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Category Archives: ecology

Photo Project “52 Bolivian Sundays” [week 41, 'Infinite']

“Infinity can produce contrasting effects on (and in) us: it might make us feel dwarfed or amplified, afraid or empowered.” [The Daily Post]

My offer for this week’s photo challenge [Week 41... 11 more to go!], sharing bits and pieces of the Bolivian culture, through the 52 Bolivian Sundays Photo Project. today, an interpretation of ‘infinite’, as we look down into the Road of Death in Coroico [Yungas Region].

♥ Enjoy as you please, and thanks for stopping by! ♥

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Posted by on October 11, 2013 in BOLIVIA, ecology, photography, TRAVEL

 

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Photo Project “52 Bolivian Sundays” [week 40, 'Good morning, Sunshine!']

good morning

We all start our days in different ways: going for a run, hitting snooze 17 times, or watching the morning news, among many, many others. [from The Daily Post, WordPress].

Why  not start the day by greeting the Sunshine?

My offer for this week’s photo challenge [Week 40 finally arrived... 12 more to go!], sharing bits and pieces of the Bolivian culture, through the 52 Bolivian Sundays Photo Project: being greeted by a typical ‘Good Morning’ – yes, we’ve got a garden! :o

♥ Enjoy as you please, and thanks for stopping by! ♥

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Posted by on October 7, 2013 in BOLIVIA, ecology, photography, TRAVEL

 

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La Paz celebrates the Pedestrian Day – “Dia del Peatón”.

What a fantastic way to spend a Sunday. September 1st marked the Pedestrian Day, for the City of La Paz.

Families and their children, bikes, tricycles, scooters, skates took over the streets. No cars – and lots of healthy and peaceful fun! ♥ Below here, images from our [otherwise very busy on Sundays!] neighborhood:

LA PAZ SE PARALIZA DOMINGO PARA CELEBRAR EL DÍA DEL PEATÓN

Sólo podrán circular las movilidades autorizadas por el municipio, pero a una velocidad de 20 kilómetros por hora. Asimismo, está prohibida la venta y consumo de bebidas alcohólicas en espacios y vía pública desde las 00:00 horas del sábado hasta las 00:00 horas del domingo.

La Paz se paraliza este domingo para celebrar el Día del Peatón

El día del peatón/Foto ANF.
 
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Posted by on September 8, 2013 in BOLIVIA, ecology, expat, FAMILY, photography

 

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Hogar San Ramon Greening Project, La Paz – Bolivia.

Volunteering

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Planting

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Enjoying quality time with co-workers, family and new friends

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Newly built consciousness among younger generations. Returning to the community all the good we’ve received… Teaching & Learning. Sharing. Growing as human beings…

Bonus Result → Doing good, feels good! ♥

What a great way to spend a Saturday morning! Not even the light showers were able to stop the hard workers! Proud to have been part of the greening project, helping the Senior Center (“Casa de Ancianos”) Hogar San Ramon, in La Paz Bolivia. Is there a better way to teach our children the importance of giving? Giving their time, their skills, their open mind and heart? I hope we’re doing the right thing. I feel we are. And I’m grateful our family was able to volunteer… Wishes for a peaceful (and green!) weekend! :o

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Travel Theme: Foliage – Is it Spring or Fall over here?

Ailsa, from “Where’s my Backpack?” brought this week’s suggestion: “It’s getting all autumnal up here in the northern hemisphere, while down in the southern hemisphere everyone’s looking forward to spring. Whichever hemisphere you inhabit, now is a fantastic time to get out and have a look at what the trees are doing. Whether they’re about to burst into life with fresh green growth, or starting to adorn themselves in their autumn glory; even if they’re still wearing their evergreen needles, it’s a wonderful time to go leaf peeping!”

For us, Spring just started. But we’re in La Paz, Bolivia, so, the colors, the textures, the feelings, very much bring us back to Autumn – what a fantastic experience! Sharing here, images from a local park in La Paz, from a road trip to Mecapaca or simply, a snapshot from my front yard. Enjoy!

 
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Posted by on September 28, 2012 in BOLIVIA, ecology, photography, post a day, TRAVEL

 

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180 years later, an analogy with Charles Darwin’s Beagle Voyage.

