Nature in Boulder: A look into the future

Once land is protected…then what? WILD is working with our local partners in Boulder, Colorado on exactly that question.  As you can read in the Boulder case-study, over half of the land in Boulder County is protected. But, what is needed to ensure that nature continues to thrive in these areas for generations to come? One of Boulder’s biggest conundrums is loving the land to death.  With over five million visitor days per year, the City of Boulder Open Space handles more human traffic than nearby Rocky Mountain National Park.  Emily Loose, WILD’s Director of Communication, recently wrote a Guest Opinion for our local paper encouraging Boulder residents to think about the future, honor the leaders who established Open Space and think fully about future generations and nature when considering the management of our Open Space.  Read the full OpEd...

Think Big!

An editorial in Nature (January 2011), encourages us to “Think Big” about conservation, parks and species. We couldn’t agree more.  Thinking and planning at a landscape scale – including legal protected areas like National Parks and Forests and corridors and other designated (formal or informal) natural lands – is perhaps our best chance to keep ecosystems functioning and species alive in the face of global climate change.   This editorial speaks so clearly to why Nature Needs Half is timely, important and necessary for the function of all natural areas, from our local park to the planet as a whole. Here is a brief excerpt from the editorial, and we encourage you to read the full editorial, Think Big > …”Scaling up is reassuring. At the park level, climate change may extirpate a species. At the landscape level, climate change merely moves it. And scaling up is more effective. Ecologists and conservation biologists have known for decades that small isolated parks leak species. Smaller populations have smaller gene pools in which maladaptive traits are more likely to become fixed. Smaller populations are more vulnerable to drought, pests, hard winters or simple bad luck. This is why conservation biologists, since at least the early 1990s, have called for parks to be connected to one another by unbroken corridors of nature, through which large species can move. For small mobile species, such as birds and insects, a stepping-stone scatter of protected areas close to one another has much the same effect. Climate change makes such connectivity even more important, as species challenged by the changing climate will need big gene pools to...
Connectivity Across Highways

Connectivity Across Highways

This month, there is some exciting news for animals trying to cross the road. The winners were announced in the ARC International Wildlife Crossing Infrastructure Competition and elephants starting using the first ever highway underpass constructed to help these large mammals in Africa. On Sunday 22 January, Landscape architects Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA) and the construction firm HNTB won the first-ever international competition to design an overpass for wildlife use. Their design, one of many submitted for the competition, was recognized for its foliage-covered pre-cast concrete span that, in the architects’ telling, could rise over roads anywhere cars and animals collide, whether the highways of West Virginia or a major interstate in Colorado.  The ARC competition sets the stage for wildlife crossing to pop-up around the country, with public and government support, to decrease vehicle-wildlife collisions. Near the slopes of Mt.Kenya, a new underpass connects two elephant habitats that had been cut off from each other for year by human development. Photos show that one bull elephant (Tony) and two younger elephants were the first to use the underpass, just days after it opened. Iain Douglas-Hamilton, founder of Save the Elephants, commented “All over Africa this incredible wildlife is increasingly being fragmented by the growing human population, and if African wildlife is to survive, solutions must be found of this nature, where connectivity is preserved through corridors.” These great development for connectivity highlight how important it is not just to protect land but to make sure that protected areas are connected to one and other.  Isolated populations won’t survive in the long-term because of lack of genetic diversity...

The Far North Act, 2009

An Act With Respect To Land Use Planning and Protection in the Far North On June 2, 2009, Natural Resources Minister Donna Cansfield introduced proposed legislation that would permanently protect at least half of the Far North of Ontario in a network of conservation lands and allow for sustainable development of the region’s natural resources. The proposed Far North Act, 2009 would enable a community-based land use planning process that gives First Nations in the Far North a leadership role in determining areas to be protected. Community-based planning would also identify where sustainable development of natural resources such as forests, minerals and renewable energy may take place. Under the planning process, sustainable development must benefit local First Nations and take into consideration ecological and cultural values. To support community-based land use planning, the proposed legislation will ensure the creation of a Far North Land Use Strategy that includes mapping of ecological and cultural values, and policy statements on matters of provincial interest. By protecting at least 225,000 square kilometres – an area three times the size of Lake Superior – the proposed legislation would safeguard habitat for more than 200 sensitive species. Protecting such a vast area would also ensure the boreal landscape continues to fight the effects of global climate change by maintaining its capacity to absorb and store carbon from the air. During the summer, the Ministry of Natural Resources will be conducting outreach sessions on the proposed legislation across the Far North.  Read more...
La Giganta y Guadalupe

La Giganta y Guadalupe

iLCP photographer Miguel Angel de la Cueva just finished his explorations of Baja California’s must rugged and pristine mountain ranges Sierras La Giganta y Guadalupe along with one of Mexico’s most accomplished ecologist Exequiel Ezcurra and Western States Award Winner author Bruce Berger, for 13 months they unveiled relic forests and exuberant oases hidden in remote mountain tops and canyons, the inaccessibility of this places kept this ecosystems pristine , out of reach from cattle, loggers ,copper mining projects and even unregulated tourism, the purpose of this project is to create a book that will promote the conservation of this 650,000 acres natural area. This survey required complex logistics and mule rides sometimes up to 4 weeks long surveying volcanic peaks in the 5000 to 7000 feet range and canyons up to 2000 feet deep, the photographs and writings are being used now by Niparaja NGO , the Northwest Center for Biological Research CIBNOR and CONANP (Mexico’s National Commission for Natural Protected Areas) in public, government forums and meetings to enforce the creation of a new Biosphere Reserve. Among the biodiversity that this mountain ranges hold there’s a sub species of bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis weemsi) which is listed as highly endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), an endemic subspecies of poplar tree named Güeribo and a parasite purple spike orchid , its cultural heritage includes 7.500 + year old cave paintings sites and relic ranch culture. This is the first time this sky islands are photographed and brought to light, Baja California and its famous coastline have been under a huge amount of...
Ms. Maggies Earth Adventures

Ms. Maggies Earth Adventures

Ms. Maggie’s Earth Adventures creates online, environmentally focused learning materials for school-aged learners.   The stories and activities that comprise each unit in Maggie’s Earth Adventures are presented to introduce students to actual environmental issues and to motivate students to delve deeper into the issues presented. In the Fall of 2010, Ms. Maggie’s featured two lessons focused on Nature Needs Half — language arts/science activities and math activities tailored to different levels of learners.  The materials are distributed to a network of over 20,000 teachers in both English and Spanish (approx 1,000 of those teachers primarily use the Spanish materials). In the language arts/science activity students read an article about the importance of green space in metropolitan areas, highlighting Nature Needs Half. Follow-up activities include questions designed to scaffold learning to further develop content area comprehension skills. The activity is available on the primary and intermediate levels. A companion emergent level activity is also available. The WAP correlates with Content Standard F, Science in Personal and Social Perspectives of the National Science Standards. In the match activity, students are asked to think like a city planner, and put their math skills to the test of figuring out how to improve our “Green Lungs” and harmonize the space for people, forests, wildlife, and water based on Nature Needs Half.  This activity is available on the primary and intermediate levels. Here is a brief excerpt from the language arts lesson: “Everyone needs clean water and food from the land. Too often we forget that nature is really the source of all life. What we get from the store or tap is only...
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