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Dinosaur Train - Drought!

Don and Buddy discover that the weather's been very dry lately. (IMAGE: The Jim Henson Company. All Rights Reserved.)
Don and Buddy discover that the weather's been very dry lately. (IMAGE: The Jim Henson Company. All Rights Reserved.)

The third episode of “Dinosaur Train – Weather Week” is titled “Dry Times at Pteranodon Terrace/Big Misty Sea Fishing Contest”. In this episode, the Pteranodon Family notices that the weather has been extremely dry for several weeks: Don’s water holes have dried up, and the leaves are crunching under everyone’s feet. Mrs. Petranodon explains to the kids that a drought is occurring, and that many animals and plants find ways to adapt to the drier conditions.

After the Pteranodon’s neighbors announces that they will be moving away in search of more water, Mrs. Pteranodon decides that it may be a good time to head to the Big Pond to cool off. The Pteranodon Family hops on the Dinosaur Train, where Mr. Conductor explains how the drought is an interruption in the water cycle.

The Water Cycle

The Water Cycle, courtesy of the USGS.

Finally, Dr. Scott the Paleontologist explains that droughts occur in modern times, too, and that many modern animals use techniques developed by ancient ancestors to adapt to the drier conditions. Animals like camels, and plants like cacti, give an indication on how ancient species survived Jurassic droughts.

Here in Georgia, we oscillate between periods of rain and drought. Lately, though, the state has experience significant drought periods. For example, during the summer of 2007, then-Governor Sonny Perdue declared the northern third portion of Georgia in a State of Emergency, and he requested federal assistance due to the widespread drought.

Georgia Drought Monitor August 2007

Georgia Drought Monitor from August 2007

On December 26, 2007, Lake Lanier set a record low of 1,050.79 feet; by comparison, its “full summer pool” level is 1,071 feet. At that time, the concern was that Lake Lanier only had 3 months of water left in it, and Georgia became embroiled in a “water war” with Alabama and Florida. Businesses and residents of the state adapted by restricting the watering of plants, turning off decorative fountains, and collecting “grey water” and rainwater for gardening and yards. Thankfully, rains returned in March 2009, however the state fluctuates between periods of wetness and dryness throughout the years, especially around summer time. Currently, the southwestern corner of Georgia is experiencing exceptional drought conditions, with the southern third of the state experiencing a lesser degree of drought conditions.

January 2012 Georgia Drought Monitor

Need some help beating the drought this year? The Georgia Environmental Protection Division and the Georgia Department of National Resources have some tips for you!

I hope you are excited to watch this episode of the Dinosaur Train! Episode #209 will air on GPB on Thursday, February 9th at 8:30am and again at 1:00pm. Let me know what you think about this episode, Nature Trackers! Also, let me know your tips for conserving water during a drought!

Additional Resources You May Like
List of Dinosaur Train - Weather Week Episodes
The USGS Explains the Water Cycle
Georgia Environmental Protection Division
Georgia Department of National Resources
Dr. Scott the Paleontologist's Blog
Dinosaur Train Activity Coloring Sheet
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