Thursday, February 26, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Students care about our environment

Please help our local bees

Thank you for your article on the bee shortage in California (Feb. 12). We are writing to you today because we are working on a project on bees and learning about ways that we can help them.

Bees help us in many ways. They pollinate our plants and flowers and they make honey. As part of our project, we visited the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven at UC Davis to learn more about bees, and we are planting a bee garden at our school, Patwin Elementary.

We want to encourage other citizens of Davis to learn more about the importance of bees and to do things to help them, like planting bee-attracting flowers (California lilacs and lavender are good choices). Thank you.

Paige Carlock and Alicia Joo
third grade, Patwin Elementary

Keep wildlife safe and wild

Balancing the safety of people, their pets and their property with the need to keep wildlife wild is a problem all over California. In Davis, this problem occurs all over but mainly at the edge of town, near farmland, along Putah Creek, in the Wildhorse golf course, and in some parks.

Coyotes will eat the fruit that falls off your trees and your compost, pet food and garbage. When coyotes get food from people’s homes and yards, they come back for more and forget how to be wild. Wild turkeys can ruin your garden and roost on your car, damaging the paint. Coyotes and wild turkeys also can threaten people and their pets.

City of Davis wildlife specialist John McNerney says feeding wildlife or leaving pet food, garbage or fallen fruit where animals can get it makes them forget how to be wild. Assistant Chief Warden Tony Warrington says wildlife usually act aggressively when people feed them or get too close to their young or their dens.

You can help by not feeding wildlife; securing your pet food, compost and garbage; picking up fallen fruit in your yard; keeping your pets on leash; and avoiding areas where coyotes make their dens. We can all help by educating ourselves and telling others about living with urban wildlife to help wild animals and humans live together in harmony.

You can learn more about living with wildlife by visiting the city’s website at http://public-works.cityofdavis.org/solid-waste/environmental-guide and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website at http://www.dfg.ca.gov/keepmewild.

Braeden Ingram
fourth grade, Korematsu Elementary

Do your part to curb food waste

I learned a few months ago that the United States wastes 40 percent of its food. Food is wasted at every step, from its production to its consumption. Farmers waste perfectly good food because it doesn’t look good. The supermarkets waste food because they can’t sell it before it expires. People waste food when they buy more than they can use and serve more than they can finish.

When I went to Walker Creek camp, I saw some kids pile their plates with food and leave most of it untouched. Most of that food got composted but still, what a waste of food! Worse, most food doesn’t even get composted but ends up in the landfill, where it causes more problems.

Landfills lack the worms and microbes that allow the food to biodegrade, hence the food rots, releasing methane. Methane is a greenhouse gas that is 20 times more efficient at trapping heat than carbon dioxide.

The good thing about this problem is that it has easy solutions. My school, for example, has started a composting program during lunch to dispose off leftovers. Even at home, small changes in individual behavior can make a big difference.

Shobha Khanna
sixth grade, Korematsu Elementary

Surface water helps environment

The city of Davis is polluting the Sacramento River Delta. Right now, we in Davis currently draw our water from groundwater pools. These pools are carrying increasing amounts of salt and boron, a mineral. Salt and boron are found naturally in the ground, and leak into these pools.

According to environmental law expert Rick Frank, the dirty water from our sinks, toilets and dishwashers ends up in the sewer system, which leads to the Sacramento River Delta. Millions of people rely on that water for drinking. But it also has an environmental impact! Fish in the delta are being harmed. Fishermen are bringing up fish that are deformed in many different ways. If this continues, the fish’s predators could start getting deformed, too, or worse.

Davis officials have proposed a solution: taking water from the Sacramento River. This is called the surface water project. In place of groundwater, which is running out and polluted, the river water will be our main source of clean and reliable water in Davis. The project is expensive, though, and we will have to pay more for our water. But who doesn’t like helping the environment?

Anoushka Chander

fourth grade, Korematsu Elementary

Save wood ducks, one nest at a time

Wood ducks are beautiful birds. The problem is that they don’t have enough trees to nest in due to the lack of riparian habitat. They need to nest in trees, otherwise they would have to nest on the ground where the eggs are likely to be eaten by predators such as foxes or raccoons.

I have gone to the Vic Fazio Wildlife Area and have seen wood ducks, but there aren’t many trees. A wildlife biologist says the best solutions to help wood ducks are habitat protection and restoration of degraded areas. Another solution is duck boxes, which provide safe nesting areas.

The California Waterfowl Association website (www.calwaterfowl.org/woodduck-program) has some plans, or check the Yolo Basin Foundation website at www.yolobasin.org.

We should all work together to add more wood ducks in our community!

Henri T. Schulz

Davis

Stop using products with triclosan

Have you ever thought twice about brushing your teeth, or washing your hair? Well I recommend you do. Studies show that one common chemical found in things ranging from deodorant to shampoo is bad for the environment. That chemical is called triclosan. Triclosan is found to interfere with muscle functions of mice and fish.

Also, when minnows were exposed for seven days, their swimming skills suffered and would have made them much easier to be caught by a predator. Also, as Bruce Hammock (a professor of entomology at UC Davis) says, triclosan doesn’t really do anything, but with enough of it, it can stop your heart.

What can you do? Well, you can just stop using products that contain triclosan and you can write letters asking companies to stop using triclosan. If you want to find out some products that contain triclosan, google it, or read the label when buying soaps, shampoos, deodorant and many other things. Remember, you can help save the Earth.

Sofia Kaloper

sixth grade, Korematsu Elementary

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