American Forests Endangered Western Forests Initiative
(NAPSI)—Josh Westerhold, 36, is a grizzly bear hunter. His weapon is
a camera. And over the years, he’s shot grizzlies by the dozens.
Despite growing up in
Wyo., Josh did not catch
grizzly fever until his college days during hikes and mountain trips with
friends. It was then that he learned how and where to find the threatened
bears by talking with hunting outfitters, U.S. Forest Service members and
fish and game experts. The key piece of advice was to go where the bears go
for food. In the Mountain West, this meant at or above the timberline, as
grizzlies feed on seeds from whitebark pines growing there.
Whitebark pine seeds are essential for many birds and animals. For bears,
they are a rich, preferred food source that provide a high calorie content
— more calories per pound than chocolate — that is vital for
hibernation. In bumper crop seasons for whitebark cones, they can dominate
the food habits of bears for the entire next year. In bad years for whitebark
pine, according to Josh, you can fairly accurately predict the increased
number of incidents of grizzly and human interactions, as the bears travel
down the mountains for food.
With this knowledge, Josh began finding grizzlies — lots of them
— and took to photography to illustrate these amazing sights. “I
kept telling people about all the stuff I was seeing, and I realized I needed
to document it. I was witnessing things like 35 grizzlies in one place -
males, females and cubs all together. Because of the abundant food source,
they’re pretty tolerant of each other. It is very unusual.”
But things are changing in the West, including in the iconic Greater
Yellowstone Area, Josh says. “Over the course of the last decade,
I’ve seen the progressive deterioration of the forest. Not just the
whitebark pine, but the whole upper canopy, right at the timberline. In
certain drainages, more trees are dead than alive.”
What Josh is seeing, according to Dr. Bob Keane, American Forests Science
Advisory Board member and U.S. Forest Service research ecologist, is the
combined impact of mountain pine beetles, white pine blister rust and
excessive past fire suppression. “We are seeing an urgent situation in
the process of turning catastrophic,” says Dr. Keane. “In the
last decade of warmer summers and winters, the decline of this critical
ecosystem has greatly accelerated in all parts of whitebark pine’s
range.” It is estimated that 41.7 million acres of pine forests in more
than 10 states are dying due to abnormally large mountain pine beetle
outbreaks. These affected forests contain the headwaters of some of
’s most prominent rivers, which
serve as major water resources for more than 33 million people in 16 states,
including cities like
The whitebark pine is a keystone species critical to the health of these
at-risk, high-elevation ecosystems. The American Forests Endangered Western
Forests initiative is a collaborative program designed to find solutions to
and address these threats. Funded in part by a U.S. Forest Service grant, the
initiative has created a partnership between
federal agencies, local communities and other nonprofits to protect and
restore forest ecosystems in the West devastated by these threats. The
initial phase of the initiative is focused on the Greater Yellowstone Area by
planting 100,000 naturally disease-resistant whitebark pines and protecting
another 10,000 with pheromone patches. The program is supporting researchers
and scientists testing the best techniques for rehabilitation; managers
implementing these restoration actions on the ground; and the public learning
about these forests, their threats and the level of damage. The organization
has a track record of success in these areas and has planted 125,000
whitebark pines since 2010.
“We are at a critical point in ensuring the future of these beloved
forests,” says Dr. Keane. “With new research and management
techniques, we hope to restore whitebark pine across most of its range and,
in turn, create resilient landscapes that can weather future climate change,
but time is of the essence.”
And not just for the forests, but for the species that make their homes
there. The Greater Yellowstone Area is home to approximately half of the
threatened grizzlies found in the lower 48 states.
“I love grizzlies because they are what make the wilderness wild,
but they’re a threatened species,” says Josh. “The survival
of the bears is an indicator of the health of the environment and how
we’ve taken care of the forests.”
To learn more about the American Forests Endangered Western Forests
initiative, visit the website www.americanforests.org/EWF or call 202-737-1944. Please support the work of this initiative and help
save our western forests. Your contribution can make a critical difference.
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NASCAR Star Beats The Heat At Home
(NAPSI)—You may have more in common with a race car driver than you
realize. Consider this: When he’s not busy at the racetrack, NASCAR
star Greg Biffle likes to slow down and unwind at home. Like other
homeowners, Biffle and his wife Nicole are eager to create a warm, welcoming
environment for guests while protecting their investment.
“We spent a lot of time searching for the right furniture, window
treatments, flooring—even furnishings and artwork we take great care in
preserving,” said Nicole Biffle.
The Biffles are also interested in minimizing their HVAC costs and
reducing hot spots to keep their
Carolina home comfortable.
