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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Littleton Middle School, March 2

42° 32' 32" N
71° 29' 14" W 
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The EarthView team is pleased to be making its first visit to Littleton Middle School. We have never had the privilege of visiting this school, but we have passed within a few hundred feet of the school many times, as it is located very close to Boston's outer ring road, I-495. We are very pleased to see that EarthView has been included on the school and district calendars.

We know it will be an enjoyable and learningful (we know that is not a real word) day!

We noticed from the schedule that sixth-graders will be coming to EarthView from several different classes, including math, science, foreign language, and social studies. We thank all of those teachers for their cooperation, and assure them that we can connect EarthView to all of these and more. Members of the EarthView team have visited well over 50 countries, and among us we speak about a half-dozen languages, for example, and with Pi Day coming up, a lot can be done with EarthView and math. And of course geography is both a natural and a social science, as well as an art.

The EarthView team is particularly energized this week, as we welcome the Globe Lady back from some tropical travels, Dr. Domingo and Dr. Hayes-Bohanan have recently attended the Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting in New York City, and several members of the team spent last Friday at the Map Center of Boston Public Library and the Mapparium in Boston's Back Bay.

Littleton is known as the earliest commercial producer of apple juice, which remains an important product today. This is appropriate, since Littleton is 15 miles east of Leominster, the birthplace of John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed. Located at the edge of a major apple-producing area -- and between that area and thousands of potential customers in Boston -- Littleton was an ideal place for a vinegar factory. Eventually, juice became a preferred product from the same raw material.

In late 2011, Hurricane Irene was followed by an unusually heavy snow storm a couple months later. One results is that many trees have been damaged or lost, and the community understands the value of trees for their beauty, providing cleaner air, moderating winds and temperatures, and providing habitat for birds and other wildlife. For all these reasons, the town is replacing many trees free of charge through a special program this spring.

Our visit to Littleton takes place at the end of a week of tragic damage done by tornadoes in the United States. The majority occur in the United States. Tornadoes can only develop where cold fronts advance into warm, moist air. This is most likely in mid-latitude locations where cold, dry air from polar regions can meet warm, moist air from tropical regions.

The National Severe Storm Laboratory is part of the National Weather Service that studies tornadoes and other rare, extreme weather events. Geographers and other scientists there have created a Tornado Education page with more detailed information about what we know -- and are still learning -- about these powerful storms. Tornadoes can occur at any time of year, but those that occurred this week were considered unusually early. Tornadoes are most likely at whatever time of year cold and warm air are both available, so that they tend to shift toward the north over the course of a year.

Our visit is on March 2, which marks several interesting anniversaries.
(I usually list 3 or 4, but March 2 is an especially busy day, apparently!)

1904Theodor Geisel, (known as Dr. Seuss) was born in Springfield, Massachusetts
This birthday is marked by Read Across America Day, as described by librarian -- and honorary geographer -- Pamela Hayes-Bohanan.

1776Americans begin shelling British troops in Boston -- four months before Declaration of Independence
1799Congress standardizes U.S. weights and measures helping to unify the young country
1807Congress bans slave trade effective the following January. Slavery continued for almost 60 more years, based on existing slaves and their children and grandchildren.
1819U.S. passed its 1st immigration law
1819Territory of Arkansas organized
1853Territory of Washington organized after separating from Oregon Territory
1861U.S. creates Dakota and Nevada Territories out of the Nebraska and Utah territories
1867Congress passed the 1st Reconstruction Act
1867U.S. Congress creates the Department of Education
1896Battle of Aduwa, Abyssinia (Ethiopia) defeats invading Italians
1925Nationwide road numbering system and U.S. shield marker adopted
1933Most powerful earthquake in 180 years hit Japan
1937Mexico nationalizes oil
1939Massachusetts Legislature vote to ratify the Bill of Rights - 147 years late
1946Ho Chi Minh elected president of North Vietnam
1956Morocco tears up the Treaty of Fez, declares independence from France
1962Wilt Chamberlain became the only NBA player to score 100 points in a single game. Some credit this as beginning of the rise of African Americans star athletes in the United States.   
1970American Airlines' 1st flight of a Boeing 747
1970Rhodesia becomes independent republic (now known as Zimbabwe)
1983Compact Disc recordings developed by Phillips and Sony introduced
1983Final episode of M*A*S*H; 125,000,000 viewers

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