Tuesday, February 12, 2008
In search of the elusive Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus
Last month, Walter Minkel asked, "Are Young People "Experts" in Googling?" While the post was more about satisfactory results in internet searches than it was about determining the accuracy of the information found, I was reminded of my school librarian friend Seattle-Jane and her use of the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus (Octopus paxarbolis) in library instruction. As she walks her students through the site that explains why the Tree Octopus is an endangered species, what one can do to help save it, and other pertinent points, inevitably one or two children say that they in fact have seen the tree octopus in their backyards. Seattle-Jane doesn't have a mean bone in her body, so she gently lets her students down and talks about how to have a healthy skepticism of the internet.
Take a look at the site. It's quite thorough. However, I am a bit dismayed that the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus has a new predator: the Japanese Maple Octopus (the picture is at the bottom of the page).
02/13/08 update: Here is an article about the use of the Tree Octopus website in classrooms: Tentacled Tree Hugger Disarms Seventh Graders, by Matthew Bettelheim.