Advertisements

“Rx for Restoring a wildflower meadow”


Breeding skylarks have already returned to the 24-acre grassland and it is hoped that more animals will join them soon.

In the UK, Skylark numbers have declined over the last 30 years, as determined by the Common Bird Census started in the early 1960s by The British Trust for Ornithology. There are now only 10% of the numbers that were present 30 years ago. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) have shown that this massive decline is mainly due to changes in farming practices and only partly due to pesticides.

In the past cereals were planted in the spring, grown through the summer and harvested in the early autumn. Cereals are now planted in the autumn, grown through the winter and are harvested in the early summer. The winter grown fields are much too dense in summer for the Skylark to be able to walk and run between the wheat stems to find its food.

English farmers are now encouraged and paid to maintain and create biodiversity for improving the habitat for Skylarks. Natural England’s Environmental Stewardship Scheme offers 5 and 10 year grants for various beneficial options.

For example there is an option where the farmer can opt to grow a spring cereal instead of a winter one, and leave the stubble untreated with pesticide over the winter. The British Trust for Ornithology likens the stubbles to ‘giant bird tables’ – providing spilt grain and weed seed to foraging birds.

The RSPB’s research, over a six year period, of winter-planted wheat fields has shown that suitable nesting areas for Skylarks can be made by turning the seeding machine off (or lifting the drill) for a 5 to 10 meters stretch as the tractor goes over the ground to briefly stop the seeds being sown. This is repeated in several areas within the same field to make about two skylark plots per hectare. Subsequent spraying and fertilizing can be continuous over the entire field.

Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) suggests that Skylark plots should not be nearer than 24 m to the perimeter of the field, should not be near to telegraph poles, and should not be enclosed by trees.

When the crop grows, the Skylark plots (areas without crop seeds) become areas of low vegetation where Skylarks can easily hunt insects, and can build their well camouflaged ground nests. These areas of low vegetation are just right for Skylarks, but the wheat in the rest of the field becomes too closely packed and too tall for the bird to seek food. At the RSPB’s research farm in Cambridgeshire Skylark numbers have increased threefold (from 10 pairs to 30 pairs) over six years. Fields where Skylarks were seen the year before (or near by) would be obvious good sites for Skylark plots. Farmers have reported that skylark plots are easy to make and the RSPB hope that this simple effective technique can be copied nationwide.

Wild flower meadows across the country are being lost due to development, intensive agriculture and forestry.

Bill Quay Community Farm to the rescue

Hebridean sheep and Longhorn cattle from Bill Quay Community Farm have been used to help bring back life to the meadow at Wardley, Gateshead.
Livestock grazing allows wild flowers to prosper benefitting insects and other animals.
It’s not just the animals that are helped by the improvements though.
There are new footpaths and hedgerows in the meadow and hundreds of yards of old derelict post and wire fencing have been removed.
The improvements to the Wardley meadow by the restoration of flower rich grasslands play a part in the Durham Biodiversity Action Plan which exists to help threatened species and habitats.
Gateshead Council cabinet member for the environment, councillor Martin Gannon said: “It is always sad to see natural habitats destroyed and it is estimated that a staggering 95% of this country’s flower-rich meadows have been lost since the 1930s.
It is brilliant news that skylarks and animals can once again be seen and heard  over  and on the meadow at Wardley.

It is hoped the plans will ease the pressure on threatened species.

“big smile and thanks” – Mother Nature
Resources

Excerpts and Image 1. http://bit.ly/eBwBrk

Excerpts and Image 2. http://bbc.in/hneHGT

“OMG- 2 kids saving the world”


Mother Nature gives the 2 Thumbs UP Award  to  Carter and Olivia
Here is a story about two amazing kids who are making a difference.

The nonprofit One More Generation (OMG) is :

helping clean up our environment,
save endangered species
helping kids “Give Back”.
Their mission statement says it all “We are a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of endangered species and our environment.  Our goal is to ensure all endangered species survive at least One More Generation… and beyond.”
What these guys are accomplishing is an inspiration to youth and families around the world.

