Authors: Michele Torrey
Tags: #Ages 9 & Up
ow did Nell write the secret message in
urging Drake to hurry over to Nature Headquarters? Writing and decoding the same secret message is easy—once you know how. Follow these simple steps for some super-sleuthing techniques of the secret sort.
• clear tape
• rolling pin or paper-towel tube
1. Cut strips of paper ½-inch wide.
2. Tape the strips of paper end to end, until you have one very loooonnnng piece of paper.
3. Tape one end of the strip to one end of the rolling pin. Draw a dot on the end of the paper strip to indicate where the message begins.
4. Wrap the paper around the rolling pin as if you were wrapping a mummy. The edges should touch each other, but not overlap. Tape other end in place. (Cut the paper strip if it is too long.)
5. Using one paper segment for each letter, write your message.
6. Send your roll of paper to your partner. (Never fear. If it is intercepted, it will look like nonsense.)
7. To read, your partner simply wraps your message around a rolling pin or cylinder of the
same diameter, beginning with the dot. (Paper-towel tubes, tin cans, and soda cans are some examples of cylinders that would work.)
Good Science Tip
If you use a paper-towel tube to create your message, your friend will not be able to decode it with a tin can. The diameter is the key to getting the letters in the message to line up just right. Make sure that you and your fellow detectives have cylinders with identical diameters, or else your secret messages will be more like secret
, “Plan A,” Drake disguised himself as a tourist, while Nell dressed up as a shopper. Ready for undercover operations. Ready to nab Jake the Snake.
The illegal wildlife trade is serious business. Criminals like Jake the Snake get rich, while animal populations disappear from wild habitats. Some even become extinct. The sad fact is that the U.S. and Europe are the
consumers of illegal wildlife products, whether it’s a live parrot or a carving made from elephant ivory.
While you won’t be doing any investigation into the illegal wildlife trade, you can certainly do your part by becoming a smart shopper and a top-notch tourist. Here are some tips:
1. If your family decides to purchase an unusual pet, such as a parrot or exotic reptile, be certain it is captive bred. Many animals that are illegal if caught in the wild are perfectly legal when born and raised in captivity by a licensed breeder. Before a parrot chick is three weeks old, the breeder slips a seamless, coded, metal band onto the chick’s leg. The chick is now closed-banded. This ensures that the bird was not captured in the wild.
Be a smart shopper and know what you’re getting into. Check out the following Web sites for more information:
2. If you’re feeling under the weather and need some medicine, be aware that many medicines from Asia contain such things as tiger bones and rhinoceros horn. Know the ingredients! Be a smart shopper and don’t buy these products!
3. If you’re traveling as a tourist, it’s a good idea to stay away from any product—ivory, tortoiseshell, fur, feathers, skins, etc.—made from animals. By buying these items, you are often unknowingly supporting illegal hunting (also called poaching).
4. When traveling, don’t allow your photo to be taken next to a baby animal such as a baby chimpanzee or a tiger cub. What tourists don’t realize is that often the animal mother was killed just to kidnap the baby. Charging money for photographs is a way for these kidnappers (called poachers) to make a living. While this example doesn’t necessarily cross international borders, tourism makes it possible. Be a top-notch tourist and don’t say cheese!
Did you know?
Recently a smuggler like Jake the Snake was arrested while attempting to leave his country with illegal wildlife. What was the wildlife? you ask. Lizards. A dozen of them. And where did he hide the lizards? you ask. In his underwear! Yikes!