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The Best of Our Knowledge # 949

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wamc/local-wamc-783677.mp3

Albany, NY – GEOGRAPHY AWARENESS WEEK -

TBOOK joins with the National Geographic Society and schools all across the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico in celebrating Geography Awareness Week.

Geography Awareness Week has been held annually in November since 1987. Its purpose is to promote geographic education in schools and the public.

We begin our journey today by speaking with adventurer, Dr. Mike Heithaus, reverently referred to simply as "Dr. Mike."

Dr. Heithaus is a Behavioral Ecologist, and a Professor of Marine Biology at Florida International University in North Miami.

He has been involved with the National Geographic Channel's Everyday Explorer program, and also helped develop and deploy the Crittercam he used for 13 exciting episodes which can now all be viewed online with accompanying classroom plans and printable coloring book pages on marine creatures.

Glenn Busby reports. (8:33)

**(As we mentioned at the conclusion of the above story, for teachers, students and parents who would like to see more about Everyday Explorer and the Crittercam, go to National Geographic's website at: www.nationalgeographic.com. For a virtual tour of the exhibition that's going on the road to a town near you, there's www.crittercamexhibit.org .)**

THREE UNIVERSITY STUDENTS GROWING SUSTAINABLE LOBSTERS -

Staying with our theme of geography awareness, and last story about water adventures TBOOK travels next all the way down to the Philippines.

Three Wageningen University students have set up a company which specializes in farming sustainable spiny lobsters. They're also known as rock lobsters or crayfish in other parts of the world. And these students have just won the 2008 Students' Entrepreneur Prize. Plus, last year they also won an award from the Business in Development (BID) Challenge. The business plan for their company, South Sea Exclusive, combines sustainability, education, and development assistance.

We talk with 26-year old Peter van der Werf, an Environmental Studies student at the Wageningen University and Research Centre.

Thijs Westerbeek from Radio Netherlands reports. (5:42)

FEDERAL SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL PROGRAM

KIDS AND PARENTS HAVE A "WALK-IN" TO SCHOOL IN ATTEMPT TO REGAIN SOME GEOGRAPHY -

Lots of us probably remember a time when walking and bicycling to school was a part of everyday life. By the late 60s, about half of all students walked or biked to school Forty years later, the story is much different. According to Federal Highway Administration reports, fewer than 15% of all school trips are made by walking or biking. One-quarter are made on a school bus. And over half of all children arrive at school in private automobiles.

This decline in walking and bicycling has had an adverse effect on traffic congestion and air quality around schools, as well as, pedestrian and bicycle safety. Plus, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, children who lead sedentary lifestyles are at risk for a variety of health problems including obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

But the CDC also says parents believe safety issues are a big concern. Parents cite traffic dangers as a reason why their children are unable to bicycle or walk to school.

Enter, the Federal Safe Routes to School program. It's hoped that SRTS will encourage and support communities to make walking and bicycling to school a safe and routine activity, again. The program makes funding available for a large variety of local programs and projects.

To get a handle on what we're talking about, we went for a first-hand look to a community in the Midwest, where parents and students were having a "walk-in" to school.

Shawn Allee from The Environment Report. (3:30)

**(Attention Parents, Students, and Teachers. The website mentioned in the above story for garnering additional information to use in your community, is the National Center for Safe Routes to School at www.saferoutesinfo.org.)**