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    Category: Tree and Shrub Treatment

    Here is a list of West Michigan businesses hiring amid COVID-19 outbreak – - March 25, 2020 by admin

    GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. Many businesses across the country are closing their doors amid the COVID-19 outbreak. And now many workers are losing their jobs. However, in West Michigan, there are opportunities available for people to find both temporary and full-time work.

    13 ON YOUR SIDE spoke to local and national businesses with offices in West Michigan that are looking to hire employees as inventory and cleaning services are needed.

    13 ON YOUR SIDE spoke to Kevin Belk, Senior Vice President of DK Security based in Grand Rapids. He says there are a lot of positionsthat their company is looking to fill, no experience required.

    "Weve had a lot of our existing clients ask for additional security officers and then weve had another of other people that have contacted us, business, the healthcare industry has asked for help on a temporary basis," Belk said.

    "Applicants need to be 18 years old, have a high school diploma or GED and they need to clear a drug test and a background screen. Then we provide the training here at DK Security, all the training they need to become an efficient officer and we do that all in house in Grand Rapids," he said.

    DK Security is looking to hire for both temporary and full-time positions.

    Amazon tells 13 ON YOUR SIDE that they are looking to fill 3,300 available jobs in Michigan.

    United Commercial Services, a Grand Rapids based cleaning company, tells 13 ON YOUR SIDE that they are still hiring.

    The Grand Rapids-based grocery store says they are actively looking to hire as many as 30 to 40 people per store.

    Shipt, the grocery shopping delivery service used by Meijer and Target, is looking to add 2,000 shoppers in the Grand Rapids area because of increase demand amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Starting Tuesday, March 24 Shipt will be recruiting shoppers. According to the company, shoppers must be at least 18 years old, have reliable transportation and a current drivers license.

    For more information on Shipt and visit

    The Vice President of Sales for Enviro-clean Matt Koster told 13 ON YOUR SIDE the company has jobs available that have some advantages at a time like this that don't require being close to others.

    "Much of our cleaning/disinfecting is done after hours. You do not come in contact with the general public. We have flexibility to work with people's desired shifts. Weekly pay is something else we just implemented which our employees enjoy. Jobs are located across the viewing area," Koster said.

    Samaritas tells 13 ON YOUR SIDE:

    Kevin Belk, the Senior Vice President of DK Securities said everyone has to do their part to get through this.

    "...we need to be patient, we need to be kind to one another and certainly part of our job is to try to figure out how we can help. How we can get people to work so that the healthcare industry can operate more efficiently. And we just want to be a good part of that," he said.

    TWO MEN AND A TRUCK Grand Rapids South is still hiring amidst the chaos. We will help supplement the income in any way that we can. Part-time, full-time, and seasonal. Hiring immediately! Applying is easy, just click the link: Get paid for your hard work! This is a general labor position, applicants must be:

    *Willing to submit a pre-employment background check and drug screen* At least 21 years of age to qualify to be a driver and have a valid driver's license

    TWO MEN AND A TRUCK offers:

    - Pay range of $13 - $18 per hour, including tips, bonuses, and raises- 100% Drug Free- Health insurance, paid time off, and 401k available- Full-time, part-time, seasonal work available- Work hard and get a raise twice per year- Opportunities to earn cash tips from customers.

    SpartanNash is looking to hire 2000 employees companywide. Find more information on their website.

    Hope Network, the healthcare and life services provider, is hiring entry level direct care and packaging staff in Grand Rapids. Direct care team members assist in the personal care and development of people affected by mental illness or developmental disabilities, and Hope Network Industries the organizations packaging division offers on-the-job training to all individuals, including refugees, ex-offenders, and those with employment barriers. Temporary, part-time, and full-time opportunities are available with no previous experience required. Find more informationon their website.

    Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services in-patient hospital is open and accepting patients seeking treatment for behavioral health and substance use issues. The position with the most openings is psychiatric technicians who work directly with our hospital patients and residents.

    To see all job opening at Pine Rest go to the website.

    Wedgwoods Residential Program is exempt from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's stay at home order and remains open. Wedgwood is hiring for direct care positions part-time and full-time roles, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd shifts. To see all open positions and apply, visit All interviews will be conducted virtually.

    Company offers year-round stable employment for individuals who have experience working in the great outdoors. We are currently looking for tree trimmers for our MI Commercial Construction, Residential, and our Tree & Shrub Care work crews to work in the West Michigan area as well as openings on our traveling work teams who support the utilities. We offer excellent pay, 100% company paid medical, disability, and life insurance and profit sharing bonuses. The best part about Integrity Tree Services is our culture- we offer work sites free of smoking, alcohol, drugs, profanity, and gossip.

