100 Years of US National Parks : Happy birthday to ‘America’s best idea’ !!

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The National Park Service turns 100 – today, August 25, 2016 – the Service is inviting visitors of all ages to join in the celebration throughout the month! In the US itself – with special events across the country, and free admission to all 412 national parks from August 25 through August 28, the National Park Service is encouraging everyone to #FindYourPark / #EncuentraTuParque for the centennial!

On twitter #NPS100 and #FindYourPark

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100 years of National Parks: visit the US’s 59 parks for Free this Month!


The 100th birthday of the National Park Service (NPS) will be commemorated next week on August 25th. In honor of the centennial, the NPS will waive entrance fees at all 59 national parks across the country from August 25-28. Events will take place across the nation’s parks—including a U.S. citizenship and immigration service naturalization ceremony at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park in West Virginia and an evening of memorable performances at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.

Happy (almost) 100th birthday, National Park Service!

In honor of its big day, the federal government agency will waive entrance fees at all 59 national parks across the country from August 25-28.

Officially established on August 25, 1916—when President Woodrow Wilson signed an act that set up the agency within the Department of Interior to protect the then 35 national parks—the National Park Service is now also tasked with revitalizing communities, celebrating local heritages and educating the public on all things outdoors and green.

The centennial birthday week will also be marked by a slew of different events taking place across the nation’s parks—think Zumba lessons along Boston’s waterfront, a U.S. citizenship and immigration service naturalization ceremony at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park in West Virginia and an evening of memorable performances at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, among others.

But this isn’t the only way to get into a national park for free as this year’s new “Every Kid in a Park” program allows each American fourth grader to visit one alongside a parent or guardian completely gratis.

Need to narrow down your list of must-visit parks? Although we are partial to all green spaces across the country, we suggest you check out our list of best national parks in the U.S. for a bit of guidance.

Source: TIMEOUT 


Florida: STOP painting tortoises!

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Painting a tortoise – funny, isn’t it? Here in China, they are sold as pets … but I have not heard of a ‘painted tortoise’. Only in America…?

‘If you want to paint something, paint a rock,’ Florida officials implore after shells of a threatened tortoise species were found daubed with paint – according to The Guardian

“That doesn’t sound like a lot but we didn’t hear about this happening in the state before all this,” she said. “It could be that there are youngsters who think it’s funny or people who don’t know of the harm it causes.

“This is a threatened species with protections against harassing it, which painting it definitely is. The best thing to do is admire its natural beauty. If you want to paint something, paint a rock.”

Read the full article here 

BIG but NOT GOOD news….It’s World Elephant Day!





The elephant is one of the most persecuted creatures on earth! African elephants are slaughtered at an alarming rate for their ivory in places like Zimbabwe and Kenya  – fueled, dare I say, by the likes of China and other Asian countries demands for luxury goods. Asian elephants especially those in Thailand, are often abused in the name of ‘entertainment’

For the above reasons, World Elephant Day was established in 2012…..

Anne Dillon, with Patricia Sims of the Elephant Rehabilitation Foundation, tell us more: It’s the fifth annual World Elephant Day. What’s happening in the elephant world, and has anything really changed for them? In 2012, the World Elephant Day campaign was created as a rallying point for elephant conservation organizations and individuals worldwide to come together to help spread the word—through unique grassroots events and initiatives—about the dire situation that elephants presently face all over the world. Those threats may pertain to the ongoing and seemingly unstoppable slaughter of elephants for their ivory, the abject circumstances that captive elephants constantly endure at the hands of the entertainment industry, or the sad life of a street elephant begging on the streets of Asia, to list only a few of the grim scenarios that may define their lives.

On a personal level – the elephants ‘I have met’ have been brilliant beasts. In Africa on safari many, many years ago were magnificent and played a key role on the savannah; in Thailand, riding on their backs was an experience and was done at a ‘Nature Park’ where conservation was the uppermost aim.

To get involved – visit http://worldelephantday.org

For environmental education – visit http://naee.org.uk

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Remembering Cecil on National Lion Day

When it was International Cat Day just there other day …. actually my mind went to the Big Cats!

As a Zookeeper – working with chimps and monkeys – I can vouch for the importance, role and sheer power of the big cats…. NO I did not ‘fight one’ , I just appreciate how amazing the big cats are!

So: thinking of Cecil – the Zimbabwe lion killed for fun (!?) – The Guardian has re-issued their feature of the famous lion : organizers of World Lion Day are hoping to raise even more awareness of the complex nature of the relationship between lions and humans.

The recent , very sad accident regards Tigers killing a Chinese lady highlights the need to always put safety first.

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Overshoot Day 2016 … ‘Waste of energy more problematic than pollution’ !

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If a tree falls in the Forest, does anybody hear? Bruce Cockburn’s song is about – to my mind – energy and ecology…. a tree has impact, whether we hear / know about it or not!

Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year. We maintain this deficit by liquidating stocks of ecological resources and accumulating waste, primarily carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Earth Overshoot Day is hosted and calculated by Global Footprint Network, an international think tank that coordinates research, develops methodological standards and provides decision-makers with a menu of tools to help the human economy operate within Earth’s ecological limits.
To determine the date of Earth Overshoot Day for each year, Global Footprint Network calculates the number of days of that year that Earth’s biocapacity suffices to provide for humanity’s Ecological Footprint. The remainder of the year corresponds to global overshoot.

From today’s The Guardian: Scotland’s industries and farmers must cut energy, greenhouse gas emissions and resource use as waste overtakes pollution as the major environmental threat, says head of regulator.

Scotland’s environment agency has warned the country’s industries and farmers that their waste and inefficiency is now the biggest threat to the environment, overtaking pollution.

In a marked shift in strategy, the regulator’s chief executive, Terry A’Hearn, will urge businesses, farmers and manufacturers to adopt a “one planet prosperity” policy designed to cut their energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, waste and resource use.

“The major threat to the environment now is that humanity is overusing the planet as a resource base,” he told the Guardian.

More about Overshoot Day here

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Good news: California Condor numbers are finally up!










After years of intense — and often controversial — restoration efforts, biologists are finally reporting some good news for the beleaguered California condor: More chicks are surviving in the wild, and the birds are becoming increasingly independent and expanding their range, reports the Environmental News Network

Earlier this year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced what it called a milestone for the California condor: More chicks had hatched and fledged in the wild during 2015 than the number of condors that had died. In late March, Steve Kirkland, the agency’s condor field coordinator, reported that two more chicks had fledged in 2015 in Baja California, but had only just been discovered, bringing the total in the wild to 270.
It was perhaps the most promising news about the condor in decades.

For the full article see Yale Environment 360