Brazil-PTWP

The most recent WordPress Writing Challenge, is about  “writing style“. Quoting WP:

“Like it or not, we all have our own style. Where we’re from, our local colloquialisms, our favorite writers, and our preferred subject matter all influence the tone and language in our posts. We do not blog in a vacuum…Better yet, you can tell us about your favorite writer’s tone, or you can take it a step further — after all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Highlight a particular element of your favorite writer’s style, and incorporate it into a post of your own. Whether it’s their delightfully wry wit, the rhythmic insertion of repeated phrases, or lackadaisical sentence structure, become your favorite writer for a day (or an hour).”
Here’s my original post, writen under the format of a ‘quasi-journal’, taking advantage of the suggested Writing Challenge from WordPress, and the fantastic journey reports from another Biologist,Charles Darwin… Am I trying to ‘imitate’ Darwin’s style, comparing our family’s journeys with his? Not at all – trying to be humble, and realistic…But, as a researcher, former scientist, and now traveling mom, the challenge of comparing both memories is intriguing and exciting. Hope you enjoy it!

“Our traveling family has just departed from Brazil. On a plane, not on a ship. We didn’t have a crew, nor shipmates, just the five of us, 2 intense parents and 3 children aged 6 and under – but still keeping a diary of our experiences, encounters, a way to tell our stories, share lessons learned and comment on challenges and small victories…

In July 5, 1832 – HMS Beagle and Charles Darwin departed Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He was in Brazil from Feb 28 until Jul 5, 1832. The same week he departed, but, 180 years later, our family also departed Recife, Pernambuco, northeastern coast of Brazil, heading to our next adventure… An interesting coincidence, for several different reasons, and one of them, for sure, led a fellow blogger/researcher to kindly invite me to prepare a guest post for his blog, The Beagle Project. According to the site’s author, Rob Viens, “The Beagle Project – is an attempt to read and reflect on Charles Darwin’s Beagle Diary in real time over a five year period – 180 years to the date the original entries were recorded.” As the author likes to describe himself, “He currently resides on the planet Earth, on the Eocene Blakeley and Renton formations in Bellevue, with his wife, daughter, son and cats“. Find more about the creation of this Project, here.

Photography: Exploring the mangrove biome on Itamaraca Island, Brazil.After departing Brazil, 180 years ago, Charles Darwin headed South… nice coincidence: our next posting is La Paz, Bolivia, and after a short stop back in the US, our family, led by the International Affair’s father and his right-hand Biologist wife (aka, the Mother), will again, be heading to South America! :o Hey, please don’t get me wrong: no intention to compare between the 2 biologists! :o I’m humble enough to admit myself as being a passionate researcher, who loves to learn and is eager to share experiences I’ve acquired through life, with our growing children.oyster colonies growing along the tree branches

During these 2 years in Brazil, our family had the opportunity to really immerse into the culture, and personally, I was grateful for the possibility of letting my children experience what I grew up with in Brazil. As a family, we traveled through most of the northeastern region of Brazil, visited historical sites, dating from the Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish colonization days. We experienced the intriguing architecture of this nation’s capital, Brasilia; and as an exploring couple, my husband and I got to visit several unique sites, like the paradise beach coast of Jericoacoara, one of the ten most beautiful beaches on Earth and the world’s heritage site, [Archipelago of] Fernando de Noronha, coincidentally, one of the Brazilian sites visited by Charles Darwin’s expedition [other posts about Fernando de Noronha here and here]. and . We saw spinning dolphins, volcanic rock formations, horizontal trees, manatees, baby sharks, deep blue lagoons, and hiked through untouched natural settings… We experienced life to its fullest – always sharing our findings with our offspring… who knows, maybe one day, they’ll also become passionate explorers, life their parents? :o

Through the aerial roots of this old tree...

While living in Brazil we saw different color sunsets, and once-in-a-lifetime sunrises. We lazed in hammocks dipped in the deepest blue water, listened to volunteers talking and showing the importance of preserving the sea and green turtles, and watched them hatch… at the end, we simply enjoyed the wonders of nature… We learned about conservation and the importance of respecting the natural creations, as well as, its limits. We learned about the use and potential of the “green energy resources“, and talked about it with our colleagues. We boarded on the visiting Rainbow Warrior Greenpeace ship for a live lesson on Conservation of Natural Resources…IMG_4108

Our children are learning to love and respect their mixed culture and the importance of learning how to explore, how to care, how to preserve.

