This week we had the community forum. Our presentation set up was very engaging. We had our poster up. The three categories on the poster explained the problem, the solution, and our tests results. We also showed an image of a horse in a fire, to help get people to support our cause. Next we had a graph from a survey we sent out, showing that people supported our cause. Thirdly, we put pictures from the stages of our testing. We also had our video presented, as well as our website open with our blogs. We started our presentation by summarizing what was discussed on our poster. Then we explained the graph, followed by showing which picture corresponded to which part of our testing. Meanwhile, throughout our whole presentation, the video of our testing was playing through.
We prepared for the community forum by designing our poster and doing our tests. The poster was the key part of our presentation, and it wouldn’t have been a real project without the tests. We also both read through the poster multiple times so we would know the jist of what to say to the people we were talking to. I think we were well enough prepared and did well.
With this community forum experience we learned many things. The first thing I learned was how much we knew about this project, and how in depth we had actually gone. We always knew what to say and could answer any question we were presented with. Second we learned how much we cared about this. It made us happy when people were really engaged in what we were saying because it meant our ideals were shared with others and it showed how this really is an important issue. One thing I think we could have improved on was making our setup more engaging, so that it drew more people in. Throughout the forum, our presentation improved every time, so we learned how to better talk to people and how to make people interested.
I think the community forum was a good way to begin to close this project and it really raised our awareness for how important of an issue we have been working with for these past few months.
The conclusion of our solution implementation is that both dirt or sand will work for these areas. This may make it more accecible to others. We found that the dirt could even be old soil. To implement our idea we tested if the sand or dirt would burn. To do this we set up a model and built a fire in it and even on it and the dirt or sand never burned. We even used the sand to put out the fire. Our data taught us that this product could be very effective and that the fact that dirt also works may make this cheaper. To change and increase our impact we could’ve gone out and told animal owners about this idea to see if they would use it or consider it. We haven’t recieved any feedback since our last feedback post, but we’ll keep you posted!
This week Jane and I planned for making our model, testing, and made our floorplan. We also Skyped with expert, James (Jim) Cullor about this issue.
Our model is going to be built in a plastic bin. In the middle of this bin, we will have sand, with bunches of plants and paper surrounding. We will place “animals” on the sand area and light the plants on fire. We’ll see if the sand area burned and measure the amount each part burned. We are considering trying it with different materials aside from sand. One may be dirt/soil.
While Skyping Mr. Cullor he gave us lots of helpful info/advice. Some suggestions he made for how to improve our solution/idea. First he suggested that we need a way for the transition to be done quickly, as well as how to safely move the animals. Cows especially, get scared quite easily, so the transition has to be smooth and calming for them, so no bright lights, loud noises, etc. Also, when people practice things they get good at them, but it is always harder under pressure. Mr. Cullor suggested that the people who would be moving the animals would be experienced and know what they are doing, to ensure no chaos or panic. We also asked him which animals could stay in an area together. According to Mr. Cullor, cattle, sheep, goats, llamas, and some calm, well-trained horses could stay in one area. He said the ducks and geese would fly away. The only one we are still wondering about is pigs. When asked what would make farmers hesitant, he responded with the price. It would be an expensive project, but we think saving the animals is worth it. He suggested that we visit local fire stations, and talk with them about our idea as well. He was very helpful with our project and made us have a better understanding of the community we are working with.
Then we did the tests. We first made a small fire on a dirt base. This fire was built of sticks/twigs, leaves, and newspaper to help get it going. Since the flame was above it, it did burn, but none of the dirt burnt. In a real life scenario, the scale would be bigger, so the flames couldn’t travel above it. This test proved that in our solution we could use dirt or sand, whichever would be more accessible. Test two was with the sand. We put a sand base in the middle, surrounded by a dirt ring. On the ring we built a ring of sticks, twigs, and newspaper. This burnt around it but wouldn’t travel on the sand. During this test we tried lighting the sand directly, and it wouldn’t light, it just put out the flame. This proves that the sand would work as well. Then we built a large fire directly on the sand, and the sand got warm from the heat, but was otherwise left as before. This proves that both of these solutions would work, and so it really is left to personal preference or price range.
Our plan for the coming week is to propose this plan to people, experts, or possible clients, to see if this could actually be a considered possibility. This week furthered our understanding of the project, and made us more committed and dedicated to our cause.
