Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Beef and butterflies

Photo courtesy of Environmental Defense Fund

Austin-area ranchers

 and conservationists

show beef and butterflies 

can thrive together

(AUSTIN, TX – April 3, 2018) The Texas Farmers’ Market and Environmental Defense Fund are co-hosting a Monarch Festival in Austin, Texas this weekend to educate visitors about the Monarch Butterfly Habitat Exchange, a new program for restoring and conserving high-quality monarch habitat on America’s private working lands. The exchange launched on March 1, 2018 with its first five projects located in Texas.
Amy and George Greer, sixth generation ranchers at Winters Family Beef located in Brady, Texas, are early participants in the exchange and sell their Angus and Wagyu beef every weekend at the Texas Farmers’ Market. The Greers and monarch experts from Environmental Defense Fund will be available for interviews.
Market visitors can stop by the main market tent to enjoy a variety of monarch butterfly activities, including monarch butterfly face painting and butterfly wing balloons from Tony the Clown. The first 15 shoppers who sign up for Texas Farmers’ Market weekly newsletter will receive a milkweed start from f-stop farm to grow monarch habitat.
Saturday, April 7 at Lakeline, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m., 11200 Lakeline Mall Drive, Cedar Park, Texas 78613
Sunday, April 8 at Mueller, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., 4209 Airport Blvd., Austin, Texas 78722
  • Amy and George Greer, sixth generation ranchers at Winters Family Beef
  • David Wolfe, director of conservation strategies at Environmental Defense Fund
Kids love nature

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Literary nonfiction: promising

We know that prescriptive non-fiction can be a big seller.  So “ten awesome ways to channel change for a successful life” might be the kind of change book that can be monetized by key words and targeted selling. That kind of book would offer a specific path, not a personal one.  You wouldn’t own that path. 


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Love, Love 'Lab Girl' by Hope Jahren

Buy 'Lab Girl'
‘Lab Girl,’ by Hope Jahren, Vintage, paperback-2017, 282 pages.     One might imagine that no one really needs an autobiography from a bipolar plant geobiologist: one would be mistaken. Hope Jahren’s memoir begins in her father’s lab and continues with a stoic walk in small town Minnesota. As her foot hits the icy pavement, a world appears. With each step, the town, a loving yet emotionally stifled family, Scandinavian paradigms, her past, and the portent of the future appear in multidimensional authenticity. The world she builds is tangible, funny, and troublesome. She writes about fallen leaves: “These brave trees lay all their earthly treasures on the soil, where moth and rust doth immediately corrupt. They know better than all the saints and martyrs put together exactly how to store next year’s treasure in Heaven, where the heart shall be also.” She shares difficult details about dysfunctional head-banging, rejection, snotty crying, and failures that lead to breakthroughs. She writes of poverty, family, love, victory, and plants. Her stories of plant wonders always do double duty as metaphors for humanity.   Read the full review at the JackWalkerPress blog :Dispatches from AL.   And remember that kids need nature too.  Explore the fun of the Tootalot series from Jack Walker Press. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Row your way to better health and enjoy the journey

Buy from $2.99
Health Benefits of Rowing
Find an exercise you like and you are likely to improve your quality of life as well as your lifespan. If you love rowing, you are lucky because rowing tends to be high in benefits and low in joint impact and injuries. The benefits are so significant that this is a sport you should try if you have access to equipment and a place to row. Using a rowing machine (ergometer) is becoming a hot new sport. Some say the rowing is the new spinning—but rowing is even better and provides a more balanced full-body workout. If you love the water and nature, gliding across a lake or river or even calm ocean waters can be both calming and motivating. Once the technique of rowing becomes habit, the movements can build power and strength to your cardiovascular system and muscle groups.
 Get rid of extra fat
Rowing is predominately an aerobic sport. According to fitness trainer Aamir Becic, most rowers can easily burn up to 600 calories an hour, while competitive rowers expend almost twice the number of calories on a 2,000-meter course as a runner in a 3,000-meter steeplechase. Rowing can promote a healthy balance of fat to muscle in disciplined rowers.
Tone everywhere
Rowing, when done correctly, works the back, hamstrings, gluteal muscles, biceps, and core. It utilizes more body parts than most cardiovascular gym equipment. People of many different fitness levels can approach the sport. Rowing just might be the most efficient exercise ever. “With each stroke, pretty much every part of the body is used,” says Stella Lucia Volpe, an exercise physiologist and professor of nutrition sciences at Drexel University in Philadelphia and an avid rower. And it may let you skip crunches—for good. “A big part of rowing is core strength,” she adds. “People think it’s all arms, but rowing is much more legs and core.”
As quadriceps become stronger, activities and exercises such as walking, jogging, lunges and squats can be done more efficiently.
More health benefits are explained in Single Scull Rowing for Beginners. 

Friday, July 28, 2017

World Wildlife Fund and Walmart join forces.