They’re beginning to understand historical events, their causes and consequences. They’re learning that any country is not just about land, but also, its people, their beliefs and their sense of social respect. Hybrid cultures are a rich experience. They will grow up comprehending that the world they live in is much bigger than geography may present itself. And a country’s boundaries go as far as its people. We bring our culture with ourselves. Our traditions, our honor, our respect to others. Wherever we are. Wherever we move to. We’ve departed Brazil with a heavy heart and lots of good memories, that we’re trying to register through this interactive quasi-travel diary… And, as Charles Darwin himself wrote on his Diary, our adventure will also continue:

[July, 1832] 5th A little after 9 oclock we tripped our anchor, & with a gentle breeze stood out of the bay.— Capts Talbot & Harding accompanied us beyond Santa Cruz.— As we sailed past the Warspite & Samarang (our old Bahia friend) they manned the rigging & gave us a true sailor-like farewell, with three cheers.— The band at the same time striking up “To glory you steer”.— The Captain had intended touching at Cape Frio, but as the lightning did so.— we made a direct course for the South.— Near to the Isle de Raza the wind lulled, & we are now becalmed & shall probably remain so during the night: |190| The moon is now shining brightly on the glassy water.—every one is in high spirits at again being at sea & a little more wind is all that is wanted.— The still & quiet regularity of the ship is delightful; at no time is “the busy hum of men” so strongly perceived as when leaving it for the open ocean.—”

Thank you, WordPress Readers! And the journey continues!

Picture the World Project: Representing Brazil! (3rdculturechildren.com)

 

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2012 in ecology, photography, TCKs, TRAVEL

 

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190 anos de Brasil Independente. Let’s keep moving forward… please!

Chinese proverb says: “If you are planning for a year, sow rice; if you are planning for a decade, plant trees; if you are planning for a lifetime, educate people.”  

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2012 in BRASIL, ecology

 

Plant Nursery Photography: A visit to the ‘Vivero de Aranjuez’ in La Paz.

Detail, from a coffee plant

New country. New home. A brand new garden to work on! ♥ And believe me: there’s a great deal of gardening to be done before our front yard gets to where we’d like it to be – full with native plants, adapted to the high altitude, able to endure the cold and dry weather, and yet, displaying colorful plants, flowers, and trees. Soon we’ll be sharing images of our newest project: The Miranda Garden! For now, my main responsibility is bringing it back to life, finding new seedlings for transplant, planting, and, with the help of our newly hired gardener, offer the yard a lot of TLC!

I’m a planner. I live by ‘lists’. Maybe I’m even a controller… hard to say… [my husband should be the one to address that!]. Anyway, my very first chore was a visit to one of the best-known plant nurseries in town: The Vivero de Aranjuez.

Over 180 different species of plants. Most of the workers are women, who take pride on what they do, and claim to understand more about plants than any man would…

Fuchsias, daisies, calla lilies, geranius, coffee plants, palm trees, gerberas… you name it! And I brought them all back home… gotta get the Project started!

Here are images from our visit (baby girl also came): Click on the image to see it blossom! Enjoy!♥

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2012 in BOLIVIA, ecology, photography

 

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The Quenoa Tree (Polylepis spp.): higher than any other in the world, is part of our front yard!

The Queñoa Tree

This tree, with its beautiful red bark, grows higher than any other tree in the world.

And we get to enjoy this unique beauty every day… just walk out to the front yard!

What a fantastic find, for a Biologist like myself, having this beauty as part of our yard is no less than a blessing!

[Español] La keñua o queñoa de altura (Polylepis tarapacana) es una especie de planta con flor de la familia de las rosáceas (Rosaceae). La especie se distribuye a lo largo de la Coordillera Andina desde Perú hasta Chile, incluyendo Bolivia. [ref. Wikipedia]

Detail, tree trunk with ‘peeling layers’, a result from the cold weather (physiological adaptation response).

La especie se encuentra en floración entre diciembre-enero y marzo-abril. Fructifica abundantemente, en racimos. Parte de las hojas y de las últimas ramificaciones, cae durante el invierno; cuando el nuevo follaje está completamente desarrollado, se desprenden las hojas restantes.
La especie se distribuye en un rango elevacional entre 3900 hasta 4700 m, algunos individuos aislados pueden llegar hasta 5200 msnm en el Parque Nacional Sajama. Es conocida mundialmente porque en su distribución la especie alcanza más altitud que cualquier otro árbol en el mundo. Queñoales eres una comunidad vegetal en que es dominante la Queñoa (Polylepis spp.), árbol característico del Altiplano. Los troncos, de madera dura, son generalmente retorcidos, y están cubiertos por una corteza exfoliante, formada por múltiples láminas de color castaño rojizo.

[English] Polylepis woodland is a distinctive, high-elevation Andean forest habitat that occurs above cloud level (3,500-5,000 m) as patches of woody vegetation surrounded by paramo (e.g., Festuca species) or puna (e.g., Ichu species) grass and shrub (e.g., Baccharis species) communities. These high-altitude woodlands tend to be relicts of a once-widespread habitat and comprise mainly evergreen trees of the genus Polylepis (Rosaceae) which are highly drought tolerant. The trunk and branches are laminated with brown-reddish bark that peels off in paper-like sheets as a protection against extremely low temperatures, and often have mosses and lichens growing on them. ♥ Learning something new everyday here! :o
the peeling trunk [detail]

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2012 in BOLIVIA, ecology, en Español, photography

 

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Snapshots of The Smithsonian Natural History Museum, Washington DC.

