Degradation of the nation's water resources threatens the health of humans and the functioning of natural ecosystems. To help better understand the causes of these adverse impacts and how they might be more effectively mitigated, especially in urban and human-stressed aquatic systems, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has proposed the establishment of a Collaborative Large-scale Engineering Analysis Network for Environmental Research (CLEANER). This program would provide a platform for near-real-time and conventional data collection and analysis; improve understanding and prediction of processes controlling large-scale environmental and hydrologic systems; help explain human-induced impacts on the environment; and help identify more effective adaptive management approaches to mitigate adverse impacts of human activities on water and land resources. At NSF's request, the National Academies undertook a review this proposed program. The resultant report recommends that NSF proceed with its planning, implementation, and intra- and interagency coordination activities for the program, as a successful environmental observatory network could transform the environmental engineering profession and increase its already considerable contributions to society.
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Additional Information

Publisher
National Academies Press
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Published on
Jul 19, 2006
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Pages
76
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ISBN
9780309180870
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Science / Earth Sciences / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM free.
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Hidden away in foggy, uncharted rain forest valleys in Northern California are the largest and tallest organisms the world has ever sustained–the coast redwood trees, Sequoia sempervirens. Ninety-six percent of the ancient redwood forests have been destroyed by logging, but the untouched fragments that remain are among the great wonders of nature. The biggest redwoods have trunks up to thirty feet wide and can rise more than thirty-five stories above the ground, forming cathedral-like structures in the air. Until recently, redwoods were thought to be virtually impossible to ascend, and the canopy at the tops of these majestic trees was undiscovered. In The Wild Trees, Richard Preston unfolds the spellbinding story of Steve Sillett, Marie Antoine, and the tiny group of daring botanists and amateur naturalists that found a lost world above California, a world that is dangerous, hauntingly beautiful, and unexplored.

The canopy voyagers are young–just college students when they start their quest–and they share a passion for these trees, persevering in spite of sometimes crushing personal obstacles and failings. They take big risks, they ignore common wisdom (such as the notion that there’s nothing left to discover in North America), and they even make love in hammocks stretched between branches three hundred feet in the air.

The deep redwood canopy is a vertical Eden filled with mosses, lichens, spotted salamanders, hanging gardens of ferns, and thickets of huckleberry bushes, all growing out of massive trunk systems that have fused and formed flying buttresses, sometimes carved into blackened chambers, hollowed out by fire, called “fire caves.” Thick layers of soil sitting on limbs harbor animal and plant life that is unknown to science. Humans move through the deep canopy suspended on ropes, far out of sight of the ground, knowing that the price of a small mistake can be a plunge to one’s death.

Preston’s account of this amazing world, by turns terrifying, moving, and fascinating, is an adventure story told in novelistic detail by a master of nonfiction narrative. The author shares his protagonists’ passion for tall trees, and he mastered the techniques of tall-tree climbing to tell the story in The Wild Trees–the story of the fate of the world’s most splendid forests and of the imperiled biosphere itself.


From the Hardcover edition.
The Mississippi River is, in many ways, the nation's best known and most important river system. Mississippi River water quality is of paramount importance for sustaining the many uses of the river including drinking water, recreational and commercial activities, and support for the river's ecosystems and the environmental goods and services they provide. The Clean Water Act, passed by Congress in 1972, is the cornerstone of surface water quality protection in the United States, employing regulatory and nonregulatory measures designed to reduce direct pollutant discharges into waterways. The Clean Water Act has reduced much pollution in the Mississippi River from "point sources" such as industries and water treatment plants, but problems stemming from urban runoff, agriculture, and other "non-point sources" have proven more difficult to address. This book concludes that too little coordination among the 10 states along the river has left the Mississippi River an "orphan" from a water quality monitoring and assessment perspective. Stronger leadership from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is needed to address these problems. Specifically, the EPA should establish a water quality data-sharing system for the length of the river, and work with the states to establish and achieve water quality standards. The Mississippi River corridor states also should be more proactive and cooperative in their water quality programs. For this effort, the EPA and the Mississippi River states should draw upon the lengthy experience of federal-interstate cooperation in managing water quality in the Chesapeake Bay.
At a time when scientific and technological competence is vital to the nation's future, the weak performance of U.S. students in science reflects the uneven quality of current science education. Although young children come to school with innate curiosity and intuitive ideas about the world around them, science classes rarely tap this potential. Many experts have called for a new approach to science education, based on recent and ongoing research on teaching and learning. In this approach, simulations and games could play a significant role by addressing many goals and mechanisms for learning science: the motivation to learn science, conceptual understanding, science process skills, understanding of the nature of science, scientific discourse and argumentation, and identification with science and science learning.

To explore this potential, Learning Science: Computer Games, Simulations, and Education, reviews the available research on learning science through interaction with digital simulations and games. It considers the potential of digital games and simulations to contribute to learning science in schools, in informal out-of-school settings, and everyday life. The book also identifies the areas in which more research and research-based development is needed to fully capitalize on this potential.

Learning Science will guide academic researchers; developers, publishers, and entrepreneurs from the digital simulation and gaming community; and education practitioners and policy makers toward the formation of research and development partnerships that will facilitate rich intellectual collaboration. Industry, government agencies and foundations will play a significant role through start-up and ongoing support to ensure that digital games and simulations will not only excite and entertain, but also motivate and educate.


Traditionally, vocational mathematics and precollege mathematics have been separate in schools. But the technological world in which today's students will work and live calls for increasing connection between mathematics and its applications. Workplace-based mathematics may be good mathematics for everyone.
High School Mathematics at Work illuminates the interplay between technical and academic mathematics. This collection of thought-provoking essays--by mathematicians, educators, and other experts--is enhanced with illustrative tasks from workplace and everyday contexts that suggest ways to strengthen high school mathematical education.
This important book addresses how to make mathematical education of all students meaningful--how to meet the practical needs of students entering the work force after high school as well as the needs of students going on to postsecondary education.
The short readable essays frame basic issues, provide background, and suggest alternatives to the traditional separation between technical and academic mathematics. They are accompanied by intriguing multipart problems that illustrate how deep mathematics functions in everyday settings--from analysis of ambulance response times to energy utilization, from buying a used car to "rounding off" to simplify problems.
The book addresses the role of standards in mathematics education, discussing issues such as finding common ground between science and mathematics education standards, improving the articulation from school to work, and comparing SAT results across settings.
Experts discuss how to develop curricula so that students learn to solve problems they are likely to encounter in life--while also providing them with approaches to unfamiliar problems. The book also addresses how teachers can help prepare students for postsecondary education.
For teacher education the book explores the changing nature of pedagogy and new approaches to teacher development. What kind of teaching will allow mathematics to be a guide rather than a gatekeeper to many career paths? Essays discuss pedagogical implication in problem-centered teaching, the role of complex mathematical tasks in teacher education, and the idea of making open-ended tasks--and the student work they elicit--central to professional discourse.
High School Mathematics at Work presents thoughtful views from experts. It identifies rich possibilities for teaching mathematics and preparing students for the technological challenges of the future. This book will inform and inspire teachers, teacher educators, curriculum developers, and others involved in improving mathematics education and the capabilities of tomorrow's work force.

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