Our need for the outdoors: The role of nature during COVID-19

Our need for the outdoors: The role of nature during COVID-19

Research on the connection between human health and exposure to nature started to get a foothold in the early 1980s. The renowned biologist E. O. Wilson hypothesized that humans had an innate connection to nature. At the same time, Roger Ulrich, a professor of architecture at Texas A&M University, was looking at how surgery patients with a view of a natural scene out of their windows recovered compared to those with a brick wall outside. He found that patients with…

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Quarantined for the very first time

Quarantined for the very first time

Nearing the line of demarcation for achieving “octogenarian,” it has been a shock to the system to face the necessity of “quarantined.” Even as a youngster in a household of several children and on a city block populated by many more suffering from measles I remember being “one of the ones” able to go and come. With so many others, my spouse, Karen, and I have honored the urgent requests of our adult sons that we take all deliberate precautions and significantly modify our…

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Agriculture science looking downward for the future of feeding the world

Agriculture science looking downward for the future of feeding the world

Healthy fertile soil. It makes the grass and plants grow, which feeds people as well as livestock, which in turn are eaten by people. Dr. Nicole Wagner, assistant professor in the Department of Agriculture at Texas State University, doesn’t mince words when it comes to soil. “We really need to be focused on soil regeneration,” she says. Wagner, who teaches soil science courses, explains that soil regeneration could be the solution to increasing harvests, reducing chemicals and pesticides in agriculture,…

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New Braunfels Utilities anticipates stage one drought conditions

New Braunfels Utilities anticipates stage one drought conditions

Rising temperatures, lack of significant rainfall and increased demand for water have caused the Edwards Aquifer to drop nearly a foot per day over the past 10 days. As of May 7, the 10-day average of the J-17 well was 665 feet, which is five feet above the trigger for stage one watering restrictions. The areas serviced by the aquifer have not been in a drought stage since October 2018 and the aquifer previously maintained an average water level of 671…

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Food supply anxiety brings back Victory Gardens

Food supply anxiety brings back Victory Gardens

“Small things count,” read a headline in the tiny, insistent pamphlet published by the National War Garden Commission in 1919. The pitch made gardening a civic duty. The victory garden movement began during World War I and called on Americans to grow food in whatever spaces they could — rooftops, fire escapes, empty lots, backyards. It maintained that there was nothing more valuable than self-sufficiency, than working a little land, no matter how small, and harvesting your own eggplant and…

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Central Texas Gardener: PBS show producer offers tips

Central Texas Gardener: PBS show producer offers tips

Your garden need not be cancelled! Central Texas Gardener producer Linda Lehmusvirta offers pandemic-proof advice for growing food and sprucing up your yard. Spring and early summer are always a good time to get out in the garden—but of course, our notion of “getting out” this spring has changed, and how. Yet gardening and staying safe aren’t mutually exclusive. Read more from Andrew Keys with The Texas Wildflower here. 

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Opinion: In Permian Highway Pipeline fight, property rights are the answer

Opinion: In Permian Highway Pipeline fight, property rights are the answer

There are few things Texans value more than property rights and few things closer to our collective imagination than iconic Texas landscapes and the wildlife that fills them. An ongoing battle over a pipeline in the scenic Hill Countrythreatens both – and represents a chance to bring together some odd bedfellows to fix it. When pipeline operator Kinder Morgan announced plans to build a pipeline through the Hill Country, environmentalists, local officials, and property owners were concerned. They sued to…

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Austin’s Tom Spencer: ‘It’s time to plant trees’

Austin’s Tom Spencer: ‘It’s time to plant trees’

“Austinites are the people I love,” Spencer said not long before the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day. “But they feel terrible because of the times. It’s hard to see the future, but trees are a part of that future. It’s a good time to think about rebirth and to make plans. Everybody loves trees. It’s a time to plant trees.” A poet, photographer and journalist, Spencer is perhaps best known as the longtime host of “Central Texas Gardener”…

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COVID-19 relief for farmers, ranchers

COVID-19 relief for farmers, ranchers

The Agricultural and Food Policy Center at Texas A&M University in College Station has developed a briefing paper that identifies provisions most applicable to agricultural producers in the three recent Congressional interventions to stimulate the economy and provide COVID-19 relief. “Texas A&M AgriLife is providing information and marshaling its resources to help agricultural producers through this difficult time to ensure consumers have access to healthy food and other essential agricultural products, ” said Patrick J. Stover, Ph.D., vice chancellor for…

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Sierra Club lawsuit challenges construction of Permian Highway fracked gas pipeline

Sierra Club lawsuit challenges construction of Permian Highway fracked gas pipeline

The Sierra Club filed a lawsuit today against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for permitting the ongoing construction of the 428-mile Permian Highway fracked gas pipeline, despite a federal court order vacating the nationwide permit on which the pipeline’s 449 water crossings are based, and for not performing the environmental review required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The Permian Highway Pipeline would carry fracked gas across Texas from the Permian Basin, through the Texas Hill Country, to…

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