Carter  is 91/2 years old  and his sister Olivia is 8. This dynamic duo are so passionate about wanting to make a difference that they started their own organization called One More Generation (OMG)

The two students have been adopting Cheetah’s in South Africa (from the Ann Van Dyk Cheetah Center) for years and as they started asking why some animals needed adopting, we told them that unless someone stepped in and helped, there might not be any Cheetah’s left in the wild by the time they had their own kids. Well that was all we had to say and these two sprang into action.

OMG’s, Carter and Olivia have been involved in numerous initiatives both locally and globally to include:

They just recently returned from making a trip to the Gulf where they delivered badly needed Animal Rescue Supplies to the folks at the Marine Mammal & Sea Turtle Rescue Center in New Orleans. You can check out what they did in the Gulf to help save Sea Turtles and watch their video about the trip as well.

They are helping Sharks and Whales too .

They have been in communications with Pete Bethune (Ady Gil Captain from Sea Shepard) who suggested we attend one of their Nov World-Wide Anti Whaling demonstration in Atlanta.Here are pictures from the whaling protest. It was Carter and Olivia’s first demonstration and they absolutely loved it.

Carter and Olivia recently won the Grand Prize in a Nestles Heroes Contest. The prize is essentially an ice cream party for them and up to 50 of their friends. They both decided to share the prize with their classmates at their school since the entire school has been so helpful with our organization from the start. The ice-cream party was last Friday and was held at the Fayette Montessori School in Fayetteville GA. All the kids had a blast. Here is a link to the story

Working with our State Legislatures on proposing Legislative Language changes to the current laws written by the GA DNR (Georgia Department of Natural Resources) in an effort to help stop the Rattlesnake Roundups in our state. They have partnered with the folks from the Center of Biological Diversity out of AZ and their legal team has helped them write the language changes we want to introduce in Spring. So far these two enterprising young students have collected over 1,100 signatures on a petition asking for change to the Roundups. Last week they met with the head of the GA DNR to discuss changes for the future of these events.

They are working to try and raise $50,000.00 for a Cheetah Rescue program in South Africa. The Ann Van Dyke Cheetah Center runs the program and they are doing a tremendous job. The process is slow and funds are extremely hard to come-by but they just held a silent auction a couple of weeks ago where they auctioned off painting kids in the community did of their favorite endangered species.

They are working with various organizations in our immediate area on raising awareness to the plight of the many endangered species across the globe. We have an educational program that we present to the visitors of the Atlanta Zoo, The Fernbank Museum in Atlanta, the Georgia Aquarium, The Atlanta Botanical Garden, and the Cochran Mill Nature Center.

They are in talks with the folks from The Art Miles Mural Project, which is an international organization that raises awareness to various initiatives globally through art. We recently proposed to them that we collaborate on such a project about endangered species. We are very excited about the prospect of organizing such an event.
Carter and Olivia were just invited to be a guest speaker at the Caring for Creation 2011 Conference at Lake Junaluska, NC in March/April of 2011. They are preparing their presentation for their largest presentation to-date.

Thanks to a meeting these two kids had with our State Congressman Lynn Westmoreland, a further meeting was just held with Deputy District Director Andy Bush were Carter and Olivia discussed the needed support for HR14 which covers Ocean Acidification. Carter and Olivia will be reporting on the results soon. Here is our link to the issue.

They just hosted a “Water Event” at the Fernbank Museum where they discussed the importance of water on all living things and also partnered with an organization called Ryan’s Well which helps build water wells to poor villages around the world to ensure everyone has access to clean drinking water. Also on that same day, they participated in a celebration at our Sate Capital by being part of “Uniting Voices”: An Interfaith Worship Service Calling for Climate Justice, which is an event that hopes to raise awareness to the problems with our climate do to pollution etc.

Both events were videoed for inclusion in the “One Day On Earth” organization that is hoping to document historical events from this special day and preserve them for future generations.

We are also now working on a joint project with the folks at Healthy Vending and the folks at TerraCycle in an effort to create a program designed to reduce the amount of plastic in our environment and we are working on a program with several local churches to help create a Ban on Single Use Plastic bags in our community since plastic is now the number one pollutant item in our oceans.