    To learn more about us and our openings, please visit IntegrityTree.Careers

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    Here is a list of West Michigan businesses hiring amid COVID-19 outbreak -

    How to Look Your Best on a Webcam – The New York Times - March 25, 2020 by admin

    Consider Light and Sound

    To make sure you can be easily heard, Mr. Mendelson advised using a room with carpeting and window treatments to absorb sound. (He was speaking by phone from his childrens bedroom, which he described as having an area rug, two upholstered headboards, Roman shades and stuffed monkeys.) His home office is all wood and glass and a beautiful place to work, he said, but too echo-y for conversations.

    And to look your best, Ms. Rottet warned never to sit directly under a light source; it will throw under-eye and next-to-nose shadows. A lamp or window positioned two feet directly opposite to you that lights you evenly will be most flattering and will not cast glare on your screen. (People adept at videoconferences also swear by ring lights: circular fluorescent or LED lamps that reduce facial shadows and the appearance of imperfections.)

    To avoid glare and unwanted reflection, Ms. Rottet said you should not let a light source, either from a light or window, be seen directly in the camera. Have the light source in front of you or beside you, but not in camera view, she said.

    But how much fun is neutrality? Some homebound workers are finding in videoconferencing setups a chance to project an upbeat attitude or convey a hopeful message.

    Ms. Minervini, for example, prefers her own surroundings to be vibrant. I love having video chats from my kitchen its new, modern and bright, even on a cloudy day, she said. For a background, she recently hung a mixed-media work by an artist friend, showing swirling waves, battleships, a rustic house and what looks like the profile of George Washington. She described the piece as energetic.

    Mr. Hart said he chose to sit in front of a Whats Up? South! map while teaching remotely because it is attractive and makes a humanistic point: North and South are relative to each other, he said. Depending on your perspective the world may appear upside down, and yet there is no absolute up or down. He also wears school swag. The message to his dispersed students, he said, is that we are all still at Amherst regardless of where we are currently.

    Excerpt from:
    How to Look Your Best on a Webcam - The New York Times

    PROGRESS 2020: Business briefs – The Times - March 1, 2020 by admin


    West-AirComm Federal Credit Union

    West-AirComm Federal Credit Union has been a proud part of Beaver County for more than 70 years. Founded in 1949 by the employees of Westinghouse Electric, the credit union has its roots deep within the industry of the region.

    West-AirComm serves more than 20,000 members with both technology and personal service. The financial services include investments and loans at some of the best rates in the region, free checking, first mortgages and home equity loans.

    West-AirComm puts the credit union mission of People Helping People into motion on a daily basis. The staff offers personal service if you have questions about your finances.

    The staff also volunteers their personal time to charitable organizations in the community. In 2019, they volunteered more than 1,200 hours and raised $11,000 for the spotlight charity, Operation Troop Appreciation.

    West-AirComms 2020 charity initiative Cruisin for a Cause, will benefit the Beaver County Association for the Blind. The nonprofit organizations mission is to provide services to blind and visually impaired persons that promote their independence, prevent blindness and give those who are blind or disabled employment opportunities. The money raised help to fund the associations goal to provide a better means of transportation to the visually impaired.

    From being deeply rooted in industry to providing financial services and supporting the communities it serves, West-AirComm cares about its members.

    For more information, visit or visit any one of the branches in Beaver, Aliquippa or Moon Township.

    Farmers Building and Savings Bank

    ROCHESTER Farmers Building and Savings Bank, 290 West Park in Rochester, specializes in mortgage loans, home equity loans and home improvement loans. The bank also offers do-it-yourself construction loans to enable those who have construction knowledge to assist in the building of their home.

    The bank has drive-through facilities and off-street parking. It is handicapped accessible.

    Farmers provides premium-rate passbook savings that earn interest from day of deposit to the day of withdrawal.

    What is unique about our passbook savings accounts is that they are not internet accessible. This helps alleviate identity theft issues, said Dennis L. Goehring, president and managing officer. You, the account holder, bring in your passbook for transactions. Its simple and safe.

    Farmers also offers Christmas club accounts and direct deposit of payroll, Social Security and pension checks. Funds are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

    Farmers Building and Savings Bank is one of Beaver Countys few remaining independent financial associations. All employees and managers are from the Beaver County area and boast more than 150 years of combined banking experience. They include Martin Samchuck, Rita L. Hinton, Sarah Brogley, Pamela Locke and Dennis L. Goehring. Since the bank was founded in 1894, theyve employed only 17 individuals.

    More information is available by calling the bank at 724-774-4970. Youll speak with a real person, not an automated answering system.

