Slow Village (Japan) - Slow Village aims to maintain the health of both humans and the natural environment. They have joined forces with 1% For The Planet with “All Things In Nature”, a bio-degradable laundry detergent. They hope that they can make a small but meaningful contribution to the betterment of the natural environment through the efforts of the various environmental organizations throughout the world.
Pascha Chocolate (Ontario, Canada) - PASCHA Chocolate is a connoisseur of the cacao bean devoted to creating the simplest and most delicious chocolate. PASCHA uses only what is essential in making excellent chocolate, ensuring every ingredient is as pure as possible. Co-founder Courtenay Vuchnich says, “PASCHA was created after seeing an unknown allergen trigger an anaphylactic reaction in my daughter; it takes only a trace amount to bring on the worst form of the body’s allergic response.” That is why they are committed to making the most pure chocolate around. PASCHA is very happy to be joining forces with 1% for the Planet, representing a natural extension of their commitment to create ultra pure chocolate while acting environmentally and socially responsible in every community.
GetOutfitted (Colorado Springs, Colorado) – GetOutfitted offers a web service that rents ski and snowboard clothing and accessories from brands such as Patagonia, Marmot, GoPro, and more. Founded in April of 2013, GetOutfitted serves customers from Texas to Australia, shipping rentals directly to customer’s doorsteps or resorts, anywhere in the US, with free shipping both ways. The GetOutfitted team firmly believes that in order to effectively & sustainably educate people, we have to get their attention first. They seek to help build these connections by providing their customers with the opportunity to benefit from the enjoyment of downhill snow sports while simultaneously experiencing the beauty and grandeur of nature.]]>
The award, presented Sept. 18 during the welcoming dinner of Rally 2014: The National Land Conservation Conference, celebrates the dedication and passion of Bristol Bay Heritage Land Trust. It also honors the efforts of the organization in broadening support for land conservation, showing initiative in collaborating with others, and creating innovative communications, education and outreach solutions. Bristol Bay Heritage Land Trust Executive Director Tim Troll accepted the award on behalf of the organization.
Bud Hodson, chairman of the board of Bristol Bay Heritage Land Trust, said 2014 is a particularly meaningful year to receive this award.
“This year is the 25th anniversary of the land trust movement in Alaska,” he said. “In 1989, our state enacted the Uniform Conservation Easement Act, and the Kachemak Heritage Land Trust was formed. We followed a path pioneered by our sister land trusts in Alaska. For us, this recognition underscores the importance of the conservation work yet to be done in Alaska and the critical role land trusts will play in that work.”
In addition to helping protect 23,000 acres, Bristol Bay Heritage Land Trust has worked to protect the region’s water and fish, increased understanding of the effects of mining and climate change on wild salmon, and educated youth about conservation by keying its efforts to the local sport fishing culture.
“One example of its significant impact in the region is the role it played in a local citizens’ effort to challenge the reclassification of state lands in Bristol Bay,” said Michael P. Dowling, chairman of the Land Trust Alliance Board of Directors. “The state is the largest landowner in Bristol Bay, and in 2005, the state reclassified most of its lands to allow for easier permitting of development projects. The land trust took the lead in the development and drafting of a science-based, alternative plan from citizens that ultimately helped convince the state to restore protective wildlife habitat classifications on 2.9 million acres and recreation classifications on 1.2 million acres of state land in Bristol Bay.”]]>
Large items were high on the list of things found during this year’s WA Beach Clean Up. A big bundle of rope and floats was found at Smiths Beach. Weighing close on 200kg it was removed from the rocks by tireless volunteers. Further south a huge foam buoy was found washed up on Deepdene Beach. A section of tug boat rope was reported on the rocks at Injidup, this took a team of people to remove. Closer to Mandurah a clean up at Whitehills Beach saw a trailer load of rubbish removed off a 3km section of coastline. Items found included a gas bottle, an outdoor table, a complete craypot, lots of rope, a wheel and much more. Long lengths of rope were a prevalent issue this clean up, especially in the south west. Rope floating in the ocean is particularly dangerous to marine life, it has the potential to entangle marine animals and is also a hazard to boats and ships.
