Emerald Ash Borers Take Up Residence In Ithaca

ITHACA, NY (WSKG) – The emerald ash borer has infested several trees in the City of Ithaca. Just a week after one tree in Cornell’s Arnot forest was found to have ash borers, entomologist Mark Whitmore confirmed them in a tree in downtown Ithaca. Whitmore calls this is big news.

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Central NY Legislators Say DEC Needs More Flexibility To Issue Deer Culling Permits

(WRVO) – Central New York state legislators have introduced a bill that would give the state Department of Environmental Conservation more flexibility with issuing deer control permits. This comes after DEC officials determined they were steering too far away from the current law. David Skeval of Cornell Coorperative Extension of Onondaga County said after an internal review at the DEC, officials realized their process of issuing deer culling permits is cumbersome, and also not following environmental law. “It’s not so much that the DEC said, ‘we’re going to change our minds and our law,'” Skeval said. “They’re not changing the law, they are trying to follow it a little closer.

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Former EPA Administrator Said Climate Report Leakers Should Be Thanked

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The former EPA regional administrator under President Barack Obama said scientists who leaked the report about further evidence of climate change to The New York Times should be commended as“whistleblowers.”   Judith Enck, who was with the EPA from 2009 until President Donald Trump took office, said it’simportant that the public see the report. Compiled by scientists at 13 federal agencies, it contains theresults of thousands of studies showing that climate change caused by greenhouse gases is affectingweather in every part of the United States, causing average temperatures to rise dramatically since the1980s. Enck said those who leaked the report should be thanked for providing a public service. “I would refer to whoever did it as a whistleblower, not a leaker,” Enck said. “Tax dollars were spentputting this report together.” Enck said it’s also important that the draft report be seen to protect against any potential wateringdown of its conclusions by the Trump administration.

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Tompkins Health Department Warns Of Blue Green Algae In Cayuga Lake

The Tompkins County Health Department says harmful blue-green algae has been found in Cayuga Lake. In a press release, the Department says the Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) have been “visually identified” on each side of the Southern end of the lake, and that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has confirmed the HABs.  Ingesting water infected by blue-green algae can make humans and pets ill. The Department is urging residents to look out for strongly colored water, a paint-like surface and floating mats or scum. You can see sample images here of both HABs and non-toxic green algal blooms. Boiling, chlorinating, or otherwise treating your water will not make it safe to use during a bloom. The Department has this instruction: “During a bloom, do not drink, prepare food, cook, or make ice with water from the lake or from beach wells.” Pets should also be kept from drinking untreated surface water.

8 Things You Didn’t Know About Bees

Photo by Odilon Dimier/Getty Images

According to PBS Newshour, Beekeepers all over the world have reported significant colony losses in the last ten years. Those may be caused by the interconnected effects of pesticides, parasites, landscape changes and a warmer climate. But the good news is that the phenomenon has shined a spotlight on one of the nation’s most ubiquitous workers, reinvigorated local beekeeping and sparked a bustling local honey movement. Here are some unforgettable takeaways:

1. Forgive us, but honey is bee vomitus

Bees need pollen mostly for the protein, and nectar mostly for the carbohydrates.

Scientists are Digging up the Dirt for Clues to Disappearing Nitrogen in the Chesapeake Bay

Thomas Fisher of UMCES enters data from a stream logger into his computer at his makeshift office near South Forge Branch, one of the Choptank’s tributaries. The logger measures water depth and temperature. (Dave Harp)

by Rona Kobell 
Rona Kobell is a staff writer for the Bay Journal. Her work has won numerous awards and in 2008, she was selected as a Knight-Wallace fellow at the University of Michigan, where she spent a year studying the use of economic incentives in environmental policy. Call it the case of the missing nitrogen.

According to the Chesapeake Bay Journal, scientists have wondered what happens to the nitrogen that farmers apply to fields over the past several decades.

The Pros and Cons of Potential Development in National Parks

Yellowstone Canyon, from Shutterstock

Science Friday airs on WSQX Fridays between 2-4pm. With the National Park Service turning one hundred this week, discussions continue on how to make the parks financially lucrative.  More than 300 million tourists visited the national parks in 2015, a five percent increase from the previous year. Of those visitors, more than five million flocked to Grand Canyon National Park alone. With a surge in hikers and bikers come more parking lots and developments.

DEC is Seeking Help Monitoring an Invasive Species

Asian Longhorned Beetle Photograph credit: Kenneth R. Law, USDA APHIS PPQ,
www.forestryimages.org/

The Asian Longhorned Beetle showed up on New York City around 1996, likely hitching a ride in cargo containers. This pest is most destructive in its larval stage, according to the New York State DEC. This pest was collected on maple and horse chestnut trees by the New York City Parks and Recreation Department at Green Point in northern Brooklyn. It was initially identified by E. Richard Hoebeke of Cornell University. The Longhorned beetle is a pest found in China, Japan and Korea. This was the first detection of this pest in the United States.

