Champion Coast Redwood Cloned Trees Available for Rehoming

One of California's giant coastal redwoods  that's been cloned to save its genetic diversity, photo by Debra Atlas

One of northern California’s giant coastal redwoods that’s been cloned to save its genetic diversity, photo by Debra Atlas

As the drought continues, with little sign of breaking, wildfires are claiming much of our beautiful forested land. And these trees will need replacing, whether by the Forest Service or by landowners on private land.

Those of you familiar with earlier posts know about the Archangel Ancient Tree Project and David Milarch, its irrepressible co-founder. For those of you who don’t, Milarch has made it his life mission to save and clone the oldest giant “Champion” trees so that their genetic diversity will be saved for posterity and use these clones to help reforest countries around the world. Having recently met Milarch and having the chance to see some of these tall giants still alive was a fantastic experience. There will definitely be more to write about what I saw and learned over the coming months!

For right now, Archangel Ancient Tree Archive​, a registered non-profit based in Michigan, has a unique opportunity available for those who need to replace burned out trees – or those who wish to expand existing forest land. Milarch’s organization currently has quantities of ​2nd generation Champion coast redwood clones available for planting groves in appropriate areas in “living libraries” to assist ​with migration of the species. These are the largest living organisms on earth and they help offset CO2 emissions​ ​while providing a multitude of other essential ecosystem services.

Milarch says they have approximately 10,000 trees available for those who can use and will care for them. To learn more about these magnificent trees and see how to get them for your property, contact Milarch at (231) 378-4400 or online.

Bats are helping to balance our ecosystem

Bats - Mexican Free-tail

Humans have an innate fear of bats. But there’s little reason behind this and much to be learned about these small winged creatures.

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Urban farming meets fresh fish

More urban gardeners are incorporating aquaponics for more sustainability

From small backyard gardens to larger community spaces and rooftop ventures, urbanites are rediscovering the value and freshness of home-grown food.

Aquaponics is a new trend that’s making headway that promises to enhance the quality of urban gardening while adding an unusual supply of sustainable protein.

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Putting the green in theme parks

Amusement and theme parks are getting greener these days

As consumers demand for green products increases, businesses of all kinds are jumping on the green bandwagon. So to are theme parks across the U.S. and around the world.

Many modern parks are boasting eco-friendly and sustainable features that can make you feel good about enjoying yourself.

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Two eco-friendly ways to keep baby comfortable

BabyChafing and diaper rash are par for the course with babies. Moms deal with these using whatever ointments and powders were available.

With growing concerns about harmful chemicals and toxins in baby products, it’s nice to know there are eco-friendly choices that help keep babies dry and comfortable.

In 2009, Elements Naturals introduced their 100% Natural & Compostable Baby Wipes. They’re made from a man-made plant-based fiber called Ingeo, a patented product developed by Nature Works.

Linda Naerheim, CEO and co-founder of Elements Naturals LLC, says she was shocked to discover that what was considered “natural” out there in baby wipes really wasn’t. Those “natural” products used latex and petroleum by-products, the same materials used in Pampers and Huggies. Cotton wipes only have around 15 percent cotton and contain a cocktail of harsh chemicals, including parabins and endocrine disruptors that have proven to cause cancer.

Elements NaturalsSeeking a better alternative, with the help of Nature Works, she developed her 100% Natural Baby Wipes.

Larger and thicker, these wipes are chemical, fragrance and chlorine free and have no essential oils that could irritate baby’s skin.

Since its introduction last year, Naerheim has worked to improve the formula and the packaging. And the company moved its manufacturing from overseas back to the U.S.

These 100% plant-based wipes have received a lot of recognition. They’ve been featured in Parents Magazine as one of the top eco-friendly baby products, were featured in Pregnancy & Newborn magazine’s April issue in its “A” list for “green” diapering. And they’re one of the top 12 best diapering picks on Seventeen.com.

“It’s an important product,” says Naerheim.

Shockingly, over 39 billion individual baby wipes go in to landfills every year. That’s 107 million each day! They leak toxins into our soil, challenge our ecosystem and they don’t break down because of the plastic resins they contain.

Since these wipes are compostable, they help reduce landfill dumping.

“(Using this product) is one thing you can do every day to reduce your impact on the environment,” said Naerheim.

Another great baby product to help keep babies dry will be introduced within the next two months by Baby Magic, a baby product line that’s been around for over 100 years.

Baby Magic Patty CakeTheir newest, most eco-friendly product – Baby Magic Patty Cake – will be the world’s first U.S. patented, talc-free, dustless baby powder. This unique product won’t come in a plastic bottle but in a compact.

Based on the concept of women’s make-up (i.e. pressed face powder), it’s made especially for babies and their delicate skin, says Melanie Timms, Brand Manager with Naterra Intl. Inc., maker of Baby Magic products.

Decades-old use of baby powder is rapidly shifting, particularly with warnings by doctors about the dangers to infants of airborn dust and powder.