Well, we’re in La Paz, Bolivia, now. But before we arrived to our newest work and life adventure, we got to spend some time with family back in the US, sharing our stories and experiences of the past two years living and working in Brazil; do a bit of traveling, spend some great quality time with our kids at parks in Delaware and Virginia… and visit the National Mall in Washington, DC. A lot done during our ‘home leave’, now, being shared with our friends, family and curious readers! :All of that will be presented here… one at a time, though! :o 

Fifth stop: Halls at the Museum of Natural History, Washington DC: Link to the exhibit is here.

 

As a Biologist, mom/teacher and former volunteer at the Natural History Museum (2004), I can say the visit, the explanations, and the teaching/learning combinations are well worthy a day trip with your own children, class students, friends, or simply, a ‘curious soul’… Related articles

 

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Images from an exciting visit to the O. Orkin Insect Zoo, in Washington, DC.

 

Before assuming post at our newest work/life assignment in La Paz, Bolivia, like many other foreign service families, we spent our four weeks of home leave in the US. We visited with family in Virginia and Delaware. We reconnected with friends from the past and from the present. We had fun at parks, public libraries, museums and galleries. We learned and shared experiences about history, culture, nature and life, with our kids. A very intense period – and totally worthy! A lot done during our ‘home leave’, now, being shared with our friends, family and curious readers! All of that will be presented here… one at a time! :o 

Fourth stop: The O. Orkin Insect Zoo, part of the Museum of Natural History [Smithsonian], in Washington, DC: Link to the exhibit is here.

At a Glance

The O. Orkin Insect Zoo is a special exhibit hall on the 2nd Floor of the Museum where visitors can observe live insects and their many-legged relatives. Volunteers conduct tarantula feeding demonstrations, work with live insects that visitors may touch and hold, and answer questions about the many-legged creatures that live in the Insect Zoo.

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As a Biologist, mom/teacher and former volunteer at the Natural History Museum, I can say the visit, the explanations, and the teaching/learning combinations are well worthy a day trip with your own children, class students, friends, or simply, a ‘curious soul’… 

 

 
 

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Snapshots from Home Leave: An afternoon at the Clemyjontri Park in McLean, Virginia.

[Backstory: Well, we’re in La Paz, Bolivia, now. But before we arrived to our newest work and life adventure, we got to spend some time with family back in the US, sharing our stories and experiences of the past two years living and working in Brazil; do a bit of traveling, spend some great quality time with our kids at parks in Delaware and Virginia… and visit the National Mall in Washington, DC. A lot done during our ‘home leave’, now, being shared with our friends, family and curious readers! All of that will be presented here… one at a time, though! :o

That said, let’s continue with our tales & reporting from our time back in the US, during this year’s home leave. Before, I shared here some unique images from an intriguing visit to the Butterfly Garden, hosted by the Smithsonian [Natural History Museum], in Washington, DC. Without question, the National Mall in Washington, D.C., is the United States’ public playground, with loads of open space for tourists, and kids in particular, to roam. There’s not much here in terms of specific play features, but you’ve got leafy areas for picnics, a carousel, paddleboats on the Tidal Basin, and lots of biking and walking trails.

Second stop: The Clemyjontry Park, McLean Virginia: Link to more information about the park, its hours and features, here.

As in, the packaging for a new toy can be as entertaining as the toy itself. I find that traveling with young kids follows a similar logic. You can do all the museums, monuments, churches, and castles in the world, but what kids really want is a place in which to run around like they do at home. So to aid in that quest, here are my recommendations for small-people spaces in big-city places—namely, adventuresome playgrounds that will stand in for that well-worn play area at your neighborhood school or park.

We had the pleasure of being joined by a dear friend, whose patience and care for my children are priceless… Thank you very much, Cherise! ♥

 
 

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Snapshots from Home Leave: A visit to the Butterfly Garden at the Smithsonian Museum, Washington DC.

 

Well, we’re in La Paz, Bolivia, now. But before we arrived to our newest work and life adventure, we got to spend some time with family back in the US, sharing our stories and experiences of the past two years living and working in Brazil; do a bit of traveling, spend some great quality time with our kids at parks in Delaware and Virginia… and visit the National Mall in Washington, DC. A lot done during our ‘home leave’, now, being shared with our friends, family and curious readers! :All of that will be presented here… one at a time, though! :o 

First stop: The Butterfly Garden, Washington DC: Link to the exhibit is here.

