Through a Fish’s Eye

May 18, 2011

Guest blogger Tina Perantonakis whets our appetite for seafood and sustainability.

Every time I visit my local grocery store, I’m tempted by the fish and shellfish on display in the seafood case—wild-caught salmon from Alaska, grouper from Florida, catfish from North Carolina, and my favorite, local crabs from the Chesapeake Bay, are just a few examples.  As much as I enjoy most types of seafood, lately I’ve been purchasing fish and shellfish that originate from the safest and most sustainable habitats.

NOAA Fisheries and the National Fish Habitat Board recently published a book that undoubtedly will  help me learn more about aquatic habitats, the environment, and fisheries. The book, Through a Fish’s Eye: The Status of Fish Habitats in the United States 2010, provides an environmental assessment of estuaries and rivers in the United States.  The assessments are supplemented by beautiful color photographs and informative graphs and charts. The book also includes a helpful chapter, “How to Read and Understand This Report,” which describes the methodologies used for the assessment. 

Since I live in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, I first read the Fish Habitat assessment for theMid-Atlantic States.  Sadly, the report concludes the bay has “a very high risk of current habitat degradation…” and details the human activities that have an effect on fish habitats. The assessments for each region do end on a hopeful note by highlighting public and private conservation projects aimed at reversing damage already done.  Since reading the report, I’ve become more conscious of how my daily activities affect the Bay.  I was even inspired to tackle more Bay-friendly projects around my house, including installing an additional rain barrel to capture rain water and planting native trees in my yard.      

If you’d like to learn which varieties of U.S. seafood are the most sustainable, visit NOAA’s wonderful Fish Watch webpage here.  Through a Fish’s Eye: The Status of Fish Habitats in the United States 2010 can be purchased here or located  in a library here.


Government Stocking Stuffers for Kids

December 10, 2010

 Guest blogger Kelly Seifert talks about Government publications for children.

Having recently had a child, I was happy to discover that there are many great Government publications for kids. I had no idea there were so many educational and fun resources available – and with the holidays quickly approaching, there are so many economical and entertaining gift options to choose from! What’s more, with cold winter days ahead, these booklets are perfect for keeping little minds occupied when it’s too frigid to venture outside!  

For instance, the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has put out a children’s activity book, Understanding Marine Debris: Games & Activities for Kids of All Ages, Marine Debris 101. Included in this publication are silly stories, coloring activities, word finds, crosswords, memory games, connect the dots, and more. What a great, educational way to teach kids about protecting marine life!

Along the same lines, another great publication is the Chesapeake Bay Activity Book, also put out by NOAA. This book for young children provides information on the Chesapeake Bay watershed and gives them the opportunity to color, connect the dots, try word searches, and even make recipes.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) also puts out a great coloring and activity book called Marty and Jett’s Activity Book: Let’s Have Fun with Fire and Safety.

Also from FEMA, your kids’ favorite Sesame Street characters team up to teach about fire safety, hot and cold, and what to do when you hear a smoke alarm. Sesame Street Fire Safety Station: Color and Learn includes ideas for mapping emergency escape routes from your home and a few safety rhymes that can be sung.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has teamed up with the American Cancer Society to create the Mission Sunwise Activity Book, which provides puzzles and pages to color about how to be safe in the sun and to use sunscreen.

From the Department of Energy, try Energy Activities With Energy Ant.

And these are just a small sampling of the amazing publications out there!

As always, parents can also visit their local Federal depository library to find these great resources. With more than 1,200 locations around the country, what could be easier?

Locate a depository library near you.

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