Finally, they are attempting to work on a joint project with Jungle Jack Hanna from the Columbus Zoo and or Jeff Corwin to help raise awareness of the issues regarding endangered species to kids nationwide. (This is one of the projects, which they really want to move forward with. Although we do not yet have confirmed date for meeting with either, we are still trying.

Everyone Can Make A Difference. Getting kids involved at an early age is our only hope to help change the global situation
around and what these two have accomplished is impressive.

Mother Nature gives you, Carter and Olivia her official  “2 Thumbs Up Award” and her eternal gratitude.


They are grateful for all donations.

Article submitted by Jim Ries. Thank you Jim.
Image 1. courtesy of    http://bit.ly/ghiDfl
Image 2. courtesy of   http://bit.ly/hSgGKD

“Audubon Xmas Bird Counts” (CBC’s) -new holiday tradition-help Mother Nature”


Host a CBC 4 KIDS in your community during Christmas and New Years…Anywhere!
CBC 4 Kids! (In Tucson, AZ)

“If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he need the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.”  Rachel Carson

Every year for over a century, “Christmas Bird Counts” (CBC’s) have been organized across America through Audubon, mainly for adults, during mid-December and early January. Young kids with their families are often not included with this important 24 hour rigorous “citizen science” effort…so we created the CBC 4 Kids…and families… a stand alone half day event instilling some of the important basic ingredients of this grand old Audubon tradition. The objective is to have fun and potentially create a “hometown team” of birders and conservationists for the future while encouraging families to enjoy and respect nature together.

Start simple…It only takes 2-3 teams to get started! Target a date over Christmas and New Years between the 2nd weekend in December and  the 3rd weekend in January while the winter birds are settled. It is a wonderfully simple, healthy, holiday celebration for almost any school, youth group, Audubon Chapter or nature center, wildlife refuge or local community…Anywhere!

Getting Started!

1. FIND A GOOD HOST – Find a good facility & fun partner to support a simple half day event that could provide a comfortable space, volunteers, snacks, water, bathrooms and basic supplies. Examples that might work – Audubon Chapter, Audubon Sanctuary, Ducks Unlimited, National Park, local community center, park & rec. department, a national wildlife refuge with a visitor center, nature center, civic clubs like Rotary, 4H, Boys & Girls Club, Scouts…any organization that wants to encourage the family to get out in nature.

2. Set Date & Time – The half day event (approx – 8:30AM-2:00PM) can take place on any day you choose from the 2nd weekend in Dec. through the 3rd weekend in January.  Birds are mostly settled into their winter habitats. This is a very busy holiday season for families and the traditional Audubon CBC which is a totally separate adult event used for science and research. So if your community offere the traditional CBC work around their dates.  You can also learn from their efforts.

3. Birding Leaders Are Needed – Connect with local Audubon Chapter or birding organization, nature organization or individual birders for several experienced adult birding team leaders that enjoy working with kids and families.
 Junior leaders with birding experience can be very helpful.

4. Establish Birding Routes In Advance – Define good safe (90 minute) birding routes in multiple locations in advance with defined “start and finish” points. Use Google Maps. Half mile walking routes work for this age group. Diversifying the habitats to enrich the variety of birds discovered.  Encourage birding leaders to scout out their birding routes before the event day. If you back track on the same route only add new species not already seen.

5. Target Age Group (Ages 8-15 Works) Middle school or junior high is ideal. Note: Younger family members (very young birders) are invited to the brown bag lunch celebration at noon with adult supervision to enjoy the festivities and kids presentations. Some events choose to offer a “special” program for young birders while the teams of older kids with an adult are actually out birding. The activity works well for bilingual kids and underserved kids. This is not about dropping kids off and babysitting!  A parent or adult family member must attend the event with each child in the field.

6. Birding Team Size – (Ideally, 4-6 kids per team) Observing parents are not considered “birding team members”. Parents come along to help with logistics and to be “quiet observers” facilitators and drivers. The birding team need to work together in the field with their birding leaders to get optimum safe and timely results.

7. Press Release & Public Meeting – We suggest writing a press release and offer a helpful public information meeting 3-4 weeks before the actual event date. Get the word out early!

