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For What It's Earth

For What It's Earth

By Marissa Jacobs - The Art of Ecology
Join Marissa Jacobs of The Art of Ecology for a unique blend of the arts and environmental sciences as she helps listeners connect to the natural world, podcast by podcast. Discover natural phenomenon like the science behind sunsets, or how chipmunks vocalize. Get inspired to be an environmental steward with eco-actions you can take at home and explore many DIY ways to make the world a greener place all on For What It's Earth.
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Climate Change Chat - "From Sky to Core" mini-series featuring Sam Rebuck
Join myself, Marissa of The Art of Ecology, and permanent guest, Samantha Rebuck for a climate change mini series! Each episode we shall be chatting about climate change, our thoughts on it as scientists as well as just regular people living on this planet, and teaching each other about earth science concepts in an effort to make human-caused climate change less terrifying, more understandable, and to inspire people to make some positive changes to help mitigate climate change impacts. This episode, we go over general climate change information, introduce some key words, and talk about how we've been able to see climate change throughout our own lives. * Video version only available to patrons (, audio podcast version will be published for the public a week later.
October 04, 2022
Season 3 Announcement & Updates
Hi all! I just wanted to give a little update on season 3 of For What it's Earth and what it will be comprised of! I've got 2 mini series that will make up season 3, and I am super excited to have a guest for each mini-series! One will examine climate change from air to soil as well as how to still have hope amidst a climate crisis. The second mini-series will be much more light-hearted and will go through a few nature-themed adventure books! You won't want to miss either. Hopefully, if all goes well with scheduling recording, we'll start publishing episodes in late September.
September 20, 2022
Season 2 Finale: Nature Trivia Gameshow
To end Season 2 of For What it's Earth with a bang, I am joined by 3 previous season 2 guests for a bizarre nature trivia gameshow! Join Marissa Jacobs, Alexandra Schmidt (Soil Science), Zack Jacobs (Arborist), and Lucy McGinty (Environmental Microbiology student) as we learn more about what animals make some super terrifying noises, how flowers live their lives, where humans rank in the category of "how well animals hear", and more! For What it's Earth Season 3 is scheduled to start in Fall 2022 with a lineup of guests as well as a potential for a "Climate Change from Dirt to Sky Mini Series"! Interested in learning about something in particular? Email your suggestions to me (Marissa) at Links: The Art of Ecology on Instagram, Facebook, & YouTube (Environmental education through photography, illustration, and video) Alexandra Schmidt on Instagram (Soil science, Urban Ag, and gardening) Zack Jacobs on Instagram (Arboriculture, Trees, and dogs) Lucy McGinty on Instagram (Exploring the great outdoors)
June 21, 2022
Celebrating the Summer Solstice & World Giraffe Day
The upcoming Summer Solstice marks a special day to me - World Giraffe Day! This day was created by the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) to raise awareness about and celebrate this vulnerable and endangered species. Learn more about the solstice and why we celebrate this animal on this day! Links: One Tree Planted Laws that support Wildlife Populations African Wildlife Foundation The Art of Ecology
June 14, 2022
Outdoor Play Discovery Over Summer Break, featuring Willy Villalpando
This week, I am joined by fellow educator and nature lover, Willy Villalpando, as we discuss the importance of getting outside, exploring the natural world, and to continue learning throughout the summer vacation! We talk about child development and the importance of play, having some tough conversations with kids, and how adults AND kids can learn and explore together for quality bonding time and to show kids that learning NEVER stops! Links: Willy's Social Media - Instagram & Twitter - @MrWilly_prek Pedagogy of the Oppressed (Free pdf) National Geographic Educator Certification Podcast Episode FREE Geocache App
June 07, 2022
Celebrate International Day of Biodiversity
May 22nd, which just passed (due to recording times), was International Day of Biodiversity! So this week, I want to highlight the amazing animals of the world, and how vital they are to the health of our ecosystems!
