Map of Continents Through Time
Time in History: May 18, 2013
Environment Parameters & Graphs of Carbon & Oxygen
Question of the Day:
We may be living in the time of the sixth great extinction event (Holocene) in the Earth's history. What is causing this mass extinction?
The cameraman on this expedition stood before the two men with lassoes and said with total confidence that he could run past them. “Not a chance you’re catching me,” he declared. Moments later he was tied by hands and feet, two perfect snaps of the rope, and he was locked and spread out in the dust like a prize pig. If only our borders could be just as well contained. And we’re not talking about the arrival of unwanted humans, but invasive species, specifically plants and animals. For the first time this expedition the ambassadors were running in present day, along a river in the midst of an attack. The Russian Olive is growing in abundance, and outperforming the local plants, threatening them with eradication. It’s a common storyline around the world. Humans have found ways to transport themselves across the globe, and in doing so are redistributing other organisms, sometimes causing ecologic imbalances that potentially lead to extinctions. In a small effort to mitigate such an imbalance today the youth ambassadors planted a threatened native species of tree along the Escalante River. Tomorrow our run through time goes backwards again, to the early humans of this region. The ones with some of the strongest connections to the land. Perhaps those with lessons we should relearn.
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Photos of the Day
Character of the Day: Beaver
Along the Escalante River that the Youth Ambassadors will visit at the end of day 7, you will see signs of beaver colonization: the most common evidence is characteristically tooth-marked stumps, but you may also see dams, felled trees and if you are lucky a beaver. The beaver is a mammal that is native to the Colorado Plateau, which was nearly eradicated by human activity in the 19th century. In recent years, in an effort to reintroduce species lost to the area the beaver was successfully reintroduced to the Escalante River watershed.
Youth Ambassador Activity
The Escalante River is one of the last mostly free-flowing rivers in the American Southwest. The river originates on the slopes of the Aquarius Plateau, as a series of small streams that merge together to form the river. The river then flows 90 miles across some of the most spectacular canyon county in the southwest, finally discharging in Lake Powell. Currently, one of the greatest threats to the river and its associated riparian communities is the proliferation and spread of woody invasive plant species, principally Russian olive.
At the end of the run on Day 7 Youth Ambassadors will be able to witness first-hand the restoration work in progress along the Escalante River. We will visit restored sections of the river, areas scheduled to be restored this fall, and areas where treatment has not yet taken place. At the end of the run we will meet in a demonstration site at the Highway 12 Bridge and finish the day by planting native plants that came from seed or other plant material that were gathered from the Escalante River specifically to be planted back along the river.