Endangered Florida Panthers
By Delany, Grade 9

Endangered species are plants or animals whose populations are so small that they may soon become extinct. Florida has one of the longest lists of endangered species in the nation.

One of the many endangered species in Florida is the Florida Panther. They are large cats with long tails and slender bodies; and like many endangered species in Florida they are in danger because of human activities (especially habitat loss).

In 1982, the Florida Panther was chosen as the Florida state animal. However, they are not only listed as a Florida endangered species, but as federal endangered species and have been since 1967. This is because people killed Florida panthers thinking they were dangerous and would attack. The truth is that the panthers would most likely try to avoid the humans rather than attack them, and there are no records of a Florida panther attacking a human.

Florida Panthers are born with spots but the spots completely disappear by the time they are about two years old. At the same time they are losing their spots, they are most likely leaving their mother and going to live on their own.

As the Florida Panther gets older its weight changes.  A full grown male weighs up to 140 pounds. A full grown female can weigh up to 80 pounds. The panther’s diet is mostly white tail deer and sometimes wild hogs, raccoons, armadillos, birds and sometimes small alligators.

Some of the things that are being done to help these great cats are natural areas being protected to give them a place to live and breed. There are also many people helping to clean up trash so no animal will eat or get injured by it. There are many ways to protect endangered species but sometimes many people in our state do not follow these instructions.

There are societies for the panthers like The Florida Panther Society, where they capture injured panthers and nurse them back to health.

It is very important to keep Florida Panthers as safe as possible.


Space Shuttle Endeavor's Final Journey
By Delany, Grade 9

NASA's countdown clocks began ticking again for the next-to-last space shuttle mission, the launch of Endeavor. 

The launch was originally scrubbed due to an electrical problem aboard the shuttle. Jeff Spaulding, a NASA test director, reported that “everything was on track this time around, and the most likely culprit for last month’s failed launch was an exposed conductor on a thermostat.” The thermostat was replaced and a new switch box was installed.

Endeavor lifted into the sky one final time at 8:56 A.M. on Monday, May 16th, 2011.

April 29 – the original launch attempt - NASA had more people than expected with 700,000 or more onlookers surrounding the nearby roads and towns. “Now they expect a much smaller crowd of possibly around 500,000” said Spaulding. That would still be a larger crowd than the 400,000 who came out for Discovery's final voyage in February.

There was 6 crew members on board; Commander Mark Kelly, mission specialists Greg Chamitoff, Andrew Feustel, and Mike Fincke, European Space Agency astronaut Roberto Vittori, and pilot Greg H. Johnson. The astronauts arrived at NASA on Thursday, May 12, in preparation for their space voyage.

Endeavor made its 25th and final journey. It flew to the International Space Station and delivered a $2 billion science experiment. There were four spacewalks planned during its 16-day mission. When Endeavor was at the space station, the Russian Soyuz capsule will depart. Soyuz will return to Earth with half of the current six-person space station crew, leaving behind three space station residents and the six shuttle astronauts to manage the work load.

Endeavor is the newest of NASA's three shuttles. It was built to replace the Challenger shuttle, which was lost in a 1986 launch accident.

However, NASA is wrapping up the 30-year shuttle program due to the government cancelling the program. They plan to cut human space travel and will concentrate on expedition to Mars.

Only one final shuttle flight remains, Atlantis, in July.


Melissa Martinez
6/28/2011 08:07:28 am

Interesting topics Lany. I really enjoyed them both. Keep up the good work. Nana


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