May 24, 2022
Spring is for Baby Squirrels
Right now, after all of the leaves have budded out and the flowers are starting to bloom more and more every day, we have another sign of spring - animal babies! As these babies are coming out and exploring their world, they may fall from their nest or get lost and we can play an important role in getting these wildlife babies back where they need to go. Learn how to identify baby squirrels by age to determine if you can help them by getting their mom to come and find them, or by placing them in their nest yourself, or if you need to take them to a rehabilitation center. Links: Baby Squirrels Crying for Mom video The Art of Ecology The end of season 2 is coming up! If you have any questions or topics you'd like to see in this podcast, let me know by emailing Marissa at
May 17, 2022
Creepy Crawlies & Watchers of the Night
Did you know that May is National Be Kind to Animals month? Chances are, if you're listening to this podcast, you're already an animal and wildlife-lover, yet even as caring environmental stewards, there are often animals that go unloved or are even despised (I'm looking at you invasive spotted lanternfly!). During this episode, learn about some of the 10 creepy, gross, or unloved animals and how they are important members of our ecosystem! Once you learn about them, hopefully we can all appreciate them more and understand how important it is to be kind to ALL animals in their native habitats!
May 10, 2022
Vitamin N & Outdoor Time, Featuring Arborist Zack Jacobs
This week I am joined by Arborist climber and nature-enthusiast Zack Jacobs as we chat about the observations we've made about the changes in our moods and mental well-being now that spring is officially here and the sun it out! We talk a little bit about how important it was for him to get out of the office life and enter a career outdoors, but also about some ways that everyone can make sure they get their 20 minutes (at least!) of nature-time into their busy lives, regardless of your job setting. Links: Zack mentions and Red Bull Branched Out - go support them and check out what a climbing competition looks like!
May 03, 2022
Creating Snake-Friendly Yards & Gardens
Discover more about the incredible species that snakes are and their role in our ecosystems! We'll discuss the food chain & web, along with some cool anatomical features of the snake (such as the Jacobson's organ), and how we can be good environmental stewards by caring for these underdog-wildlife species.
April 26, 2022
Get your Garden Pollinator Ready!
As the flowers in our communities start to bloom and the first of the honeybees and bumblebees start to emerge and visit those wildflowers, let's start thinking about how we can make our own gardens and yards pollinator-friendly! Find plants native to your area that will support threatened pollinators with the National Audubon Society's Native Plant finder HERE.
April 19, 2022
Wetlands & Waterfowl Earth Month Special, Featuring Jess Schmit
Dive into the murky and wonderous wetland habitats with Wetland & Waterfowl biologist, Jess Schmit, as we take a look at the birds and animals of wetland environments, as well as how she is studying habitats of rails! We'll discuss her research project, what she hopes it accomplishes, and how people can actively conserve wetland habitats and the wildlife in them in a simple way. (Podcast episode photo courtesy of Jess Schmit) Links: Forbes Station AGF
April 12, 2022
Earth Hour & Light Pollution Impacts
This past week was Earth Hour around the world and we celebrated by turning off the lights at 8:30pm for at least one hour. During this episode, we'll talk a bit about the purpose of Earth Hour, as well as how turning off lights can reduce light pollution. We'll also take a look at how light pollution impacts animals, specifically birds, who are busy in their spring migration right now. Links: Earth Hour Learn more about Birds with The Art of Ecology
April 05, 2022
Mischievous Orchid & Their Pollinators
Explore the wonderful world of orchids and how they have developed some unique adaptations to lure in pollinators. We'll also discuss some threats to local orchid species as well as some ways to support orchid conservation. Links: Orchid Conservation at Longwood Gardens
March 29, 2022
Discovering the Unseen of the Natural World., Featuring Lucy McGinty
This week I am joined by Lucy McGinty for a discussion about the unseen of the biosphere - microorganisms! Lucy, my Spring 2022 intern, is currently on her way to becoming an environmental microbiologist and she sheds a little light on what that entails, and about some of her favorite bacterium, along with how they can be incredibly useful for bioremediation work! Links: Smithsonian Article about Viruses in Glaciers "I Contain Multitudes", by Ed Yong
March 22, 2022
Groundwater Impacts on Wildlife & Amphibians
For Groundwater Awareness week, let's take a look at what groundwater is, how it impacts wildlife such as amphibians like salamanders, toads, and especially frogs, as well as how we can improve groundwater quality at home. Links: Water Testing with Penn State Extension Office