What They Found
In their search for a solution, the Biffles made a surprising find-window
film. The couple found that applying high-quality window film to their home’s
windows could not only help protect their furnishings from fading in the sun’s
glare, but help reduce cooling costs and improve temperature consistency in
the house. After checking out the options, the Biffles chose 3M™ Sun
Control Window Films, which can reduce cooling costs by up to 25 percent
while blocking up to 99 percent of harmful UV rays. With this technology,
they can enjoy the sunlight streaming into their home without feeling excess
“What I’ve noticed since we installed the window film in our
home is there are no hot spots in the house and the temperature is more even,”
said Greg. “It’s much cooler inside and a lot more comfortable.
The HVAC system runs much less now, which is definitely reflected on our
While the film rejects up to 50 percent of the heat coming through the
windows, it doesn’t change the appearance of the home or the view of
the scenery outside. In fact, it still allows up to 69 percent of the visible
light through the window.
“When we were looking at window film options, we decided to go with
the 3M window film. It didn’t impair aesthetics or darken the room,
preserving our beautiful view,” Nicole said.
The Biffles are so pleased with their choice that they encourage other
homeowners to see if it’s right for them.
“I’d recommend the window film for people who want to reduce
their electric bill, make their house much more comfortable, keep the heat
out, and UV protect their furnishings,” Greg said. “It’s
just a great option for us.”
For further information, visit www.3M.com/windowfilms.
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Fair-Trade Gifts From Around The World
(NAPSI)—When you buy handmade crafts from
World countries, you are doing so much more than just shopping:
You are helping people in these countries support their families, gain dignity
and develop their villages while maintaining their ancient cultural
traditions. You’re giving back to the world.
One place to get such sought-after treasures is Worldstock Fair Trade,
Overstock.com’s socially responsible department. From the Overstock.com website, you can get
Third World, handmade crafts,
furniture, home decor and jewelry while helping many artisans in destitute
regions. These unique products come from over 50 countries, where thousands
of artisans are improving their lives, their health, the educational systems
and local communities.
Through Worldstock, Overstock.com provides international market exposure for artisans’ unique product
offerings and the opportunity for customers to support and preserve these
artisans’ valuable cultural heritage and traditions. Consider handmade
goods from the rural suburbs of
some of these artisans work in shops, most of them produce these goods in
their homes. About 20 families in
sell goods through Worldstock. This has allowed for one of the artisans,
Dipak, to sponsor and fund several Modern Newar English Schools in the area.
Jumanah lived in a 430-square-foot home with 15 other relatives. Jumanah
performs finish work on furniture made of local woods and sold on Worldstock.
Through her work, she has been able to earn enough money to build a separate
house for her own family.
Among the almost 20,000 unique gift ideas on Worldstock are handmade
bronze singing bowls from Nepal, whose sound vibrations aid concentration and
bring a Buddhist influence to the home; handcrafted brass and copper hammered
cuff bracelets from India designed by Kirti and his blacksmith family from
Nagpur; wooden, hand-carved walnut oil twist stools from Thailand created by
Khun, who learned how to carve wood from her father, who learned from his
father; and leather messenger bags from Colombia that help women from a poor
and violent neighborhood work their way out of that vicious cycle.
Worldstock returns between 60 and 70 percent of the sales price on each
item to the artisans, double the customary amount returned by most importers.
So far, nearly $100 million has gone to artisan suppliers of Worldstock
goods. Over the years, Over stock.com has also donated Worldstock profits to
charities such as Solace International that support international
humanitarian efforts by bringing schools, clinics, drinking water and
sustainable cottage industries to artisan communities in Afghanistan,
Colombia, Nepal, Malawi, Liberia, Guatemala, Ghana and Kenya.
In addition, all Worldstock orders come with Carbon Neutral Shipping at no
additional cost to customers. This process balances the carbon emissions of
shipping to promote clean energy and reforestation. All orders over $50 ship
You can learn more and see all the items available at www.worldstock.com.
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Tips On Being Green At Home And Away
(NAPSI)—Today, finding ways to be more energy efficient and eco
friendly isn’t just good for the environment—it can be good for
your home, your family and your bottom line. Here are hints on how:
• Reduce, reuse, recycle: Take a look around—a simple mental
checklist of reusable, recyclable items can make a world of difference with
no more effort than a weekly drop-off. For example, take old books and donate
them to a school or library. If you buy eggs in cartons, drop the empties off
at an elementary school or after-school center to be used for art projects.
If you’re renovating your home or even just planning a few small home
improvement projects, remember that just about everything, from old flooring
to doorknobs and light fixtures, can be repurposed by a charity if not by
• Eat and drink your way to a
healthier planet: How (and what) you eat can make a big impact on the
environment and the community. Farmers’ markets are often bursting with
fresh produce. Supporting one helps preserve the vitality of community
agriculture. Buying local means produce is fresher—it hasn’t been
shipped from hundreds of miles away. To keep those fruits and veggies fresher
longer, you can get a refrigerator with humidity-controlled crispers. Using
your refrigerator’s water dispense system and
a reusable bottle instead of bottled water can keep up to 300 plastic bottles
a year from ending up in landfills.