    Friendly Federal Credit Union

    ALIQUIPPA Friendly Federal Credit Union, 2000 Main St. in Aliquippa, is a full-service institution that continues to expand its offerings and membership.

    Friendly Federal offers auto loans, home equity loans, holiday and vacation clubs, mortgages, IRAs, certificates of deposit, money markets, free checking, direct deposit, a youth club, debit and credit cards, home banking, bill pay and an onsite ATM machine.

    For the past 18 years, the institution has received the Bauer Financial five-star rating for exceptional performance. This year, it celebrates 65 years of service.

    The credit union was founded in 1955 as the J&L Service Department Employees Federal Credit Union. The J&L Byproducts, Seamless and Steelworkers Credit Union joined the institution. In 1986, the financial facilitys name was changed to Friendly Federal Credit Union. Today, the credit union has assets of more than $53 million, with a membership of about 5,000.

    Cynthia Hladio is the chief executive officer/manager. Phyllis Heckman is the branch manager. Carl E. Hennen is the chairman; Ed Murphy is the treasurer; and Lynn Nero, Helen Pane, Sue Ronosky, Amy Walker and Deanna Ross are directors.

    The branch office is located at 384 State St. in Baden.

    Information: 724-375-0488; 724-869-3500;


    Myers Service Center & Quality Quick Lube

    BEAVER In January 1990, Rick Myers and his sons, Rick and Ron, opened an auto repair business at 475 Buffalo St. in Beaver. They wanted Myers Service Center & Quality Quick Lube to do three things: be honest and upfront with customers, provide quality, affordable work each and every time, and earn the continued loyalty and trust of each customer.

    Thirty years later, the Myers family has been blessed to have so many returning customers, many of whom they consider extended family, and blessed to have dedicated auto technicians and employees.

    To Mark, Matt, John, Paige, Gray, Alaina and Paul, thank you for your dedication and for giving customers excellent service day-in and day-out. That commitment to excellence is what makes the business successful.

    The Myers family business couldnt have succeeded without these great employees and loyal customers. Thank you. Myers Service Center and Quick Lube looks forward to continuing such service for many years to come.

    Information: 724-774-7655.


    Geneva College

    BEAVER FALLS Geneva College prepares undergraduate students to serve faithfully and fruitfully in their lifes work. With a vocational focus and liberal arts core, a Geneva education is grounded in Gods word, enabling students to think, write and communicate well in todays world.

    For traditional students, Geneva offers more than 145 majors and programs, including biology business, communication, computer science, education, engineering, nursing, psychology and student ministry. The faculty cares about the success of each student, and the 13-to-1 student-faculty ratio makes that possible. Geneva professors have real-world work experience, academic achievements, and are actively engaging the culture through research and writing while professing an active Christian faith.

    In addition, Geneva fields 18 varsity sports teams in NCAA Division III athletics for men and women, hosts intramural sports leagues and coordinates more than 200 student activities each year.

    Adult undergraduates can earn a degree at Geneva in as few as 16 months and complement their professional and family commitments with full online programs.

    The masters degree programs MBA, counseling, cybersecurity, higher education and leadership studies can help students excel toward a more promising future. These high-demand professional degrees equip students for principled Christian service to their organizations and the world.

    In 2019, U.S. News & World Report ranked Geneva as the No. 3 Best Value Regional University for combining high academic quality with affordability. Kiplingers Personal Finance also lists Geneva on its prestigious list of national Private Universities of Value.

    Genevas main campus is located in Beaver Falls. The college is governed by the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America.

    Geneva College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, disability, and national or ethnic origin.

    Information: 800-847-8255;

    Penn State-Beaver

    CENTER TWP. Penn State Beaver offers the personal experience of a small campus with the resources of a Big Ten research university. Students come from western Pennsylvania as well as 28 states and seven foreign countries to live in our newly remodeled residence hall, participate in our championship-winning intercollegiate sports and learn from award-winning faculty.

    Students and the community now have an opportunity to participate in the Beaver Valley LaunchBox, a signature program of Invent Penn State, a commonwealth-wide initiative to promote entrepreneurship and innovation in the region and help spur economic development, job creation and campus-community collaboration.

    The LaunchBox is powered by community business leaders, professors and ambitious students to provide subject matter expertise and training to help local entrepreneurs and innovators to build and grow their businesses and convert their ideas into a reality successfully. We have partnered with the Beaver County Library System to establish Creative Corners in each of the countys public libraries. We also offer community workshops in the libraries and on the Penn State Beaver campus.

    To learn more about the Beaver Valley LaunchBox and our community programs visit on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and at

    Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School

    MIDLAND Educating children in kindergarten through 12th grade, the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School, better known as PA Cyber, is one of the largest and most experienced online public schools in the nation.

