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Wildflowers planted to aid bees may be crippling them

July 31, 2016By
Wildflowers planted to aid bees may be crippling them

Swaths of Midwestern wildflowers planted by well-meaning governments and nonprofits to attract bees may be inadvertently harming them. That’s the surprising finding of a new scientific study that concludes a bee-killing pesticide carried by wind or water from nearby farms is landing on the wildflowers, putting pollinators at risk.

Scientists spent two years examining wildflower plots planted around Brookings. Testing for the presence of clothianidin, a neonicotinoid insecticide commonly used in corn growing, they consistently found the insecticide on the wildflowers — even in those planted on organic farms where no pesticides are used.

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Green spaces alongside US highways are potential conservation areas

July 24, 2016By
Green spaces alongside US highways are potential conservation areas

The next time you’re tooling down the highway somewhere in America, take a look around: Those miles of medians and roadsides along our highways offer unexpected environmental benefits.

All those broad, green strips along the nation’s highways turn out be vital habitats for many small critters, as well as pollinators including bees, butterflies and birds.

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Where Are All The Monarchs?

July 18, 2016By
Where Are All The Monarchs?

On March 9th 2016, just days after we’d heard the good news that monarch numbers had rebounded to cover just over 4 hectares of forest in the mountains of central Mexico; a huge winter storm hit their wintering sites and the surrounding area.

The storm began with rain and was followed by hail, snow, and sub-freezing temperatures. The freezing temperatures killed many monarchs and the strong winds caused trees to topple over, losing monarch habitat.

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Monarch Population Status

July 18, 2016By
Monarch Population Status

As most of you know, the summer of 2015 produced a strong migration and a relatively large overwintering population (4.01 hectares). To place this population growth in context, let’s review the last several years.

The population declined following each of the three growing seasons from 2011-2013. There were aspects of each season that account for these declines. For example, the temperatures from March through August in 2012 were warmer – actually hotter – than for any year going back to 1895.

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Leaders’ Statement on a North American Climate, Clean Energy, and Environment Partnership

June 30, 2016By
Leaders’ Statement on a North American Climate, Clean Energy, and Environment Partnership

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, President Barack Obama, and President Enrique Peña Nieto share a common commitment to a competitive, low-carbon and sustainable North American economy and society.

The Paris Agreement was a turning point for our planet, representing unprecedented accord on the urgent need to take action to combat climate change through innovation and deployment of low-carbon solutions.

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The Bees, the Butterflies, and You.

June 23, 2016By
The Bees, the Butterflies, and You.

Today, the Administration is releasing the Pollinator Partnership Action Plan (PPAP), building on Federal actions to improve pollinator health by facilitating additional state and private-sector engagement.

The PPAP furthers President Obama’s June, 2014, memorandum that focused the attention of Federal agencies on the plight of the pollinators—honey bee colony mortality rates that impact the viability of commercial beekeepers and agricultural pollination services; monarch butterfly declines that threaten its iconic continental-scale migration; and other pollinator species quietly slipping toward extinction.

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The Miracle of Monarchs

June 19, 2016By
The Miracle of Monarchs

The striking beauty of the monarch butterfly is unmistakable — but their uniqueness goes beyond the vivid orange and black wings that make them so recognizable.

These slight creatures weigh less than a dime, yet travel thousands of miles every year — 50 to 100 miles in just a day. An instinctive internal compass guides them on the same migration path as their ancestors — in spite of the fact that they have never taken the journey before. It’s nothing short of a miracle of nature.

But the butterflies that begin this majestic odyssey will never finish it.

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Tiny pollinators play a huge role in our daily lives

June 12, 2016By
Tiny pollinators play a huge role in our daily lives

Though small, pollinators play a big role in our lives. They make our world more beautiful — most flowering plant species rely on pollinators to reproduce. Pollinators also are responsible for keeping us fed. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations reports more than 75 percent of the world’s food crops rely on pollination by insects and other animals.

Without pollinators, there would be no coffee, chocolate, tomatoes or apples. There also would be no milk, cheese or ice cream — dairy cows eat alfalfa, which is pollinated by leafcutter and honey bees. Even spring break would take a hit.

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