did you know, of all fresh fruits, cranberries contain the most phenols, a type of disease-fighting antioxidant? Phenols and polyphenols are strong antioxidants and many scientists believe antioxidants protect the heart. Uncooked berries, dried berries and pure juice are best because processing, storage and heating reduces antioxidant levels, but cranberry sauce still contains lots of antioxidants. So enjoy your extra serving of cranberry sauce…
Would you believe it’s the sweet potato? According to nutritionists at the Center for Science and Public Interest, the sweet potato ranked #1 in nutrition when compared to other vegetables. Foods were given points for their content of dietary fiber, naturally occurring sugars and complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins A and C, iron and calcium. Points were deducted for fat content, sodium, cholesterol, added refined sugars and caffeine. The sweet potato, with a score of 184, easily beat out the second place vegetable, the white potato, by more than 100 points.
We trooped through the woods to our first test site; a third order stream. The weather was hot and humid, with a few clouds in the sky. We all made sure to cover ourselves with bug spray and sunscreen. Gene and his crew began our expedition by working downstream, shocking and collecting the fish.