New Mexico has sold 4 million acres of land to oil companies and development

  A Wilderness Society report finds that in a little over a century of statehood, New Mexico has liquidated about 30 percent of the land originally granted to it—nearly 4 million acres—and sold it to cattle ranchers, oil and gas companies, railroads and other development interests. The report underscores again why we should be skeptical of politicians’...

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Cougars confirmed in Tennessee

At least nine cougar sightings have been confirmed. Tennesee Wildlife Resources Agency said they will be monitoring the natural expansion of the cougar. All of the confirmed sightings listed are in Middle or West Tennessee. There are several possible reports in East Tennessee, but none confirmed by the TWRA. Zoo Knoxville Director of Animal Care Phil Colclough said it...

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Trump’s Wall Meets Texas’s Biggest National Park

Will political expediency doom one of the Lone Star State’s most beautiful natural wonders? In West Texas, high in the Chinati Mountains — yes, there are mountains in Texas — it is hard to imagine a giant wall smack dab in the middle of this fantastic view. But there it is, in the thick of rugged desert beauty few Americans trek out to see: a gigantic, imaginary line,...

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International Day of Forests: 21 March

This global celebration of forests provides a platform to raise awareness of the importance of all types of woodlands and trees, and celebrate the ways in which they sustain and protect us. This year we highlight the importance of wood energy in improving people’s lives, powering sustainable development and mitigating climate change. Wood is a major renewable...

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Bison Reintroduced to Banff National Park for First Time in 140 Years

Immense herds of up to 30 million bison once thundered across the plains of North America. Like their American brethren, overhunted Canadian plains bison came dangerously close to extinction in the late 1800s. In an effort to reverse the damage, Parks Canada on February 1, 2017 successfully restored 16 healthy bison—transporting them the 280 miles from Elk Island...

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Tompkins Conservation Donates Huge National Parks to Chile

Tompkins Conservation signed an agreement with Chile’s government to donate 1 million acres for new national parks in the largest private donation of its kind for the South American nation. Chilean President Michelle Bachelet signed the deal with Kristine McDivitt Tompkins, the widow of American conservationist Doug Tompkins, who built a legacy protecting...

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Reintroduction and recovery of the California condor is a success story that spans many parks

Today, the California condor is regarded as one of the rarest birds in the world. In Pleistocene times, condors ranged from Canada to Mexico, across the southern United States to Florida, and north on the east coast to New York. During that period, condors were a common resident of the Grand Canyon judging by bones, feathers and eggshells found in caves where they once...

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Trump’s Defense Secretary Cites Climate Change as National Security Challenge

Secretary of Defense James Mattis has asserted that climate change is real, and a threat to American interests abroad and the Pentagon’s assets everywhere, a position that appears at odds with the views of the president who appointed him and many in the administration in which he serves. In unpublished written testimony provided to the Senate Armed Services Committee...

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The Trump administration really doesn’t want this climate lawsuit to go to trial

The lawsuit, brought by a group of 21 children and young adults against the federal government, alleges that the United States government has violated the plaintiff’s constitutional right to a healthy environment. The lawsuit is based on the old legal doctrine of public trust, which holds that it is the government’s responsibility to preserve certain natural resources...

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Teenager Is on Track to Plant a Trillion Trees

Children are not often invited to speak to the United Nations General Assembly. But there stood Felix Finkbeiner, German wunderkind in his Harry Potter spectacles, gray hoodie, and mop-top haircut—with a somber question about climate change. “We children know adults know the challenges and they know the solutions,” he said. “We don’t know why there is so little action.”...

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The hands behind the Forest Service’s iconic signs

Inside a storage room at the Forest Service’s Flagstaff Ranger District headquarters, shelves, floorspace and tabletops are crammed with wooden signs. Simple and sturdy, the signs are hand carved with messages marking everything from trails and riparian areas to places closed to camping or motorized vehicles. But these signs, rich in historic character, wouldn’t exist...

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National Park Soundscapes

Natural and cultural sounds awaken a sense of awe that connects us to the splendor of national parks, and have a powerful effect on our emotions, attitudes and memories. From the mysterious calls of bugling elk in the Rocky Mountains to the patriotic, bugling trumpets heard across a historic battlefield, these sounds are part of a web of natural and cultural resources...

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Women who made wilderness history

Women around the world have always played a significant role in environmental conservation. There have been so many throughout time that some of them tend to slip through the cracks of history and mainstream media. On this International Women’s Day, let’s push some of those names into the spotlight. These are just a few of the thousands of women who have and...

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Smokies Park Invites Public Comment on Cades Cove Solar Energy Project

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials invite the public to comment through March 20, 2017 on a proposed sustainable energy project. The National Park Service is proposing a solar power system to support the electrical power needs of the Cable Mill area in Cades Cove. This project would reduce usage of traditional fossil fuels and provide opportunities for park...

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Breathe Deep (and then thank the EPA that you can)

The postcard is almost 40 years old. Angelenos of a certain age will recognize it-a wide-angled, aerial shot of the downtown core of Los Angeles and its then, much-more modest skyline. Framed by the intersection of the Santa Monica and Harbor freeways, the whole scene is muffled in a brown smear of smog. Barely visible in the deep background, just poking above the thick...

