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Voices for Biodiversity

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An online magazine connecting humans with the natural world to help all species survive and thrive together. Voices for Biodiversity shares the stories of eco-reporters from around the world, using the ancient human art of storytelling to connect people with each other, other species, and the natural world. Our goal is to connect the human animal with the global ecosystem.

The Dirty Secrets of Gold Mining in Senegal

“Look at it,” Samba says as he hands me a solid piece of gold. “It’s better than farming.” I take the gold nugget in my hand. It shines in the late morning sun, beautiful despite its ugly history. The past few months of digging for gold as an artisanal gold miner have paid off for…

Everglades Restoration: Alterations of Downstream Biodiversity

As part of an ongoing project, Erika Zambello is visiting all National Estuarine Research Reserves in the continental United States. Established by NOAA, the sites work together toward long-term research, education and coastal stewardship. Changing Waters At first glance, the waterways within Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (RB NERR) seem pristine. While I kayaked…

Military-Civilian Partnership Brings New Oyster Reef to Northwest Florida

The air reverberated with clinking noises and the whoosh of oyster shells sliding off giant piles into waiting buckets. Volunteers, Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA) staff and their AmeriCorps team gathered the shells in mesh bags, slowly building another mound of new reef material. As they worked, a truck pulled in with even more shells, collected…

Two Days at the Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

As part of an ongoing project, Erika Zambello is visiting all National Estuarine Research Reserves in the continental United States. Established by NOAA, the sites work together toward long-term research, education and coastal stewardship. Day 1 The Reserve Founded in 1999, the Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) covers over 18,000 acres along the…

NRLI: Finding Inclusive Solutions to Seemingly Intractable Problems

The Natural Resources Leadership Institute is housed within the School of Forest Resources and Conservation and the IFAS Center for Leadership. Situated just outside Marianna in Florida’s Panhandle, Cindale Farms is a dairy comprised of just 600 cattle. I met the dairy’s owners Brad and Meg Austin during one of the most memorable sessions of…

Te Araroa and the Increasing Popularity of Thru-Hikes

By Erika Zambello, based on an article by Dan Hawkins. New Zealand is known for breathtaking scenery, popularized in the blockbuster Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movie series. Since 1975, citizens have been working toward a scenic, thru-hiking trail to showcase the country, culminating in an official trail that opened in 2011. Today,…

The Report Is In: 30 Percent of Shops in Nine Countries Include Endangered Turtleshell Gifts

After a three-month survey across 600 souvenir shops in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Panama, Nicaragua, Cuba, Grenada and Colombia, researchers from 12 conservation organizations discovered that 30 percent of the establishments sold products made from endangered hawksbill sea turtles. Gifts ranged from $1 bracelets and rings to $200 for an intricate comb. Of the…

Kayaking Within Rookery Bay Mangroves

As part of an ongoing project, Erika Zambello is visiting all National Estuarine Research Reserves in the continental United States. Established by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the sites work together toward long-term research, education and coastal stewardship. A group of intrepid adventurers and I met at exactly 9 a.m. at the end…

Is Your Sunscreen Hurting Oysters? Probably.

By Erika Zambello, based on an article by Madison Toonder. Though still in high school, Madison Toonder is passionate about science, and recently used the scientific method to study oysters in the coastal environment near her Florida home. “I discovered the importance of conservation at a young age,” she wrote in a new article for Voices…

Living Shoreline Initiatives Aim to Stem Erosion at the GTM NERR

As part of an ongoing project, Erika Zambello is visiting all National Estuarine Research Reserves in the continental United States. Established by NOAA, the sites work together toward long-term research, education and coastal stewardship. A group of scientists attending a Jacksonville-based living shorelines conference, garbed in knee-high wading boots, walked across a mudflat toward a…

Spring Wildflowers Bloom in the National Parks

By Kurt Repanshek Spring can be one of those iffy seasons in the National Park System. You might run into warm, sunny days with an easy breeze at your back. Or you could find yourself being pelted by sleet, battered by a stiff wind, with grey clouds scooting by overhead. One thing you can count…

In Search of a Leadbeater’s Possum

by Erika Zambello, based on an article by Alex Mullarky. Alex Mullarky was in the depths of Australia’s Toolangi Forest, part of a citizen science group  sweeping the inky shadows with headlamps and infrared cameras. They spotted sleeping birds, a greater glider, a mountain brushtail possum, but their eyes were constantly looking for one, specific species: a Leadbeater’s Possum.…

Biodiversity on Indian Cotton Farms: Field Notes from Andrew Flachs

by Erika Zambello In 21st century agricultural practices, monoculture dominates. “Most commercial agriculture around the world comes in the form of monocultures, where whole fields are devoted to a single plant,” Andrew Flachs writes in a new article at Voices for Biodiversity, “Monocultures are stark landscapes, built around the logic of factories rather than the…

Reserva Monte Mojino: Conservation on the Slopes of the Sierra Madre

A cactus flower blooming next to a lush fig tree, a desert tortoise resting beneath an elegant trogon perched in a mesquite: I first encountered these strange bedfellows when I visited the forest near Alamos in Sonora, Mexico, during the summer monsoon. It is here, along the slopes of the Sierra Madre Occidental, that one…

Two Days at the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve

As part of an ongoing project, Erika Zambello is visiting all National Estuarine Research Reserves in the continental United States. Established by NOAA, the sites work together toward long-term research, education and coastal stewardship. Located on the Florida Panhandle, the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve (ANERR) borders encompass over 245,000 acres, including Apalachicola Bay, wildlife…