    Students will find creative online learning environments, personalized instruction and top-notch curriculum at PA Cyber. Qualified, state-certified teachers use rich academic content that is aligned to state standards and meets the approval of the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

    PA Cybers instructional model focuses on its students. It recognizes their changing developmental stages while respecting their differences and unique abilities. Using a flexible but focused learning model, PA Cybers teachers create a personalized education program for each student.

    Headquartered in Midland, PA Cyber has offices throughout Pennsylvania. They serve as a hub for enrollment, orientation and enrichment. The nearly 10,000 students enrolled in PA Cyber belong to a real community, where they grow academically, emotionally, socially and physically.

    PA Cyber offers choices for live and self-paced instruction, along with a variety of opportunities for interaction with teachers and peers. The extensive course list and program offerings include the creative and performing arts, STEM and gifted programs, advanced placement classes, and a variety of clubs and other activities. Certified faculty and staff are available to engage with students and families at their convenience.

    PA Cyber provides a tuition-free, accredited curriculum with access to all technology and the personal guidance students need for success. The technology platforms are leading edge, user-friendly and enhance the educational experiences of the students. Each student receives a laptop, printer, textbooks and online connectivity, as well as an expert technological support team that is responsive, skilled and dependable.

    PA Cyber graduates can be found attending highly regarded universities, colleges, professional academies and vocational schools. Any school-aged child living in Pennsylvania may enroll.

    Information: 888-722-9237;

    Community College of Beaver County

    CENTER TWP. Community College of Beaver County, the second smallest community college in Pennsylvania, accomplished big things in 2019 on its Center Township campus.

    In March, Roger W. Davis was named the colleges ninth president after serving as interim president since May 2018. Davis, who holds a doctorate in urban educational leadership from Morgan State University in Baltimore, is the colleges youngest president. He joined CCBC in July 2016 as executive vice president and provost.

    Academically, CCBC launched the School of Industrial Technology and Continuing Education. The School of Aviation Science founded by James M. Johnson was renamed in his honor. The program, which celebrated 50 years of flight, offers the No. 1 aviation training program in the nation. It includes four two-year degree programs professional pilot, air traffic control, aerospace management and unmanned aerial vehicle (drones).

    Additionally, ranked CCBCs nursing school fifth in the nation, and G.I. Jobs magazine named the community college a military-friendly school. CCBC also received the Carnegie Science Award for Leadership in STEM education of its high school academies, and is the first non-profit higher education program in the state to provide digital textbooks for a single low-cost fee.

    For more than 50 years, CCBC has been a gateway to success for area students and continues to provide a path to prosperity and family-sustaining careers.

    Clarion University of Pennsylvania

    Clarion Universitys more than 4,700 determined students are building a bright future through challenging academics and diverse interests, all while living in a charming, civic-minded town that embraces them.

    Clarion offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in business, education, health science and the arts with a 19-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio, and nationally and internationally accredited programs. The university leads Pennsylvanias State System of Higher Education with 28 national accreditations and offers a multitude of internship and study abroad opportunities that give students hands-on experience in their chosen field and in research before they earn their degree.

    The university is comprised of its scenic campus in Clarion, which has evolved since its seminary beginnings in 1867, its Clarion University-Venango campus in Oil City and Clarion Online, which offers excellence in education from anywhere in the world.

    The 2020 US News and World Report ranks Clarion Online in its Top 100: best online bachelors programs and business programs, best online nursing graduate programs and best online master of education programs.

    With a focus on professional development, the university has launched inventive programming and certificates. The Respiratory Care three-year bachelors program prepares students to be registered respiratory therapists and work in diverse roles through the health care delivery system.

    The Department of Special Education and Disability Policy Studies and the Competent Learner Model Center of Excellence announced new, online certificate programs. Undergraduate and graduate level certificates in assistant applied behavior analyst and competent learner model are available as well as an advanced competency certificate program for special education students.

    The university also offers an online opioid treatment certificate, the first of its kind in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.

    More than 160 student organizations complement 175-plus academic programs, including academic, Greek, political, multi-cultural and service groups. Students from 42 states and 15 countries attend Clarion which boasts 58,236 alumni worldwide.


    Sheffield Lanes, Lounge

    ALIQUIPPA Once again this summer, Sheffield Lanes and Lounge in Aliquippa will expand.

    Owners Rick and Jeannie DAgostino and their son, Zach, plan to enlarge Rickey Dees Pizza kitchen. Since it reopened in 2009, the former Crescent Township-based business has become an integral part of Sheffield Lanes.