Patty Cake has lots of pluses. It’s hypoallergenic, it contains moisturizers and it hydrates skin. One of its ingredients helps repel water from baby’s sensitive skin. And it’s made from rice, not corn which can trigger allergies, says Timms.

Patty Cake has almost no fragrance and can be applied exactly where it’s needed, with no talcum cloud.

Its convenient size makes it “easier to throw in your diaper bag than a messy diaper rash cream,” Timms says. And you can travel with it, she said. “It’s airline safe.”

Baby Magic Patty Cake lasts a long time. The box says it will last for 250 applications but, Timms says, depending on the amount used, it will generally last 4 to 6 months.

A resealable package of 80 wipes costs $5.95. Elements Naturals 100% Natural & Compostable Baby Wipes are available at a growing number of retailers around the country, including some Whole Foods, and online at Diapers.com, Drugstore.com and ElementsNaturals.com. And, says Naerheim, you can request that your natural food store carry them.

Patty Cake will retail for around $8.00 or less and will be available at national retailers online and at Drugstore.com.

Hope for endangered US forests – beetles songs

 

 

Beetles have decimated millions of trees throughout the U.S.

Beetles have decimated millions of trees throughout the U.S.

That’s not a type on the title. Northern Arizona University researchers may have found a way to deter tree eating bark beetles from devastating forests. 

 

Nearly 80 million ponderosa, piñon and lodgepole pines in Arizona and New Mexico and tens of millions more across the West have been killed by ravenous bark beetles over the past decade. This has left ugly scars throughout our forests, weakened the surrounding ecosystem and heightened wildfire danger.

Pine Beetle infested forests.2NAU’s School of Forestry has been working to find a viable, earth-friendly solution. Researcher Reagan McGuire suggested utilizing sound to aggravate the relentless pests. After rock music and snippets of radio talk show personality Rush Limbaugh played backward failed to deter them, the beetles were exposed to digitally altered recordings of their own calls.

The beetles immediately stopped mating or burrowing. Some fled.  Others violently attacked each other.All of them stopped chewing away at the pine tree.

Pine Beetle infested forests“Our interest is to use acoustic sounds that make beetles uncomfortable and not want to be in that environment,” said NAU forest entomologist Richard Hofstetter, who led the experiment nicknamed, without apology, “beetle mania.”

More research needs to be done and the lab will seek funding to continue this potentially forest saving  experiment into acoustic pest control. It’s hoped this could get into the field in the near future.

Environmentalists outraged at prospect of mining in Bristol Bay, Alaska

Bristol Bay, Alaska 1The proposed Pebble Open Pit Mine  – which would be the largest North American copper and gold mine – has outraged environmentalists who see Bristol Bay, Alaska as a “vital ecosystem” for salmon and other species.

The threat puts the headwaters of the two most famous salmon producing river drainages in Alaska –the Mulchatna/ Nushagak River drainage and the Newhalen / Kvichak River drainage, both of which feed into the renowned Bristol Bay – at risk. Anticipated to be the first of many, the mine would also include the largest dam in the world – larger than Three Gorges Dam in China – and would be made of earth, not concrete, to hold back the toxic waste created in the mining process.

Alaska's wildlife and salmon habitat would be at risk with the proposed Pebble Mine

Alaska's wildlife and salmon habitat would be at risk with the proposed Pebble Mine

Bristol Bay – home to the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery – is a pristine premier fishing and wildlife area. Its waters are the source of the most productive commercial and sport salmon fisheries in the world. Many native groups and commercial fishermen are opposed to the proposed Pebble Mine.

 

According to the National Resource Defense Council:

 

“The only way to extract the low-grade ore from the region would be to use a brutal and pollution-prone technique known as hard-rock mining, which includes powerful explosives and massive drilling equipment. At one of the proposed mines in Pebble, a remote, roadless area sandwiched between two national parks, spongy, lake-studded tundra would be scraped away, leaving a yawning two-mile-wide, 2,000-foot-deep pit in its place. This would be the largest open-pit mine in the world — wide enough to line up nine of the world’s longest cruise ships end to end and deep enough to swallow the Empire State Building. At a second mine, explosives would be used to create a series of underground cave-ins to extract ore.”

Bristol Bay, Alaska 3While posing a potentially terrible risk to the environment, this project would actually provide little economic benefit to Alaskans.

According to the EPA, the hardrock mining industry is the single largest source of toxic releases in the U.S.  According to Lance Trasky, former ADF&G Habitat Regional Division Supervisor for Bristol Bay for 26 years:

 “If mine permitting is allowed to proceed under current state and federal standards and permitting processes, the very large scale mining of sulfide based copper ore in the Nushagak and Kvichak drainages will physically destroy thousands of acres of very high quality spawning and rearing habitat and over time will almost certainly seriously degrade fisheries habitat and fisheries production in downstream portions of these drainages.”

As former Governor Jay Hammond said “I can’t imagine a worse location for a mine of this type unless it was in my kitchen”.