8. Sign Up & Key Elements for Organizers – Advanced sign up helps.  Be prepared in advance with the rules with birding routes, disclaimer forms, safety issues, one common bird check list (25-50 local birds) for each team and begin team sign up asap. Allow for any organizations, classrooms and individuals to have their own small team if they choose to come as a group. Pre-assigning birding teams, routes and leaders before the day of the event helps. There will be new people showing up on the event day.

9. What to Bring & Wear:

binoculars, scope, field guide, water, snacks/lunch. comfortable shoes, hat, sunscreen, etc.  Always dress for the weather. Local Audubon Chapters, ecology and nature centers and schools often have a supply of binoculars.

For more details and to join or start a team:

In Tucson, AZ. contact.

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of   http://bit.ly/ftgApM

Excerpts courtesy of  http://bit.ly/g37PgV

Image 1. courtesy of    http://bit.ly/fYaywx

Image 2. courtesy  of   http://bit.ly/gozUmn

“Saving Cuba’s endangered wildlife see ” Accidental Eden”


Cuba’s wild landscapes have remained virtually untouched, creating a safe haven for rare and intriguing indigenous animals, as well as for hundreds of species of migrating birds and marine creatures. Coral reefs have benefited, too. Independent research has shown that Cuba’s corals are doing much better than others both in the Caribbean and around the world.

Scientific research in Cuba on creatures such as the notoriously aggressive “jumping” crocodile, and the famous painted snails, paired with long-term ecological efforts on behalf of sea turtles, has been conducted primarily by devoted local experts. Conservation and research in Cuba can be a constant struggle for scientists who earn little for their work. But their work is their passion, and no less important than that of those collecting larger salaries. NATURE follows these scientists as they explore the crocodile population of Zapata swamp, the birth of baby sea turtles, and the mysteries of evolution demonstrated by creatures that travel no more than 60 yards in a lifetime.

As the possibility of an end to the U.S. trade embargo looms, Cuba’s wildlife hangs in the balance. Most experts predict that the end of the embargo could have devastating results. Tourism could double, and the economic development associated with tourism and other industries could change the face of what was once a nearly pristine ecosystem. Or Cuba could set an example for development and conservation around the world, defining a new era of sustainability well beyond Cuba’s borders.

Some of the  animals

CUBAN TODY (Todus multicolor)

Todies defend a tiny patch of forest, rarely leaving their wooded and semiwooded territories. They are endemic to Cuba and are known on the island as “cartacuba.” Female todies lay 3 to 4 eggs between the months of March and June. Parents feed their chicks up to 140 insects per day — making these young birds among the most frequently fed chicks in the world. Todies snatch caterpillars, spiders, and other kinds of insects off leaves. There are only five species of tody in the world, and all of them are found on Caribbean islands. The Cuban tody is the most colorful, with a blue throat, pink flanks, a yellow underbelly, and a green body. These birds dig tunnels in embankments or in hollow tree trunks for nests. The tunnel’s walls are covered with a sealant — a mixture of grass, lichen, algae, and feathers.

Looking for love?  BEE HUMMINGBIRD (Mellisuga helenae)

Believed to be the world’s smallest bird, Cuba’s native bee hummingbird buzzes around forests and field edges in many parts of the island, where it feeds on flower nectar. It grows to about 2 inches long and weighs less than an ounce, or less than a dime. Some locals call it “zunzun,” and believe it is a symbol of love. Birders from all over the world travel to Cuba in hopes of catching a glimpse of this tiny bird.

CUBAN CROCODILE (Crocodylus rhombifer)

Once also found on other islands in the Caribbean, this rare crocodile is now limited to Cuba, where it lives in dense swamps. It can grow up to 13 feet long, and typically feeds on fish and crustaceans. It can also “leap” high out the water, with a push from its powerful tail, to grab hutia from their treetop perches. Biologists believe that fewer than 6,000 wild Cuban crocodiles remain, although others are raised on farms for their meat and hides.


