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«2015/2016 UNLESS Contest Teacher Guidebook Reduce Junk Mail for Red Pandas Message to Teachers Dear Educator, Thank you for joining the 2015/2016 ...»

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2015/2016 UNLESS Contest

Teacher Guidebook


Junk Mail




Message to Teachers

Dear Educator,

Thank you for joining the 2015/2016 Philadelphia Zoo UNLESS Contest. We are so

fortunate to have dedicated teams, like you and your students, to help us make

positive change for wildlife and wild places around the world.

This year, the goal of the UNLESS contest is to demonstrate a measurable decrease

of the amount of paper used at home, at school, or in the community by changing our behaviors and committing to reduce the amount of junk mail we receive.

Through joining the UNLESS Contest, you are partnering with the Philadelphia Zoo to cultivate civically-minded individuals and increase our conservation impact.

Conservation impact is one of the Zoo‘s strategic priorities. The Zoo has a 5-year

strategic plan that outlines the following regarding sustainability:

 Through implementing and evaluating an integrated “doing leads to caring” approach, we will become one of the world‘s leading zoos at inspiring conservation action.

 To succeed, we must also “walk the talk.”  We will reduce the environmental footprint of our own operations in ways that are both substantial and a visible model to our stakeholders.

In 2013, the Philadelphia Zoo continued to demonstrate leadership in sustainability with measurable progress toward ten-year performance goals and

substantial green investments. This included our new LEED Gold KidZooU:

Hamilton Family Children‘s Zoo and Faris Family Education Center, used to educate our guests on sustainability, empathy, and empowerment.

The UNLESS Contest has impacted thousands of students and their communities over the past several years, and has been an immense source of inspiration. The outcomes from this Contest have lasting impacts and genuinely create positive change for individuals, communities, and habitats throughout this planet.

Included in this Guidebook are a number of tips and resources designed to give you the best idea about how to proceed with the Contest. In addition, you and your class will receive a Skype session and an on-site class with a Zoo expert.

If you have any questions at all, please email us at Unlesscontest@phillyzoo.org.

With great thanks, The Philadelphia Zoo Message to Teachers Expectations for This Year’s Contest In order to give you the best idea about how to proceed with this year’s contest, we have included some expectations that we have for our participants.

All projects MUST include a campaign to reduce junk mail. This campaign will  direct participants to the Philadelphia Zoo’s website and instruct them to go

through the following steps:

1) Participa

–  –  –

Projects must include a positive advocacy campaign.

 Projects must be student-driven and all or most of the campaign materials  should be created by students.

There must be measureable results.

 Step-by-Step Guide 1 Students research red pandas and the threats they face.

2 Students explore options for reducing paper in their lives.

3 Students create a positive Reduce for Red Pandas campaign to engage their families and communities in action.

4 Spread the word. Engage others in raising awareness about reducing paper use and how that helps Red Pandas.

5 Track results. Results should include the number of people reached and changes that occurred as a result of the project.

Step 1 Red Panda Fact Sheet Ailurus fulgens fulgens/Ailurus fulgens refulgens Geographic Location They are found in Nepal, Sikkim, northern Burma, and Yunnan and Szechwan in south central China. Their main habitat consists of mountain forests, deciduous, coniferous, and bamboo thickets at high elevations, 7,200-13,000 feet. They prefer their habitat to range in temperatures between 50 to 77 F°.

Longevity In the wild: 8-10 years In captivity: up to 14 years Median Life Expectancy: 10.7 Reproduction  Gestation period varies from 90-150 days, suggesting that there is some delayed implantation.

 Birth takes place in the spring with usually 1-2 cubs per litter, but they can have up to 4  Birth weight for cubs is approx. 200 g at one week.

 They open their eyes at about 18 days, attain adult coloration by 90 days, and are weaned at about 5 months. The young stay with their mother for about a year or until the next litter is born.