We had the pleasure to visit the $3million butterfly exhibit at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum. The exhibit “Butterflies + Plants: Partners in Evolution” features a 1,200 square foot tropical butterfly garden with approximately 400 butterflies. In the exhibit’s main hall, visitors learn about the co-evolution of butterflies and plants.

The butterfly garden at the Smithsonian is located on the Ninth Street side of the National Museum of Natural History building. 

Four distinct habitats — wetland, meadow, wood’s edge and urban garden — encourage visitors to observe the partnerships between plants and butterflies.

The garden is a joint project of the Horticulture Services Division and the Museum with partial funding from the Smithsonian Women’s Committee.

The garden, on view at all times, is a perfect complement to a visit to the O. Orkin Insect Zoo on the second floor of the Museum. [Stay tuned for upcoming posts on other visits to the Smithsonian wonders!] :o

As a Biologist, mom/teacher and former volunteer at the Natural History Museum (2004), I can say the visit, the explanations, and the teaching/learning combinations are well worthy a day trip with your own children, class students, friends, or simply, a ‘curious soul’… We had the pleasure of being joined by a dear friend, whose patience and care for my children are priceless… Thank you very much, Cherise! ♥

 

 

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Picture the World Project: Brazil!

Picture The World Project, BrazilPosted on July 3rd, 2012

Brazil-PTWP

Photo by 3rdCultureChildren

I am so honored to be nominated to offer a photo from my collection to represent Brazil. What to choose from? I went with nature – one of the most beautiful beaches my ´Brazilian eyes´ have ever seen! The picture chosen a unique orange-toned sunset, overlooking the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean…

It’s my duty to nominate two people to submit photos of another country. I would like to nominate Heather (of thewanderingdrays.blogspot.com.br) who has moved with her family to Egypt. I would also like to nominate Carla (of carlarunstheworld.com) currently in the Philippines, and getting ready for their next move in January 2014, to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil!

Thank you 3rdculturechildren for this beautiful photo for Brazil. Looking forward to seing Heather and Carla’s contributions.

 

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Family & Friends at Carneiros Beach, Pernambuco, Brazil.

Waving along the Southern Coast of Pernambuco, Carneiros Beach (“Praia dos Carneiros”) discreetly possesses all the requirements to become a paradise. Sea of calm and crystal clear waters in shades of blue, palm trees, coral reefs and even a river that ends into the ocean. Likely, our last weekend at the beach in Brazil, surrounded by close friends – at least, the last one, for a while… Who knows what the future has is planning for us?! :o

Rustic bungalows have been built and decorated to meet the needs of comfort, and privacy, so tourists, or vacationing families may enjoy the peaceful setting that reigns in this paradise, still respecting the environment, its unique features and learning about preservation and ecological conscience.

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2012 in beach, BRASIL, ecology, photography

 

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Greenpeace in Brazil. Visiting the Rainbow Warrior Ship.

2 biologists

The Greenpeace ship, Rainbow Warrior is in Brazil.

We had the opportunity to go on a guided visit through its compartments, talk with the captain, and learn more about the current projects involving the Greenpeace Initiative and Brazilian NGOs.

The visit also included the solar kitchen installations and the solar panels.

 

The Captain

  

 

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School ‘Babylon Hanging Garden': hard work pays off!

Great use of a recycled PET bottle!

 
Wordle: herbs

The Recognition 

EcoClub Pizza! Harvest time is approaching for the Hanging Gardens of the EcoClub. We’ve talked the School Canteen into turning the garden’s produce into Pizza (and Salad!) for lunch on June 11.:o Stay tuned!

That said, I’ve been asked to provide updates on our Hanging Garden Project. We’ve got new ORGANIC VEGGIES, all from ‘freshly donated seeds’… Our middle/high school students have been deeply involved in building a system with planters made from recycled PET bottles, as seen on the right. What originally was a school research project, has become a multidisciplinary task (see left), and a passion for all the gardening lovers! Besides that, we’ve discovered a great source of cost-free clean/distilled water for all the watering needs: the several air conditioning devices, spread throughout the school campus.  

 

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Sustainable energy in Brazil: Wind Power Park in the Northeast.

Today I decided to have fun writing, revisiting my long-lost past in research and natural sciences, as well as, a result of the ongoing inspiration (or should I call it “daily challenges”? :o) my current Physical Science students offer… The topic I chose to revisit, showcases one of the family’s trips to Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, while husband went to visit the Wind Power Park.