Cuba: The Accidental Eden premieres Sunday, September 26, 2010 on PBS

For more information

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of http://to.pbs.org/bZUL9f

Excerpts and Images  2 & 4 courtesy of http://to.pbs.org/aqCSuk/wildlife-guide/1245

Image courtesy of  Nature’s Crusader’s library

Image courtesy of   http://bit.ly/cb2DYx

Image courtesy of http://bit.ly/a9WI1k

“Saving Lancaster Sound from effects of sonar testing”


A Canadian judge (Bless her.) Sunday told researchers they can’t bombard the arctic waters of Lancaster Sound with sound waves to try to learn what’s under the seabed.

Nunavut Judge Sue Cooper granted an injunction sought by parties seeking to stop the joint project of the federal natural resources department and the German Alfred Wegner Institute for Polar and Marine Research, the Toronto Sun reported. The seismic project was to have started as early as this week, the newspaper said.
The researchers intended to map the area under Lancaster Sound by bouncing sound waves off the earth below the sea.
Some of the general known effects of sound waves include:
Damage to rocket engines, hence the flood of water under the space shuttle to absorb the sound vibration at engine start.
It has been proposed as a source of cold fusion in heavy water.

It is used to atomize fuel in burners.

it is used to break up gallstones.

Can cause damage to eardrums and living tissues in vitro and in vivo.

So when scientists want to use sonar/sound waves to map Lancaster Sounds seabed without having a clue of what damage they could cause some knowing folks objected.

While two Nunavut government agencies had given their OK to go ahead with the sonic testing, some Inuit groups and environmentalists went to court, contending it could harm marine wildlife.
Judge Cooper sided with the testing opponents, saying there could be an impact on wildlife and consequently on the food supply of the nearby Inuit communities.
“On the whole of the evidence presented, I am satisfied that Inuit in the five affected communities will suffer irreparable harm if an injunction is not granted,” her decision reads.
The importance of Lancaster Sound, an arm of Baffin Bay should not be underrated. It is a major passage through the Arctic Archipelago, is 248.55 miles (400 km) long and some 62.14 miles (100 km) wide. It lies at the north end of Baffin Island and is connected to Barrow Strait on the west. As a result of the interaction of currents, the sound is rich in nutrients and supports a biologically varied community of birds, mammals and fish. At Bylot Island, which lies at its eastern end, it provides breeding grounds for some 3 million seabirds alone. The area has provided sustenance for Inuit cultures for thousands of years: ringed seals, walrus and polar bears, and Narwhals, Belugas, killer and bowhead whales. Arctic fox is trapped in almost every inlet, and arctic char is taken at the mouths of rivers.

“Thank you for protecting Mother Nature Judge Sue Cooper”

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of    http://bit.ly/axZTvaTva
Excerpts courtesy of   http://yhoo.it/cnCGDO

Image courtesy of   http://bit.ly/bDkrbi

“Get the lead shot out of game meat or it can create toxicity”


The  journal PLos One reported thata team of scientists from the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT), along with researchers from other British institutions and from the Spanish Research Institute on Cynegetic Resources (IREC in Spanish), has shown that toxic levels of  lead in some cooked game meat exceed maximum allowances set by the European Union, due to the presence of remains of ammunition. Seems if the meat is cooked with vinegar the levels of toxicity rise even more. Lead is harmful to animals that ingest it like the California condor and also to humans. Lead ammunition ups the health risks for children and those that  over eat meat.

“Depending on the species and type of recipe used, between 20 and 87.5% of the samples analyzed exceeded the maximum level of lead set by the EU in meat from livestock animals of 100 parts per billion (0.1 mg/kg of the fresh weight of meat),” Rafael Mateo, co-author of the study and researcher for IREC (a joint center composed of the University of Castilla-La Mancha, the Community Board of Castilla-La Mancha and the CSIC), indicated.

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of  http://bit.ly/aZlOr1

“The picture BP doesn’t want you to see-Contractor’s view”


Stained black it’s all black now – a contractor’s personal story.

dead dolphin oozing oil

Never shown to our President – a dead dolphin rotting in the shore weeds.

Filled with oil. Oil pouring out.

BP cover up cover up everything with oil a contractor’s view

BP uses the police to keep these oily images of the dead animals out of the news.All the life out here is just full of oil.

BP never showed the President.”

The grasses by the shore littered with tarred marine life, some dead and others.

“No living creature should endure that kind of suffering.”

