I went bird watching in Colombia from my couch and you should too

I went bird watching in Colombia from my couch and you should too

Of all the virtual experiences being offered to us these strange days, this was the one that caught my attention: virtual bird watching in Colombia. The creators of The Birders, a 2019 documentary about a birding road trip through northern Colombia have created a checklist of all 102 birds that appear in the hour-long film (free on YouTube) so that you can mark them off as you watch. The documentary, which stars Diego Calderón-Franco, an expert guide, and Keith Ladzinski, a wildlife…

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Financing nature-based flood mitigation projects with Texas’ Flood Infrastructure Fund – Hill Country

Financing nature-based flood mitigation projects with Texas’ Flood Infrastructure Fund – Hill Country

The Hill Country is no stranger to flooding. In 2015, the Memorial Day flood brought devastating rains to the region. As flood events grow stronger and more frequent, it is more important than ever to take advantage of opportunities to protect our citizens and natural heritage from these events.  Senate Bill 7, established by the Texas Legislature in 2019, created the Flood Infrastructure Fund (FIF). The FIF is an important step towards building a more resilient Texas. Last fall, Texas…

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Earth Day 50th anniversary could mark turning point for Texas energy sector

Earth Day 50th anniversary could mark turning point for Texas energy sector

Wednesday marked the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. When it was first celebrated in 1970, more than 20 million people took to the streets and that action spurred the passage of environmental laws and regulations that are still in effect today. Large gatherings aren’t possible this year because of COVID-19, but some groups are finding other ways to celebrate. It’s also a time to reflect on the environmental movement’s influence over 50 years. Texas Standard host David Brown spoke with…

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A gift for Texas: Collins family donates easement on 531 acres in Williamson County

A gift for Texas: Collins family donates easement on 531 acres in Williamson County

More than 50 years ago, Michael Collins and his father bought land north of Liberty Hill, drawn to the river that cut through the property and the old log home that stood there. They evicted the goats bedding down in the house and renovated it, and the Collins family spent the next five decades building memories at a place they called the Farm at Loafer’s Glory, named for a church where an eclectic group of locals once worshiped. For a…

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Big opportunities lie ahead for green infrastructure in Texas

Big opportunities lie ahead for green infrastructure in Texas

Green infrastructure and nature-based solutions are essential to creating flood resilient communities in Texas. Traditional gray infrastructure techniques such as dams, levees, and channels, capture water and push it downstream. On the other hand, green infrastructure and nature-based solutions are effective flood mitigation tools that capture water at the source, and allow the water to infiltrate into the ground. This reduces runoff and strain on traditional flood infrastructure during flooding events. Examples of green and nature-based flood mitigation solutions include: open…

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Bamberger – A strongly rooted legacy

Bamberger – A strongly rooted legacy

As a child, J. David Bamberger grew up in an Ohio family without electricity or running water. Each day his mother sent him to the neighbor’s farm with a bucket to pump water from their well. “When you’re that age, walking a quarter-mile back home with a bucket full of water, you end up sloshing half of it on your feet,” Bamberger recalls, smiling. “You could say I learned the value of water conservation at an early age.” Bamberger worked…

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Coronavirus hits already struggling Texas farmers and ranchers

Coronavirus hits already struggling Texas farmers and ranchers

Coronavirus has hit U.S. farmers and ranchers hard — to the point where they’ve stopped saying “it can’t get worse.” Burnet County ranchers are seeing those hard-hitting effects by the day. Auction sales are down significantly at the Lampasas Cattle Auction, according to auction owner Andy Baumeister. “It’s a tricky, tricky, crazy game,” said Baumeister. “Tuesday from 4 to 5 p.m. — the pins would be full.” Read more from Kaitlyn Karmount with KXAN here. 

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Austin Parks adds new restrictions to hike-and-bike trail to combat COVID-19

Austin Parks adds new restrictions to hike-and-bike trail to combat COVID-19

The city has announced even mores changes for the Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail. In the weeks since Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt rolled out Stay Home/Work Safe measures to help combat the novel coronavirus, the 10-mile trail has become the subject of increased and ever-changing regulations. Beginning today, parking is being decreased around popular parks, and the trail will now be one-way in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19. The newest rules were implemented on…

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Born to rewild: why now is the perfect time to make your lawn an eco-paradise

Born to rewild: why now is the perfect time to make your lawn an eco-paradise

Chances are, your lawn isn’t natural, environmentally healthy, or necessary – but it is part of a prevalent national standard. Americans spend an estimated $36bn on lawn care annually, and the amount of lawns we maintain could roughly cover the state of Florida. Lawns, not edible agriculture, are the biggest irrigated crop in America – and they are partly to blame for the decline in bees, insects and songbirds. Why should you care? Recent studies reveal that insect numbers are…

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Expanding efforts to keep ‘cows over condos’ are protecting land across the West

Expanding efforts to keep ‘cows over condos’ are protecting land across the West

Across the West, a growing number of ranchers and farmers are seeking such “conservation easements” to stave off the big-box stores, self-storage complexes and residential construction consuming millions of acres of fertile open space. From Montana’s sagebrush steppe to New Mexico’s Central Flyway, the interest is so strong that state agencies and nonprofits are juggling lengthy waiting lists of applications. A Wyoming land trust funded in part by state appropriations typically has as many as 24 projects vying for review.…

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