Delaware Public Media

iSeeChange

Features appear on a regular basis on The Green
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Delaware Public Media is one of many collaborators with iSeeChange, a national public radio project about the impacts of climate and environmental changes on our lives.  The project  asks for your observations and questions and we, along with other iSeeChange partners, will use them to help craft our coverage of these issues.

If you’ve got a question about the environment that you’d like for us to explore, post it online at iSeeChange - or get involved and post your climate observations there.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

If you’ve ever driven past a farm field occupied by a massive flock of large white birds, chances are you’re looking at snow geese.

 

Snow geese used to be a rare sighting here in Delaware. But in the last couple decades, their numbers have skyrocketed. Now, tens of thousands of them stop by the First State every winter. Their stunning gatherings draw tourists from all over the country and the world.

But this year, some have noticed that snow geese have been arriving late. And others think there weren’t as many around this season.


Eli Chen/Delaware Public Media

Delawareans likely remember how harsh last winter was and having to deal with many weeks of cold temperatures. Among those most concerned about very cold weather are beekeepers -- because honey bees spend their winters clustered in their hives, trying to keep warm. When harsh winter conditions force honeybees to stay in their hives longer, they’re more likely to starve and infections could spread as the bees become weak from the cold.

But now, beekeepers are worried about the effect the warm temperatures in December will have on their hives. In our latest feature for iSeeChange, Delaware Public Media’s Eli Chen explains why.


Like everyone else in Delaware and the Northeastern U.S., you probably felt that we had a lot of unusually warm days last month. And along with that, you might have also noticed that humans weren’t the only species enjoying the temperate weather -- insects and other bugs that we expect to go to bed by December were out and about, as if it was summer and not the start of winter.

In our latest story for iSeeChange, our project to investigate what you’re seeing in your backyards,  Delaware Public Media science reporter Eli Chen went to find out what’s behind these December critter sightings and what they mean.


iSeeChange: The lone star tick

Oct 30, 2015
US Centers for Disease Control - Division of Vector Borne Infectious Diseases

A growing number of reports show that cases of tick-borne diseases are rising and spreading to new areas of the country. This is true not only for lyme disease, caused by the deer tick. but also the deadly heartland virus and the Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Those diseases have been linked to a species called the lone star tick.

The lone star tick is very aggressive.  Unlike other ticks, its larval form can bite humans. Scientists believe it used to be mainly concentrated in Texas, Oklahoma and other southern areas, but over the last twenty years, has rapidly expanded into the Midwest and New England.

In our latest installment of iSeeChange, Delaware Public Media’s science reporter Eli Chen went to find out what’s causing them to spread.


University of Delaware College of Earth Ocean and Environment

Every now and then you hear about a shark sighting -- like the hammerhead that washed up on the shores of Fenwick Island earlier this summer. Or Mary Lee, the tagged Great white shark who’s known to wander near the Delmarva coast.

As one fisherman told Delaware Public Media, there’s also been more sharks caught near the shore this summer than usual. And we’re talking adult-size sharks, not puppies. In our latest installment for iSeeChange, Delaware Public Media’s science reporter Eli Chen asked a couple of scientists what might be drawing these sharks closer to shore.

Thad Zimmer

Thunderstorms are a hallmark of summer in the mid-Atlantic. Warm, wet air makes the atmosphere unstable, bringing thunder, lightning, high winds and heavy rain to the region -- sometimes several times a week.

Delaware has seen some particularly memorable storms in recent months -- and they're making quite an impression. In our latest installment of iSeeChange, Delaware Public Media's Annie Ropeik finds out why.

 

 


    

This past April, Delaware Public Media joined a new reporting initiative called iSeeChange where we’re asking you to tell us what changes you see in your local environment -- whether that’s the garden in your backyard, the waters that you fish or surf in, or hiking trails where you go birdwatching. We take your questions on what you’re seeing and we pose them to scientists to explain what might be behind what you’re seeing.

And some of you listening in may be wondering -- what’s the point? Why should I participate? This week on The Green Delaware Public Media science reporter Eli Chen talked to the reporter who started the iSeeChange, Julia Kumari Drapkin from her home in New Orleans about why she started the project.

Over the last fifty years, there’s been reported declines of moths all over North America. And there’s no simple answer for what’s driving down their populations. Human development has led to deforestation and habitat loss. The spread of artificial light at night makes them easy for their predators to see. Changing climates are causing moth species and their natural enemies, like birds and bats, to expand or shift their geographical ranges.

Delaware Public Media’s science reporter Eli Chen went to find out what’s behind the dwindling moth populations in Delaware in our latest edition of iSeeChange.

 


Gary Cooke

In 1986, the piping plover, a shorebird seen mostly along the Atlantic Coast and the Great Plains, was listed as threatened by the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Their numbers worldwide today are an estimated 6,000, which is why each year, during nesting season, beaches and other park areas close down to keep people from disturbing them.

As people continue to build closer to the shore, these birds face another potential threat: coastal erosion.

 

In this week’s Enlighten Me -  Delaware Public Media’s science reporter Eli Chen examines what future might hold for piping plovers in our latest installment of iSeeChange, a project investigating the changes we see in our local environments.

 


Eli Chen/Delaware Public Media

The Northeastern U.S. is no stranger to coastal storms. Especially in recent winters, it's hard to go a couple of weeks without hearing that folks should steer clear of yet another Nor'easter. When storms like these happen and especially in succession, that’s questions start to arise about what might be driving these weather patterns and if it’s going to get worse.