Wednesday, February 23, 2011

They're back! Check out our teachers' Costa Rica pictures

Our teachers recently returned from an amazing 5-day adventure in paradise where they received expert training from Discovery experts on their upcoming student trips. They've posted tons of great photos from their whirlwind trip on our Facebook page. Vote for your favorite by clicking the "Like" button. Be sure to leave your comments, too.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Our teachers have arrived in sunny Costa Rica!

It didn't take long for the welcome wagon to greet our group at the beautiful Barcelo Langosta Beach Resort. Shortly after their arrival on Thursday, scores of Holwer monkeys appeared in the treetops surrounding the pool as teachers settled in for 5 fabulous days in Costa Rica. Follow their blog!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Fewer cubs for polar bear mothers

The Arctic can be a harsh and unforgiving environment. It can be particularly tough on polar bear mothers, which fast for at least four months while they give birth to and suckle their cubs in dens they have hollowed out of snowdrifts. Accordingly, in the time before they enter those dens, they gorge, packing on the pounds to see them through the lean times ahead.

And when they emerge, they are understandably keen to replenish themselves, and encourage their occasionally recalcitrant youngsters to pick up the pace on their way to the sea ice.

Sometimes, a polar bear will give birth to one cub, sometimes three, most often two. Sometimes, however, the demands are just too great: Lacking the energy to see the pregnancy to its conclusion, a mother's body may reabsorb the fetus or fetuses, allowing her to emerge, resume feeding and, come spring, mate once more; on occasion - how frequently is unknown--she may give birth but be so malnourished that she is forced to eat one or more of her offspring.

A new study in the journal Nature Communications has shown that the size of a litter--and the likelihood of reproductive success--is strongly correlated to the amount of weight that a pregnant female is able to accumulate prior to entering the den. The greater the amount of fat, the larger the energy store to sustain her and her cubs. Of course, the less time the female has to eat, the less opportunity she has to build up that energy store--and, in parts of their range, polar bears have less time to eat than in the past.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Bound for beautiful Costa Rica

Our Educator Professional Development Trip to Costa Rica is just around the corner and qualifying teachers are preparing for 5 unforgettable days immersed in luxury at an oceanfront resort. During their stay in paradise, Discovery teachers will soar above the tree tops on a zip line, stroll white sandy beaches of the Pacific, explore a lush rainforest on horseback, and experience unique cultures. Most importantly, they’ll receive expert training from Discovery staff on how to ensure they have the times of their lives exploring a new part of the world with their students later this year. Follow their adventure on our Costa Rica blog.

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