Attwater Prairie-Chicken National Wildlife Refuge by Ted Lee Eubanks
Sparrows are an acquired taste (to watch, not to consume). Most birders prefer the pimped out warblers, tanagers, orioles, and their kind. Warblers are gaudy; sparrows are dreary.
Dull sparrows live in dull habitats. They are dull for a reason. A grassland sparrow such as the savannah dresses like grass. Brown, beige, tan, and ochre are a sparrow’s palette. Forget the vibrant reds, yellows, and oranges of a warbler for a grassland bird. Bright in a forest gets you a mate and a territory; bright in a grassland gets you eaten.
All media exist to invest our lives with artificial perceptions and arbitrary values.
President Abraham Lincoln
We, the citizens of the United States of America, officially give thanks for our blessings each year on the fourth Thursday in November. We give thanks for loving families, congenial friends, a world at peace, and for happiness (as in Jefferson’s “pursuit of happiness”). We gather to celebrate a bountiful harvest and a promising future.
A recent discussion about a new shorebird conservation strategy for the Caribbean, and the debate about the respective roles of the natural and social sciences in such a “business” strategy, is apropos beyond this argument of the moment. The House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee has contributed its portion of a draconian budget that will be used in negotiations with the Obama administration. The Republican-led committee has made no effort to hide the most significant assaults on conservation and environmental protection programs in the past four decades. Here are a few of the cuts that are being proposed.
SCSCB’s Howard Nelson, Holly Robertson, and Lisa Sorenson with Ted Eubanks’ Lifetime Achievement Award
There are few regular meetings that I am not willing to miss. The biannual SCSCB conference is one that I try to make come hell or high water. Conservationists and educators from around the Caribbean meet every two years to discuss Caribbean birds and what needs to be done to ensure their futures.
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Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds (SCSCB) Lifetime Achievement Award
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According to Public Law 105-57, approved October 9, 1997, (111 Stat. 1253),
The Act gives guidance to the Secretary of the Interior for the overall management of the Refuge System. The Act’s main components include: a strong and singular wildlife conservation mission for the Refuge System; a requirement that the Secretary of the Interior maintain the biological integrity, diversity and environmental health of the Refuge System; a new process for determining compatible uses of refuges; a recognition that wildlife-dependent recreational uses involving hunting, fishing, wildlife observation and photography, and environmental education and interpretation, when determined to be compatible, are legitimate and appropriate public uses of the Refuge System; that these compatible wildlife-dependent recreational uses are the priority general public uses of the Refuge System; and a requirement for preparing comprehensive conservation plans.
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Comments from Ted Eubanks on the USFWS Conserving the Future Draft Plans
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Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Black is Africa. Not the James Baldwin, Miles Davis, Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X shade of black, but the Isak Dinesen, Joseph Conrad black. Brown is Mexico. Yellow is China. Red is indigenous. Africa is slaves, Mexico is illegals, China is the “yellow peril,” and the American Indian is “redskin.” For much of its history America had a simple palette: white, colored. White = good. Colored = bad.
Grenada, by Ted Lee Eubanks
According to the CDC, 19.0% of all adults (43.8 million people) smoked in 2010. In the United States, smoking is responsible for about one in five deaths annually (i.e., about 443,000 deaths per year.) In 1950 Sir Richard Doll published one of the first studies linking tobacco to lung cancer, and today 90 percent of the physicians believe that active current smoking affects treatment outcomes and that tobacco cessation should be a standard part of clinical care. The science is indisputable. People still smoke.
A recent study reports that;
Better a cruel truth than a comfortable delusion.
– Edward Abbey
A new HuffPost/YouGov poll reports that Americans are less concerned about the environment than in 1971, the year after the initiation of Earth Day. According to the article in HuffPost,
…the 1971 Nixon poll found that 63% of respondents said that it was “very important” to work to restore and enhance the national environment, with 25% saying it was “fairly important” and only 8% saying it was “not too important.” But in the 2013 HuffPost/YouGov poll, only 39% of respondents said it was very important, while 41% said it was fairly important and 16% said it was not too important.”
This is a preview of
Dearth Day, or the Erosion of the American Conservation Conscience (Part 1)
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Missouri River at White Cloud, KS, by Ted Lee Eubanks
Audubon started west at the Missouri, as did Lewis, Clark, Long, and Fremont. The Missouri still delineates the humid, forested east from the dry, treeless plains. Hundreds of thousands of emigrants, traveling the California, Oregon, and Mormon trails, left the familiar here to enter the unknown. I decided to join them, or at least retrace their steps.
Highland Indian Mission, KS, by Ted Lee Eubanks
My work week began in Kansas. I sprinted around the state to meetings in Atchison, Great Bend, Medicine Lodge, Topeka, Fort Scott, Galena, and Baxter Springs. The weather remained vernally accommodating the entire week.
Tim Cooper is the refuge manager at Anahuac NWR in Texas. Anahuac is situated on the upper Texas coast a short distance from Galveston and Houston. Tim has written a fascinating note about the recent appearance of Pingo, one of the whimbrels being tracked by satellite. I believe that Pingo is one of the whimbrels being tracked by Fletcher Smith and the Center for Conservation Biology. Great work, Tim, Fletcher, and the Center!
Whimbrel, Redondo Beach, CA, by Ted Lee Eubanks