EPA Science Advisory Board Sharpens Criticism of Fracking Report

EPA science panel calls on the agency to produce more evidence for its assertion that fracking by gas rigs like this one does not have a widespread effect on drinking water. photo by JOE ULRICH/ WITF

By John Hurdle, State Impact Pennsylvania 

A scientific advisory panel on Thursday stepped up its criticism of the Environmental Protection Agency’s controversial report on fracking, calling on the agency to provide evidence for its landmark conclusion that fracking for oil and gas has had “no widespread, systemic impacts” on drinking water.  

 

Read the rest of the story here. 

Would You Eat a Plate Full of Worms?

image by Lisa Brown 

by Alison Baitz, NPR Goats and Soda 

In southern Venezuela, the Ye’kuana people gather them from the mud around streams or dig them up from the floor of the highland forest. They’re gutted and boiled and eaten — or smoked and sold at prices three times that of other smoked meats. What is this lucrative, forageable fare? Earthworms.

“These edible worms are as much a part of the food supply as chicken is [in the U.S.],” says Darna Dufour, a professor of anthropology at the University of Colorado – Boulder and a colleague of Maurizio Guido Paoletti, a professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Padova in Italy. He’s the co-author of a paper on the “Nutrient content of earthworms consumed by Ye’Kuana Amerindians.”

New Radio Programming on WSQX highlighting our Climate

Climate Connections comes to WSQX, weekdays at 4:59pm, beginning on Monday July 11, 2016. Climate Connections is hosted by Dr. Anthony Leiserowitz of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, with original reporting from a national network of environmental reporters and researchers. A ninety second climate story will be highlighted each weekday begging July 11th. The program examines how climate change is already impacting our lives and values as well as “solution stories” about what diverse people and organizations are doing to reduce carbon pollution and increase resilience to climate impacts. The series “connects the dots” between climate change and energy, extreme weather, public health, food and water, jobs and the economy, national security, the creative arts, and religious and moral values, among other themes. Weekdays, 4:59pm | WSQX RADIO

The Great Polar Bear Feast

 A polar bear eats at the Bone Pile, with the town of Kaktovic in the background. photo: Andrew Brown/Renegade Pictures

 

The Great Polar Bear Feast airs on WSKG TV June 22, 2016 at 8pm. The Great Polar Bear Feast is the astonishing story of an annual natural phenomenon that occurs in early September on the north slope of the Arctic. Every year, up to 80 polar bears gather on the frozen shores of Barter Island, near the village of Kaktovik, to feast on the hunter-harvested bowhead whale remains. This extraordinary gathering is highly unusual because polar bears are known as solitary predators, rarely if ever moving in a group.

Sea Lamprey Invade the Great Lakes

By Angelica Morrison

 

(WBFO) The sharp scent of chemicals bites the air as Jason Krebill wades in a creek and pulls out two slippery, slimy, parasitic creatures. He was holding dead adult sea lampreys one in each hand. They were about two feet long, with suction-cupped mouths, lined with nearly a dozen rows of sharp teeth. Like a vampire, the sea lamprey latches onto its prey and sucks the blood and nutrients out of fish in all five of the Great Lakes. Krebill, a biological science technician with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is a part of a team whose job it is to control the invasive species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is contracted by the Great Lakes Fishery Commission to apply lampricide to the creeks and tributaries throughout the Great Lakes Corridor.

Will Wasps help to slow down the Emerald Ash Borer?

SUNY ESF graduate student Mike Jones is studying parasitic wasp as predators of the emerald ash borer. Photo credit: Ellen Abbott, WRVO

 

By Ellen Abbott. (WRVO) Scientists are going to war against an invasive insect that’s decimating the ash tree population in central New York, by using one of its natural predators. While these tiny wasps may not stop the current infestation in its tracks, they may help deal with these kinds of things in the future. SUNY ESF graduate student Mike Jones spends a lot of time scraping the bark off of dead ash trees.

Nature's Perfect Partners

Nature’s Perfect Partners airs on WSKG TV on May 11, 2016 at 8pm. It won’t come as any surprise that survival is the number one goal in the animal kingdom. But to ensure success on a continual basis, many creatures have opted to form alliances rather than go it alone. There are all kinds of partnerships to fulfill different needs, but as this film explains, these relationships are not only between animals of the same species. What is really astonishing is that completely unrelated species also form unlikely collaborations to succeed in the wild.

The National Parks, America's Best Idea

National Parks America’s Best Idea rebroadcasts on WSKG TV April 25-30, 2016 at 9pm.  

