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In North Carolina, getting more fire in the longleaf pine ecosystem is at the heart of a new partnership between the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and The Orton Foundation

Longleaf Pine Forest | Credit: Christine Ambrose for National Fish and Wildlife Foundation

31
Mar
2017

When Forests Burn, It’s Good for Wildlife and Local Communities

by Jay Jensen, Southern Region Director, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Category:

Southern forests were once covered by the longleaf pine — over 90 million acres of it! Longleaf was the dominant forest type for the coastal plain, and hundreds of plants and animals evolved and thrived within the open, park-like stands that characterize longleaf pine habitat. By the mid-20th Century, that acreage was down to just 3.5 million acres, partially due to a lack of regular fire, which is critical to maintaining the habitat conditions favored by plants and wildlife unique to this ecosystem. But recently, thanks to hard-fought collaborative conservation efforts, the longleaf range has begun to expand again, reaching nearly five million acres. Unfortunately, the decline in the acreage and the quality of longleaf forests has translated into a similar decline for the plants and animals that depend on healthy longleaf habitat, sending many of these species to the emergency triage room that is the Endangered Species Act. But there is a plan to reverse this troubling trend: fire. In North Carolina, getting more fire in the longleaf pine ecosystem is at the heart of a new... read more +

Taos Ski Valley is the world’s first ski resort to become a certified B Corp

Photo (c) Taos Ski Valley

17
Mar
2017

Becoming the World’s First Ski Resort B Corporation

by David Norden, CEO, Taos Ski Valley Category:

Skiing has long been a recreation of choice for those who take inspiration from nature. After all, it’s one of the few activities where an ordinary person can find himself two miles above sea level, looking out at hundreds of miles of snowcapped mountain peaks and a spectacular array of natural elements that are so vital to our lives: water, trees, wildlife, sun and wind. Unfortunately, as the ski industry grew over the last few decades, conservationists began pointing out the harm the industry was causing to its surroundings. From an over-reliance on fossil fuels, to employment practices that weren’t always fair to workers and radically distort local economies, the ski industry has received its fair share of public outcry, particularly among the conservation- and social justice-minded. The industry has answered these accusations through a series of approaches, pursuing energy and water efficiency measures and renewable energy sources, working with legislators to enact legislation to address climate change, creatively seeking solutions to employee housing issues, or reducing waste in streams and implementing recycling programs. These have legitimately addressed... read more +

A 2016 national poll commissioned by Oceana found that 81 percent of registered voters said they support the legislation and would like a national ban on shark fins.

81% of registered voters would like a national ban on shark fins (Oceana). Photo (c) John Voo

10
Mar
2017

Let’s Prove that Americans Don’t Want Shark Fins in The U.S.

by Lora Snyder, Campaign Director, Oceana Category: ,

When most people think of the devastating global trade of animal products, they probably think of elephant tusks or rhino horns – the demand for which has devastated these populations in recent decades. However, with many countries around the world, including the United States, now banning these products, these animals have been given a second chance to recover and thrive. Most Americans do not know though that the U.S. still participates in a global trade that is decimating animal populations around the world: shark fins. It’s estimated the fins from as many as 73 million sharks end up in the global fin trade every year, mainly as an ingredient in the Asian dish shark fin soup. This demand for fins is severely jeopardizing the survival of certain shark populations around the world and can lead to the brutal practice of shark finning – when a fisherman cuts the fins off of a shark and throws the body back overboard, usually to drown, bleed to death or to be eaten alive. Although shark finning has been illegal in U.S. waters... read more +

A bald cypress tree rises from the Cape Fear River near Tar Heel. Photo: Andrew Kornylak

3
Mar
2017

A River Worth the Fight: Visualizing a Healthy, Connected and Respected Cape Fear

by Kemp Burdette, Cape Fear Riverkeeper Category:

The Cape Fear River is North Carolina’s largest and most diverse river, the only river in the state to empty directly into the Atlantic Ocean, and the drinking water supply for one in five North Carolinians. For the river and the people who live along it 2016 was marked with both major victories and ongoing challenges. Already in 2017, many river guardians are working hard to secure more of the former, and mitigate more of the latter. I know the following to be true, as do conservation philanthropist Louis Bacon and The Orton Foundation: this river is worth the fight. An introduction to its specific geography, history and romance can be found in Our State’s story of my eight-day 203-mile paddle from source to mouth. We hope the photos of our trip, maps and videos will inspire you as you learn about its threats and visualize a healthy future. Coal Ash Clean Up North Carolina, home of the nation’s largest electric utility, Duke Energy, took center stage in the national fight to clean up toxic coal ash, the... read more +