    During these winter months, live entertainment continues. With the vinyl sides down, the veranda, warmed by a gas fireplace and heaters, is the perfect place to enjoy local musicians, wonderful food and a beverage. The veranda, which opened last May and provides customers with a non-smoking area, is a great place for private parties.

    Sheffield Lanes offers a comfortable smoking lounge and wide selection of bourbon and Scotch, as well as many domestic and craft beers. The lounge also features a humidor stocked with premium cigars. Local musicians play several evenings during the week.

    The state-of-the-art Pro Shop, managed by Matt Mowad, recently completed its third second year of business and is quickly becoming a premier spot for bowlers to upgrade their equipment or buy their first bowling ball. The Pro Shop opens at 1 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Friday, and at 11 a.m. on Wednesday and Saturday.

    The lower-level Fallout Shelter, which will celebrate its 12th anniversary in March, is an intimate venue for live music, special events and private parties. The Shelter is a host to the Beaver County Cigar Club which meets the Thurd Thursday of each month. The cigar club plans to hold its fourth Knob Creek Single Barrel Bourbon release party this summer.

    Sheffield Lanes has been a local landmark since it opened in 1950 as a 12-lane duckpin center. Now, the landmark is a 20-lane, 10-pin center that hosts mens, womens, mixed and youth bowling leagues. During the week, Sheffield Lanes offers open bowling specials including Family Funday on Sunday and Electric Bowl on Friday and Saturday. The facility also hosts birthday parties, corporate events, and family and class reunions.

    Sheffield Lanes is a go-to spot for league and recreational bowlers who enjoy music, good food, and a well-stocked bar. The friendly staff knows many of their patrons on a first-name basis and strives to keep things running smoothly.

    Sheffield Lanes is looking forward to summer with the veranda, open-air deck and bocce courts. Stop by.

    Information: 724-375-5080;


    Oram's Donut Shop

    BEAVER FALLS For more than 80 years, Orams Donut Shop, 1406 Seventh Ave. in Beaver Falls, has delighted customers with its famous cinnamon rolls and donuts. Orams takes pride in making fried pastries the old-fashioned way from scratch with quality ingredients and original family recipes.

    Customers in Beaver County show appreciation to Orams year after year by voting it the Best Doughnut Shop in The Times Best of the Valley contest. Orams appreciates the community support and will continue to produce the best sweet treats for Beaver County.

    Each week, the creative staff at Orams comes up with exciting new flavors. Past specials have included the original cinnamon roll with maple-cream cheese icing and a pumpkin cream cheese-filled doughnut rolled in cinnamon-powdered sugar. To learn about the weekly specials at Orams, follow the shops Facebook, Twitter, Google and Instagram accounts.

    Customers can now order their favorite doughnuts online by visiting the shops website, Online orders require a minimum of a dozen doughnuts and orders must be submitted before 8 p.m. for next day pickup. Orams continues to take orders by phone.

    Hours: 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

    To order: 724-846-1504;,

    Rosalind Candy Castle

    NEW BRIGHTON Rosalind Candy Castle, 1301 Fifth Ave. in New Brighton, is a full-line chocolate candy manufacturer, wholesaler and retailer. Specialties include custom favors for weddings, showers and anniversaries, fund-raising candy and gifts for all occasions.

    Rosalind Candy Castle has been in business for 106 years and employs 30 people. The century-old business offers an extensive line of chocolate confections made from scratch.

    Jim Crudden is the president of Rosalind Candy Castle. His children Michael, vice president of operations and Jennifer, vice president of sales and marketing are carrying on the family tradition of manufacturing chocolates using the original recipes. Crudden believes the business is successful because of the passion and dedication of its employees, who treat each other like family.

    The business continues to expand through new retail outlets and popular fundraising programs, used by many schools and organizations throughout western Pennsylvania. The redesigned company website also has led to growth throughout the United States.

    Read more from the original source:
    PROGRESS 2020: Business briefs - The Times

    How a little bird’s big flight gave me a new reason for living – The Sydney Morning Herald - February 23, 2020 by admin

    Sib Ir, the sleeping land, as the Tatar people called it, holds in the taiga a rolling blanket of pine, spruce and fir and on a scale only matched on these birds flights by the stretches of Australian deserts. Each expanse is nearly desolate of towns and highways. They are natural landscapes, but hostile to shorebirds. Replenished on the rim of the industrialised world, the plover leave that imprint behind and fly into the wild. As they travel, daylight grows longer. Through whatever darkness they encounter, Polaris, the North Star, stands ever higher above them, as do the Earths magnetic field lines. Each is a navigation tool they recognise.