Queen Bess Island endangered Louisiana brown pelicans rookery little white heads stained black stood sentinel. They seemed slow and lethargic-dying.

Birds trying to clean themselves, but they are unable. Oil kills.

A caring contractor attempts to save birds and turtles struggling hard to survive…

Green Reed grass mow half  black..

Five turtles drowning in oil -two dying not dead yet, but they will be.

A pod of dolphins showed up to swim with the vessel and guide it to land.

“They know they are in trouble. We are all in trouble,” the contractor said. …

BP spends 10 thousand dollars a day to major media to keep a positive image.

On Monday, a Daily News team was escorted away from a public beach

on Elmer’s Island by cops who said they were taking orders from BP.

Resources

Excerpts and Image 1. courtesy of  floridaoilspilllaw.com

Image 2. (laughing gull) courtesy of  google.com

“Louisiana’s oil spill came at the worst time”


Louisiana’s oil spill came at the worst time possible nesting season.

This is migration, spawning and nesting time for migratory song bird, endangered brown pelican and upwards of 25 million birds a day transit the region in their northern migration. More than 70 percent of the country’s waterfowl frequent the gulf’s waters, including the brown pelican, which is in its nesting season on Breton Island, in the spill’s projected path. That population of birds is still recovering from a previous oil spill that devastated the population.

How many will animals will we lose this time?

Federally protected marine mammals including the endangered whales, dolphins and all species of sea turtles are at the greatest risk. A pod of sperm whales has been sighted near the spill but has so far avoided the area. Endangered sea turtles are more vulnerable to nest they swim to shore to lay eggs on protected beaches.

No animal is safe from being coated with oil as they rise to the surface to breathe. Unable to breathe or by eat uncontaminated sea food they and their young are doomed. If feathers are covered in oil birds will starve, they will fly no more.

There seems to be way too many of these “accidents” of late.  Now BP Oil has waited far too long to begin clean up especially since 5,000 barrels of oil are pouring out into the Gulf daily.  Gulf is on fire 1800 degrees manmade fires with 1800 feet plume of toxic gases polluting even the air of the Gulf after a rupture in the well over one week ago.

Tonight (without divine intervention) it will invade the coastal wetlands.

Our government wants to open more of this drilling off the shores of our most pristine lands along the coast of Alaska and in our national parks like the Grand Canyon.

Tell your senators to forget it and develop clean sustainable energy instead or your children may not know much of the wildlife we have grown to love and admire.

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of   http://bit.ly/aAIi35

Excerpts courtesy of   http://bit.ly/aZeT7T

Video courtesy of   http://bit.ly/9N6azh

Video courtesy of  http://bit.ly/9iNrHB


“Wooing a female takes hard work+ sweetness for caribs”


One of the smallest birds-the purple throated carib must work very hard to cultivate and defend his territory.  Successful male caribs maintained and defended the nectar

supplies in his territory. These supplies were two to five times greater than their daily needs plus part of its nectar crop must contain a stock of heliconia flowers for visiting female to dine on.

Male and female purple throated caribs are alike in plumage, but males are considerably larger and have longer wings than females. Females, however, have bills that are 20 percent longer and 30 percent more curved than the bills of the males, allowing them to feed from flowers that males cannot.  Seems that male and female energy needs match the energy derived from the flowers they sip.

Male caribs feed from the Caribbean heliconia

(Heliconia caribaea)(image left),

while females feed primarily from the lobster claw heliconia

(Heliconia bihai)(image at the right).

Heliconia b. used by female carib

Purple-throated Carib [Eulampis jugularis] plumage is largely black. Its throat is purplish red with its tail and upper tail feathers colored bluish green. Wings are a metalic green. The Purple-throated carib is a hummingbird species native to the mountainous islands of the Eastern Caribbean where John Kress and Ethan Temeles, an ornithologist and biology professor at Amherst College in Massachusetts, have spent several years researching purple throated caribs in the wild on the island of Dominica.
Resources

Excerpts courtesy of   http://bit.ly/a4hAPW

Image 1. courtesy of    http://bit.ly/bthiW2

Image 2. courtesy of   http://bit.ly/bbO25F

Image 3. courtesy of  http://bit.ly/aA1FMD

« Older entries