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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Barnstable Intermediate School, Hyannis- May 29th

42° 06' 24" N
71° 09' 58" W 
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EarthView is happy to be back visiting Barnstable Intermediate School in Hyannis today! Today's visit is our third trip to the school and the first of two visits throughout this week and next.

At last Friday's visit to Williams Intermediate School in Bridgewater, Dr. Hayes-Bohanan mentioned a story that he had heard on the radio earlier in the morning on the WGBH series,The Curiosity Desk
An artists depiction of the Dark Day, May 19th, 1780

This tree helped to uncover the mystery of the dark day
Last Tuesday, May 19th, marked 235 years since the mysterious "Dark Day" that occurred on May 19th, 1780. That day started like any other May morning in New England, sunny and beautiful prepping the people for a gorgeous May day. However, as the day went on the sky became dark and by noontime it appeared as though night had fallen. Nobody around knew what was happening and they feared that the end of the world. But that wasn't the case. And for many many years, nobody seemed to know why the sky turned completely dark that day until fairly recently when scientists from the University of Missouri's Forestry department studied tree trunks and their rings from the Algonquin region of Canada. These tree rings showed signs of a major forest fire that would have occurred during that year finally revealing an accurate explanation for the events of that very dark day! Today Algonquin is a beautiful park but in 1780 it was so isolated that nobody was around to keep a record of the massive fire that darkened the skies of New England.

In the map above you can see how far the winds would have taken the thick dark smoke from the forest fire in Algonquin, some 570 miles away from Bridgewater State University which more than likely would have experienced the effects of that dark day. 

Similar to this story from 1780, in 1964 on May 25th, a major wildfire crossed Myles Standish State Forest in Carver, Ma into Plymouth, Ma and destroyed everything in its path. Upon stopping at White Island Pond in Plymouth, the fire burned 5,500 acres and completely destroyed 26 structures. 

The Prime Minister of Japan
In more recent environmental news, the country of Japan has pledged 55 billion yen, or $450 million US dollars, in aid to island countries in the Pacific that are affected by Global Warming by means of sea level rise and other disasters.The countries that will most benefit from the aid include Fiji, the Marshall Islands and the Solomon Islands whom are all members of AOSIS, the Alliance of Small Island States. The aid will be distributed over a 3 year period and will help these countries in coping with environmental disasters, getting more access to clean water, renewable energy and waste management. 

We hope that the students of Barnstable Intermediate enjoyed their visit with EarthView today and we will be back again next week! 

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