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CONTENTS:
Bayonne teachers 'back-to-school' program paying off for students
How to convince your friends to believe in climate change. It's not as hard as you think.
North American Leaders Urged to Restore Monarch Butterfly's Habitat
Cities Support More Native Biodiversity Than Previously Thought
New Jersey Top Ten Beaches Ready to Make a Splash Again in 2014
Radon testing: A simple but important winter endeavor for schools and homeowners
EARTH: Interview with Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell
Support the Peregrine Webcam
NEEF: National Study Results on the Environment
RELEASE OF REHABILITATED PEREGRINE FALCON
How to Stay Afloat in New Jersey
Bayonne teachers 'back-to-school' program paying off for students             (Posted: 3-21-14)

Click HERE.

How to convince your friends to believe in climate change. It's not as hard as you think.             (Posted: 2-27-14)

Click HERE.

North American Leaders Urged to Restore Monarch Butterfly's Habitat             (Posted: 2-14-14)

The following submission has been included by request.

Please take the time to read Erik Mollenhauer's message below and write a letter to President Obama. Get your kids to write letters and their friends to write letters. We can make a difference!

Please help the monarchs!

As you know, the eastern Monarch population is at an all-time low. What can we do to help?

NEXT WEEK, there is an important meeting between President Obama, President Nieto in Mexico and Prime Minister Stephen Harper (Canada). The meeting will take place in Toluca, Mexico, not far from the Monarch winter colonies. Posted below is an article about that meeting. These folks are not meeting to talk about monarchs… but they could if they got enough pressure! We need lots of people… kids, parents, just-plain-folks… to write letters, send emails to President Obama. Asking him and the other leaders to take action NOW! The article below will give you talking points. The key is to have kids and schools write letters!

By ELISABETH MALKIN, February 14, 2014
MEXICO CITY - Hoping to focus attention on the plight of the monarch butterfly at a North American summit meeting next week, a group of prominent scientists and writers urged the leaders of Mexico, the United States and Canada to commit to restoring the habitat that supports the insect's extraordinary migration across the continent.

Calling the situation facing the butterfly "grim," the group issued a letter that outlined a proposal to plant milkweed, the monarch caterpillar's only food source, along its migratory route in Canada and the United States.

Milkweed has been disappearing from American fields over the past decade as farmers have switched to genetically modified corn and soybeans that are resistant to the herbicide glyphosate that kills other plants. At the same time, subsidies to produce corn for ethanol have increased, expanding the amount of land planted with corn by an estimated 25 percent since 2007.

"We can't ask farmers to change their habits," said Homero Aridjis, the Mexican poet who wrote the letter, which was to be released on Friday.

Instead, the proposal encouraged planting milkweed on roadsides and between fields, and suggested subsidies for farmers to set aside land that is free of herbicides.

"This is a viable proposal. It is not impossible," said Mr. Aridjis, who signed the letter with Gary Paul Nabhan, a conservationist and writer at the University of Arizona. "Otherwise, we face an ecological genocide, because if we take away the monarch's plants we kill the monarchs."

On Wednesday, President Obama is scheduled to meet President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico and Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada in the Mexican city of Toluca, about an hour's drive from the volcanic mountains where the butterflies winter after flying thousands of miles.

This winter, the area that the butterflies cover dropped sharply, to 1.65 acres, the smallest ever. In 1996, the butterflies covered 45 acres across the oyamel fir forests, where they form giant fluttering colonies.

The Mexican government has proved successful over the past five years at halting most of the large-scale illegal logging that was long seen as the biggest threat to the monarch. But smaller logging continues.

"As Mexico is addressing the logging issues, so now must the United States and Canada address the effects of our current agricultural policies," the letter said.

About 20 leading butterfly specialists signed the letter, along with conservationists, writers, artists and filmmakers from Mexico, the United States and Canada.

Cities Support More Native Biodiversity Than Previously Thought             (Posted: 2-14-14)

Click HERE.

New Jersey Top Ten Beaches Ready to Make a Splash Again in 2014             (Posted: 2-14-14)

(Sandy Hook, NJ)…… After taking a brief vacation in 2013 while New Jersey continued it's recovery from Superstorm Sandy, voting for New Jersey Top Ten Beaches is back. Given this winter's brutal below zero wind chill temperatures and seemingly endless string of snow storms project coordinators, the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium (NJSGC) and Richard Stockton College's Costal Resource Center are expecting a warm and welcoming wave of response when the voting opens for their 2014 New Jersey Top Ten Beaches survey (NJTTB) at noon on February 17th and continues through midnight April 30th.

Now in its seventh year, the New Jersey Top Ten Beaches project was started in 2008, to encourage stewardship and pride in the state's beaches while promoting a little healthy competition between New Jersey's favorite beach towns. It's since become a pre-summer favorite with residents Jersey Shore visitors alike.