March 15, 2022
Creating a Healthy Garden from the Soil Up: Featuring Alexandra Schmidt
This week, on For What it's Earth, I am joined by soil scientist, Alexandra Schmidt, as we discuss soil health, what's so cool about it, and why gardeners should care about not just maintaining their plants, but their soil beds as well! Learn more about local extension offices, how to get your soil tested so that you can treat your gardens the way they need to be, and explore how to plant the right plants in the right soil conditions! Links: PennState Extension Soil Testing Virginia Tech Soil Testing "The Regenerative Grower's Guide to Garden Amendments" by Nigel Palmer 4 The Soil Soil Surveys by State
March 08, 2022
Rescuing Wildlife: Some Do's and Dont's
NOTE: This episode talks about death and injured animals. Listener's discretion advised. As spring approaches, we may see more and more wildlife out and about. As we have more opportunities to observe them, we may notice animals that are injured, hurt, or alone. In this episode, I talk about when and why to rescue wildlife, as well as some tips for commonly found wildlife species. Links: The Art of Ecology Support the Art of Ecology on Patreon PA State Licensed Wildlife Rehabilitators
March 01, 2022
An Edible Flower Garden and It's Health Benefits
Mid- late February is a great time to start planning your spring garden. What is missing from your garden? Where do you have some extra space? What would you like to add? How can you incorporate more wildlife-friendly plants/features into the garden space? This episode, discover the importance of wild & garden edibles in our diet, and the medicinal benefits we can gain from more than just the standard garden pepper or cucumber. We'll look at edible flower gardens and what they can do for us and wildlife! Links: Foraging & Wild Edible Plants on the Blog Penn State Extension Office
February 22, 2022
Participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count Around the World
Do you love animals, nature, and all things science? Then get ready to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count, a community science effort put on by Cornell Lab of Ornithology! During this episode, you'll learn how to participate in the count, how to upload your bird count data, and what scientists might do with the data. Links: eBird Participating in the GBBC in North America
February 15, 2022
Horticultural Therapy & Using Plants to Prevent the Winter Blues
This week I'm joined by Horticultural Therapist in training and gardening enthusiast, Kaitlyn Whalen, as we talk about the winter blues, how to prevent it, and the importance of using horticulture and the natural world in a therapeutic way. We talk about Alzheimer's and dementia patients, elder care, seasonal affective disorder, and more. Links: American Horticulture Therapy Association Temple University - Horticulture Therapy Program Psychology & Smell The Nature Fix
February 08, 2022
Thermogenesis & Winter Wildflowers
How do some early season wildflowers manage to grow, even when buried in snow? For plants such as crocus, snowdrops, and skunk cabbage, it all comes down to a unique plant adaptation called Thermogenesis. Learn all about it with this episode!
February 01, 2022
Tracking Mammals in the Winter
Winter is a great time to get outdoors and track animals! There are so many signs of evidence, from scat & droppings, to buck rub, to bones, to footprints and more. This winter, explore the natural world around you after learning some basic tracking tips with this episode.
January 25, 2022
Winter Bird Diets & Feeding
Welcome back to For What It's Earth!  For the first episode of season 2, learn more about winter birds, how they have adapted to survive and thrive in cold weather, and how their diets change seasonally. We'll discuss bird food, what to look for on the back of bird seed bags, and little ways to create bird feeders to support winter birds!
January 18, 2022
Season 1 Finale: Nature Trivia Gameshow
To end this season 1 of For What It's Earth with a bang, I am joined by season 1 guests, Samantha Rebuck, Zack Jacobs, and Molly Bell-Higgins for a crazy bizarre, way-out-there nature trivia gameshow! In this episode, we all learn a bit about plant poaching, what defines plankton, State Soils, and reaffirm the fact that scientific names are way more important and less confusing than common names. For What It's Earth Season 2 will start mid-January 2022 with a whole new group of guests, some returning ones, and more environmental education! Send your topic suggestions to Marissa, at
December 14, 2021
Evergreens & The Winter Landscape
As we get into the winter season, certain plants start to stand out in the landscape a little more than before: Evergreens! Learn about these plants, their role in the ecosystem, and how to add more color, wildlife value, and nutritional benefits to your community.
