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TOPEKA, Kan. - The Kansas Association for Conservation and Environmental Education (KACEE) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2010 Excellence in Conservation and Environmental Education Awards. Nominated by their peers, these awardees exhibit outstanding innovation, leadership and achievement, as well as collaboration and cooperation within the environmental education field. For the second year, three schools are receiving Kansas Green Schools of the Year Awards. "We are thrilled to honor these deserving individuals and organizations, who give so much of their time and are so dedicated to environmental education in Kansas," said KACEE President Schanee' Anderson, of the Sedgwick County Zoo.

Winter: A Time of Northern Harriers

MCDOWELL CREEK, Kan. - All winter long a male Northern Harrier has been hunting in our crop fields. We see him gliding close to the ground, his slender body rising and falling with the contour of the land. Back in the pasture, a female Harrier is doing the same thing. As in most hawk species, she is larger than the male, but she too appears to float effortlessly just above the grass. Sometimes she rises above a ridge top only to disappear behind it as she follows a Flint Hills swale. Both the gray male and the brown female sport prominent white patches above the tail.

Northern Harriers used to be called Marsh Hawks, as they often hunt in open wetlands--but "harrier" is a more accurate term, for they are by no means limited to swampy ground. In fact, they are one of the characteristic birds of the tall grass prairie. My mentor, KSU ornithologist John Zimmerman, wrote in The Birds of Konza: The Avian Ecology of the Tallgrass Prairie that the grasslands of all continents have a similar array of birds: a chicken-like bird; a dryland shorebird; small, medium, and large insectivores; and a hawk that hunts on the wing.

Not About Sarah Palin

sarah-palin.jpgSALINA, Kan. - This is not about Sarah Palin. Instead, let's talk petro-states. Like Oman. And its sister state, Alaska. In 2007, Alaska produced approximately 719,000 barrels of oil per day. That puts it in the same ballpark as Egypt (710,000), Oman (718,000) and Malaysia (755,000). Its economy parallels Oman's. Its oil revenues account for about 75 percent of export earnings.

Oil rents provide 42 percent of Alaska's annual revenue, more than any other source. Without federal subsidies (the highest per capita in the nation), Alaska's oil rents would account for 53 percent of income.

HAYS, Kan. - Rising temperatures, faster evaporation rates, and more sustained drought brought on by climate change will bring stress to water resources and particularly our wetlands. Climate change is likely to affect native plant and animal species by altering key habitats such as the wetland ecosystems known as prairie potholes or playa lakes.

The new research shows that the prairies will be much more sensitive to climate warming and drying than previously thought.

COLBY, Kan. - White roofs can have the effect of cooling temperatures within buildings. As a result, depending on the local climate, the amount of energy used for space heating and air conditioning could change, which could affect both outside air temperatures and the consumption of fossil fuels such as oil and coal that are associated with global warming.


©American Geophysical Union, photo by Maria-José Viñas
Depending on whether air conditioning or heating is affected more, this could either magnify or partially offset the impact of the roofs.

White roofs would reflect some of that heat back into space and cool temperatures, much as wearing a white shirt on a sunny day can be cooler than wearing a dark shirt.

Moreover, painting the roofs of buildings white has the potential to significantly cool cities and mitigate some impacts of global warming, a new study indicates.

MCDOWELL CREEK, Kan. - Artist Betsy Roe was hard at work on Sunday--lying in the sunwarmed grass at Bird Runner Wildlife Refuge, a native prairie preserve in the heart of the Flint Hills. "I felt daunted, this project seemed so big," she says. "So I lay down in the grass, and the word 'center' came to mind. I just lay there and felt the warmth. I thought about 'center,' 'centering,' 'centered'--all the different meanings."


Betsy Roe
Roe was in the middle of one of the most difficult parts of the artistic process--acknowledging obstacles, awaiting guidance, inviting inspiration. Her openness paid off: her contemplation of "centering" allowed her to imagine a design not only taking shape but taking root in that particular location. With renewed zest, she went back to pounding in stakes and laying out string, marking dimensions for an outdoor work of art to honor the memory of Jan Garton, the conservationist who saved Cheyenne Bottoms and who passed away Nov. 9, 2009.

Roe has been commissioned to do this "installation" on a three-acre brome field which is being restored to native prairie--also in honor of Garton.

We have more! This page only lists entries in a particular month. We encourage you to look back through our archives in this same category.

The previous archive is Green: January 2010. The next archive is Green: April 2010.

If you want to browse other topics, you can also check our Table of Contents. The most current posts can always be found on our Front Page.


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This is an archive page containing all of the stories posted to Kansas Free Press in one particular topic in a particular month. These stories were published in the Green: February 2010 section.

The previous archive is Green: January 2010. The next archive is Green: April 2010.

The most current posts can always be found on our Front Page.

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