Saturday, April 30, 2011

April is Earth Month

In honor of Earth Month, Milpitas Chat will post a series of ESL Resources about the Earth and enviromental-friently information. Live Green and Thrive!

Conversation Questions on the Environment


  • Student A: Do you worry about the environment?

  • Student B: How important is the natural environment to you in your daily life?

*HINT* also check out Sean Banville's 21 lessons for Earth Day for more ESL lessons.

Pruning Trees

VOA Learning English: Do-It-Yourself: Pruning Plants (First of Two Parts)

Removing parts of a plant or tree can improve it, but be careful. ''People can ruin what nature has created,'' says one plant expert

VOA Learning English:
Scientists Help Cut the Mystery Behind Pruning

Teams in Canada and Europe provide new understanding of why cutting plants can encourage their growth. Second of two parts.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Happy Arbor Day: Taking a cue from Johnny Appleseed

VOAVideo: Taking a cue from Johnny Appleseed

The legendary American Johnny Appleseed secured his place in history for promoting the planting of apple trees throughout the young United States. Now, more than 200 years later, an environmental organization is doing much the same thing all over the world. VOA's Rebecca Ward reports.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Planting a Cherry Tree

LearningAmericanEnglish: Planting a Cherry Tree

In this video, I plant a cherry tree. This is useful for students learning new vocabulary for English.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Happy 226th Birthday John James Audubon!

TwtTwt 2011-0426 John James Audubon Bird Paintings on Stamps

John James Audubon (April 26, 1785 – January 27, 1851) was a French-American ornithologist, naturalist, and an artist.

In 1803, Audubon immigrated to America to study American birds with the goal of painting them in a more realistic style and natural setting. Audubon married, had two children, and became a US Citizen in 1812. In 1826, he published his masterwork, THE BIRDS OF AMERICA, and added more painting to each edition.

Audubon's love for America shines through his art and life, representing the new American people of the United States.

This video was inspired by the Audubon Google Doodle in honor of Audubon's 226th birthday--see Apr 26, 2011. Dedicated to Every Bird (especially Parakeets!).

Checkout; Follow us on Twitter: TwtTwtParakeet.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Spring 2011 Kitchen Garden Planting Spring 2011 Kitchen Garden Planting

First Lady Michelle Obama, along with DC-area children, plant the White House Kitchen Garden. The garden includes spinach, peas, lettuce, broccoli, blueberries, raspberries and other vegetables and herbs.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


JenniferESL: English Mini Lesson - Easter

A short lesson on Easter. (It's just a little over a minute!) Find out how some Americans celebrate this holiday, and learn one proverb related to a key symbol of Easter: the egg. All levels can learn something from this video.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day

uscitizenpod: GO GREEN with USPS stamps In honor of Earth Day 2011 and in celebration of the new USPS GO GREEN Forever stamp series, US Citizenship Podcast presents a collection of stamps reflecting America's ongoing commitment to make EARTH DAY, EVERY DAY!

ESL Holiday Earth Day Earth Day is an annual event that aims to inspire awareness of and appreciation for our environment. It was founded in 1969 by peace activist John McConnell. He introduced the idea of a global holiday called "Earth Day" at a UN conference on the environment in 1969. DOWNLOADS:

Thursday, April 21, 2011

River Cleanup a Rite of Spring for Eco-Volunteers

VOAVideo: River Cleanup a Rite of Spring for Eco-Volunteers

Every April, in the weeks leading up to Earth Day, tens of thousands of volunteers converge on parks, forests and streams throughout the sprawling, four-state Potomac River watershed, on America's East Coast. They come to gather up and haul away hundreds of tons of trash before it winds up in the Potomac - the main drinking water source for towns and cities across the region. VOA's June Soh joined some volunteers on a recent weekend cleanup and has this report.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Scientists Use Radar to Study Bats, Birds and Insects

VOALearningEnglish: Scientists Use Radar to Study Bats, Birds and Insects

Tom Kunz puts electronic devices on bats and birds to follow their movement. Recently, the Boston University biologist started using information gathered by radar.

Monday, April 18, 2011

ESL Podcast 419 – Planting a Garden

ESL Podcast 419 – Planting a Garden

Aren't you glad I got you to help me plant this garden? We're going to have so much fun today. (download podcast)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Algae as Fuel

VOAVideo: Algae as Fuel

A number of researchers, as well as energy companies, think biofuel made from algae could one day help power the world. Whether it's created in a lab or grown organically in water, algae can be turned into fuel to power cars, trucks and even jets.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Goldman Evironmental Protection Winner

VOAideo: Goldman Evironmental Protection Winner

A resident of Texas has won the prestigious Goldman Environmental Award for his work confronting refineries on pollution in the town of Port Arthur. The city has a population of 60,000 and one of the highest levels of air pollution in the United States. Hilton Kelley has spent a decade fighting to lower Port Arthur's air pollution through protests and legal action against major oil and chemical companies. The Goldman award is funded by the family of Richard Goldman, a San Francisco philanthropist who died last year. VOA's Deborah Block has the story.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Plant Appreciation Day

ESL Holiday Plant Appreciation Day April 14 is Plant Appreciation Day (PAD). This is when you appreciate just how important plants are to us. DOWNLOADS:

