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Large dairy farms with many cows will also have large amounts of manure to handle. One farm, called Wildcat Dairy, is so large that some of the 40 employees do nothing but deal with manure all day, every day. The cows leave their stalls to go get milked, and while they’re gone the workers come and clean out the stalls. There’s a concrete alley that collects the waste, but some solids in the stalls need to be pushed out to the alleys. The tank-pump, towed by a tractor, collects the waste in the alleys. The waste gets sprayed on a field to dry, and once it’s dry enough it will be spread on fields where crops will be grown. These crops are then fed to the cows, who produce the milk and more manure. And so the cycle continues.

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Article condensed from: The New York Times, Tuesday, December 29, 2009

On the Farm, a Cycle of Waste That Does Not End

Picture from Flickr:

Cook’s Dairy Cows

Originally uploaded by lee.ekstrom

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Above is an example of a very short condensed article that will appear in the first newsletter of Noah’s Ark Wetlands Foundation. Part of our core mandate is to educate schoolchildren, to bring awareness about environmental science and the natural world, and we’ll do that by providing a monthly newsletter with a number of articles of varying lengths. This should give them a taste of what’s available to know about environmental issues and beauties and innovations.

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Plants That Conserve Water

Scientists are hoping to engineer plants so they require less water to grow. Plants need carbon dioxide to survive and flourish, and they need water to take in the carbon dioxide. They have openings on their leaves, called stoma, which take in carbon dioxide and release water. If there are lower levels of carbon dioxide in the air, their stoma will need to be open wider. In the case of the elevated carbon dioxide levels today – about 40% higher than in the preindustrial era – it may be possible for plants to decrease the opening of their stoma and still gain enough carbon dioxide. The smaller opening would also mean that less water was lost, which means those taking care of the plants could give them less water.

Some plants are not sensitive enough to carbon dioxide levels, so scientists are hoping to genetically alter the plants with more carbon dioxide sensors. Being able to sense the increased carbon dioxide levels will enable the plants to conserve water better. This will be useful in areas where water is more scarce.

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Article condensed from: The New York Times, Tuesday, December 29, 2009

“Findings on How Plants Breathe May Save Water”

Picture from Flickr:

Stoma

Originally uploaded by Ian Geldard

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