A little bit of background: A few years back, a drought in Brazil that cut water to the country’s hydroelectric plants, prompted severe energy shortages. The crisis underscored Brazil’s pressing need to diversify away from water power.

Brazil’s first wind-energy turbine was installed in Fernando de Noronha Archipelago, in 1992. Later, the government created programs to encourage the use of other renewable sources, such as wind power, biomass, and Small Hydroelectric Power Stations (PCHs). Such stations use hydropower, the flagship of Brazil’s energy matrix, which comprises around three-quarters of Brazil’s installed energy capacity.

High energy production costs, coupled with the advantages of wind power as a renewable, widely available energy source, have led several countries to establish regulatory incentives and direct financial investments to stimulate wind power generation. Brazil held its first wind-only energy auction in 2009, in a move to diversify its energy portfolio.

The Brazilian Wind Energy Association and the government have set a goal of achieving 10 gigawatts of wind energy capacity by 2020. Let’s just hope. Renewable resources: the greener and cleaner, the better!

The visiting team Recife and local experts


O Parque eólico Alegria é um complexo de propriedade da Multiner, localizado no munícipio de Guamaré, no Rio Grande do Norte (RN). O complexo refere-se aos parques Alegria I e Alegria II.

 

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The Supermoon and Cinco de Mayo

In case you missed it, yesterday was Super Moon night. And it was also Cinco de Mayo
At the end of the afternoon, a very shy, though gigantic moon, kept hiding behind the dark clouds, refusing to come out and share with us its full glory… and we kept waiting, but no success… we then realized, there would be no super moon over the northeastern coast of Brazil,like what we were able to witness last year, from our beachfront setting… Disappointment? Maybe, but then plan B kicked in: its Cinco de Mayo, with or without the magnificent moon! Let the party begin, and, if the moon is too shy to show us it’s grace, the party could continue until the other star – the sun! – would greet all the party people!
And so, enjoying good food, good music and great conversation, a Brazilian-Mexican Celebration went through the night… Happy Cinco & Happy 2012 SuperMoon!

A 'super Lua' e o Cristo Redentor, no Rio de Janeiro, na madrugada deste domingoA ‘super Lua’ e o Cristo Redentor, no Rio de Janeiro, na madrugada deste domingo (Ricardo Moraes/Reuters)

:o :o :o :o :o

Here, from last year’s unique impressions:

Just wanted to share a few pictures with you all. The Supermoon, seen from our apartment, in Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil, on March 20, 2011.

Feel free to use and/or share the photographs, just remembering to indicate the source! Thanks!



 

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Hanging Garden: Making good use of (free!) 6,000 liters of water/year

Wordle: herbsI’ve been asked to provide updates on our Hanging Garden Project. We’ve got new planters, ‘freshly donated seeds’… and a cost-free watering system. For the ones not (yet!) familiar with the ‘mathematics behind getting cost-free water‘, here’s how it works: Our middle/high school students have been deeply involved in building a system with planters made from recycled PET bottles, as seen on the right.

Besides that, we’ve discovered a great source of clean/distilled water for all the watering needs: the several air conditioning devices, spread throughout the school campus. So, the students began collecting the not-before-managed water… But, how could they find out how much water would be “released” by the AC devices?


The answer to that question morphed into a mini-mathematical project: Math students were asked to develop a strategy to evaluate the volume of water released by the AC equipments, write their assumptions down (hourly rate, number of school days, etc), and today presented their results: on average, an AC device is capable of releasing over 6,000 liters of water during the course of a regular school year.

 

 

Way more than enough for keeping the Hanging Garden alive and growing! :o

Having fun with graduated cylinders & Math!

Let’s see… once more, science and math can definitely be fun (and rewarding!) :o

So far, we’ve got seedlings of:
Arugula, rocket (Diplotaxis arucoides) [Rúcula, in Portuguese)
Basil (Ocimum basilicum) [Manjericão]
Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) [Camomila]
Cherry tomato (Lycopersicom esculentum var.) [Tomate-cajá]
Anise (Agstache foeniculum) [Erva-doce] 
French onion 

Salvia
Spinach
Pepper
Bell Pepper

 
 

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Snapshots from the Shark Museum, Fernando de Noronha Archipelago, Brazil

The "Two Brothers" hill - Morro Dois Irmãos, viewed from the Praia da Cacimba do Padre, FN. All images from 3rdculturechildren.com

This post was promised a long time ago…It’s already been a month we came back from the archipelago, and finally, got through the last photos – the last two posts, a bit on the “scientific side”, but still, very enjoyable. Sharks and Marine investigation. Today, it’s all about the sharks. Backstory: Just like the AtlantisFernando de Noronha has caught the imagination of travelers for centuries and many urban myths are associated with this gloriously surreal island.