Take a historic look behind the development of America’s National Parks with Ken Burns’ six-part film series “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.” Relive the epic scenery as Ken Burns takes you on a chronological journey through the inspiration and development behind America’s most beloved preserved lands. Filmed over more than six years at some of nature’s most spectacular locales – from Acadia to Yosemite, Yellowstone to the Grand Canyon, the Everglades of Florida to the Gates of the Arctic in Alaska -this program is a story of people: people from every conceivable background – rich and poor; famous and unknown; soldiers and scientists; natives and newcomers; people who were willing to devote themselves to saving the land they loved. View more National Parks: America’s Best Idea on the WSKG video page. The narrative traces the birth of the national park idea in the mid-1800s and follows its evolution for nearly 150 years.

Microplastic pollution in the Chesapeake Bay poses risks, report finds

Plastic debris like this breaks down in the environment into smaller and smaller bits. (Dave Harp)

By Leslie Middleton
Leslie Middleton writes about water quality, public access, and the special places of the Chesapeake Bay region from her home in Charlottesville, Virginia. According to the Chesapeake Bay Journal, tiny bits of “microplastics” that wash into the Bay may endanger aquatic life in the estuary and its tributaries, but more research is needed to better understand the threat, according to a report from scientists and policy makers released Monday. Although federal legislation was approved in December that addresses a portion of the issue, the report from the Chesapeake Bay Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee said the law did not eliminate the need to find new ways to reduce microplastic pollution and recommended additional legislation to address the issue, which is of growing concern for waterways around the globe. Microplastics – pieces of synthetic polymers smaller than 5 millimeters – are found in water bodies everywhere, with more than 5 trillion pieces of plastic floating at or near the ocean surface, according to a recent estimate.

Explore the Intricate Life of a Tree using PBS Learning Media

PBS Learning Media is a wealth of digital resources for educators to bring 21st century skills into the classroom. Help students appreciate the critical role trees play in sustaining life on Earth with this interactive from the National Arbor Day Foundation. Did you know that a tree’s rings can provide a record of the environmental factors that affected its growth and life cycle? The trunk of a tree functions as both a supporting structure and a pathway, transporting food down from the leaves through photosynthesis and conducting water and minerals up from the roots. View Interactive

In this interactive activity adapted from the National Arbor Day Foundation, explore the intricate life of a tree.

How are You Celebrating Earth Day?

Earth Day was established in 1970 to give a voice to an emerging consciousness, channeling human energy toward environmental issues. It is a day to reflect to on how you can make a difference in creating a more sustainable world. Here are some PBS KIDS and PBS programs highlighting Earth Day activities:

Plum Landing game: A series of globetrotting ecosystem puzzles inspired by “escape room” adventure games. Plum Landing Nature Changer Game: Play as 30 different animals and customize game mechanics like speed, the number of predators, and goals for a nearly infinite amount of combinations! PSB KIDS Explore the Outdoors

Check out these PBS Earth Day specials. Frontline Heat covers a far-reaching investigation into America’s energy landscape and what can be done to save our planet – and what it will take.

Wild Ways

NOVA Wild Ways airs on WSKG TV  April 20, 2016 at 9pm. Four-lane highways may be a necessity to our modern society, but they can be a death traps for millions of animals that try to cross them. Around the world, wildlife need to roam for breeding, foraging, and to carry out their traditional migrations–but they are often blocked by ranches, farms, roads, and other human-made obstacles. While national parks and preserves offer some protection to wildlife, even the magnificent Serengeti and Yellowstone parks are too small to sustain healthy populations over generations. But now comes new hope for wildlife through an approach called “connectivity conservation.” Some of the world’s most beloved species–lions, bears, antelope and elephants–can be preserved by linking the world’s wildlife refuges with tunnels, overpasses, and protected land corridors.

Thin Ice, The Inside Story of Climate Science

Thin Ice The Inside Story of Climate Science airs on WSKG TV April 20, 2016 at 10pm.  

The Thin Ice project began over a cup of coffee at a climate change and governance conference in Wellington in 2006. Peter Barrett (Victoria University) suggested to Simon Lamb (then at Oxford University) that he make a film about the science of climate change with his friend David Sington (DOX Productions)

The idea was to let people see an insider’s view of the astonishing range of human activity and scientific work needed to understand the world’s changing climate. Viewers would then be able to decide individually and collectively how to deal with the issue. Simon and David talked to researchers on four continents as they explained their work measuring changes in the atmosphere, oceans and ice sheets.

Maryland Could be the First State to Pass Restrictions on Pesticide Implicated in Bee Declines

Steve McDaniel shows a screen of his bees at McDaniel Honey Farm in Manchester, MD. In 2012, he lost about 60 percent of his bees. (Rona Kobell)

By Timothy Wheeler 
Timothy B. Wheeler is managing editor and project writer for the Bay Journal. He has more than two decades of experience covering the environment for The Baltimore Sun and other media outlets.  

According to the Chesapeake Bay Journal, Maryland consumers would be barred from using pesticides implicated in honeybee die-offs under legislation passed in Annapolis Thursday.