Some of the more interesting finds included an esky full of unopened beer found in Binningup, a doona found on the beach at Alkimos and a strange collection of rope remnants all tied to the wire rope of the beach path in Rockingham. One gentleman at Woodman Point even got ‘paid’ for his clean up efforts when he found himself a $5 note and a brand new fishing lure. A few other lucky individuals found themselves some valuable plastic ‘rubbish’ – finding money too during their clean ups in both Busselton and Binningup.
Carol Sutherland who coordinated a clean up at Doddi’s Beach in Mandurah said ‘We only had a small group of us today and the beach was relatively clean, so we didn’t get a lot of rubbish. But all in all, a good day, and a sense of achievement that we helped out our environment.’ This reflects the sentiments of the many volunteers cleaning up across the state. A huge thank you is extended to everyone who took part in the WA Beach Clean Up, including the clean-up site coordinators who worked hard to make this event a success.
Once all the WA Beach Clean Up data has been submitted Tangaroa Blue will be running Source Reduction Plan workshops in each of the five coastal NRM regions to look at the data and work on local reduction plans. This is a very important step in turning back the plastic tide we find continually washing up on our shores.
The 2014 WA Beach Clean Up was proudly sponsored by Tangaroa Blue Foundation, Coastwest, Keep Australia Beautiful WA, South West Catchments Council, WA Department of Fisheries, Department of Parks and Wildlife and local government authorities around the state.
A full report on the event will be available at www.tangaroablue.org in the coming months.]]>
Check out our Summer Newsletter http://www.tangaroablue.org/tangaroa-media/latest-newsletter.html and best wishes to everyone for a wonderful Christmas and New Year!
See you on the beach in 2015!!
The Tangaroa Blue Crew]]>
Partners were given the opportunity to present on the work that they are doing in relation to marine debris mitigation and how they are contributing to the bigger picture. A large part of the workshop was focused on Source Reduction Plans as a means of stopping debris from entering the marine system in the first place.
Figures show that most areas of the ocean contain marine debris. It is therefore imperative we continue to tackle this huge problem through strong partnerships and creative thinking that lead to practical strategies and solutions. We thank everyone for their time and efforts in attending the 2014 Australian Marine Debris Initiative Conference and look forward to continued collaboration long into the future.
Thanks goes to the Queensland Government’s Friends of Parks grant, the QLD Gambling Community Benefit Fund and the Patagonia Tides Grant for funding that assisted in beach clean up events during the year, as well as assisting in the creation of Source Reduction Plans at this conference.]]>
We spent hours and hours walking a tropical beach in Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica…
in the dark…
As the surf pounded the beach to my left, invisible and insistent, I tried to decide if I looked weak—or, really, if I looked like the weakest of our group.
This is a worry I often have, doing physically demanding work in remote locations, but in Costa Rica, it was not the opinion of the four other guys I was concerned about.
It was the opinion of the jaguars.
The huge cats were on the beach with us. We’d just found tracks—called huellas in Costa Rica—made less than 20 minutes ago, after our last walk down the sand looking for turtle tracks.
The big male jaguar had been there.
He probably still was, watching us from the thicket of mangrove trees only a dozen feet away. These massive, rare, and relatively polite cats were the reason cat-biologist Juan Carlos Cruz Diaz and friend, wildlife photographer Alonso Sánchez, were spending their vacation at a remote research station in Santa Rosa National Park, on the north Pacific coast near the Nicaraguan border.
We traveled to this place via rental car, bus, a 1975 Land Rover with no seat cushions, and our own two feet, backpacking the final two miles through a lightening storm. Although the beach itself is only a half-mile strip of sand sandwiched between charcoal cliffs, it is known as the best place in Costa Rica to see jaguars.
“The only jaguar I’ve seen, was like for just three seconds, right here,” Juan Carlos had said earlier that day when we arrived at the open-air research station. This statement, coming from a biologist who has studied jaguars in Costa Rica for the past six years, is telling.
Jaguar populations and behavior are not well understood. Secretive night hunters, they live in remote, densely forested places. Although Juan Carlos has camera traps set up literally all across the country, and has seen photographs and videos of various jaguars, he never gets to see the cat he works so hard to protect.
