Saturday, February 18, 2006


What do you think of your issues/podcast assignment? You've all written a hundred reports or essays or research summaries before, so I though we could try something different, something which engages yor senses a bit more in the creation process. Also makes it more avaialble for others in the class. I've put an intro podcast up on the course webpage. Do see audio & video casts as a valuable tool for learning about environmental issues?


  1. Pine Beetle

    What are pine beetle and where can you find them?
    Pine beetle are bark beetles that infest pine trees. The specific types of pine trees which they infest are lodgepole pine, ponderosa pine, and to a lesser extent white pine. These beetles, as with other bark beetles, only infest one type of tree: pine tree.
    How do pine beetle kill trees?
    Pine beetle infests pine trees by planting their eggs underneath a tree's bark. This doesn't become a serious issue until the larvae hatch and begin to devour the trees from the inside out. These beetles also carry a fungus which destroys the trees' natural defenses, and leaves the wood discolored a blue or grey. There are three stages of infected trees. The first is green, in this stage the tree has been freshly infested and the tree appears healthy. The secondary stage of the infestation is red in this stage the tree appears infected and has been mined of an important inner layer of wood. The final stage is grey the beetles have left the tree and the tree has been dead for some time. The grey stage usually occurs one year after the red stage.
    What areas have the worst pine beetle infestation and when have these infestations become a problem?
    The pine beetle infestations have recently become a significant problem to the forests of British Columbia, with the largest infestations from the south Cariboo region north to Fort ST. James. These infestations became a problem in 1994 and continue to destroy pine trees today.
    Who is affected by the pine beetle?
    Mainly pine trees in British Columbian forests have been seriously affected by the pine beetle infestations. British Columbia is very dependant on the lumber industry, thus the pine beetle could have a devastating effect on our future economic situation. If the pine beetle continues to destroy trees at a rate that exceeds the rate of re-growth our industries will suffer severely.
    Is pine beetle a serious threat to other pine beetles?
    Pine beetle could pose a threat to other provinces because of the jackpine tree found across throughout Canada. If the mild winters continue in other areas as well the beetle may spread to other regions.
    What are causes of the pine beetle infestation?
    Some speculated causes of the pine beetle infestations are global warming, and clear cutting. Usually the pine beetles die off during our cold, but since the temperature has been considerably high for winter the pine beetle have managed to survive and have began infesting a higher population of trees. Clear cutting has upset the natural balance because after clear-cutting an area the same age and species of tree is replanted. This process makes an area vulnerable to beetles and other diseases because there is no diversity.
    What are some possible solutions for the pine beetle infestations?
    Depending on the area different techniques will be used to control the beetles. The five main types of pine beetle infestation management are pheromone baiting, sanitation harvesting, “snip and skid”, controlled or mosaic burns, and “fall and burn”. Pheromone baiting is done by attracting beetles to trees treated with synthetic hormones that copy the scent of female beetles. These beetles are then easier to contain and remove. Sanitation harvesting is done by removing single infested trees. “Snip and skid” is done by removing groups of infested trees. Controlled, or mosaic, burns is done by burning a region of infested trees. Finally “fall and burn” is done by first cutting down then burning beetle-infested trees. “Fall and burn” is usually done in winter.
    Leni n Martha

  2. I think podcasting adds some diversity to learning. It opens doors for creativity and gives us a chance to be assessed on an area often overlooked by most teachers. Besides, its way more fun making a movie than wrighting an essay.

  3. This first podcast assignment has been quite an interesting experience. I have found that podcasting allows you to become more creative with your assignments and give yourself a signature approach instead of the old, hand-written/typed and handed in stuff. While I certainly had a few difficulties in completing mine (after all it was my first time creating one), I certainly enjoyed trying out a new means at assignments.

    However, like anything, there are pros and cons to it. Here's a list:

    -As I stated above, they allow one to be creative with, otherwise, your basic assignment.
    -They also are a great means of studying for upcoming tests and quizzes. If someone whips up a podcast full of notes and various terminology, you could listen to it while you sleep, driving somewhere, eating, etc.
    -You can accomplish more with audio and video than you ever could with written assignments.

    -For the technologically challenged, it can be a painfully excruciating and complicating experience. For example- how would you feel when you hit the wrong button and all of sudden half your work got screwed up (of course this could happen with any computer project- always save!).
    -Not everyone has access to a computer, microphone, video camera, editing software, internet access, or possibly any combination of the above. If podcast assignments became the standard, it could possibly mean that some students may fall behind on task due to lack of access to the above.

    These are just some of the possible pros and cons.

    Despite this, I think podcasting's a great idea and I hope we have more chances to create podcasts in this class.