While Walmart doesn't srping to mind when considering conservation, they are a  company that is so big, that their efforts may have big effect.  World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), and the Walmart Foundation today announced a research program to maximize crop utilization and edible food recovery. With two grants from FFAR and the Walmart Foundation totaling $1.3 million, WWF will work with research teams across the country including University of California, Davis and the Global Cold Chain Alliance to identify practical opportunities for producers to increase the proportion of crops that are harvested and delivered to the highest value destinations.
Of the estimated 63 million tons of food lost or wasted annually in the U.S., more than 80% is lost or wasted in consumer-facing businesses and in homes. While it’s estimated that less food is lost on farms, the lack of data quantifying this loss in different crops makes it difficult to validate estimates, identify drivers and define cost-effective solutions. Over the next 22 months, research teams aim to bridge those data gaps and test interventions to maximize crop utilization and profitability on farms.
 “Our nation’s producers work hard every harvest to provide food, fuel, and fiber to our economy, but they don’t always see the same return on investment,” said Sally Rockey, Ph.D., FFAR Executive Director. “This on-farm research will uncover opportunities for growers to do more with the same resources. I look forward to practical results that will bolster bottom lines for farmers and deliver more nutritious food to dinner tables.” 
As part of the first phase of the program, researchers at University of California, Davis (UC Davis) are working with farmers to gather their input on strategies and opportunities for maximizing crop harvest and use. Their research is focusing on leafy greens, peaches, and tomatoes. UC Davis will also quantify the environmental impacts from seed to harvest for each of these crops. A team led by the Global Cold Chain Alliance will collect qualitative and quantitative data and organize field studies to estimate on-farm and postharvest losses, and identify the current destinations of produce that never makes it to someone’s dinner plate or another end use. Initial research will focus on the harvesting of potatoes in Idaho and Eastern Oregon, tomatoes in Florida, romaine lettuce in Arizona, and peaches in New Jersey.
“The best way to feed people without putting more stress on our environment is to increase the availability of food that has already been produced,” said Jason Clay, WWF’s senior vice president of markets and food. “Each bite that doesn’t reach consumers represents a loss of the natural resources—and money—used to produce it. We’re grateful to the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research and Walmart Foundation for supporting research that can help promote more efficient use of land, water, energy, and natural resources, and deliver more crops to the highest value destinations.”
Researchers will use well-established systems—such as the Community System Assessment Methodology, Life Cycle Assessment, and World Resource Institute’s Food Loss and Waste Standard—to ensure consistent reporting across different in-field and supply chain measurement methods, and to facilitate collaborative research and interventions. The project aims to collaborate with other farm-level research projects and pilots within the food rescue community.
“We’re proud to support this research to find ways to deliver more crops from field to plate,” said Eileen Hyde, director for Walmart Giving. “This program aligns with the Walmart Foundation’s philanthropic work to address gaps in the food system upstream to prevent food waste.”
WWF is one of the world’s leading conservation organizations, working in 100 countries for over half a century. With the support of almost 5 million members worldwide, WWF is dedicated to delivering science-based solutions to preserve the diversity and abundance of life on Earth, halt the degradation of the environment and combat climate change. Visit www.worldwildlife.org to learn more and keep up with the latest conservation news by following @WWFNews on Twitter.
The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization established by bipartisan congressional support in the 2014 Farm Bill, builds unique partnerships to support innovative and actionable science addressing today’s food and agriculture challenges.  FFAR leverages public and private resources to increase the scientific and technological research, innovation, and partnerships critical to enhancing sustainable production of nutritious food for a growing global population. The FFAR Board of Directors is chaired by Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum and includes ex officio representation from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and National Science Foundation.
--Published on this site by Amy Lou Jenkins

Friday, June 23, 2017

Duck Stamps: Get your Duck Stamps

The new Federal and Junior Duck Stamps go on sale today.  -- a day that some hunters, birders, conservationists and stamp collectors look forward to every year. Born in the dust bowl days, the Duck Stamp was created in 1934 to protect wetlands that are vital to the survival of migratory waterfowl.  Since that first stamp, sales have raised more than $950 million to help clean water, enhance outdoor recreation opportunities and more.

According to the Department of the Interior: "These stamps are part of the waterfowl hunting license requirements and every hunter over the age of 16 must purchase and carry with them a Duck Stamp each year in order to hunt ducks, geese and other waterfowl. But they are also collectible works of art and the easiest way for anyone to support bird habitat conservation with 98 percent of the proceeds going to the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund."

J.N. (Ding) Darling sketched our first duck stamp, and now artists compete to win the art contest. The Duck Stamp program is part of a system that works to preserve waterfowl while allowing for some regulated hunting.  

Monday, June 5, 2017

Easy action for good: Skip the straw

Marine debris is a massive problem in our ocean. So big, it can feel overwhelming (trust me, I know!). But the good news is that you and I can help stem the tide of trash entering our ocean, by making simple changes in our day-to-day lives.
One of the easiest ways to combat plastic pollution? Skip the straw.
At last year’s International Coastal Cleanup, volunteers picked up hundreds of thousands of straws and stirrers, making straws one of the top ten items found—sadly this is true year after year. Straws are eaten by sea turtles and seabirds, and have even been discovered stuck in the nares (nostrils) of turtles.
Take action to help the ocean today. Text “straw” to 91990 and pledge to Skip the Straw next time you go out to eat!
Together 25,000 people can save 5 million plastic straws from entering the ocean and filling the landfills in just one year.
Straws are one of the most easily preventable pieces of marine trash. Next time you’re at a restaurant, just ask the server to “Skip the Straw”, and encourage your friends to do the same! And if you really can’t enjoy your drink without it, try one of the many reusable or biodegradable straws out there.
It couldn’t be easier! Text “straw” to 91990 to take the pledge.
Marine debris may be an overwhelming problem, but together we can make a BIG difference.
Pledge to Skip the Straw today and text “straw” to 91990! The ocean, and the animals who rely on it, will thank you.

Beef and butterflies

Photo courtesy of Environmental Defense Fund Austin-area ranchers  and conservationists show beef and butterflies  can thrive...