• Let the housework do the
saving for you: New home appliances are far more efficient than older
models. New washers such as the Energy Star-certified Amana 3.6-cu.-ft., high-efficiency washer use 75 percent less water and 82
percent less energy than those manufactured just a decade ago. If you’ve
been considering a new washer or dryer, the good news is it could save you money
on your utility bills.
• Learn more: You can
find additional facts on efficient appliances at www.amana.com.
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Putting Your Home On An Energy Diet
(NAPSI)—When budgets are tight and homeowners feel squeezed by
higher electric bills, there may be a simple solution: Put the house on an
energy “diet.” Here are some helpful tips:
• Install new bulbs and dimmers. According to the U.S. Department of
Energy, ENERGY STAR-approved LED bulbs offer similar light quality to
traditional incandescents and use about 20 to 25 percent of the energy, while
compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs use about 75 percent less energy.
To go the extra mile in savings and to create ambience, homeowners
can install dimmers that are specifically designed to work with the most
popular bulb types (incandescents, LEDs and CFLs). These dimmers have been
tested and designed to alleviate common problems associated with dimming LEDs
and CFLs, such as fading and flickering.
Now it’s possible to save
energy with LEDs and CFLs without giving up the desired ambience that
many homeowners have come to expect from dimmers. Plus, dimmers are
affordable and simple to install.
• Control temperature. Homeowners can save as much as 10 percent a
year on heating and cooling costs by simply turning the thermostat back seven
to 10 degrees for eight hours a day, according to the U.S. Department of
• Turn off the lights. Occupancy/vacancy sensors can be installed in
rooms where light is needed only occasionally. They can tell when people
enter or leave a room and turn the lights on and off automatically. According
to Dr. Brent Protzman, energy researcher at Lutron Electronics, sensors can
save up to 50 percent in lighting costs. He recommends installing sensors,
such as the Lutron
Maestro occupancy/vacancy sensing switch, in bathrooms, children’s
rooms, garages and laundry rooms. Sensors are as easy to install as a
standard light switch and are economically priced.
• Treat the windows right. Using proper window treatments and
adjusting shades with the seasons can help keep heating and cooling expenses
from going through the roof.
For example, Serena
shades are designed to provide superior insulation all year round. They’re
remote controlled, so they’re great for hard-to-reach windows that may
let unwanted sun or cold air inside. Multiple shades can be controlled with a
single remote. With do-it-yourself installation, these shades can replace
existing window treatments in about 15 minutes.
Visit www.lutron.com to learn more.
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Creating Worth From Waste
(NAPSI)—There’s genuine excitement in rural
about what to many may
seem a surprising subject: livestock manure. That’s because farmers can get
improved nutrient efficiency from it as a natural fertilizer source, the
animal waste is easier to handle and apply, and some of the odors associated
with release of ammonia gas are being reduced—all thanks to some recent
technology available to livestock producers.
When farmers have hundreds or thousands of hogs or dairy or beef cattle,
millions of tons of waste are generated that must be managed in an
environmentally sound way. In most cases, the manure is held in pits or
lagoons before being applied to fields as a rich source of vital nutrients such
as phosphorus (P) and nitrogen (N), both of which are essential to crop
growth and health.
The recently developed technology that helps livestock producers manage
all this waste more efficiently is More Than Manure® (MTM®) Nutrient Manager,
from SFP®, a company that specializes in products that improve fertilizer
efficiency. When added to in-ground manure pits and lagoons, MTM can help
break up “solids,” making the manure easier to pump, transport and apply. It
can also significantly reduce ammonia levels both in livestock confinement
areas and on the fields where manure is applied.
For example, take Dean Strauss, who milks roughly 1,900 cows at two
Wisconsin locations. He recently tried the product,
applying it in and around manure pits and through the direct system that
pumps into the pits. “It cut the odor dramatically,” Strauss said. “Anything
we can do to address odor issues is good for our workers and our cows, and it
helps us be better neighbors to the people who live close to our farming
In a short time following application, Strauss witnessed a breaking up of
crusts and solids in the pits. “The uniformity of the manure for spreading
was greatly improved,” he added. “I know we are now getting a better
distribution of nutrients across the soil.”
Better Crop Yields
This technology can also help improve nutrient efficiency and plant uptake
of P and N from manure used as fertilizer, which leads to better overall crop
health and yield increases. Reducing the amount of P that gets locked up in
the soil and N losses due to leaching, volatilization and denitrification
makes more of both elements available for crop use.
