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Gleanings from Headline News – June 2020

COVID Pushes Move to Green Recovery

While the cost in human lives and livelihood is severe during the COVID-19 pandemic, the air we breathe is literally cleaner than it has been in decades. Over half the human population lives in cities with dangerously poor air quality and many countries across the world including Germany are using this time to push through environmental reforms to move to a new green economy. Read more here.

Fireflies, Magical Insects of Summer

Fireflies evoke a sense of magical nostalgia for a simpler time of summer nights hoping to be the first person to spot a firefly in the garden. Learn how to protect and enjoy these fascinating creatures with a handy Firefly Guide from Xerces Society.

Migrating Eco-Murals

California Highway 1 between Monterey and San Francisco is one of the most scenic highways in the US, except for a stretch in North Monterey that is congested with ugly billboards. While commuting from San Francisco to Monterey, artist Jane Kim came up with the idea to create billboards that educated the public on ecosystems and beauty that surrounds them. Kim and her husband Thayer Walker founded Ink Dwell studio and migrating murals. Read their story.

Small Family Forests to Help Mitigate Climate Change

As efforts grow to store more CO2 emissions in forests, one sector has been overlooked – small, family-owned woodlands, which comprise 38 percent of U.S. forests. Now, a major conservation initiative is aiming to help these owners manage their lands for maximum carbon storage. In April, the environmental nonprofits The Nature Conservancy (TNC), American Forest Foundation (AFF), and Vermont Land Trust announced two new programsto funnel funds to small landowners and help them grow healthier forests. Read more in Yale Environment360.

Deadly Mosquito-Borne Illness Is Brewing in the Northeast

Everyone is focused on COVID-19 this summer, but EEE kills almost half of its victims and is a growing problem in the Northeast. The summer and fall of 2019 saw recommendations to shelter indoors and avoid certain activities at dawn and dusk. Was last year an outlier or a preview of changes due to a warming climate? Read more in OneZero.

Recreate Responsibly

We all want to get beyond our own backyards and balconies. With states opening up more each week, let’s not forget to be careful out there. Here’s a list of practical things you can do to ensure your health and safety while enjoying the great outdoors. Read more.

The Joys of Birding

As we have been locked down in our houses over the last months, ebirder websites have exploded with a renewed interest in backyard bird-watching. Learn the value of citizen scientists’ tallying the bird species they see on their own properties. Read more from the Cornell Lab.

Everything You Want to Know About Insects and More!!

The InsectXaminer short video series hopes to increase the visibility of the beautiful world of insects, even those we consider to be pests in our managed landscapes. Join UMass Extension to observe these incredible organisms and look into a world that, while it happens all around us, sometimes goes unseen! Read more at UMass Extension.

Good News for Pawtuxet River

The Pawtuxet River in Rhode Island is coming clean. After a complicated history, this small 12-mile-long river is seeing significant drops in phosphorus levels due to improving wastewater treatment, mitigating stormwater, and planting native species streamside. Read more at ecoRI News.

In Defense of Rare Plants

David Gregg, executive director of the Rhode Island Natural History Survey, is worried that we are not doing enough to protect and save native wild species. Find out about his efforts (in collaboration with Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and Native Plant Trust) to propagate and transplant them into the wild to augment native populations. Read more in ecoRI News.

Are Natural Gas Leaks Killing our Trees?

Natural gas leaks from underground pipelines are killing trees in densely populated urban environments, a new study suggests, adding to concerns over such leaks fueling climate change and explosion hazards. A study in Chelsea, MA finds dead or dying trees were 30 times more likely to be exposed to methane surrounding their roots. Read more in Inside Climate News.