The archipelago is made up of one 11-square-mile chunk of volcanic rock and 20 smaller islands, three degrees south of the equator, 220 miles from Brazil’s north-eastern coast.

In Atalaia Beach, we were able to snorkel with fishes and juvenile sharks, checking out the swarms of hawksbill and green turtles, and also, witness rare island species like iguanas. Other adventure seekers like us, engaged in underwater activities, diving and snorkeling to experience the prolific marine life including albacore, barracuda, snappers, cangulos (fish)… Continuing with our experiences in Noronha, we reserved some time to visit and enjoy the company of Leonardo Veras, the curator for Fernando de Noronha’s Shark Museum (“Museu dos Tubarões”). Leo, as he prefers to be called, is a passionate engineer who lives and works at the main island, and was kind enough to take us on an unforgettable trip through the marine world! An upcoming post will share our adventures with Leo Veras and his Navi Project, investigating the deep open ocean waters. For now, you’ll be left with images we snapped while visiting the “Museu dos Tubarões” – current residence of Leo Veras, his own sculpture garden and his “front yard view”. Check them all out! :o 

Our host, Eng. Leonardo Veras

 

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Fernando de Noronha’s claim to fame is its diverse and rich ecosystem. And while nature lovers throng to this eco-paradise, the volcanic island with its splendid marine life, dramatic rock formations and long lazy stretches of beaches is the perfect romantic destination as well… We’ll miss it!

 

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Fernando de Noronha Marine National Park: wildlife

Fernando de Noronha in Brazil is famous for its exquisite natural environment, pristine beaches, and tropical climate where the sun shines the whole year! A paradise for scuba diving in Brazil, there are numerous things to do on the Fernando Noronha island. The wildlife of Fernando de Noronha is very rich, and one of the main attractions of the island are the Spinner Dolphins which can be seeing 365 days a year from the Dolphins Bay Viewpoint or on a Noronha boat ride. We were fortunate to spot a few other “representatives” of the archipelago’s wildlife.

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Environmentally Protected Area (APA): Reserva Biológica do Altinho, Pernambuco, Brazil

Be aware: Cute Animals Ahead!

Find below images from our visit to the “Environmentally Protected Area” of Altinho, a park embedded in the middle of the State of Pernambuco, in the Agreste Region of the country, showcasing the characteristic Caatinga vegetation (desertic, hiperxerophyla, lacking leaves trees). Not far from our home, some good 160 km, or 260 miles – a good weekend getaway!
The protected park borders the (famous for seasonal festivities and their arts & crafts) cities of Caruaru and São Caetano; Cupira, Panelas and Ibirajuba; Agrestina and Cachoeirinha. The park is surrounded by several rivers, but mainly by the Una and Ipojuca rivers. The rivers lead into the Atlantic Ocean, creating deltas, which are a great spot for calming and relaxing baths…

Entering the Park:

Área de Proteção Ambiental, Reserva Ecológica do Saltinho, Pernambuco

Where the Una river meets the Atlantic Ocean

Caution with the animals crossing the road

 
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Posted by on February 10, 2012 in BRASIL, ecology, photography, post a day

 

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Exploring one of the largest coral reefs in the world: Carneiros Beach, Pernambuco, Brazil

Waving along the Southern Coast of Pernambuco, Carneiros Beach (“Praia dos Carneiros”) discreetly possesses all the requirements to become a paradise. Sea of calm and crystal clear waters in shades of blue, palm trees, coral reefs and even a river that ends into the ocean.

Rustic bungalows have been built and decorated to meet the needs of comfort, and privacy, so tourists, or vacationing families may enjoy the peaceful setting that reigns in this paradise, still respecting the environment, its unique features and learning about preservation and ecological conscience. [The 'talk' about the beach's intriguing bungalows is reserved for a 'soon-to-come' post!]

bidding farewell...

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2012 in BRASIL, ecology, photography, post a day

 

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Snapshots from typical sugarcane farm in Brazil

Photography: Sharing some images from recent visit to a traditional sugarcane farm, and its corresponding mill, in the Northeastern region of Brazil.

[From Wikipedia] ”Sugarcane is an important industrial crop of tropical and subtropical regions and is cultivated on close to 20 million hectares in more than 90 countries (according to FAO). Sugarcane products include table sugar, falernummolassesrumcachaça (a traditional spirit from Brazil), bagasse and ethanol”. 

