Weekly News Roundup: December 20, 2013

What’s happening at National Wildlife Federation this week?

New Report Proves That Young People and their Gadgets Can Co-Exist in the Great Outdoors

Kids playing with Ubooly

Dec 20- The advancements in technology over the last decade have changed the way children spend their free time, up to 10 hours a day inside according to the Joan Ganz Cooney Center. A great deal of this indoor time often includes using technology which, if unmonitored, may have an unintended negative impact on our children. A new National Wildlife Federation report explores the positive benefits of technology and outdoor exploration. Friending Fresh Air: Connecting Kids to Nature in the Digital Age details how kids’ media habits can both positively and negatively impact health, learning and social development.

The report provides real-world advice to help parents serve as positive role models and teach children to use technology in moderation. Technology can be a valuable tool to help families balance the lure of screen time with the importance of green time for kids. Today’s connected world enables children to experience nature in ways never before imagined. Some of the tools mentioned in the report are:

  1. Use technology to help plan or inspire your next outdoor adventure.
  2. If they love it, embrace it, and take it outside.
  3. Keep a record of outdoor experiences with the help of electronics photos, videos or an electronic journal of adventures
  4. A technology themed adventure to can provide an equal balance between technology and nature.
  5. Ubooly, the brand new, innovative, app-based learning toy that can turn a walk in the park into an interactive experience. Activities include scavenger hunts, nature hikes, mindfulness games and lots and lots of exercise. For more information: https://www.ubooly.com/rangerrick.

 Buy an Ubooly toy and help NWF’s conservation efforts!


NWF & King County Present Online Tool for Landowners Interested in Climate Change


Dec 19- The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and King County, Washington are pleased to announce a new online tool for landowners to help them understand and prepare for climate change impacts on their property. The Urban and Community Forestry Climate Preparedness and Response (CPR) tool, developed with support from a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service grant, allows landowners to view land and forest characteristics for their property using sophisticated Geographic Information System (GIS) analysis.

The Forestry CPR website provides both general background and location specific data about the linkages between forests and climate change for the more than two million residents that live in King County. The tool provides local resources to help landowners enhance their forest’s value and productivity. A key function of the site is a Forest Health Assessment which provides customized management recommendations for each landowner’s property. In addition, visitors to the site can learn about the role healthy forests play in reducing local climate change impacts.

“The Forestry CPR tool shows how trees can both reduce carbon pollution and help neighborhoods prepare for the impacts of climate change,” said Kara E. Reeve, Manager for NWF’s Climate-Smart Communities Program. “The tool is being used by landowners across King County to make climate-smart decisions about their forests. We hope it serves as a model for other communities across to adopt.”

Learn more about NWF’s Climate Smart Communities.


New Best Management Guidelines Help Make Bioenergy Crops like Switchgrass Compatible with Wildlife

American Black duck

Dec 19- As the next generation of biofuels begin to make their way to the market, many uncertainties remain regarding how to make bioenergy production wildlife-friendly. A new set of Best Management Guidelines (BMGs) released today by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) provides guidance to bioenergy companies and farmers growing switchgrass and other native prairie grasses as bioenergy crops, particularly in  the wildlife-abundant Prairie Pothole Region, which is located in the Dakotas and parts of IA, MN and MT.

Perennial Herbaceous Biomass Production and Harvest in the Prairie Pothole Region of the Northern Great Plains: Best Management Guidelines to Achieve Sustainability of Wildlife Resources presents a series of practices for producers. Written by Bill McGuire and Susan Rupp, the BMGs were developed with an interdisciplinary team of natural resource professionals and reviewed by experts from academia and industry.

“Producing low-carbon biofuels and bioenergy is critical to reducing the threat of climate change, and we also need to grow and harvest biomass feedstocks in ways that are compatible with wildlife,” says Ben Larson, Agriculture Program Manager with NWF. “We intended these BMGs to be not only beneficial to wildlife but also practical for producers to apply. We are glad to already be working with a biofuel producer that is interested in implementing some of the guidelines in their perennial biomass production, and we hope to work with other bioenergy facilities in the future.”

Download the full report: Perennial Herbaceous Biomass Production and Harvest in the Prairie Pothole Region of the Northern Great Plains: Best Management Guidelines to Achieve Sustainability of Wildlife Resources (pdf)


New Evidence of BP Oil Spill Effects Revealed Today

Bottlenose Dolphin

Dec 18- Today, two new developments linked BP oil from the 2010 Gulf oil disaster to ongoing wildlife, habitat and economic impacts in Louisiana. First, a new peer-reviewed scientific study by a team of government, academic and non-governmental researchers was released linking BP oil from the 2010 Gulf oil disaster to dolphin deaths and illness in Barataria Bay, La., an area that saw heavy oiling during the disaster. Additionally, reports surfaced today that some 1.5 million pounds of “oily material” have been recovered from the coast of Lafourche Parish in the past few weeks.

