A Certain Something in the Air

Catch the Scent!

The atmosphere plays an important role in how our planet functions. It protects us from the sun's rays and regulates our climate, making our survival possible.

The atmosphere is an ocean of gases that we live in and breathe in all the time. Describe the odours you can smell in the air:

  • Salty?
  • Floral?
  • Diesel?
  • Other?

What direction is the wind blowing from? What did you do to find out?

See any clouds in the sky? How are they shaped and what does their shape tell you?

Cirrus cloud. Photo: © iStockphoto.com/choicegraphx

Cirrus: Located high in the sky, cirrus clouds sometimes indicate that rain is coming.

Cumulus cloud. Source: Photodisc

Cumulus: Located low in the sky, these clouds often appear in good weather. In the hot, humid days of summer, they can transform into cumulonimbus clouds.

Stratus cloud. Source: Photodisc

Stratus: Usually sitting fairly low in the sky, stratus clouds often cause "grey" days and can herald storms or drizzle.

Cumulonimbus cloud.  Photo: © iStockphoto.com/Kalulu

Cumulonimbus: These are large grey clouds, taller than they are wide; in summer, they are a sign of stormy weather.

Eco-friendly tips for clean air:

  • Walk, use your bicycle, car-pool or take a ferry or a bus.
  • When you are waiting in a car, avoid idling the engine.
  • Consult the Air Quality Health Index when planning your next outing.

Urban Biodiversity

HRM is teeming with natural and restored habitats. The harbour and green spaces like Point Pleasant Park are important because they offer habitats for plants and animals that help maintain the HRM's urban ecosystem.

Shape Gazing

Generally speaking, the more species there are, the healthier the environment.

How many different shapes of trees can you find? Are the trees healthy? Look at the leaves. Are they spotted, insect-eaten or yellow?

If you examine red maples and sugar maples in the park, you may see black blotches on the leaves. These marks are caused by a fungus called tar spot. When raking affected leaves, do not add them to your compost pile, as this will harm other plants.