    CYA turns north-east over the taiga near the Sea of Okhotsk. Flying on for several days, she crosses CYBs path as their flocks thread the 3000-metre Verkhoyansk and Chersky mountain ranges, ramparts of the Russian Far East. The birds of a hot Australian summer coast now overfly unmelted snow cover on these mountains for hundreds of kilometres. They traverse deciduous larch forests, greening with the spring as the altitude lowers, and then fading away further north before the polar winds onslaught into treeless tundra. Dicing now with the thaw, the two birds halt near the coast of the Arctic Sea. Their flight lines, begun in far distant southern Australia, now sing of home.

    At Thompson Beach, SA, a shorebird-marking team member holds the Grey Plover leg-flagged CYB. Credit:Eric Miller

    CYA alights on a mosaic of spongy sphagnum bogs and pools divided by low ridges, inland and south of the Arctic Seas New Siberian Islands. The closest human habitation is the small village of Yukagir, 100 kilometres to the north-east on the frozen shore of the Laptev Sea.

    The Yukaghir people, ancient Indigenous hunters and reindeer herders of the Kolyma River region, are animists. In their world, "persons" can take a variety of different animal forms, of which a human being is only one.

    Now much reduced, the Yukaghir once lived across lowland tundra and into the forests across thousands of kilometres from the Lena River to the Pacific coast. Those still living traditionally hunt birds like the hen-sized ptarmigan, ducks, geese and swans. Probably the greater danger to the shorebirds lies in Yukaghir reindeer herds. Browsing the tundra moss, these may step on nests and will relish a snack of an egg or unfledged chick.

    CYB, having taken a more easterly bearing after crossing the mountains, first comes to ground inland and south of CYA. After a pause, CYB flies off to low-shrub moss tundra near the mouth of the Kolyma River, which drains most of eastern Siberia.

    Across Kolyma Gulf at Ambarchik stands a ghostly relic of the 20th century. In the aeons of migratory bird history it is a mere wing flick, a transient curiosity. Its the decaying remains of a Soviet Gulag-era forced labour transit camp, a coastal port for prisoners before they were transported inland up the Kolyma. Today theres an automatic meteorological station at Ambarchik and its records show that a day or two after CYB lands, warm air from the south brings a sunny 22 degrees Celsius day, doubling the temperatures of the previous week.

    The two Greys, depleted though they must be, do not stay to nest on this coast. A westerly wind blows up and as the enthralled Australian researchers watch the satellite tracks, first CYA and then, about a day later, CYB take flight again. They head out over hundreds of kilometres of Arctic Ocean ice to the unpeopled last home of the extinct Woolly Mammoth. Wrangel Island is their final destination.

    So these two Grey Plover are birds of extreme shores. Their paths have been parallel, and each stretches from exactly the same place in the far south of Australia to its counterpart far north in the Arctic. Just as there is the Southern Ocean below South Australia, there is no land between Wrangel and the North Pole. In this way does the web of ultra-marathon shorebird travel bind us.

    For CYA, the long jump from the Yellow Sea across Russia has been a sapping 6140 kilometres. CYB hints that she is more efficient, with a more conservative 4835-kilometre flight. Satellite fixes of these dates are inexact, but probably each landed around June 5 to 6. After flying separately all that way from the weedy shores of Thompson Beach, which they left months before, the two birds likely fold their wings at Wrangel within a day of each other.

    Flocks of shorebirds take wing in the early morning on the Yellow Sea, China.Credit:Andrew Darby

    To my greater amazement, only a few days earlier the island is released from the grip of snow. NASA Worldview satellite records show the land turning brown. What knowledge can these birds have that their unseen breeding ground, still surrounded by sea ice, will be ready for them?

    Perhaps the summer air signal back on the Siberian shore was decisive. Maybe the birds have the confidence of evolution, of countless failures before success, implying an ingrained genetic judgement. Or are they programmed to dice with survival? In any case, this tracked journey is the first direct evidence of any bird from Australia ever flying to Wrangel, and powerfully shows the breakthrough that satellite telemetry gives to migratory bird science.

    "This was one of the most memorable days in 40 years of wader migration studies in Australia," said Clive Minton, the inspiring leader of the Victorian Wader Studies Group for decades before his death late last year.

    "Those Grey Plovers in South Australia, they were almost an accident," Minton reflected. "It was a second-choice bird. But science is like that. You ask a question, you get an answer to it. So you ask another question. If you are flexible and pragmatic, you can read the signs, you know which way to follow.

    "And they gave us a wonderful ride. They kept going and stopping, going and stopping, and finally at the northern Siberian coast you think, Right, this is just where many others went. Then two or three days later, they tootle off to Wrangel Island! That, of course, is what lit this whole thing up."

    It also lit me up. A journey to a place as distant and as hard to reach as Wrangel spoke for itself. I resolved to try to see it.