Consider Jack Wyttenbach, a hog producer who has about 1,500 sows and
finishes about 25,000 hogs a year. He has experienced a yield increase of 8
bushels per acre on fields of corn fertilized with manure that was treated
with MTM. “This yield increase is due to improved nutrient efficiency and
uptake,” he said.
Wyttenbach also tries to be environmentally proactive about livestock
odors that can wear thin on neighbors. “We’ve seen a dramatic reduction in
the amount of ammonia gas coming off the manure after using MTM,” he
For more information, see a fertilizer dealer, call 1-888-446-GROW or
More Than Manure and MTM are registered trademarks of Specialty Fertilizer
Products (SFP), LLC. © 2013 SFP. All rights reserved.
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(NAPSI)—Here’s good news, for a change, about our environment:
Americans have more than tripled the amount of materials they recycled in the
1980s—more than a third of the country’s household waste—thanks
to technological advances by the waste industry that collects, sorts and
How It Works
Nearly 10,000 communities nationwide now have curbside recycling pickup,
taking recyclables directly from bins at homes. Many communities use
single-stream recycling, through which all recyclables are placed into the
same bin for collection and sorting.
From there, recyclables arrive for sorting, either at a community transfer
station or a materials recovery facility (MRF). High-tech innovations at MRFs
help automate and streamline the sorting and separating of commingled
recyclables, while dedicated workers oversee the process. Sorting recycled
materials lessens the chance for contamination and better prepares the
materials to be repurposed.
With screens, optical scanners and conveyor belts, MRFs sort materials
with precision. These facilities also employ magnets and electric currents,
called “eddy currents,” that separate aluminum cans from the rest
of the waste stream. Materials are then baled, shredded, crushed or compacted
before being shipped to manufacturers to be turned into new products.
These innovations make recycling more affordable for communities, reduce
the amount of waste going to landfills, cut greenhouse gas emissions and
lessen the environmental impact of household waste. Simplifying the recycling
process also encourages greater participation.
“The items you place in your recycling bin or cart-aluminum and
steel cans, newspapers, glass bottles and jars, plastics, cardboard and
corrugated boxes-do, in fact, make it to a recycling facility,”
explained Sharon H. Kneiss, president and CEO of the National Solid Wastes
Management Association. “Americans who recycle should rest easy that by
recycling they are helping save energy and conserve vital natural resources.
“There are still communities where curbside recycling isn’t
being offered. Consumers who want these services should get in touch with
community officials to encourage more recycling,” said Kneiss.
Visit www.beginwiththebin.com for further facts and stats on state-of-the-art recycling systems and how
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Ethanol-Blended Fuel And Your Engine
(NAPSI)—The conversation around fuels, technology and conservation
can sometimes get confusing. It doesn’t matter if you are running a
motorcycle, watercraft, snowmobile, outdoor power equipment or a car—trying
to balance the need to keep your engines running well with a concern for the
environment can sometimes get complicated.
To help, here are some points to consider:
For starters, remember that most gasoline contains up to 10 percent
ethanol, a type of alcohol that is renewable and blended with gasoline to
help reduce exhaust emissions and our dependency on fossil fuels.
However, ethanol is also a solvent and ethanol-blended fuels, such as E10,
can remove accumulated fuel tank debris, which can enter the fuel system and
engine. Ethanol can affect fuel system components. It contains sulfate salts
that corrode fuel system metals, and its solvent properties can cause hoses
and gaskets in engines to shrink or become brittle over time.
Also, moisture is in the atmosphere and ethanol attracts moisture. If the
amount of water absorbed into the fuel reaches just 0.5 percent of the total
content, the ethanol/water mix can settle to the bottom of the fuel tank,
where it can be ingested into an engine. This is called phase separation and
it can prevent an engine from running properly or at all.
Also, it’s important to remember that gasoline has a short shelf
life of about 30 to 90 days. Over time, the fuel can degrade and become a
contaminant. All this can lead to engine damage.
How To Avoid Ethanol-Related Engine
The good news, according to Steve Friedrich with Yamaha Motor Corporation,
is there are some practical solutions. First, buy fuel from a name-brand,
reputable source and always try to buy from the same place. Avoid fueling
when the station is taking delivery from a tanker. Hundreds of gallons of gas
dumped into the tanks will stir up sediment that can end up in your fuel
Finally, regularly use a fuel stabilizer and other fuel additives that are
formulated to help address these ethanol-related issues, and use it with
anything that runs on gas like a motorcycle or ATV, yard equipment or cars
For example, two new products, Fuel Med RX and Engine Med RX, have metal
corrosion inhibitors that help protect engines from the effects of using
fuels with ethanol. Both are sold at Yamaha dealerships nationwide.
For additional information, go to www.yamalube.com.
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