Jaguars in Costa Rica are suffering from a number of pressures, among them habitat loss, slow regeneration rates, and being shot by ranchers for killing livestock. Possibly the most devastating impact to overall population numbers is illegal poaching of many of the big cat’s prey species like the agouti, a rodent the size of a house cat, and the peccary, a wild pig.
As though it will help me see in the dark, I wipe my glasses, fogged from the humidity of this “dry” forest, which received more rain this afternoon than my home state usually gets in an entire month.
I am reminded of another key prey species as the putrid smell of rotting flesh assaults my nose. The only resident researcher at this remote biological field station, a short, muscled Nicaraguan named Wilbert, clicks on his flashlight, briefly scanning the dense growth for the orange eye-shine we hope to see. The beam casts eerie shadows on the corpse of a hollowed-out Olive Ridley sea turtle shell and its punctured skull.
This particular skeleton is a leftover from arribada, another rarity in Costa Rica. Last Wednesday, five days before our arrival, 28,000 turtles came up on this beach to nest.
There are only two beaches in Costa Rica where arribada occurs, and the jaguars know it. Tonight, they hunt with only four or five turtles arriving, mainly the smooth-shelled Olive Ridleys, or possible one of the flashier Green turtles.
Even though I knew we were going try to see jaguars at night, nothing prepared me for the actuality of walking in almost total blackness, being watched by a 200-plus-pound killing machine with excellent night vision and no fresh turtle kills since last week.
Although the jaguars hunt near the high tide line, I wasn’t tempted to stray closer to the ocean. The third interesting set of huellas we saw in the sand that night was made by one of the saltwater crocodiles patrolling the ocean, also looking for sea turtles.
Juan Carlos turned on his headlamp to follow the drag tracks of a crocodile’s spiny tail through the sand. “Probably three meters,” he said, guessing the size of the animal. “Going back and forth from the swamp.”
I did some mental math. Three-point-three feet to a meter times three meters was a nine-and-half-foot “log” with teeth that, walking in the dark without a headlamp, I could accidentally step on.
Ah, so relaxing.
This is what adventure scientists do for vacation.
And we love it.]]>
We are a non-profit organization whose mission is to draw new constituencies into the crucial push for a deeper and faster response to the challenges of global warming. Given the scope of this unprecedented challenge to our shared environment, we need far more action by far more people.
SolaVida is currently working with national and international groups on projects that will speak to new communities of people – encouraging these individuals to reduce their personal carbon footprints and to become actively engaged in creating a better way to power the world.
More to come on our work in future posts. We look forward to sharing ideas and information with the network!]]>
This past Thursday, FCT Senior Scientist Becky Zug, Board Member Stuart White, and Executive Director Catherine Schloegel were in Quito to contribute to a national conversation about how to reduce and mitigate human-wildlife conflicts. From condors to caimans, bears to birds, the presenters reported sustained conflicts between vulnerable and endangered wildlife and nearby residents and their private property.
Alpacas grazing on the Mazar Wildlife Reserve.
Stuart White, an alpaca rancher in southern Ecuador since 1985, observed a pattern in puma depredation of alpacas: nearly 100% of the attacks occurred at night. In 2002, following more kills and threatening his business, White began to construct night corrals: movable enclosures with two-meter high fences that pumas could not jump over, nor burrow under. While the corrals had a positive effect on alpaca depredation (admittedly not reducing it to zero), this mitigation technique has significant primary and secondary costs. White estimates that purchasing the chain link fencing for the corrals, changing corral locations periodically, the daily labor of enclosing the alpacas at night and releasing them the next morning, the incidental costs of higher parasite loads and trauma from the corral use, and the value of the predated alpacas, generates expenses of $11,600/year.
Nor have the corrals been a silver bullet. Carnivores, such as the puma, acquire ever-greater savvy over time, prompting White to develop new strategies as well. By mid-2013, he had lost nine alpacas to puma attacks during daytime, a new pattern and one that suggested a particular puma. At least a few individual pumas had changed strategy previously, and so did White. Using a large cage and a freshly predated alpaca as bait, he trapped a large puma male, estimated to weigh 170 lbs. With help from Ecuadorian authorities, White removed the puma from the Mazar Wildlife Reserve and released it into similar habitat far from people and their property. Following the removal of this problem puma, daytime alpaca depredation ceased. As in other cases of livestock depredation by large carnivores, new threats can originate from a single ¨problem animal¨ and do not represent the strategy of all individuals.