    I found a small tour company that runs a few voyages to Wrangel late each summer in an icebreaker out of the Chukotkan port of Anadyr. The tour company agreed to give me a berth in return for newspaper travel stories if I could reach Anadyr. I booked to fly via Moscow, where the Russian shorebird science patriarch, Pavel Tomkovich, would see me. The reading of runes from satellite plots and weather data might be overtaken: this way I could have a ground truth at the nest.

    About the same time of year that the Grey Plover began their flight from the Yellow Sea to Wrangel, just after I came back from China, I went to my city hospitals emergency department. The back pain I had put down to travelling on uncomfortable bus seats had intensified to take hold of my chest on the left side. I was cleared of heart attack and began taking antibiotics. Perhaps I might have a respiratory disease picked up in China.

    A Black-bellied Plover nest at Woolley Lagoon, Alaska.Credit:Andrew Darby

    A series of follow-up tests ruled out respiratory problems, and a blood clot, but led to the discovery of a small primary cancer at the top of my right lung. Then a truly terrifying positron emission tomography (PET) scan showed many secondaries. The largest was eating its way into my spine, sending nerve pain around my chest. They collectively shone inside my torso from groin to collarbone like baubles on a spectral Christmas tree. I was at stage four of lung cancer.

    "Andrew, you have an incurable disease," the respiratory physician told me, as he showed the scan to me and my wife, Sally. "Statistically, you have 12 to 18 months," he said. "But no one is a statistic. Andrew, can you hear me? Can you hear me?"

    I descended into a dark winter, falling for months into a haze of mortal pain and painkillers. If there was any time that I needed science to work for me, for hard-won life-giving data to be joined together, this was it.

    I kept my sanity, thanks to Sallys love and the close kindness of many, while science began to answer my call. I thanked my luck to be living in a country of freely available first-class health care; near a city just big enough to have the best, but not so big as to have lost the collegial eye of personal medical networks. I was encouraged by medical friends to break a taboo and went straight to palliative care. Here my pain was managed with scientific diligence, finely balancing my needs with drugs. I anxiously waited for treatment against the cancer.

    "Think about your birds," Sally said. And so for solace I sought them out. Through wakeful, fearful nights, I lay remembering the mesmerising flocks in the Yellow Sea. I reconstructed the flights I had seen; their living freedom. I rewound the ritual of their excited departures from Australia, calling to each other to gain shared strength, as they took off on 7000-kilometre flights north. Further back I went, to recall details of the catches at Thompson Beach, to the stillness in the human hand of the Grey Plover, those most wild, faraway birds.

    Flight Lines by Andrew Darby.Credit:Allen & Unwin

    I held onto my first sight of a Grey Plover, of a Peter Pan bird standing off from others in water near a sand bar at Thompson Beach, South Australia. There was always something in that moment of J.M. Barries story that resonated for me. Peter is a careless, mischievous boy. His power of flight is lost to injury and he stands on Marooners Rock as it submerges on a rising tide. With the water lapping around him, he is defiant, ambivalent; but decides: "To die will be an awfully big adventure." Then he is rescued by the Never Bird.

    I looked to the profound migratory power of my bird, the Grey Plover, to inspire my survival.

    Read this article:
    How a little bird's big flight gave me a new reason for living - The Sydney Morning Herald

    In love with roses – Huntsville Item - February 13, 2020 by admin

    Valentines Day has been celebrated with roses since the late 1600s. It started with King Charles II of Sweden while he was on a trip to Persia. There the king discovered the language of flowers. This is the art of using flowers to convey messages. And the rose, well, it sent the message of deep love.

    So it was a natural step to give roses, red roses in particular, to the one you loved on Valentines Day. Approximately 250 million roses are sold and delivered in the three-day period around Valentine's Day, with over 40 per cent of those being red roses.

    Did you know that roses go back as far as 40 million years in America? There are 35 species of roses native to the United States. The thousands of rose varieties we have today were developed, either in nature or by man, from the 150 to 200 rose species (those found growing in the wild). After the species, these varieties can be divided into four major classifications: bush, climbing, shrub and ground cover, and tree roses, according to Dr. Jerry Parsons, Texas A&M horticulturist (retired).

    Valentines Day is the kick-off for several garden projects concerning roses. In our Zone 8b, we are lucky to be able to start planting rose bushes (bare-root and potted) during mid-to-late February. Some roses can be trimmed at this time, if they arent in bud or blooming. More about that in a minute. And cleaning up rose beds, amending the soil, and fertilizing are all on the list. So lets take the important points about planting roses first.