Dinosaurs and the Comparative Anatomy of Mass Extinctions

Mark your calendars for an exciting lecture at SUNY Cortland on March 24, 2016 at 7pm. SUNY Cortland welcomes Dr. Paul E. Olsen, an international authority on dinosaurs, for an innovative talk on mass extinctions.Dr. Olsen’s lecture will focus on the patterns of extinction and survival of dinosaurs and other animals across the three largest biologic crises in the history of life (the end-Permian, end-Triassic, and end-Cretaceous mass extinction events). Dr. Olsen is the Storke Memorial Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University and member National Academy of Sciences. When: March 24, 2016  at 7pm. Where: SUNY Cortland Campus Bowers Hall rm.

Road salt putting human, aquatic lives on a collision course

A worker for the Department of Public Works in Cambridge, MD, scoops salt to put on the road. (photo:Dave Harp )

 

By Karl Blankenship

Karl Blankenship is editor of the Bay Journal and Executive Director of Chesapeake Media Service. He has served as editor of the Bay Journal since its inception in 1991.  

According to the Bay Journal, a couple days before January’s “snowzilla” storm buried much of the region under 2 feet of snow, District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser apologized for the city’s “inadequate response” to less than an inch of snow that left motorists variously sliding though icy streets or stranded in backups. “We should have been out earlier with more resources,” she said.

Chesapeake Bay by Air

Chesapeake Bay By Air can be seen on WSKG TV March 9, 2016 at 10pm.  

Shot in the air from two to two thousand feet, Chesapeake Bay by Air’s unique perspective of the Chesapeake Bay marries gentle verse, prose and music with stunningly dramatic images of the Chesapeake in a way that, until now, only migrating Canada Geese could truly appreciate. Chesapeake Bay by Air’s meandering aerial journey transports viewers to many of the Chesapeake Bay’s countless stunning locations — from a purple-orange dawn over the Susquehanna River to the mystery of the carved marsh of Blackwater Wildlife Refuge. From the tranquil fishing village of Smith Island to the belching smokestacks of Sparrow’s Point, from ancient Calvert Cliffs to bustling small-city Annapolis and metropolis Baltimore, from the mighty steel spans of the Chesapeake Bay Bridges and then to historic Point Lookout, Chesapeake by Air brings the bay into razor-sharp perspective, from well above the din. Other points of interest include Smith Island, the last water-bound home to Chesapeake watermen; Crisfield, Maryland’s seafood capitol; St.

Could Genetically Engineered Insects Squash Mosquito-Borne Diseases?

Transgenic female mosquitoes expressing a fluorescent protein (glowing blue) and nontransgenic mosquitoes (no color). Image courtesy of A.A. James

Science Friday airs on WSQX Fridays from 2:00-4:00pm. For nearly two decades, scientists have discussed the prospect of genetically engineering mosquitoes as a means to control malaria. Last year, two teams of researchers demonstrated that it’s now technologically feasible. One team, at Imperial College London, engineered a “selfish gene” into mosquitoes, which spread through more than 90 percent of offspring and crippled egg production.

Moose: Life of a Twig Eater

Nature Moose: Life of a Twig Eater airs on WSKG TV on February 10, 2016 at 8pm. There is a growing problem in North America affecting moose, the largest species of the deer family. Whether they make their home in the Canadian Rockies or in Minnesota, moose populations are declining at a rapid rate. One reason is that many of the newborn calves are not surviving their first year. In order to find out why, one intrepid cameraman spends a year documenting the life of a moose calf and its mother to understand what it takes to survive.

Look for El Niño Surprises During the Great Backyard Bird Count

Orange highlights the above-normal warmth of equatorial surface waters in the Pacific that are driving the current El Niño. Image courtesy of NOAA. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology,  the El Niño weather phenomenon warming Pacific waters to temperatures matching the highest ever recorded, participants in the 2016 Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), may be in for a few surprises. The 19th annual GBBC is taking place worldwide February 12 through 15. Information gathered and reported online at birdcount.org will help scientists track changes in bird distribution, some of which may be traced to El Niño storms and unusual weather patterns. “The most recent big El Niño took place during the winter of 1997-98,” says the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Marshall Iliff, a leader of the eBird program which collects worldwide bird counts year-round and also provides the backbone for the GBBC. “The GBBC was launched in February 1998 and was pretty small at first.

Bee a Detective and Discover the Culprit Behind Declining Bee Populations

photo: Nancy Coddington

Did you know that about a third of the U.S. diet comes from foods that involve pollination by honey bees? Since bees provide vital benefits to people, including crop pollination, and products such as honey and beeswax, the loss of bee colonies through colony collapse disorder (CCD) is a serious concern. In this lesson plan from The Nature Conservancy, students learn about the features of a honeybee colony and the potential causes of CCD. The activity puts students at the cutting edge of scientific research because to date, CCD has not been reliably attributed to any single cause. By the end of the lesson, students should understand that in nature, simple cause/effect relationships may not explain all of our observations.

