Archive for the 'your backyard' Category

Published by Rosalind on 07 Jun 2010

Birds and the Gulf Oil Spill

As the Gulf Oil Spill from the BP well drilled by the Deepwater Horizon continues, things are getting worse and worse for local wildlife. Here are a few places where you can find out more about what’s happening and how to help!

How Bad is the Gulf Oil Spill? Ask the Pelicans.

Bird Rescue
US Fish and Wildlife Service’s info on what you can do
Cornell Ornithology Lab oil spill bird tracker

(photo by IBBRC)

Published by Rosalind on 02 Apr 2010

Monarch Butterfly Update 2010

It hasn’t been a very good winter for Monarchs – bad weather seems to have taken a toll on them. Plan now to plant some milkweed for them and help the population recover. Read an update here: Monarch Butterflies . (Do you know how to tell the sex of Monarchs? The one in the picture is a male – you can tell by the dark spots on the inner wings. Those are the pheromone sacs, part of the way that the males communicate with female butterflies – by smell!)


Published by Rosalind on 10 Jan 2010

EPA issues new standards for Smog – will your county be affected?

Many counties nationwide will find it hard to follow the new rules issued by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Read a story about it here: New Smog Standards.

You can use the EPA website to find out lots of information about your home town or county. Visit and use the “My Environment” search to find out about the place where you live! You can find out about local ozone levels, too, and see how your home county stacks up against other counties across the United States.

Published by Diana on 06 Jan 2010

Preserving the Past

Farmers have long been breeding animals for their particular needs. Scots sheepherders bred the border collie to help them manage their flocks of sheep; duck hunters in Canada bred the Labrador retriever to swim out and bring back their ducks. The Black Angus cow was bred for good tasting beef. The Tennessee fainting goat was bred to be easy to manage on a small farm.

You’ve never heard of a Tennessee fainting goat? The New York Times describes the goat this way: “At the visitor’s approach, Chip apparently had second thoughts. His left foreleg stiffened, his brown eyes went glassy and he began to list to one side.” See this article: Rare Breeds, Frozen in Time.

Now an organization in Rhode Island, the SVF Foundation is trying to make sure that rare domestic farm breeds like the Tennessee fainting goat don’t vanish as larger and larger farms manage more and more of our food production. After all, if you want a small manageable goat for your back yard, the fainting goat would be great. After all, in Portland, OR, the locavore food movement is saying that Goats are the New Chickens.

What’s a locavore? That’s someone who tries to eat more locally produced food, to support local farmers and reduce the amount of carbon used in getting their food.