My ecology unit started in an unusually urgent manner—with a call to the doctor.

"911, this is an emergency! Let's get some vitals on the patient, stat!" Now we weren't in an emergency room, nor had any student collapsed. Instead, we were in my classroom, my students were the doctors, and the patient was planet Earth. For the next few weeks, my students set out on a journey to take the Earth’s vitals and diagnose our planet’s condition.   

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Eileen Hynes is a teacher at Lake and Park School in Seattle, Washington. She is a member of NCSE’s teacher advisory board, a National Geographic Teacher Fellow, and a NOAA Climate Steward. 

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A month or so back, NCSE got an e-mail from John Pollock asking if we'd be interested in reviewing his new app, and it somehow ended up in my lap. Now, I’m not really an app person, but this app was right up my alley: The Darwin Synthetic Interview. Basically, Pollock and his colleagues have brought Darwin to life—on our portable devices, anyway—and made it possible for us to ask him questions.

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Way back last summer, I wrote a four-part Misconception Monday series on evolutionary trees (part 1, 2, 3, 4). What I couldn’t tell you back then was that the inspiration for the series was a new section of the incomparably fabulous Understanding Evolution (UE) site. At the time, the UCMP folks asked me to hold off on advertising the section until they got their evaluations back from external assessors. Grudgingly, I held off. Then, when the site went live in September, I was swamped and didn’t do what I should have done—loudly sing its praises on the blog. It’s true that some of my extra workload involved writing Evo in the News articles for the UE site, but I still feel pretty horrible that I haven’t championed its new triumph yet. My guilt ends today. Everyone, get ready for awesome and go explore The Tree Room!

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12.02.2015

Over the next two weeks the City of Lights will transform into a hub for world leaders as they address climate change at the United Nation’s 21st Conference of Parties (COP21). The results of COP21 could change the way we tackle climate change as a global community—and determine the future of our planet.

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Recently, I was invited to the White House’s Back-to-School Climate Education Event. Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, head of NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), encouraged us educators to help our students understand the “dynamics of our planet”. Teaching climate science does just that.

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In part 1 of this Q&A, I asked John Mead, a Dallas teacher who befriended Lee Berger, the discoverer of Homo naledi, about how he came to know about the new hominid species in advance, and he answered in detail. Now I’ve got a simple request for him…

Stephanie Keep: Sum up the importance of Homo naledi in one sentence.

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It should be pretty obvious by now that I’m pretty excited about the discovery of Homo naledi announced on September 10. Sure, there are some known unknowns, but it’s just such a cool story!

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Nikita Daryanani is a summer intern at NCSE. She recently graduated from UC Davis with a degree in Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning, and is interested in global climate change and environmental justice.

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Nikita Daryanani is a summer intern at NCSE. She recently graduated from UC Davis with a degree in Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning, and is interested in global climate change and environmental justice.

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