Study of sick bass in Susquehanna cites endocrine disrupters

The number of young bass that survive to become adults has plummeted in about 100 miles of the Lower Susquehanna, as well as parts of the Juniata, over the last decade. (Karl Blankenship)

 

By Karl Blankenship

Karl Blankenship is editor of the Bay Journal and Executive Director of Chesapeake Media Service. He has served as editor of the Bay Journal since its inception in 1991.  

According to the Chesapeake Bay Journal,  a recent study indicates the smallmouth bass population in the Susquehanna River are suffering a population collapse possibly connected to hormone-altering compounds and herbicides, weakening their immune systems.

The multi-year study, which involved dozens of scientists from multiple state and federal agencies as well as universities, said that exposure to endocrine-disrupting compounds and herbicides, along with infections from parasites and pathogens, were the “most likely” reasons that few young smallmouth bass in the river have survived to become adults since 2005. Several studies have found evidence of endocrine disrupters, which interfere with the hormone system in animals and fish, around the Bay watershed.

Catch Up On the Historic Climate Agreement Reached In Paris

Adoption of the Paris Agreement on December 12, 2015. (Photo: UNFCCC, Flickr CC BY 2.0)

After working arduously for two weeks, COP21 delegates have adopted the ambitious Paris Agreement. Secretary of State John Kerry, White House Science Advisor John Holdren and Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo weigh in on the importance of these climate commitments and of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, rather than the earlier target of 2 degrees. Host Steve Curwood speaks with World Resources Institute Global Climate Director Jennifer Morgan about the contents of the final Paris Agreement. Download or stream this episode of “Living on Earth”.

What does the landmark climate change accord mean for the U.S.?

From PBS NEWHOUR:
Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York Michael Levi joins Hari Sreenivasan to discuss the climate change summit deal reached in Paris. TRANSCRIPT
HARI SREENIVASAN, PBS NEWSHOUR WEEKEND ANCHOR: Earlier this evening from the White House, President Obama said the deal is a turning point that provides the architecture to save planet from the worst consequences of climate change. BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No nation, not even one as powerful as ours, can solve this challenge alone. And no country, no matter how small, can sit on the sidelines. Even if all of initial targets set in Paris are met, we’ll only be part of the way there when it comes to reducing carbon from the atmosphere.

The State of Nuclear Power, Climate Refugees, and Bad News for Bananas

Some of this year’s picks. Photo by Brandon Echter
This episode of Science Friday will air on December 11, 2015 on WSQX from 2-4pm. Freelance journalist and author Maggie Koerth-Baker returns to Science Friday to discuss the state of nuclear power around the world—a topic she tackles at length in a recent New York Times article. Countries like Japan and Germany are looking to phase out nuclear energy, and even the United States, which largely embraces it, hasn’t opened a nuclear reactor since 1996. Koerth-Baker also shares other short subjects in science this week, including a story about how the first climate refugees in the continental United States may hail from an island in the Chesapeake Bay.

Will Paris Talks Lead to a Better, Binding Climate Agreement?

Streams and rivers that form on top of the Greenland ice sheet during spring and summer are the main agent transporting melt runoff from the ice sheet to the ocean. Photo taken July 19, 2015. Credit: NASA/Goddard/Maria-José Viñas
Tune into Science Friday Friday December 4th 2-4pm on WSQX. The 21st United Nations Climate Conference started this week in Paris with nearly 200 countries working to create a global agreement on limiting greenhouse gas emissions. Journalist Lisa Friedman, from E&E’s ClimateWire, and Steven Cohen, the executive director of Columbia University’s Earth Institute, discuss how the challenge of balancing economic growth and climate goals for India and developing nations will affect negotiations, and what role technology plays in reducing emissions.

Making North America | Human

Watch NOVA: Making North America Human on WSKG TV on November 18 at 9 p.m.
In the third and final hour of Making North America, NOVA explores the intimate connections between landscape, the colonizing of the continent, and the emergence of our industrial world. From prehistoric tools to today’s oil and gas boom, North America’s hidden riches have been key to our prosperity. As a result, human activity has transformed the continent on a scale that rivals the geological forces that gave birth to it billions of years before. Even as we shape the continent to our needs, geologic processes inexorably continue and raise risks of catastrophe to human civilization. Watch Making North America Origins here.

Discover 'Living Wonders' and how life shapes us on 'Earth's Naturals Wonders'

A honey hunter in a boat in Sundarbans, Bangladesh. © BBC

Watch Earth’s Natural Wonders: Living Wonders on November 18 at 8:00 p.m. on WSKG TV. Witness wonders created by the force that makes our planet unique — life itself. In the Amazon Rainforest, two 9-year old boys must prepare themselves for a terrifying rite of passage involving the insect with the most painful sting on Earth: the bullet ant. In Borneo, a father must provide for his family by climbing to the roof of a vast cave to collect birds’ nests. And, in Bangladesh’s Sundarbans, the largest mangrove forest in the world, a father and son must brave killer bees and man-eating tigers to find honey.