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Spring in the Smokies

Spring has sprung in the Smokies. Daffodils have popped up, trees are budding, and grass is sprouting green but that’s not necessarily a good thing. For a lot of the country spring has arrived about 3 weeks too soon, a growing result of climate change according to a recent study shared by the US Geological Survey. Looking at data spanning the past 112 years, the...

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The great Greenland meltdown

From a helicopter clattering over Greenland’s interior on a bright July day, the ice sheet below tells a tale of disintegration. Long, roughly parallel cracks score the surface, formed by water and pressure; impossibly blue lakes of meltwater fill depressions; and veiny networks of azure streams meander west, flowing to the edge of the sheet and eventually out to...

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Antarctica’s sea ice just hit the lowest level ever seen

Since it’s summertime there, sea ice cover is poised to drop even further. Sea ice can fluctuate from year to year, but over the past 20 years, Antarctica has lost 61,390 square miles of ice — a Florida-sized chunk. That’s Act I of the unfolding Antarctic drama. In Act II, the continent’s fourth-biggest ice shelf, Larsen C, sheds a Delaware-sized iceberg. It could break...

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China smashes solar energy records, as coal use and CO2 emissions fall once again

With millions of jobs up for grabs, China seizes clean tech leadership from United States. We are witnessing a historic passing of the baton of global leadership on technology and climate from the United States to China. The new U.S. administration has said it will abandon climate action, gut clean energy funding, and embrace coal and oil — the dirty energy sources of...

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Can Grasslands, The Ecosystem Underdog, Play an Underground Role in Climate Solutions?

Globally, grasslands are one of the most converted and least protected ecosystems. The rich soil of Earth’s grasslands plays an important role in feeding the world and because of this much of our grassland has been converted to row-crop agriculture. Loss of grasslands is a big problem for two reasons: The continual conversion of native grassland puts all grassland...

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Scientists sound the alarm on impending ‘major extinction event’

In June of 2016, a group of scientists reported that a tiny rodent found only on a single island off the coast of Australia had officially gone extinct — the first mammalian causality, according to the scientists, of man-made climate change. The tiny mammals might have been the first to go extinct due to man-made climate change, but it’s unlikely they’ll be the last. One...

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Picture the Past: Forest History Society Repeat Photography Project

The Forest History Society has recently launched a web resource showcasing sets of repeat photographs for scientific study and education in the domain of forest and land management in support of the Society’s mission. Repeat photography is the practice of taking photographs of a specific location at two or more different times. It is a powerful visual resource for...

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Could Grizzlies Make Good Neighbors?

For 20,000 years, grizzly bears padded over Washington’s North Cascades, foraging for berries and plants, hunting small prey, and fishing for salmon in frigid streams. Then a few centuries ago, white settlers showed up and starting shooting, and driving the bears out. Today only a handful of grizzlies remain in these mountains. Documentaries and fictional films, from...

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Is It Okay to Enjoy the Warm Winters of Climate Change?

This is not how February is supposed to feel. From D.C. to Denver, from Charlotte to Chicago, towns and cities across the United States have posted strings of record-breaking summery days in what is normally the final month of winter. Wednesday was only the third time since 1880 that Green Bay, Wisconsin, cracked 60 degrees Fahrenheit in February. Ice on the Great Lakes...

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Canadian National Parks News: Update on Infrastructure Work

With an influx of visitors expected to visit Canadian National Parks in 2017 Parks Canada has spent the past several months getting some of its most popular visitor attractions ready for Canadians who want to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation by visiting national parks and national historic sites. Parks Canada will continue to upgrade its infrastructure...

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37% of Norway’s new cars are electric. They expect it to be 100% in just 8 years.

The global electric vehicle (EV) revolution reached another milestone last month as EVs made up 37 percent share of Norway’s car market. Norway understands the future of ground transport is electric and has been pushing EVs harder than almost any other country in the world with incentives such as an exemption from the 25 percent value added tax for new cars. In December,...

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Massive camera trapping project goes statewide in NC

Do you ever wonder what animals lurk in the wildest parts of the state? Or in your own backyard? With spring just around the corner, now is a great time for North Carolina residents, particularly those in the central and western parts of the state, to help uncover the secrets of local wildlife. By participating in “NC’s Candid Critters,” a new research project of the...

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NOAA-supported National Phenology Network data shows plants leafing out 10-20 days earlier than normal

The USA-National Phenology Network is tracking the start of the spring season across the country using models called the Spring Leaf and Bloom Indices. HOW DOES THIS YEAR STACK UP AGAINST THE RECENT PAST? We can evaluate whether spring is arriving early, late, or right on time this year at a location by comparing the day of year the Spring Leaf Index requirements were...

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NASA is defiantly communicating climate change science despite Trump’s doubts

If you peruse NASA’s social media feeds dedicated to climate change, you would have no clue a new administration has taken power that has expressed doubts about the reality or seriousness of the issue. Every day, NASA has dutifully posted updates on Twitter (@nasaclimate) pertaining to climate change science, including some that are in direct contradiction to statements...

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Smokies park rangers need citizen science volunteers

Great Smoky Mountains National Park rangers are recruiting volunteers to adopt and monitor tree plots. The volunteers will collect information at tree plots throughout the park as part of an important research project tracking phenology, or cyclic and seasonal biological changes. For each plot of trees, volunteers will record when trees leaf out and when leaves start to...

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