As human populations in Ecuador expand and more individuals live adjacent to forests and national parks, the conflicts between wildlife and humans will only increase. White suggested that mitigation measures must take into account both the productive and social landscape. As he related, solving the puma problem on the Mazar Wildlife Reserve will not resolve attacks on his neighbor’s livestock. Without sustained and sufficient support for landscape conservation, a majority of rural property owners would resort to retaliatory killing, having neither time nor experience to dissuade further attacks. A few, like White, are taking a different approach.
Currently in Ecuador, the costs of wildlife conservation on private lands are borne by private individuals with little economic or technical support. National environmental authorities must strive to become better conservation allies and provide credible and meaningful support to those on the front lines of wildlife conservation.
Are you interested in seeing Stuart White’s powerpoint presentation? Click here
About the Fundación Cordillera Tropical (FCT)
FCT is a non-profit, non-governmental organization dedicated to biodiversity conservation in the Nudo del Azuay, a mountainous region in the lower watersheds of the Paute River and the southern zone of Sangay National Park. FCT bases its conservation work in the participation of civil society, particularly rural property owners, believing that they are a powerful tool in the protection and recuperation of natural ecosystems.
For more information on how to get involved and support this important work, please contact:
Catherine Schloegel, Executive Director
Tel. +593 7 2809382
1.Create an environment where there are no bad questions
While some questions may be more insightful than others, students must truly believe that no question they ask could be a “bad question.” To promote such an atmosphere, we avoid adding value judgements to student questions. While saying “Great question Tim!” seems harmless, it could lead another student to doubt that their question was as good as Tim’s. Instead, try to thank students for their contribution without assigning value to the question they asked.
2. When it comes to background knowledge, sometimes less is be more
Prepping students with the right amount of background knowledge is key. Give too little and it can be difficult to keep students on topic. Give too much and risk losing the originality of their questions. Background information best functions as a teaser, giving students just enough knowledge to start asking questions on a topic while leaving plenty of room for them to explore.
3. Answering a student’s question isn’t always the best response
My favorite answer to any student question is “Well, what do you think?” When a student asks a question which I have a ready answer for, it can be very difficult to hold back that information. However, coaching a student to answer their own question creates a far stronger connection between the student and the information than an instantaneous answer. Building off questions students have already asked helps keep the cycle of inquiry going and helps students think deeper about the topic at hand.
We hope this tips help you get kids asking questions, whether you are a teacher, parent, or question-asking enthusiast. If you think we left anything out or have a favorite strategy for helping students ask questions, please add it in the comment section.]]>
I begin by teaching students about risk and how to evaluate different types of risks (river crossings, travel in bear country, steep terrain, etc.) during daily travel for the first week or so of a course. I actively manage each situation but explain my thought process to students whenever possible. The more they are able to manage on their own, the more my students will learn and the more growth will take place. My students really enjoy the freedom to assess and manage risk on their own but always feel safe knowing I will step in if a situation is above experience level.
In this way, NOLS teaches students to consider all options objectively before making a decision. This is as applicable in the frontcountry as it is in the wilderness. Just as on a NOLS course, if something doesn’t seem safe or like a good idea after looking at it objectively, then one should probably avoid it. While it can be hard to remove the human factor from decisions on NOLS courses, or in life, if you want to make a safe and wise decision that’s what is necessary.
On a NOLS course, most things are uncertain, and it takes a person skilled in judgement, decision-making and risk management to navigate the wilderness safely. That uncertainty is a critical part of outdoor education and teaches students the tolerance and resilience to deal with many situations they might encounter in the backcountry, and in life.
Jeff Green is a 2010 Alaska Outdoor Educator graduate, scholarship recipient, NOLS instructor, and donor.
NOLS accepts risk as an integral part of the learning process and of the wilderness environments through which we travel. The recognition and management of risk is critical to both the development of leadership and to the safety and health of our students and staff. We believe successful risk management stems from good judgment based on experience, training, and knowledge.]]>