December 07, 2021
Exploring Trap Adaptations of Carnivorous Plants
As winter comes upon us, we start to think of how plants might adapt to the cold weather and think of the waning days. Learn about plants that also get their nutrients from something other than the sun - through eating meat! Carnivorous plants are amazing creatures and while they still need to get a majority of their energy from sunshine, they have some other crazy adaptations too. Links: Venus Flytrap Adaptations with the BBC Email me with ideas for 2022 Season 2 topics at:
November 30, 2021
Cold Weather Adaptations in Herps, Featuring Molly Bell-Higgins
Join Marissa of The Art of Ecology and Molly Bell-Higgins for a discussion about how herps (reptiles and amphibians) adapt to the coming cold weather! We'll learn about brumation vs. hibernation, how reptiles store fat deposits, and some really unique adaptations that these animals have, like butt breathing, cryogenics and more! Links: Fairy Tale Cresties
November 23, 2021
How do Birds Adapt to the Oncoming Winter?
Let's take a look at how this small, tiny songbirds adapt to be able to survive as winter approaches - it's incredible! We'll look at transitioning diets, changes in feathers, and how to use plants to protect themselves from wind.
November 16, 2021
Identifying & Appreciating Local Vulture Species
Discover the many vulture species as well as some that could be local to your area! Also, we will learn more about their important role in the ecosystem and how to protect these incredible birds.
November 09, 2021
Extend the Garden Season by Overwintering
If you love to garden, then this time of year can be a bummer. We are getting ready to put the gardens to bed and not even touch them until spring comes, but, there is some good news! By using some different techniques to overwinter your plants and keep them thriving can help to extend the garden season. Discover some overwintering techniques as well as how to bring some green inside to keep your gardening spirit happy this winter!
November 02, 2021
Diving Deeper into the Ocean: Featuring Sean Francis
Explore ocean ecosystems and take a deep dive into some incredible adventures with guest, Sean Francis! We'll discuss a wide variety of reasons why anyone, regardless of location, should love the ocean, along with ways to protect it! Links: Blue Ventures and Skype a Scientist
October 26, 2021
Plant & Animal Adaptations of the American Southwest
Take a mini vacation as you explore the warmth and sunshine of the American Southwest, focusing on climates and ecosystems of New Mexico! We'll take a look at how plants and animals have adapted to survive and thrive in hot, arid conditions.
October 19, 2021
Discovering Squirrels In-Depth for Squirrel Awareness Month
Celebrate Squirrel Awareness Month by learning about the various species of squirrels found in North America as well as a bit about their unique adaptations to avoid predation! We'll also examine ways to support squirrel populations and create thriving, healthy ecosystems.
October 12, 2021
Identifying and Protecting Raptors During the Fall Migration
As autumn continues, the fall raptor migration starts up again along the Atlantic Flyway! We'll take a look at some of the other flyways located around the world, discuss some helpful tips for identifying the raptors we see flying above, as well as how to care for and protect these amazing birds as they continue on their migration south. Links: National Audubon Society's Raptor ID Quiz
October 05, 2021
The Importance of Autumn Color
With Autumn coming, and colder days and longer nights approaching, we notice the shift in greens in the landscape to reds, oranges, and yellows! Why is this, what makes this shift happen, and how can we add more fall color to the landscape? We'll find out in this week's episode. Links:
September 28, 2021
What May Cause Fall Allergies: Ragweed or Goldenrod?
Let's debunk the myth that Goldenrod causes fall allergies (also known as hay fever)! Goldenrod has many ecological and health benefits and definitely looks suspicious with it's pollen-laden flowers, yet there is another flower that is causing our allergies. We'll examine the differences between them, how to identify them, and how to mitigate your allergies this fall! We'll also talk about how important goldenrod is to the landscape and to healthy, biodiverse ecosystems. Links:
September 21, 2021
For the Love of Trees: Exploring the Many Reasons to Care for Trees with Arborist, Zack Jacobs
From providing oxygen and habitat for numerous wild animals, to appreciating the shade and cooling of the large canopies, to being in awe of their general beauty, there are so many reasons to love the trees in your yard, community, and all over the world! This week, I am joined by arborist  Zack Jacobs, to help educate us about the field of arboriculture and why he loves trees, which is different from why an ecologist loves trees, which could be different from your own reason to love trees! Links: (a portion of all art sales for the month of September will be donated to Fallen Families Fund)
September 14, 2021
Explore Fabulous Fungi for Mushroom Month
Discover the wonderful world of fungi as we celebrate National Mushroom Month (September)! We'll take a look at what makes fungi different from plants and animals, how to identify some fungi categories, and learn more about their role in the ecosystem.
