Stella and Stanley Find the Environment! (Grade 3 Reading Level)
“Hi! My name is Stanley and this is my friend, Stella. It’s nice to meet you. I am an expert on the environment.”
Stella laughed. “You’re not an expert, Stanley. It was only a few days ago that you didn’t even know where to find the environment.”
Stanley blushed. “Well,” he said, “I know a lot more about the environment now. Let’s tell them what happened.
“A little while ago some students, just like you, asked for our help. They were supposed to learn about the environment, but they didn’t know where to begin. They didn’t know where to look. Was the environment nearby or far away? Was it a place that was big or little? Was that where lions and tigers lived? Llamas? What about turtles and bugs? There were so many questions!
“I didn’t have the answer, so I asked Stella.”
“I knew that there was a famous place called Yellowstone National Park that we could visit. So we decided to go look for the environment there,” explained Stella.
“The students wrote a letter to this National Park and they put Stanley and me into the envelope and mailed us on our way!”
“Here is what happened next,” added Stanley
“Welcome to Yellowstone!” said a Park Ranger named Katy as she opened the envelope.
“Thank you. We can’t wait to check it out!” Stella and Stanley said together.
“Let’s take a hike and I can tell you some fun facts about this place,” said Ranger Katy.
“Yellowstone is the oldest National Park in the United States,” she explained. “President Ulysses S. Grant made this place a park way back in the year 1872. Since then, the trees and animals have been protected here.”
“Hey look,” said Stella “I see a rainbow! How is that possible, when it’s not raining?”
“That’s the mist from Castle Geyser. When there is sunlight, the geyser mist can make a rainbow, like that one. Just like the ones you might see after a rainstorm,” said Ranger Katy.
Even more curious, Stella then asked, “Where does the mist come from?”
“Well,” began Ranger Katy, “The mist comes from hot water that was actually inside the geyser and deep under the ground. Geysers have rocky, tube-like holes that reach deep down to hot, molten rock. Water collects in these tubes and when it gets really hot down there, the water boils and erupts into the air.
“You are lucky to see this happening! Yellowstone is a special place, because there are more geysers here than any place else on our planet Earth.
“We have a camera that watches on our most famous geyser, Old Faithful, all of the time. This way your friends can watch and see what it looks like too,” said Ranger Katy.
“There is so much to see,” agreed Ranger Katy. “Many animals live here, too. Yellowstone is home to 67 species of mammals. Mammals are animals like elk, bears, and wolves.”
“Wow, those are huge, hairy cows!” said Stanley.
Ranger Katy laughed, “Those are bison Stanley. Bison are the largest land mammals that in the United States. People travel to Yellowstone from all over the world to see them.”
“How many bison live here?” asked Stanley.
“Well, it is not easy to keep count of wild animals, but we do know that more than 2,000 bison live here in Yellowstone. They live in groups of families called herds.
“I wish that the environment was closer to home,” Stella gave out a sigh. “How can we bring our friends here to see it too?”
Ranger Katy laughed. “Oh Stella, you don’t need to bring them to Yellowstone to see the environment. The environment is all around us, it is everywhere.”
“Really?” Stanley and Stella said.
“Yes, indeed! You can explore the environment at home, in a park, and everywhere in between. Our environment is where we live and it includes everything we see,” said Ranger Katy.
“So when I look at the sky, that’s the environment too?” asked Stanley.
“You got it. It includes the bears, beetles and bees, the biggest and even the littlest trees. It’s everything from the sidewalks to the stars and even includes you and me. The environment isn’t one thing to go find, it is all around and right nearby,” she explained.
“Wow,” said Stella. “So we can be at home and learn about the environment too?”
“That’s right,” Ranger Katy said. “But I’m so happy I could show you what our environment looks like here, I hope you had fun exploring with me. Now I’ll write a letter to your friends at the school and mail you back with some post cards from Yellowstone.”
“That was a fun trip Stella. I sure do feel like an expert on the environment now,” said Stanley.
Stella laughed, “It was, Stanley, but I think we have more exploring to do before we are experts! Now that we know the environment is everywhere, there is a lot more we can explore to learn about it.”
“Sounds like the start of some new adventures Stella!” Stanley grinned eagerly, “I hope our friends take us to explore their environment. I can’t wait to see what else we can find.”
It’s your turn!
Flat Stanley and Stella want to see what you can find. List 5 things that you see in your environment.
Now that you know what the environment is …
Take a picture with your Green Stanley or Stella!
Share your picture with other kids and see what the environment looks like around the world.
This story was written by Jeanethe Falvey, U.S. EPA Office of External Affairs, with creative input and support from Dale Hubert, Creator of the Flat Stanley Project, and Beth Taylor, Education Coordinator at Yellowstone National Park. We thank the U.S. Department of Interior for joining EPA on the first adventure with Green Stanley and Stella!
Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.