The dolphin study said that the health effects seen in the Barataria Bay dolphins are not only significant but also will likely lead to reduced survival and ability to reproduce.

Click here to read the blog.


National Wildlife Federation Teams Up with the Forthcoming Fantasy Adventure The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug to Celebrate Courage, Community and Home

Desolation of Smaug Poster

Dec 16- National Wildlife Federation is teaming up with Peter Jackson’sThe Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaugthe second in a trilogy of films adapting The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien, with a variety of activities that underscore the film’s themes of courage, community and home. The film, a production of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM), opens in theaters and IMAX® 3D December 13, 2013. As the education partner for the film, the National Wildlife Federation is providing online resources to help students, educators, parents and individuals start their own community wildlife habitat.

NWF is hosting a sweepstakes for a complimentary private screening of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. The sweepstakes deadline is 11:59 p.m. on December 20, 2013. To enter, please go to: www.nwf.org/thehobbitmovie.


NWF and Landscape Professionals Join Forces to Protect Wildlife Habitat


CWLP Seal 2014

Dec 16- Landscaping professionals around the country are now able to become a Certified Wildlife Landscaping Professional under National Wildlife Federation’s Certified Wildlife Habitat® program. The professional must demonstrate a commitment to supporting ecologically sound and wildlife-friendly methods of landscaping in the business. NWF and landscape professionals around the country are combining forces to address a nationwide concern for wildlife habitat loss and fragmentation.

NWF’s brand new Certified Wildlife Landscaping Professional program certifies landscaping professionals as a complement to its long-standing Certified Wildlife Habitat® program and its companion programs, Schoolyard Habitats® and Community Wildlife Habitat®. These wildlife-friendly landscapes and gardens help keep water and air resources clean, are healthier for people and the environment, and are less resource-dependent than conventional landscapes. Wildlife-friendly landscapes can serve to enrich our urban areas and give residents pride in their neighborhoods.

“We’re partnering with professional landscapers to promote sound wildlife conservation efforts through their business practices,” said Jaime Matyas, executive vice president and COO of National Wildlife Federation. “This program connects homeowners, schools, businesses and others with professionals who can help them create an outdoor space that will serve as a haven for wildlife for years to come.”

Learn more at www.nwf.org/landscapers.


And now here are highlights from NWF in the news:

Environmental Health News: Only half of drugs, other newly emerging contaminants removed from sewage

Only about half of the prescription drugs and other newly emerging contaminants in sewage are removed by treatment plants.That’s the finding of a new report by the International Joint Commission, a consortium of officials from the United States and Canada who study the Great Lakes.

Pocono Record:  Climate change converts nuisance insects into a real threat

But a new report from the National Wildlife Federation, “Nowhere to Run: Big Game Wildlife in a Warming World,” documents how climate change is altering the landscape for wildlife, jeopardizing that success.

EcoWatch: Senators Question Enbridge Over Aging Tar Sands Pipeline Beneath Great Lakes

Oil giant Enbridge experienced a major backlash this week after three Democratic senators released a joint letter questioning the integrity of Enbridge’s expansion of a crude oil pipeline on the Straits of Mackinac.

Gainesville Sun: Where is wood for biomass plant coming from?

Of the 1 million to 1.2 million tons of wood the biomass plant will need in a year, 40 percent is expected to come out of the woods from post-timber harvesting removals, thinning for forest or habitat restoration, or clear-cutting properties.

The Hill: Let’s put pollinators over politics

One thing everyone can agree on is that pollinators are too vital to lose. Congress now has an opportunity to take action in the farm bill, an opportunity legislators shouldn’t pass up.

Houma Courier: The Greatest Christmas Gifts

These types of gifts can range from donating money to provide free books for needy kids (firstbook.org), to sponsoring a child in poverty, to adopting an endangered animal with the purchase of a stuffed toy through the National Wildlife Federation (shopnwf.org) or a penguin through the Audubon Nature Institute (audubon

Total Landscape Care: NWF Offers Certified Wildlife Habitat Program for Landscapers

The Certified Wildlife Landscaping Professional program engages professionals who can commit to becoming more sustainable in their business practices and encourage wildlife in their communities through their services to homeowners, businesses, schools, churches, parks and other institutions.