September 07, 2021
Back to School Education Opportunities Through National Geographic
As teachers, students, and parents gear up for the school year, I thought I'd take the opportunity to shout out the National Geographic Educator Certification! This free certification is a great way for any educator to get some more professional development hours, deepen their understanding of the world, and improve their lesson plans/curriculum by incorporating the National Geographic learning framework and standards! This doesn't directly apply to environmental science educators only; if you know any educators, of ANY discipline or grade, this is perfect for them! Learn more about certification for educators here:
August 31, 2021
Foraging Tips, Tricks, and Etiquette
To celebrate that my new book, "trails-to-Tasting" Foraging guide & cocktail recipe book is now available for pre-order, I wanted to share more about foraging etiquette and how to be sure that what you're foraging for is actually edible! Learn more about the Universal Edibility Test, some good rules of thumb for foragers to follow, and some seasonal wild edibles to harvest whenever you're listening! Links:
August 24, 2021
Leave the Leaves and Keep the Weeds
As autumn approaches and we get ready for our fall gardens and backyards, learn the importance of keeping the weeds, dead stems, and fallen leaves in creating vital habitat for many animals. Not only will this save you money, but it will also save you hours and hours of yard work and maintenance!
August 17, 2021
Celebrating Water Quality Month
Happy August, or Water Quality Month! We all know that clean water is important, but do you know how much actual water is even available on the planet for humans to use? We'll examine the little water available, as well as the plants and habitats that are vital to the cleaning and filtering of that water. We'll also discuss some ways to conserve what little water is available to us and how our actions at home can impact those around the globe! Links: Water Calculator:
August 10, 2021
Examining Butterfly Wing Coloration and Adaptations, featuring Samantha Rebuck
Joined by guest, Samantha Rebuck, we take an in depth look at the many differences between moths, butterflies, and skippers, as well as investigating some of the incredible adaptations that they have! Sam answers my questions and teaches us all about butterfly wings, their anatomy, and how coloration helps these animals to survive.  
August 03, 2021
The Missing Color: Where is True Blue in the Natural World?
We see so much red, purple, green, yellow, and orange in the natural world, yet we don't often see the color blue. When we DO see it, it's often just in the sky or at the beach. Why is that? We'll examine what's up with the color blue, and how a majority of plants and animals (except for one cool creature that we'll examine), even the ones that we THINK are blue, are just tricking our brains into seeing that color!
July 27, 2021
Beach Dune Ecosystems: Special Plant & Animal Adaptations
Celebrate the middle of the summer season by discovering the wonderful world of beaches! Explore the embryo, fore, and back dunes, and the unique plants, like sedges, and animal, like Piping Plovers, that call those dunes home. 
July 20, 2021
Celebrating Plastic Free July by Reducing Single-Use Waste
Happy July to all my listeners! Did you know that this month is "Plastic Free July"? Throughout this month, we celebrate by reducing our plastic consumption in a variety of ways, but sometimes it's hard to think of what to do besides skip the straw and bring reusable bags to the grocery store. Let's take a look at why reducing our plastic use is so important and some creative ways to inspire you to be the best environmental steward you can be!
July 13, 2021
Podcast Trailer: Let me Introduce Myself: Marissa Jacobs of The Art of Ecology
Many who follow my blog, but don't get to join me for my in-person programs don't know who is actually behind the Art of Ecology! Let me introduce myself in the first episode (well, not really an actual episode quite yet!) of my new audio blog podcast. I am Marissa Jacobs, an informal environmental educator who blends the arts with the sciences. This trailer will let you know who I am, why I am so passionate about the arts and environmental sciences, as well as a sneak-peek of what to expect with my upcoming official episodes! Thank you so much for listening in and I hope you enjoy and stay tuned for future environmental and conservation education with a creative spin!
July 09, 2021