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conservation

Tony Hisgett / flickr creative commons

Sand is the most abundant material on Earth. And, other than water and air, sand is the natural resource we consume more than any other -- more, even, than oil.

The pyramids are made of sand. Our roads and driveways and sidewalks are made of sand. Concrete buildings and their concrete foundations are made of sand. From computer chips to computer screens, window panes to lightbulbs, breast implants to the Hubble telescope, sand is basically the essential building block of civilization.

Humans are estimated to consume almost 50 billion tons of sand and gravel every year.

Oh, and, by the way: We're running out of it.

Ryan von Linden / New York Department of Environmental Conservation

Do you see bats where you live? These flying creatures play important roles in ecosystems around the world, from pest control to pollination.

But bats in Connecticut are in big trouble. This hour: bats in our state have been devastated by White-Nose Syndrome. We learn more about this deadly disease and talk about why we should be concerned that populations in Connecticut have been so hard hit.

Bats in China have made news because of the COVID-19 pandemic. We hear why scientists have looked to these flying creatures to understand the origins of a number of deadly diseases.

And we talk with bat researchers about why--amid fears of a pandemic--bats need our support, not our fear, more than ever.

Black and white warbler
Scott Kruitbosch for Connecticut Audubon Society

Spring is usually a busy time for bird enthusiasts since it’s peak season for bird traffic. But since the pandemic, interest in bird-watching seems to be soaring. 

Beth Beverly / Diamond Tooth Taxidermy

When you think of taxidermy, you may imagine a trophy room in which mostly male hunters have mounted the heads of 12-point stags along wood-paneled walls. If so, your image would be incomplete.

Taxidermy has gone through many iterations since gentleman scientists turned to taxidermy to understand anatomy during the Enlightenment. Victorians added a touch of whimsy, decorating their homes with birds under glass and falling in love with Walter Potter's anthropomorphized cats.

Wood Thrush
Paul J. Fusco

Have you noticed fewer sparrows or warblers flitting about your backyard? Bird populations in North America have been declining for years, but in 2019, the data was particularly grim. Two-thirds of bird species are at risk of extinction due to climate change and urbanization, according to recent studies. What does that mean for Connecticut’s birds?

Beth Beverly / Diamond Tooth Taxidermy

When you think of taxidermy, you may imagine a trophy room in which mostly male hunters have mounted the heads of 12-point stags along wood-paneled walls. If so, your image would be incomplete.

Taxidermy has gone through many iterations since gentleman scientists turned to taxidermy to understand anatomy during the Enlightenment. Victorians added a touch of whimsy, decorating their homes with birds under glass and falling in love with Walter Potter's anthropomorphized cats.

Dan Taylr / Flickr Creative Commons

Predictions of a paperless future go back to the 1800s. Yet, despite a dizzying array of technological alternatives to paper, those prediction have not come true.

Dying For A Photo

Sep 12, 2019
Sam Hawley / CreativeCommons.org

A photo of people inching their way up a snaking line to the peak of Mount Everest last month has drawn attention to a number of problems, one of which was the jostling at the top of the mountain to take social media-ready selfies and photos.

Tony Hisgett / flickr creative commons

Sand is the most abundant material on Earth. And, other than water and air, sand is the natural resource we consume more than any other -- more, even, than oil.

The pyramids are made of sand. Our roads and driveways and sidewalks are made of sand. Concrete buildings and their concrete foundations are made of sand. From computer chips to computer screens, window panes to lightbulbs, breast implants to the Hubble telescope, sand is basically the essential building block of civilization.

Humans are estimated to consume almost 50 billion tons of sand and gravel every year.

Oh, and, by the way: We're running out of it.

Dying For A Photo

Jun 26, 2019
Sam Hawley / Creative Commons

A photo of people inching their way up a snaking line to the peak of Mount Everest last month has drawn attention to a number of problems, one of which was the jostling at the top of the mountain to take social media-ready selfies and photos. 

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

This hour we take a look at some of the environmental bills the Connecticut General Assembly passed this legislative session, including a new commitment to offshore wind power. We learn what this renewable energy source means for the state’s power grid—and its economy.

And we take a look at one essential component behind offshore wind power, a group of special metals called “rare earth elements”. What does the availability—and environmental impact—of harvesting these materials mean for our energy future?

Zoo Fanatic / Creative Commons

It's been easy to overlook Trump Administration environmental policies that are contributing to the destruction of wildlife and habitats.

Ozzy Delaney / Creative Commons

One of the nation’s most iconic creatures continues its comeback. A state report indicates bald eagles are returning to Connecticut in record numbers.

Tony Hisgett / flickr creative commons

Sand is the most abundant material on Earth. And, other than water and air, sand is the natural resource we consume more than any other -- more, even, than oil.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

This November, voters will see a ballot question asking them to change Connecticut’s constitution. The question will focus on how the state controls public land and whether the whole process should be more transparent.

Patrick Comins / Connecticut Audubon Society

It finally feels like spring, and that means you may be seeing some visitors around your home because peak bird migration season is almost here! This hour, we ask the State Ornithologist what to be on the look for. And we talk with the Connecticut Audubon Society about ways you can get involved in bird conservation here in our state. UConn and DEEP have teamed up to create a new Connecticut Bird Atlas a project that relies on volunteer citizen scientists like you.

What birds have you seen in your backyard?

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

A federal budget cycle akin to a wild roller coaster ride ended up boosting funding for some environmental work. With his signature last week, President Donald Trump signed into law a $1.3 trillion spending package that shores up funding for two conservation and research programs in Long Island Sound.

Dan Taylr / flickr

Predictions of a paperless future go back to the 1800's. And since then, as technology has advanced, such predictions  have only increased. Today, despite a dizzying array of technological alternatives to paper, those prediction have not come true.

Wayne National Forest / Creative Commons

The town of Simsbury is debating whether it will formally appeal a massive solar project. At issue is a decision reached by the Connecticut Siting Council last month.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

An aging trash incinerator located on Hartford’s riverfront will continue to burn garbage in the coming years. But a new developer chosen by the state said it will work to drastically reduce the amount of waste incinerated at the state’s largest trash plant.

Scott..? / Flickr Creative Commons

Connecticut’s first-in-the-nation program for recycling mattresses is approaching its third birthday. The “mattress stewardship program” continues to experience growth, recycling about 162,000 mattresses last year.

cogdogblog / Creative Commons

What goes in your recycling bin can be confusing. Now, the state is trying to clear up some confusion by putting out a new universal list. It’s part of a campaign called “What’s In. What’s Out.”

Unlike large hydropower dams, where there's often serious political and emotional resistance to removal, conservationists are finding many landowners of small dams are happy to have them removed.

Supporters of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument are going to have to wait to find out what’s in store for the project that encompasses nearly 88,000 acres.

Lori Mack / WNPR

Lobster populations in Southern New England are in dramatic decline and recovery is not likely to happen anytime soon.

Ed Suominen / Creative Commons

Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is going public with updates to a plan it hopes will reduce carbon emissions and increase supplies of renewable energy.

Save the Sound

The U.S. House of Representatives has voted to stop Plum Island from being sold to developers, a move that would protect the diverse wildlife and ecosystem there.

After years of encouraging solar development, Vermont seems to be attracting the attention of national solar companies.

Patrick Skahill / WNPR

As Kevin Sullivan slowly rumbles his pickup truck across his 60 acres of property near the Connecticut-Massachusetts border, he leans in and asks a question: What’s farmland?

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