Northern California Innovators Vie for Angel Investment

Sierra Innovation Challenge 2014

Companies are finding they need to expand their innovation efforts to meet consumer demand for greener products and services. And angel investors are eagerly seeking to invest in these kinds of companies.

These two forces collided on April 2nd at the 3rd annual Sierra Nevada Innovation Challenge.

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Man-made nesting boxes help local wood ducks thrive in northern California

Colorful wood ducks have come back from the brink of extinction thanks to our help photo by Dawn Beattie, flickr

Colorful wood ducks have come back from the brink of extinction thanks to our help. photo by Dawn Beattie, flickr

Throughout the local waterways of northern California – from the ACID canal to the Sacramento River – you’ll see ducks. North American Wood Ducks to be exact.

The only North American waterfowl that breed twice in the same season. over the years these colorful birds have faced hard times. With over hunting and loss of habitat, they came close to extinction in the early 20th century. An act of Congress – the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, which ended unregulated hunting – and a 1937 program by the U.S. Biological Survey (now the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service) to build artificial nesting structures have helped spur them to a dramatic recovery.

To learn more about these fascinating and colorful birds – with unique habits in the bird world – see

The Challenge of Finding GMO-free Pet Food

Editor’s Note:  I write for a variety of online venues. Although the references in this article are for a website based in northern California,  I think you’ll agree that the issue are bigger than geography.

Photo by Margarita Perisco, courtesy of flickr

Photo by Margarita Perisco, courtesy of flickr

As someone committed to living a green lifestyle, it’s natural for me to want my dog to be on the green journey with me. I’ve ditched containers with BPA and chemical-filled pet products and I use top quality “green” laundry detergent. But when it comes to finding pet food or dog treats that are GMO-free, that’s a bigger challenge.

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Sustainable Farming Gets New Look in the State of Jefferson

The mountainous region of northern California and southern Oregon have an interesting and unique history. It comprises what many in the area refer to as “the state of Jefferson” – an area that since 1859 has officially clamored at least three times to become this country’s 51st state. Had the bombing of Pearl Harbor not occurred, there is a possibility this movement to secede and form a new state might actually have taken place.

A participant at the Sierra Nevada Innovation Challenge earlier this summer is brewing an exciting new venture that could bring a renewed focus to this region.

To learn more about the Jefferson Farm Cooperative, its fledgling Farm Federation and its unique plan to help farmers work together and be successful, see the full article at