Easy Butterfly Origami

My new book, Easy Butterfly Origami features 30 bold full-color patterns designed to accurately portray the dorsal and ventral sides of some of the most beautiful butterflies from around the world!

Origami Folding Tips

Origami, from the Japanese ori (to fold) and kami (paper), began in the 6th century when Buddhist monks introduced paper to Japan. The print-and-fold crafts and easy diagrams are designed to help children with fine motor skills, directions and hand eye coordination. Some basic origami folding tips:
  • Print and cut out patterns carefully.
  • Fold with clean, dry hands.
  • Follow the instructions. Study the diagrams and be patient.
  • Be precise: fold each crease well, flattening the creases by running your fingertip over the fold.
  • Folding the paper away from you is easier than folding towards you.
  • Be creative...use your origami on greeting cards, holiday decorations, table place cards and bookmarks.

World Environment Day: Biodiversity

Many Species. One Planet. One Future.

June 5th is World Environment Day (WED), established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972 as a day to highlight the political, social and economic problems of the global environment.

2010's theme focuses on biodiversity and will start with the Environmental and Conservation Conference in Rwanda. In addition to hosting three days of keynote speeches addressing strategies to restore "forests and freshwaters to mangroves and wetlands" through sustainable development and measures to combat poverty, the Rwandan government has organized a community tree planting involving 10,000 participants.

In North America, the city of Pittsburgh has been chosen to host the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Click here for a list of WED activities for the entire family.

What is biodiversity and why is it important?
Biodiversity is the rich variety of life on earth. This includes plants, animals and even the tiniest microorganisms, creatures that can only be seen under a microscope.
Biodiversity is more than just preserving wildlife  so that our grandchildren can enjoy gorillas, whales and tigers. The environment is very complex, and even the tiniest creatures play very important roles.

In Hawaii, scientists dangle from steep rock cliffs hundreds of feet off the ground to hand-pollinate a rare plant, the alula (Brighamia insignis).  Why? Because in nature, flowering plants are pollinated by birds and insects--this is how plants reproduce and thrive. In the case of the alula, its natural pollinator, possibly a small native moth, has gone extinct.

This means that without the scientists' help, the alula plant will also go extinct (left).

What are keystone species?
Keystone species is a species--plant, animal or otherwise--that is so important to an ecosystem that its removal will have a dramatic effect on the surrounding environment.
The sea otter is an example of a keystone species. Sea otters feed on urchins, which in turn feed on kelp. Without sea otters, urchins are free to reproduce, eating their way through kelp forests and thus destroying vital habitat for fish and shellfish.

Read more about kelp forest ecocsystems: http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/about/ecosystems/kelpdesc.html

Fold an origami sea otter.

How does biodiversity affect ME?
We always hear about how little is known about the rainforest and the potential forest remedies that will be lost with its destruction. What most of us don't know is that many of our life-saving medicines already come from plants and animals found in nature.
Here's a short list of some of the many drugs that have their origin in nature:
  • ARA-C, to treat cancer: Caribbean sponge
  • Aspirin, used for fever and inflammation: meadowsweet and willow bark
  • Calcimar, for osteoporosis: Coho salmon
  • Captopril, to lower blood pressure: Brazilian arrowhead viper
  • Codeine, a painkiller: poppy
  • Digoxin, vital in treating patients with heart failure: woolly foxglove
  • Integrelin, to treat heart patients: southeastern pygmy rattlesnake venom
  • Lidocaine, an anesthetic frequently used in dentistry: barley
  • Quinine, used to treat malaria, and Quinidine, to regulate heart rhythms: Peruvian quinine tree
  • Tubocurarine, used as a muscle relaxant in surgery: curare vine, Chondodendron tomentosum
  • Vincristine, used to treat cancer: Madagascar periwinkle
  • Warfarin, used to prevent blood clots: sweet clover

In fact, scientists are urging the protection of the deadly cone snail, known for killing unwary swimmers, because they hope to find uses for its venom in the treatment of pain, heart disease and spinal cord injury.

 Here's an article about medicines from unusual animal sources: http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=52324 

And an article about pharmaceutical plants: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/3293327/For-purely-medicinal-purposes.html

AND a cool page about endangered birds: http://www.ornithology.com/endangered.html

Origami Biodiversity

Visit our Animal Projects Page for a list of cool animal crafts, articles and origami:

©2010 Tammy Yee
All rights reserved.

Copyright ©2009 Tammy Yee
All rights reserved. No portion of this web site may be reproduced without prior written consent.