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Ecuador Leaves Oil Riches in Ground to Save Ecosystem

VOAVideo: Ecuador Leaves Oil Riches in Ground to Save Ecosystem

Ecuador's decision to forego potentially lucrative oil drilling in the Amazon forest in order to protect a biologically rich - and fragile - ecosystem is the focus of two documentaries at the Washington Environmental Film Festival. The decision represents a huge sacrifice for a small South American country that earns half its export revenues from oil.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Grow It Yourself: Turning Bulbs Into Beautiful Blooms

VOA Learning English: Grow It Yourself: Turning Bulbs Into Beautiful Blooms

There's a way to trick tulips and other flowers into growing even in places where the ground never freezes AGRICULTURE REPORT (download mp3)

Monday, April 11, 2011

US Moves to Improve Food Safety

VOAVideo: US Moves to Improve Food Safety
More steps are being taken to improve U.S. food safety. The Agriculture Department unveiled new regulations (April 5th) that would force meat and poultry companies to delay shipments to consumers until government inspectors get results of products they have tested for E-coli bacteria and other contaminants. The move is an effort by the government to prevent outbreaks of food poisoning and reduce the number of costly product recalls. Chris Simkins reports.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

In the Garden: Getting Started With Roses

VOA Learning English: In the Garden: Getting Started With Roses Most kinds of rose plants come from Asia. But roses are also native to other areas including northwest Africa, Europe and the United States. (download mp3)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

'Green Super Rice' About Two Years Away for Asia, Africa

VOA Learning English Video: 'Green Super Rice' About Two Years Away for Asia, Africa

"Scientists have worked for twelve years to develop what they call Green Super Rice. They say several varieties should be available to farmers about two years from now in parts of Asia and Africa.The "green" in Green Super Rice means environmentally friendly. Researchers say it will produce at least as much grain as other rice plants but with fewer inputs. "Super" means the rice is designed to better resist droughts, floods, salty water, insects and disease.The developers of Green Super Rice did not use genetic engineering. Instead, they mated hundreds of varieties of rice."

Friday, April 8, 2011

Next Step After Carbon: Knowing Your Nitrogen Footprint

VOA Learning English: Next Step After Carbon: Knowing Your Nitrogen Footprint Researchers have developed a calculator to measure nitrogen pollution, most of which comes from food AGRICULTURE REPORT (download mp3)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

US Lets Farmers Plant Biotech Sugar Beets, With Conditions

VOA Learning English Video: US Lets Farmers Plant Biotech Sugar Beets, With Conditions

"The United States Department of Agriculture has given farmers permission to plant genetically engineered sugar beets with some conditions. A USDA agency ruled on the most popular variety of Roundup Ready sugar beets. The agency said the genetically engineered sugar beets do not harm the environment or increase threats by pests."

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

US Considers First Genetically Modified Animal for Food

click the picture to make it larger

VOANews: US Considers First Genetically Modified Animal for Food

A salmon grows faster with genes from two other fish, but the idea raises debate AGRICULTURE REPORT (download MP3)

VOAVideo: US Considers First Genetically Modified Animal for Food

Farmers in the United States have grown genetically engineered crops since the late nineteen nineties. Now, a federal agency is deciding whether to let a genetically modified animal into the food supply for the first time. A company, AquaBounty Technologies, has developed the AquAdvantage Salmon.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Fish Farms May Soon Supply More Than Half the World's Catch

VOA Learning English Video: Fish Farms May Soon Supply More Than Half the World's Catch

"Traditional fisheries may no longer be the world's most important provider of fish. A new United Nations report shows that fish-farming or aquaculture may soon lead fish production.The Food and Agriculture Organization says aquaculture is growing by a rate of 6.6 percent a year. Aquaculture now produces forty-six percent of the world's supply of fish. That represents a forty-three percent increase from two thousand six. The report also said aquaculture earned more money in two thousand eight than traditional fisheries."

Monday, April 4, 2011

Trashed Oceans Threaten Marine Life

VOANews: Trashed Oceans Threaten Marine Life

Volunteers remove 3.5 million kilos of trash from ocean beaches, rivers and other waterways worldwide

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Studying How Plastic Pollution Enters Ocean Food Supply

VOA Learning English Video: Studying How Plastic Pollution Enters Ocean Food Supply "Anna Cummins and her husband Marcus Eriksen set up a not-for-profit group called the 5 Gyres Institute. It helps researchers with studies of plastic pollution in the oceans. Cummins says plastic bags and bottles have little or no value after they are used. Most plastic waste can be found in solid-waste landfills or along rivers. A lot of this waste also washes out to sea." A higher level video is available from VOAVideo: Plastic Trash in Oceans Enters Marine Food Chain

Friday, April 1, 2011

US Communities Adopt Electronic Waste Laws, Recycling Programs

VOAVideo: US Communities Adopt Electronic Waste Laws, Recycling Programs

There is a growing problem of what to do with electronic waste such as old televisions, computers, radios, cellular telephones and other electronic equipment. Now a number of communities in the United States are taking steps to deal with electronic waste. VOA's Chris Simkins reports on the new environmental problem and one company in the Eastern U.S. state of Maryland that is working to safely recycle the so-called e-waste.