What Do You NOAA?

Cassie, Jesse, and Kayla, Interns; and Daniel, KJ, Taylor, and Zach, Phase II Scholars

The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) workshop, coordinated by DO-IT Ambassador and NOAA Intern Annemarie, addressed environmental issues and policies.

We learned about Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). GMOs are plants and animals that have had their genetic makeup altered. This alteration can improve a plant's resistance to chemicals. Crops that can be sprayed with more chemical substances increase chemical waste pollution in our environment. We also learned that a threat to environmental health is mass-produced, subsidized agriculture, which grows food faster, but in less environmentally friendly ways.

During the workshop, we learned about the types of salmon, their life cycles, and how human actions disrupt those life cycles. Littering and chemical waste dumping, which unfortunately occur frequently, negatively impact salmon habitats and spawning areas, causing a sharp reduction in salmon population. Additionally, dredging and damming make salmon easy targets for predators like birds. Dredging involves pulling up large masses of mud from the water to allow larger boats to pass through the area. The mud piles up into small islands where birds that prey on salmon nest. Since the salmon that pass by this island are young, they are no match for these predators. One of the largest threats to salmon is copper poisoning, which results from the copper fallout from motorized vehicles. Copper damages salmon's senses, causing them to be more vulnerable to predators.

Besides learning more about current environmental concerns, we also had a history lesson. It was the story of the people who lived on Easter Island. The inhabitants of the island cut down all of the trees. This deforestation wiped out all of the native animals, leaving the landscape barren and desolate.

Overall, the workshop was interesting and informative. It served well to educate us about what we must do to protect the environment.