 In order to produce enough milk for their young, red panda mothers have to consume 3X the normal quantity of their low-nutrient bamboo diet.

Size Head and body length is 22-25 in; tail length is an additional 15-19 in. Weight is usually 8 to 14 pounds for males and 9 to 13 pounds for females.

Diet In the wild: bamboo sprouts, grasses, roots, fruits, acorns and occasionally eggs and young birds At the Zoo: fed Marion Leaf-Eater Diet, apple and banana in the mornings Conservation Status IUCN status: Vulnerable. Its population is estimated at less than 10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline of greater than 10% over the next 3 generations. The major threats to them are habitat loss/fragmentation, poaching, and disease. There is currently a motion to classify them as ‘Endangered.’ Step 1 Red Panda Fact Sheet (cont.) Ailurus fulgens fulgens/Ailurus fulgens refulgens Behavior  They have a mild disposition and are gentle, quiet and curious.

 Their usual vocal call is a series of short whistles or squeaky noises.

 They sometimes travel in pairs or small family groups.

 When provoked, they will give a sharp spitting hiss or a series of snorts while standing on their hind legs.

 Leisure behavior may be observed following eating or awaking: they will stretch or rub their abdomens or backs on a tree or rock, lick their whole bodies and limbs and wash their faces with their paws.

 Red pandas descend trees head first.

Who’s Who at the Philadelphia Zoo All of our Red Pandas live in Carnivore Kingdom.

Basil – Male, born June 27, 2010 at the Potawatomi Zoo in South Bend Indiana. He arrived to the Philadelphia Zoo on March 18, 2011.

Spark – Female, born June 14, 2010 and arrived from Cleveland Metroparks Zoo on June 14, 2010. She has a breeding recommendation with Basil through the SSP.

Mei Lin – Female (Subspecies – Refulgens red panda), born June 26, 2002 at the Red River Zoo. She arrived to the Zoo on July 26, 2011. Her name means “beautiful forest” in Chinese.

JJ – Female, (Subspecies– Refulgens red panda) born June 15, 2002 at the Yokohama Zoological Gardens in Japan. She arrived at the Philadelphia Zoo on January 23, 2014 from the Lincoln Pak Zoo in Chicago, IL Fun Facts  Red pandas are classified as carnivores, but their diets consist almost entirely of bamboo!

 Red pandas possess a “false thumb” as do the giant pandas. An extended sesamoid bone on the inner side of the wrist acts as a "false thumb" facilitating the handling of bamboo leaves and poles.

 Refulgens red pandas are larger and darker in color than their Western Red Panda cousins. They can also slightly vary in color from a red to brown or yellowish.

Step 1 Climate Change and Paper Fact Sheet Climate change is a “hot topic” these days! Headlines like “July 2015… the hottest month ever” and “Polar Bears going extinct due to Climate Change” certainly catch people‘s attention. There is a great deal of information in the media and on the internet; it can be difficult to distinguish what is most accurate. We encourage you to use the sources in this teacher guide for more information about climate change and its impact on wildlife.

What is climate change?

The issue starts with naturally occurring greenhouse gases like water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and ozone that absorb long-wave solar radiation emitted by the earth and then reflect some of it back. This is called the “greenhouse effect” and this is what keeps our planet warm enough to inhabit.

Another way to describe this effect is to think of excess carbon in the environment as a heat trapping blanket that surrounds the earth. In the past 100 years, an unnatural increase is greenhouse gases, in particular, carbon dioxide have made this heat-trapping blanket thicker around the Earth‘s atmosphere. This has resulted in an overall temperature rise by 1.4°F and scientists predict an increase of another 2-11.5°F in the next 100 years. Burning fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) in particular has led to a significant increase in the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) released into the atmosphere. Individuals and organizations, through their use of energy, generate CO2 emissions – these emissions are generally known as a “carbon footprint”. The average American generates about 25 tons of CO2 emissions annually. By reducing the amount of energy we use, changing the source of our energy and simultaneously removing CO2 from the atmosphere through carbon sequestration, we can reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere and diminish its effects on global ecosystems and wildlife.

