So you want to be a conservationist? Think of the community

When we consider all the conservation challenges facing our world and society, we know that communicating effectively to the community is not only helpful but necessary. However, many inspiring projects in various conservation areas have failed to succeed—not because the scientific background was not there or because the financial resources were unavailable—but because the community’s support was not entirely there. One of the elements to a successful conservation project is a strong connection to the community, especially during the early stages of project planning.

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From the Community: Colonizing the oceans, fact-checking nursery rhymes and urbanizing mollusks

Aquanaut describes plans to colonize the sea for education and conservation, a pitcher plant previously thought to be carnivorous has been wildly reclassified and the first condor egg in 100 years discovered in California. Here are news stories and studies on ecological science from the second week in March.

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ESA Policy News: March 15

March 15: highlights from the latest ESA Policy News by ESA’s Science Policy Analyst, Piper Corp.

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Tackling fiction with what he knows best

I was thumbing through my New Yorker magazine when the featured fiction story caught my eye. The accompanying graphic showed several silhouetted ants and the opening line of the story read: “The Trailhead Queen was dead.” I began reading and got pulled into the plight facing the colony, which was profoundly affected by the death of its long-lived queen.

Something about the fiction story was different though. While it kept my attention it also fed me detailed and fascinating facts (e.g. “…..ants are encased in an external skeleton; their soft tissues shrivel into dry threads and lumps, but their exoskeletons remain, a knight’s armor fully intact long after the knight is gone.”) Halfway through reading, it struck me that this was just the sort of story a biologist could write. I flipped back to check who authored the piece and was startled to see that it was a biologist.

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Rails-to-Trails, Bikes to Google

Using routes and maps from the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s (RTC) trail finder site, Google Maps now offers bicycle routes in its directions feature.  Simply type in your address, where you want to go and select “Bicycling” from the drop down menu. You should get at least two possible routes. Since 2000, RTC has gathered information on more than 1,600 rail-trails and connecting corridors and offered it free online. The...

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White-nose syndrome still devastating bats and challenging scientists

In an effort to conserve and research the endangered Virginia big-eared bat, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo took in 40 bats in November 2009. The goal was to establish a security population and to scientifically develop husbandry practices in a subspecies that researchers have not attempted to conserve before.

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Research demonstrates that marine protected areas aid coral reefs

Research has shown that marine protected areas (MPAs)—areas where fishing and other potentially destructive activities are regulated—are benefitting, not just the fish habitats they are known to aid, but nearby coral reefs as well. MPAs may benefit corals by restoring reef-based food webs and protecting damage from anchors and nutrient runoff…

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Australian scientists fight cane toad invasion with cat food and laced sausages

Scientists from the University of Sydney are getting creative with their efforts to combat destructive cane toad populations in Australia and to protect native species from the pests. Cane toads were introduced to Australia in 1935. Cane toads, which were introduced to Australia in 1935 from Hawaii in an attempt to eradicate cane beetles, have caused a decline in other native species populations, such as snakes, lizards and quolls....

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