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How is the winter solstice around the world?

For many parts of the World, the winter season has arrived (or perhaps summer); depending on which hemisphere you live in. But let us consider how winter is described in the Northern Hemisphere. The solstice and equinox dates mark the beginning of summer and winter, with the solstice date in June being the longest day of summer and equinox date in September being the beginning of fall. But what is the marking point of winter?

Winter begins with the solstice date in December. On this date, the winter solstice was the longest night or shortest day in the calendar year. As the Earth rotates around its own axis and around the Sun, the Sun has reached its lowest point. This created the darkest day of the calendar year for people that live in the Northern Hemisphere.

Field of trees covered with snow

Since there is little or no sunlight, it is definitely the beginning for trees to completely lose its leaves, for animals to finish collecting food and gather all necessary resources, for most birds to migrate, and other animals to hibernate. Many places where winter is prevalent, snow, snowstorms, and very extreme cold temperatures will dominate for months.

This type of condition prevents animals from seeking and hunting food and water. To compensate for this, animals have evolved to hibernate or migrate to other places on Earth to survive. In this way, animals are able to conserve energy or seek other sources of food to endure the winter season.

This is also an opportunity to await the arrival of their offspring, which will continue on with the genetic legacy of the species. The arrival of newly offspring in spring ensures the continuity of the species and evolution.

What are some signs that winter or summer has arrived in your hometown?

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Hibernation: How Animals Prepare for Winter

hibernation

Hibernation is one of the most exciting times for animals. Many animals get ready for the long, cold months of winter.

They’ve probably spent most of the fall season gathering all the food they could possibly collect to prepare for hibernation. But what are the preparations for the winter?

According to Webster dictionary, hibernation is

“to be or become inactive or dormant”

or a better way to look at this is animals take a very long winter vacation. During hibernation, animals that perform this condition have lower body temperature, conserve energy by decreasing physical mobility, and decrease metabolic rate.

These types of animals conserve energy by reducing their metabolism, a chemical process that converts stored fat into energy. Studies have shown that animals, which hibernate, have a decrease in heart rate, causing a slow down of their metabolism.

In this way, these animals such as bears are able to use their stored fat and convert it into energy. That’s why bears, in particular, eat sufficient foods like nuts, berries, insects, fish, and roots.

As a result, these fatty foods increase body mass and fat. Foods rich in fat content are salmon and nuts.

hibernation

How do Animals Hibernate?

Fatty acids, special components in these foods, are biochemically converted to energy precursors like glycerol. Fat also serves as a great insulator. Since the cold winter months lack the provision of food due to weather change, these animals must hibernate in secluded areas to keep warm and survive until the spring season.

For some animals, it is also a reproduction stage, where they await the birth of their offspring. Examples of animals that hibernate are mammals like bears, bats, hamsters, skunks, and raccoons.

For instance, bears that hibernate are polar bears, black bears, and grizzly bears to name a few common species. These animals live in very cold environments where the winter season can last up to 6 months.

The places bear like to hibernate are caves or dens to keep other predators away and protect their offspring when spring comes. Bears and other animals get ready for winter by gathering and hunting for food.

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Windmills: Powerful tools for renewable energy

Ever wonder how that water gets to the farm and the animals there. Ever wonder how the grain in your cereal box, pasta, or bread gets there. Ever wonder what that big tower with spinning blades on a field in a farm is for.

Those mechanical towers are called windmills. According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, windmill is

“a mill or machine operated by the wind usually acting on oblique vanes or sails that radiate from a horizontal shaft; especially: a wind-driven water pump or electric generator.”

In turn, windmills helped in the process of food production and water pumping, which were essential aspects of farming.

One of the essential functions of windmills is as mill grinder for grains. To grind the grains harvested by farmers, a grinding stone was adhered to a shaft. This stone was used to grind the grains into flour and other materials. But electric powered machineries later replaced windmill grain grinders.

Another important function of a windmill in farming was and still is pumping water. Within 1850 and 1970, water-pumping windmills were widely used by farmers. As wind occurs naturally in plains of farms, the multi-bladed turbine on top of the tower gathers its force. This wind power is converted to energy, which travels through rods down to a cylindrical pump. Hence, this pump moves the water to reservoirs for consumption and other uses. This method of wind pump is still in used today in many rural areas in the United States, Australia, and Southern Africa. Many of these places don’t have power lines installed or it’s too expensive to have electricity. For these communities, windmills provide a necessary renewable energy source.

Wind can power many unthinkable machines that can help in everyday life. And these ways of living are still in used today by those communities that lack electrical power. As we feel the breezes in our faces when wind blows by, we may want to think that wind is more than a science effect. It’s a natural aspect of living that can provide alternate ways of energy as it was observed by past historical events. In fact, water pumping is still in used today. And wind turbines are still in effect to provide clean renewable energy. So, when you fly that kite or blow those bubbles, think that maybe wind can also power so much more.