Friday, July 9, 2010

My first attempt at environmental writing

The other day I was reminded of an article I wrote 14-15 years ago about some beavers in Urbana's (IL) Meadowbrook Park. In this case, a city of Urbana public works crew destroyed a beaver dam in Meadowbrook without first consulting the Urbana Park District.

See my article from the January 1996 issue of the newsletter of the local Sierra Club chapter:

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Another "Silent Spring"??

Five weeks ago I wrote a blog post expressing my deep concerns about the potential impact of the Gulf oil disaster on the millions of migrating birds that depend on the Gulf coast and related marshes during migration. Please read this post at:

Today I've been reading about similar concerns in the mainstream media. It's very disheartening and disconcerting. I'm reminded of Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring (see:

I'm fully aware that what's going on in the Gulf (oil spill disaster) is very different from what Rachel Carson was concerned about (the cumulative effects of the pesticide DDT). But the bottom line is still pretty much the same...the Gulf disaster could have a profoundly negative effect on the birds we see next spring.

Anyway, back to the mainstream media and their reports about the dangers to migrating birds. I did a simple search on Google (gulf "oil spill" birds migration). Here's a sample of what I found in the first page or so of Google search results. Read 'em and weep:,CST-NWS-oilspill28.article

Bird images on US coins

I was sorting through some loose change the other day when I noticed a US quarter coin with a striking image of a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher on the reverse. It was part of the US Mint’s “state quarters” series. That made me wonder how many other states had elected to depict a bird on their respective “state quarters”. Nine state quarters have bird images. My two favorites are Idaho and Oklahoma.

Here are the results of my search:

* Arkansas – Mallard. See:
* California – California Condor. See:
* Idaho – Peregrine Falcon. See:
* Louisiana – Brown Pelican. See:
* Maine – Two unidentifiable seabirds. See:
* Minnesota – Common Loon. See:
* Oklahoma – Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. See:
* South Carolina – Carolina Wren. See:
* South Dakota – Ring-necked Pheasant (only quarter to feature a non-native species)