'Wonders of Water' explores the power of water on 'Earth's Natural Wonders'

Victoria Falls, Zambia © BBC
Watch Earth’s Natural Wonders: Wonders of Water on November 11 at 8:00 p.m. on WSKG TV. In this episode of Earth’s Natural Wonders, explore wonders created by the awesome and unpredictable power of water. Above Victoria Falls in Zambia, a fisherman and his brothers brave crocodiles, elephants and the risk of being swept to their deaths, in order to reach fishing pools at the edge of the Falls. In Europe’s secret water world of the Camargue, a young man duels with a savage bull in a centuries-old contest of man-versus-nature. And, among the world’s richest ocean reefs, a guardian must hunt down an elusive manta ray among ferocious currents to help save the species.

Earth's Natural Wonders | Extreme Wonders

An ice fall doctor crossing a crevasse on a ladder at Khumbu Ice Fall, Everest. © BBC
Visit extreme locales — from the highest mountain to the greatest canyon — and learn how these places test their inhabitants to the limit. On Mount Everest, a Sherpa has to rope a route across the notorious Khumbu Icefall in time for the hundreds of foreign mountaineers who will arrive for climbing season. In the Grand Canyon, conservationists desperately try to ensure the survival of one of America’s few surviving condor chicks. And, on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, farmers fight pitched battles with elephants in the dead of night. About the Program

The Earth’s Natural Wonders series tells the stories of some of our planet’s most spectacular places and how they have shaped the lives of those who live there.

Vanishing Cod, Climate Change And Our Warming Oceans

A cod that will be auctioned off is held by Codie Small at the Portland Fish Exchange, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015, in Portland, Maine. Portland’s Gulf of Maine Research Institute is announcing a major breakthrough in climate and fisheries science. A study published in the journal Science indicates cod, which have collapsed off of New England, are declining because of warming oceans. (AP)
Tune in today at 11am on WSQX for On Point.

NOVA Making North America Screenings

Join us for a special sneak peak of NOVA: Making North America, a bold and sweeping biography of the continent, hosted by Kirk Johnson, Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Two screenings will take place, please choose to attend one. October 22nd at SUNY Cortland 7pm

Expert Panel features SUNY Cortland Scientists:
Biologist and SUNY Cortland President Dr. Erik Bitterbaum
SUNY Cortland Geologists; Dr David Barclay, Dr. Robert Darling,
Dr. Gayle Gleason,Dr. Li Jin, & Dr Christopher McRoberts.                                                                           or attend
October 23rd at WSKG Studios 6:30pm
Expert Panel features Scientists from the Paleontological Research Institute and more to come. WSKG Studios event will begin with a short reception.

Ancient sequoia trees suffering in California drought

According to PBS News Hour, California’s four-year drought has killed millions of trees in the Sierra Nevada mountain range and has scientists worrying about the region’s giant sequoias. The famous thousand-year-old trees require more water than any other species on Earth, but warm conditions during the past two winters have reduced the snowpack that provides their main source of water. Sequoias pull water from the soil all the way up to the tops of the trees, according to University of California, Berkeley researcher Wendy Baxter. Examining how much tension the water is under as it travels upwards and into each leaf tells researchers the level of stress each tree is experiencing. The greater the pressure required to push the water out, the more stressed the tree becomes.

Louisiana’s Swamp Defenders

Dean Wilson. (Photo: Emmett FitzGerald)

Once, cypress swamps covered hundreds of thousands of acres across the American South. Logging, oil and gas extraction and swamp drainage transformed the landscape. But over recent years, Dean Wilson has worked to protect the remaining cypress swamps of Louisiana’s Atchafalaya Basin from illegal loggers and oil prospectors. Recently, the European biomass industry has set up shop in the state, and conservationists are concerned for the future.

Nature's Miracle Orphans: Second Chances

Tonight on Nature, growing up in the wild is hard enough on young animals when they have parents to rely on for protection and guidance, but what happens when they lose their parents? How do they survive? Over the past few years, great strides have been made in understanding how to rescue and rehabilitate orphaned wildlife. But as the documentary shows, success often comes down to the efforts of individuals at animal rescue centers around the world who devote their lives to saving these vulnerable creatures, getting them back on their feet and, hopefully, releasing them back into the wild. Nature’s Miracle Orphans tells their stories as it follows the different stages of care needed to get koalas, wallabies, sloths, kangaroos and fruit bats through infancy, childhood and on the road to independence where they can look after themselves.

Testing Ocean DNA, Americans Pass a Science Quiz, and Polar Bear Diets

Tune into Science Friday today on WSQX from 2-4pm and learn how in California, monitoring marine protected areas can get expensive. Current efforts—which include underwater surveys conducted by scuba diving volunteers—have already cost the state $16 million, and in some places, there’s no funding left. But testing DNA in water samples could provide an effective alternative to more costly methods. KQED’s science and environment reporter, Lauren Sommer, discusses this story and other science news from the week. Plus, when it comes to their diet, polar bears aren’t so finicky.