How does climate change impact animals?

Scientists have seen impacts across many species of wildlife. Even a slight increase in temperature can cause disruptions in migratory patterns of birds and butterflies that depend on important plants to bloom at a certain time in the season.

Changes in rainfall can have detrimental effects on species like frogs that depend on moist conditions for breeding. In Yellowstone National Park, scientists have found that pools are drying up each season before tadpoles have a chance to fully mature. Changes in temperature also have a dramatic effect on entire ecosystem, not just individual animals. Scientists have found that with rising temperatures, entire food webs become more complicated.

Step 1 Climate Change and Paper Fact Sheet (cont.) How do our everyday actions impact climate change?

Although you cannot see or smell carbon, it is released into the atmosphere when we do things like turn on lights, charge our cell phones or drive in our cars. All of these activities require us to burn fossil fuels at the power plant or gas refinery and burning fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Scientists estimate that the average American burns about 25,000 tons of CO2 through their daily activities each year. This number is called our “carbon footprint.” Humans also contribute to the production of other greenhouse gases such as methane (through agricultural processes), nitrous oxide, ozone, water vapor and aerosols.

What is the difference between climate and weather?

Weather refers to temperature and precipitation that we are currently experiencing. Climate refers to long term weather patterns. Over a period of 30 years, the average snowfall in a region is a measure of climate. If this average snowfall changes over several years, this could be an indication that the climate, or the amount of snowfall that we predict, could change. Weather refers to the amount of snowfall happening in a specific year. One really severe or really mild winter does not indicate climate change, however a long term change in the average snowfall and temperature does. We will always have unseasonably cold or hot days. Many experts say that climate is “what you expect” and weather is “what you get.” What is the difference between a carbon sink and a carbon source?

A carbon source is anything that produces carbon dioxide that will be released into the atmosphere. Carbon sources can be anthropogenic (human-made) or natural.

Natural sources of carbon include decaying plants and animals, wildfires and volcanoes. Anthropogenic or human-made sources include burning fossil fuels to create energy. Carbon sinks are critical because they store excess carbon so that it is not released into the atmosphere, contributing to warming. Carbon sinks include living plants, especially trees, coral reefs and the ocean. One way to offset your carbon footprint is to help create carbon sinks by planting trees!

Step 1 Climate Change and Paper Fact Sheet (cont.) Can climate change really be reversed?

Scientists predict that even if we stopped using all sources of carbon tomorrow, we would continue to see rising temperatures and sea level rise for the next 100 to 1,000 years. However, the future is in still in our hands and the choices that we make today have the potential to slow and one day stop the rising temperatures.

We are currently creating more carbon than the carbon sinks can absorb so a combination of planting trees or stopping deforestation (to create more carbon sinks) and using less energy (reducing the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere) will make a positive impact on the environment and wildlife.

What is the connection between reducing paper and climate change?

There are two major areas where the pulp and paper industry have big impacts on climate change: the energy needed to produce paper and the loss of trees.

The pulp and paper industry is the world’s fifth-largest industrial energy consumer, producing many hundreds of millions of tons of CO2 emissions every year. Some industries, in particular those in Europe, are making great progress towards reducing their emissions, but worldwide it is still a huge source of greenhouse gas.

In addition to the CO2 emissions, the pulp and paper industry must cut down huge amounts of trees in order to make paper. Forests are huge carbon sinks—that makes they hold lots of CO2 inside them that does not get released into the atmosphere. Once those trees are cut down, the CO2 they were sequestering is released, and they are no longer available to take more CO2 out of the air. Trees are so impactful on climate change, many scientists agree that our best bet for combating climate change is to plant as many trees as possible while we reduce our own emissions.

How does reducing paper (and thus climate change) help Red Pandas?

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