According to Kim Kosko, Director of Communications for NJSGC, "We all have fond memories and personal favorites when it comes to the beaches we love best. But this year we're asking people to take a little time to really think about the criteria that make the places they pick worthy of winning a spot on the 2014 Top Ten list. We want them to realize how important our beaches and other coastal assets are and that we're all responsible for their well being. What we do today directly impacts the future of shore communities."

Kosko also noted that during the voting hiatus the Top Ten Beaches coordinators assembled a task force to review the voting process and other project components. "It will changes things up a little and hopefully levels the playing field for all shore towns from Sandy Hook to Cape May."

This year's Top Ten Beaches will also incorporate an innovative tie-in project that has ten New Jersey artists painting sponsored rain barrels with iconic shore images. Dozens of New Jersey artists applied for a chance to paint the containers and turn them into functional works of art. The New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium's 2014 Top Ten Beaches Rain Barrels will be showcased at the NJSGC 12th Annual State of the Shore Media Event on May 22. The beautified rain barrels will then roll out on tour around the state throughout the summer and be displayed at selected New Jersey beach communities and special events. This unique program promotes environmental awareness and stewardship of all our coastal and water resources. The public will also be invited to vote for their favorite barrel online for People's Choice after they are unveiled at the May 22nd media event. Details about the rain barrel project, its cooperating sponsors and the selected artists will also be featured on the New Jersey Top Ten Beaches web site www.njtoptenbeaches.org.

The New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium is an affiliation of colleges, universities and other groups dedicated to advancing knowledge and stewardship of New Jersey's marine and coastal environment. NJSGC meets its mission through its innovative research, education and outreach programs. For more information, visit NJSGC on the web at njseagrant.org or on social media at facebook.com/NJSeaGrant and twitter.com/NJSeaGrant

Radon testing: A simple but important winter endeavor for schools and homeowners             (Posted: 2-14-14)

Click HERE.

EARTH: Interview with Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell             (Posted: 1-31-14)

Alexandria, VA - EARTH Magazine sits down with Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell to discuss the role of geoscience at the Department of the Interior, which includes the National Park Service, the U.S. Geological Survey and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, which oversees the offshore development of both renewable and conventional energy resources.

Secretary Jewell, who began her career as a petroleum engineer, discusses the role of science in reconciling conflicts in the management of federal lands, and shares how her transition from the private sector, where she was chief executive officer of Recreation Equipment, Inc., has provided insight into the management of DOI's 70,000 federal employees, and the new 21st Century Conservation Corps initiative (http://21csc.org/)

Read more online and in the April issue of EARTH Magazine: (http://bit.ly/1dP2DI0)

Keep up to date with the latest happenings in Earth, energy and environment news with EARTH magazine online at http://www.earthmagazine.org/. Published by the American Geosciences Institute, EARTH is your source for the science behind the headlines.

Support the Peregrine Webcam             (Posted: 1-31-14)

The NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife has been streaming live video of a peregrine falcon nestbox from a Jersey City rooftop since 2001. The webcam has allowed viewers to observe these magnificent birds as they raise young each year and continue their resurgence in the state.

Unfortunately, funding constraints now threaten the continued operation of the webcam. However, over the past month the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ (CWF) has been actively fundraising to upgrade the webcam hardware and host the live stream.

As part of the CWF fundraising effort January has been dedicated as the "Month of the Falcon" to bring more attention to peregrine falcons in New Jersey. The foundation has featured amazing photographs of peregrines, along with life history information and a summary of reintroduction efforts of the species in the Garden State on a blog at http://www.conservewildlifenj.org/blog/category/raptors/month-of-the-falcon-raptors/ .

Donations are still needed to help fund the purchase of the new webcam. To make a donation, please visit http://www.conservewildlifenj.org/education/falconcam on the CWF website.

For information about the webcam, including all editions of Nestbox News which chronicle the annual activity at the nestbox, visit http://www.njfishandwildlife.com/peregrinecam/index.html on the Division's website.

NEEF: National Study Results on the Environment             (Posted: 1-31-14)

"How many Americans are using environmental information to make everyday decisions?"

The National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) commissioned a groundbreaking national study to measure environmental behavior and attitudes. The results provide NEEF a baseline for its vision that by 2022, 300 million Americans actively use environmental knowledge to ensure the well-being of the earth and its people.

Survey highlights include:

  • Six out of ten American adults take some sort of action when learning about the environmental issues facing the world
  • 61% of adults visited a park or nature center in the last 12 months.
  • 52% of adults consider zoos, nature centers and parks as trustworthy sources for environmental problems and issues.
  • 77% of adults turn the lights off when leaving a room.
  • 9% of adults compost.
  • 59% of adults consider an environmentally conscious lifestyle a lot of work.

    The research surveyed 1,500 individuals between 18 and 74 years of age with demographics in balance with the U.S. Census.