Arctic Climate Change, Pot Pesticides, and Student Data

Tune into  Science Friday for a discussion on climate change, take a peek at how some teachers spent their summer and learn how pesticides are affecting the marijuana industry.  At a global conference to discuss priorities in the Arctic, President Obama said that climate change was “a challenge that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other.” How does this sentiment hold up in light of the recent decision to open up the Arctic to drilling? Science journalist Brooke Borel, of Popular Science and the blog Our Modern Plagues, discusses this and other science stories in the news this week. Plus, learning apps are beginning to find their way into the classroom. But with the introduction of any new technology comes the collection of big data.

Finale – Big Blue Live

Tune into WSKG TV tonight at 8pm for the finale of Big Blue Live, a three part series documenting the migration of species returning to Monterey Bay. Big Blue Live celebrates a wildlife success story and marine animal phenomenon: humpback whales, blue whales, sea lions, elephant seals, sea otters, great white sharks and more all convene in Monterey Bay once a year.  

Episode 1
Follow migrating whales, sharks and various birds as they join sea otters, sea lions and other species that live full-time in Monterey Bay. Watch reports from Monterey Aquarium and NOAA research vessels and get facts about humpback whale anatomy.  

Episode 2
Dive into the hidden world of Monterey’s sea lions and hear about the bay’s rejuvenation through sea otters’ return. Join a scientist who’s trying to help solve the mystery of shark migration and study the anatomy of white sharks and elephant seals.

Big Blue Live

Big Blue Live celebrates a wildlife success story and marine animal phenomenon: humpback whales, blue whales, sea lions, elephant seals, sea otters, great white sharks and more all convene in Monterey Bay once a year. Big Blue Live is a live television and online event celebrating some of the world’s most amazing marine creatures converging off California’s coast. Set in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, the bay has experienced an environmental rebirth. This wildlife success story attracts humpback whales, blue whales, sea lions, dolphins, elephant seals, sea otters, great white sharks, shearwaters, and much more for a once-a-year marine animal phenomenon. A presentation of PBS and the BBC, Big Blue Live will bring together scientists, filmmakers and photographers, animal behaviorists, and other experts over the course of three spectacular nights. The program will be anchored live from a hub at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and from a national marine sanctuary research vessel. Viewers can watch one of nature’s great “reality shows” delivered through state-of-the-art filming technologies and live reports from air, sea, and below the waves.

We have to take care of our water

This video was scripted, voiced, and edited by Abreham B., class of 2014 graduate, at Greater Ithaca Activities Center (GIAC) in Ithaca, NY. Youth Voice students explore environmental science topics of personal interest while learning production skills from WSKG’s youth media curriculum. 
Cayuga Lake is taking a hit by human waste
Produced by: Abreham B., Ithaca High School, Class of 2014
Video & photography by: Nancy Coddington & Solvejg Wastvedt 
In recent years, human waste is having a negative effect on Cayuga Lake. Microplastics are one specific cause of problems. The ecology of the lake is being effected and some water animals, such as zebra muscles, are digesting these microplastics. Bill Foster is the Program Director for Cayuga Lake Floating Classroom. “When we take young people out on the lake,” says Foster, “we teach them about the ecology of the lake and how this system works that they depend upon for drinking water.”

Catch some rays on a mobile research center

 This video was scripted, voiced, and edited by Ihotu Onah, class of 2014 graduate, at Greater Ithaca Activities Center (GIAC) in Ithaca, NY. Youth Voice students explore environmental science topics of personal interest while learning production skills from WSKG’s youth media curriculum. 
Mobile Research Center on Cayuga Lake
Produced by: Ihotu Onah, Ithaca High School, Class of 2014
Video & photography by: Nancy Coddington & Solvejg Wastvedt

A great way to catch some nautical rays, the boat itself doubles as a mobile research center. The program offers public eco-cruises, group charters, and field experiences for school-age children. Their goal: Get everyone out on Cayuga Lake and learning! Bill Foster is the Program Director for Cayuga Lake Floating Classroom.

The problem with hydrilla: It grows very quickly

 This video was scripted, voiced, and edited by Ismail Abdur-razzaaq, Grade 9 student at Greater Ithaca Activities Center (GIAC) in Ithaca, NY. Youth Voice students explore environmental science topics of personal interest while learning production skills from WSKG’s youth media curriculum. Tracking Invasive Hydrilla in Cayuga Lake
Produced by: Ismail Abdur-razzaaq, Grade 9
Video & photography by: Nancy Coddington & Solvejg Wastvedt

Bill Foster is the Program Director for Cayuga Lake Floating Classroom. The program has engaged the Ithaca community around the future of water resources since 2003. But, in 2011, one observant student intern created another important role for the Floating Classroom: monitoring the spread of Hydrilla verticillata, a fast-growing invasive species.