Sugarcane is a renewable, natural agricultural resource, providing not only sugar, but also, biofuel, fibre, fertilizers and a myriad of by-products/co-products, ecologically sustainable. Molasses, sugarcane’s main by-product, is the raw material for alcohol-based industries. Excess bagasse is now being used as raw material in the paper industry, and its use as a potential fuel alternative, has been considered in recent years.

Some images were taken during the flyover, before arriving at the farm, while others, came through the visit to its grounds, the mills, main installations and sugar processing steps. Enjoy this “sweet” journey!

Arriving at the sugarcane farm:

Visiting the sugar cane plant:

Beginning the process of collection, extraction, refining:

general view

"Casa Grande" (owner's house)

old manual mill

it's always nice to live close to work! :o

 

A little gift, to bring home…

hummm... sweet!

 

Departing…

 

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2012 in BRASIL, ecology, photography, post a day

 

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The Manatee Project (Projeto Peixe-Boi), Itamaraca Island, Brazil

The Manatee Project (Projeto Peixe-Boi), Itamaraca Island, Brazil

What we do if we’ve got a holiday/day off right in the middle of the week? We get out of the house, hauling the 3 kids around! This time, our family decided to take a day trip to a nearby island, named Itamaraca (“rock that sings” in Tupi-Guarany language – there’ll be a later post about it!)

The island of Itamaracá, located 40 km from Recife, is separated from the continent by the Jaguaribe River. It has calm beach waters, with coconut trees, natural swimming pools, reefs, sandbanks and a fort (originally built during the Dutch Colonization Period), Besides the cultural and historical features, its ecological reservations with native forests, the island shelters the Manatee Preservation Center.

The native name for the manatee is “peixe-boi“, an enormous creature that intrigues any curious souls – especially, our toddlers’ curious eyes and minds!

Centro de Preservação do Peixe-Boi” (Manatee Preservation Center) – is open for visitors from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 am to 4 pm, it is an excellent opportunity to see the manatee so closely, this exotic sea mammal..

 

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2011 in ecology, science, wildlife

 

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Photography: Exploring the mangrove biome on Itamaraca Island, Brazil.

Photography: Exploring the mangrove biome on Itamaraca Island, Brazil.

Our family went on a day trip to the Itamaraca Island, located in northern coast of Pernambuco. There, we had the opportunity to go an boat expedition through the the mud flats (mangue) area. The name of the island, Itamaraca, comes from the Tupi-Guarany language, and means “rock that sings“. The tropical holiday Island of Itamaracá is connected to the main land by a 400 meter long road bridge and is situated just 45-minute drive from the city of Recife and the international airport. It has an area of round 65 km² and rises to an altitude of about 20 meters.

The island was annexed for the Portuguese crown in 1526 by Francisco Garcia and in that year the first settler was Duarte Coelho from Portuguese Pernambuco. In 1631 the large fortification Forte Orange was built by the Dutch under Frederico Henrique de Orange, who at one time lived on Mauritius Island. In 1866 a lighthouse was erected on the island. Nature in abundance, cultural and historical sites are to be found on this island which is separated from the mainland by the “Canal de Santa Cruz“. The “mangue” or mangrove is a type of vegetation found in areas where the waters from the sea and from rivers are mixed, adapted to the high salinity and to the muddy soil – an unique experience to a biologist mom, a passionate photographer dad and, our delighted and curious children… See below some of the images taken during the the “Miranda Family expedition” – hope you all enjoy them, as much as we have!

View from the island

Getting ready for some good shots

Entering the “mangue jungle”

oyster colonies growing along the tree branches

deeper into the 'mangue'

'aquatic jungle'

closer look at the populations of oysters and mangrove crabs

tree roots make the best shelter for mangrove crabs

Getting “stuck”… our boat got trapped!

nowhere to go... :o

We're stuck! Great opportunity for pictures!

intriguing roots and branches...

budding oysters all over the place!

Thrilled “explorers”

family back from 'manguetown'

lots of green on our way back to the island

a fantastic experience!

one happy explorer!

 
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Posted by on December 10, 2011 in ecology, photography, science, TRAVEL

 

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Table Mountain a New 7 Wonders of Nature

The birth place of our middle daughter. Congratulations, South Africa!

Table Mountain has been confirmed as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature after the first count of the global vote was announced.

Below the news link, you will find some images from our personal collection, honoring the Table Top Mountain… Enjoy the slideshow and Baie Dankie!

via Table Mountain a New7Wonder of Nature.

 
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Posted by on November 12, 2011 in ecology, photography, SOUTH AFRICA

 

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