A couple days ago we got feedback from some faculty at our school. This was VERY helpful! We got a lot of great new ideas and we smoothed out some of the kinks in our solution. We learned that our solution would only work if we were able to find a calming way to lead the animals to the are because it is very difficult to get animals where you want them to go in a hurry. Add on top of that the stress from the fire. So to fix this we decided we would connect the area to the barn and hopefully pasture/turnout area so that wherever the animals are it is a quick and easy move. We want to have a pathway that will make it so that the animals have a clear way to go. We believe that if we can get at least one animal to to this many will catch on and it will become much easier. We also realize that not all farmers will be able to afford all the materials needed for this project, so we are going to ask for donations. We think that this would be the most effective way to help the animals and farmers and that it will be an easy addition to any farm. We are working with any small scale farm in a wildfire prone area. We think that this idea will be more effective for small farms because not the area won’t be able to contain enough animals for large ranches/farms. We believe our solution will be very effective and helpful. We think that this area can be used for more than just an evacuation area, farmers can use it all year round for many different needs as well. We hope you are as excited as we are! We will be testing our solution soon and we can’t wait to see how it goes. Our solution will help rescuers in the process of saving animals and will prevent animals getting hurt or hurting others during wildfires. When collecting data we will see where the area is affected by the fire the most and we will see what does and doesn’t work in our idea.
Over the last week our group made lots of progress. We finalized our problem, researched more, and we brainstormed solutions. The work we did this week brought us way closer to an actual solution.
Our specific problem is that farmers are losing livestock in wildfires because they can’t get to the animals in time. We narrowed down to this through multiple steps. First we did a broad brainstorm mind map on disasters. Then we did another narrowing it down to preparation for animals. We researched on which disasters affected animals the most, and decided on wildfires. Often, animals are just left to die in wildfires with no way of escape. Some information we learned from research this week is the following. Some direct impacts on animals are smoke inhalation, physical harm from flames and heat, and loss of land and food. In fires like the Thomas Fire, it came so fast that there was no time to save the animals. Also, cutting fences and letting the animals go can often be more dangerous that’s just leaving them. The often wander on to roads and can injure drivers and cause accidents.
We decided on a solution we thought would protect animals in case of fire. Basically, the animals would live in their normal habitat on the farm, but there would be emergency access to an area of sand. Sand isn’t flammable, so the people living there could let the animals into the sand area, and then evacuate themselves. Therefore they would be kept safe from the flames. With this solution, the people and the animals would be kept safe. They might be stuck there for a while, but it’s better than nothing. We have multiple aspects of our solution though. Also, so the animals wouldn’t go hungry from being there for that long, there would be a trough with their food, so they would be able to eat during that period of time. With the fence being made of a fire proof material, we will make something like humidifiers for the animals to purify the air since many animals die from the smoke inhalation rather than the heat or the fire itself. All these solutions will lead to the protection of livestock.
One current solution being implemented to keep livestock safe is evacuating them early, before the fire arrives. Also animals can be led to follow trucks out. Most farmers have plans for what to do if they know the fire is coming in advance. Most fatalities occur when the fires come quickly and they have no time to prepare or help the animals. These solutions work, but are not 100%. If they use the methods to get the cattle to the sand, this will be effective. They cannot be caught in flames in this area.
I’m Sasha! I am in seventh grade and I go to Windward School. The recent California fires impacted people I know, so I'm interested in creating a project to help animals in this situation.
I’m Jane! I am in seventh grade and I go to Windward School. I love animals and I think this will be a fun project!
Our broad topic for this CBL project is disasters. We chose this topic because there are many options within this topic and it would be interesting to explore the different types of disasters. We have all been very interested in making a difference in our community/Los Angeles.
We want to help the ones in need after disasters that take place in California. This is why we needed to narrow down our focus.
The subtopic that we chose was how to prepare for animals getting hurt, lost, or dying in disasters. We are compelled to focus on this subtopic because we feel that many communities do not focus on animal preparation for disasters. We see the problem here and want to help because animals need to be safe too.
We came to this subtopic with lots of work and discussion. We are all animal lovers and wanted to do something about the animals who need help during disasters. By finding a way to prepare for natural disasters that impact animals is really important to protecting our environment.