Keep our tourists coming & our drinking water clean

 This video was scripted, voiced, and edited by Ijeyilowoicho Onah, Grade 10 student at Greater Ithaca Activities Center (GIAC) in Ithaca, NY. Youth Voice students explore environmental science topics of personal interest while learning production skills from WSKG’s youth media curriculum. Cayuga: Our Community’s Lake
Produced by: Ijeyilowoicho Onah, Grade 10
Video & photography by: Nancy Coddington & Solvejg Wastvedt
Bill Foster is the Program Director for Cayuga Lake Floating Classroom. Foster and his staff teach young people about the ecology of the lake and how this ecosystem they depend on for drinking water works. “When they come out and learn, they’re also making observations that become data,” says Foster.

El Niño Vs. the Blob, Yeast Painkillers, and a Butter Bummer

Conditions are currently warming up in the Pacific, and the NOAA Climate Prediction Center expects a greater than 90 percent chance that El Niño will continue through the winter and most likely into the spring. This image shows the July 13-19, 2015 sea surface temperature departure from the 1981-2010 average. Image by NOAA

This week’s news roundup takes us to San Francisco, where Ira is joined by KQED science and environment reporter Lauren Sommer. As California’s historic drought continues, many Californians have pinned their hopes on a larger-than-usual El Niño to dump much-needed water on the West. But as Sommer explains, there’s a new climate player in town that could muck up that plan: the Blob–scientists’ name for a mass of warm water in the North Pacific—which could divert those long-sought winter storms around the thirsty state.

EPA Says It Released 3 Million Gallons Of Contaminated Water Into River

(Contaminated wastewater is seen at the entrance to the Gold King Mine in San Juan County, Colo., in this picture released by the Environmental Protection Agency. The photo was taken Wednesday; the plume of contaminated water has continued to work its way downstream. Reuters /Landov)

In an event that has led to health warnings and turned a river orange, the Environmental Protection Agency says one of its safety teams accidentally released contaminated water from a mine into the Animas River in southwest Colorado. The spill, which sent heavy metals, arsenic and other contaminants into a waterway that flows into the San Juan National Forest, occurred Wednesday. The EPA initially said 1 million gallons of wastewater had been released, but that figure has risen sharply. From member station KUNC, Stephanie Paige Ogburn reports for our Newscast unit:
 “The EPA now estimates 3 million gallons of wastewater spilled from the mine into the Animas River.

Are We Killing the Colorado River?

“Killing the Colorado,” a joint reporting project by ProPublica and Matter, set out to tell the truth about the American West’s water crisis. As serious as the drought is, the investigation found that mismanagement of that region’s surprisingly ample supply has led to today’s emergency. Among the causes are the planting of the thirstiest crops; arcane and outdated water rights laws; the unchecked urban development in unsustainable desert environments; and the misplaced confidence in human ingenuity to engineer our way out of a crisis — with dams and canals, tunnels and pipelines.  See images that tell a bleak future. 

 

Listen in as Renee Montagne talks to Propublica’s Abrahm Lustgarten about the Colorado River’s falling water levels, and how flawed water policies and mismanagement are to blame — in addition to the drought.

The Sagebrush Sea

It’s been called The Big Empty – an immense sea of sagebrush that once stretched 500,000 square miles across North America, exasperating thousands of westward-bound travelers as an endless place through which they had to pass to reach their destinations. Yet it’s far from empty, as those who look closely will discover. In this ecosystem anchored by the sage, eagles and antelope, badgers and lizards, rabbits, wrens, owls, prairie dogs, songbirds, hawks and migrating birds of all description make their homes. The Sagebrush Sea tracks the Greater Sage-Grouse and other wildlife through the seasons as they struggle to survive in this rugged and changing landscape. In early spring, male sage grouse move to open spaces, gathering in clearings known as leks to establish mating rights.

Living With The Rise and Fall of King Coal

Coal was a vital industry in Appalachia for a century, but its environmental effects and economics have undermined its power, leaving many once employed by the industry floundering. In a special team report from West Virginia Public Radio, the Allegheny Front, and High Plains News produced by Clay Scott, we explore the past and future for coal mining areas and the people that live there.  
Stream or Download Living with the Rise and Fall of King Coal 

 

 

The Great Transition to Renewables

In his new book The Great Transition, renowned environmental thinker Lester Brown describes the transition from a fossil fuel economy powered by oil and coal, to a renewable economy based on solar and wind. Brown tells host Steve Curwood that renewable technologies are already cheaper than fossil fuels in many places, and the great energy transition may be complete much sooner than you think. Stream or download The Great Transition to Renewables

Transcript

CURWOOD: It’s Living on Earth. I’m Steve Curwood. If you saw Lester Brown in his characteristic uniform of impeccably pressed suit atop running shoes, you might not guess he has a couple of dozen honorary degrees for his environmental analyses.