    For more information about NEEF and this survey, please visit http://neefusa.org. Stay tuned for more data.

    NEEF is the nation's leading organization in lifelong environmental learning, connecting people to knowledge they use to improve the quality of their lives and the health of the planet. Follow NEEF on Facebook & Twitter @neefusa.

  • RELEASE OF REHABILITATED PEREGRINE FALCON             (Posted: 1-31-14)

    DIVISION OF FISH AND WILDLIFE RELEASES REHABILITATED PEREGRINE FALCON,
    HIGHLIGHTING STATE'S RESURGENCE OF BIRDS OF PREY
    State Income Tax Check-off Provides Public with Opportunity to Support Endangered Species Protection Efforts

    The Department of Environmental Protection's (DEP) Division of Fish and Wildlife today released a rehabilitated peregrine falcon from Twin Lights of the Navesink Historic Site in Highlands, Monmouth County, to draw attention to the continued resurgence of birds of prey in the Garden State.

    "The health of our wildlife populations is a good indicator of the overall health of the environment," said Division of Fish and Wildlife Director David Chanda. "This is particularly true of birds of prey, also known as raptors, which have made remarkable recoveries in New Jersey over the past several decades. Populations of peregrine falcons, ospreys and bald eagles continue to climb in New Jersey."

    The annual state income tax Check-off for Wildlife provides critical support to the Division of Fish and Wildlife's Endangered and Nongame Species Program, which works to promote and protect growing populations of bald eagles, peregrine falcons and ospreys.

    Peregrine falcons are experiencing record productivity rates. Twenty-six pairs of peregrines now occupy appropriate nesting habitat in New Jersey. Though still small, the population exhibited high productivity last year, with all but two pairs successfully fledging at least one young. The 24 nests produced 57 young for a success rate of 92 percent and a production rate of 2.19 young per active nest.

    Peregrines can be found nesting on bridge towers, water towers, and high buildings. Some peregrine falcons relocated from New Jersey have even been used to help rebuild populations in West Virginia. Peregrines relocated from New Jersey between 2006 and 2011 have been confirmed inhabiting the mountain areas of West Virginia and western Maryland.

    The osprey population, meanwhile, has reached a milestone - nearly 550 pairs now nesting in the state. This total possibly surpasses numbers that have nested in the state prior to steep declines in the 1950s and 1960s due to habitat loss and pesticide contamination.

    The Division of Fish and Wildlife, aided by volunteers, documented 542 osprey nests last year. These specialized predators are found predominantly in coastal areas, with heaviest populations found around Barnegat Bay, Great Bay, Cumberland County's Maurice River marshes, the Avalon-Stone Harbor area, bays around the Wildwoods, and Raritan Bay.

    Bald eagle populations, meanwhile, continue to soar to new record highs each year, with 148 territorial pairs counted in 2013, up from 135 in 2012. Of these, 119 pairs actively nested, meaning they laid eggs. Ninety-six nests produced 176 young. The annual Midwinter Eagle Survey in 2013 counted 297 bald eagles - 264 in southern New Jersey and 33 in the northern part of the state.

    The male falcon released today was found in Montclair with a dislocated shoulder. It was rehabilitated by the nonprofit Raptor Trust, a key partner in the state's work to protect and enhance populations of birds of prey. The falcon is estimated to be less than a year old and was likely migrating from its birth area in Canada when it was injured. The source of the injury is not known.

    Twin Lights, operated by the New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry, is situated atop a 200-foot high bluff, affords a sweeping view of dangerous Atlantic waters near Sandy Hook. The area round the lighthouse provides ideal habitat for falcons, which can achieve dive speeds upwards of 200 MPH.

    "Peregrines are like the cheetah of the bird world, and the area around Sandy Hook and the Navesink Highlands provides plenty of high spots for perching and open bays and rivers for hunting," said Kathy Clark, supervising biologist with the DEP's Endangered and Nongame Species Program. "It's likely that this falcon will spend the rest of the winter here, and may even linger longer."

    Check-off funds go to support wildlife conservation programs and are used to match or leverage funds from the federal government's State Wildlife Grants program. The sales of Conserve Wildlife license plates also help fund the program.

    In addition to the New Jersey Endangered Wildlife Fund, taxpayers may choose to designate contributions to other worthwhile programs. Details are included in the Form 1040 instructions. Contributions to any of these check-off funds will reduce your refund commensurately.

    Separate reports highlighting the success of the raptor restoration efforts and providing detailed charts and analysis are available at www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/.

    For more on the Endangered and Nongame Species Program, including facts on species that the program works to protect, visit: www.nj.gov/dep/fgw/ensphome.htm.

    For more on Twin Lights, visit: www.state.nj.us/dep/parksandforests/historic/twin-lights/twin-lights-index.htm.

    Archived PRESS-RELEASES are available upon request throught the webmaster.