    Roses are heavy feeders regardless of type. So soil nutrition is a key element. Roses require soil that is compost rich, well-drained and slightly acidic. Remember, we talked about soil tests earlier? This is where the pH of your soil needs to be identified. Roses take in nutrients the best with a pH of 6.5 to 6.8, but can tolerate our acidic soils to the 5.5 pH mark. Alkaline soils may cause manganese or iron deficiencies in your roses.

    Regardless of the type of rose you select, sun exposure is another key element. Roses are sunheads. They require at least 8 to 10 hours of sun a day! Morning sun is preferred, but if your roses are facing West into the hot afternoon sun of our July and August days, you may need to give them a little protection from the glaring rays.

    The other important factor with roses is air movement. Planting them too close, in an area where the breezes are blocked, or in a damp, humid area, is certain death for roses regardless of how great the soil is! Good air flow dries up dew and rain quickly, helping to prevent disease. Too much wind, however, can damage foliage in the summer and canes in the winter, so if the area you want to plant is a wind tunnel, put in a fence, windbreak or wall to protect them. Be sure they are still receiving at least 8 hours of sunlight.

    Once you have your roses established, keeping them healthy can be accomplished by two tasks, pruning and fertilizing. Roses need haircuts. Pruning and trimming helps flush new growth and it also helps in removing of dead or diseased canes and leaves. Always remove dead canes and leaves! Never leave debris at the foot of a rose. This is an invitation to disease. In general, pruning begins in our area during the third week of February and continues through the first week of March.

    Pruning roses can be a bit tricky. Those thorns protect those fragrant blossoms, so dealing with them can be hurtful if not prepared. Invest in a good or great pair of rose gloves. These are typically leather and have long forearm protection. Wear a long-sleeved shirt of heavy denim as well. Ive been caught by thorns reaching into a bush to cut out a dead cane and been stabbed on the upper arm. If I had been smarter, I might have used some long-handled loppers.

    Fertilizing roses can be a matter of timing. You dont want a flush of young leaves or buds before a late frost hits in the spring, but you also dont want to wait too late and burn your roses. So the general consensus is to feed the modern, repeat-bloom rose varieties first in the spring right after pruning. Next, feed when they have developed flower buds, and then again about two months before the first frost in your area. Gardens with fast-draining, sandy soil or those in southern climates are usually fed more frequently, suggests Dr. Parsons.

    You can also up your chances of having fewer problems if you plant the Earth-Kind rose cultivars. These roses have been given this special designation by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service through the Earth-Kind landscaping program. It is based on the results of extensive research and field trials, and is awarded only to those roses demonstrating superior pest tolerance, combined with outstanding landscape performance. Check out the cultivars at:

    For more information on roses and their care and treatment, contact the Walker County AgriLife Extension office at 936-435-2426. You may also visit with a Master Gardener when we are in on Thursday mornings, or email us at

    The Walker County Extension Office is also on Facebook. WalkerCoTxAgrilife has been established to provide updates and information to Walker County residents and landowners on a timely basis. The Walker County Master Gardeners are also on Facebook! Check out both of these Facebook pages and hit "like" to join.

    Originally posted here:
    In love with roses - Huntsville Item

    Voodoo Vegetation Modeling Dooms Native Forests and Wildlife Habitat – CounterPunch - December 22, 2019 by admin

    Misinformation abounds; we read in scientific literature that native juniper trees are invasive pinyons are often regarded as such, and both are treated as if they were undocumented immigrants.

    David Charlet, Shah-Kan-Daw,Anthropogenic simplification of vegetation structure.

    Utahs Dixie National Forest just released a scoping letter for the Pine Valley Wildlife Habitat Improvement Project. Its the latest in a never-ending barrage of federal agency Pinyon-Juniper, Sagebrush and other woody vegetation killing projects that are turning public lands into hot, dry, ugly, weedy wastelands. This one targets 320,000 acres of the Pine Valley Ranger District north of St. George, including 250,000 acres of Inventoried Roadless Areas. The landscape includes an immense laccolith (a lens shaped mass of igneous rock). It lies at the intersection of three Ecoregions Great Basin, Mojave and Colorado Plateau and is high in biodiversity. California Condor, Peregrine Falcon, Northern Goshawk, Townsend Big-eared Bat, Spotted Bat, Elk, Mule Deer, Wild Turkey, Flicker, Grey Vireo, Broad-tailed Hummingbird, Virginias Warbler and Brewers Sparrow are listed as species of concern. Theres resounding silence about Pinyon Jay, a species whose population is plummeting as its pine nut producing forest habitat is being obliterated by federal agency vegetation treatment projects.

    The Forest Service relies on a modeling report by The Nature Conservancy prepared under a Challenge Cost-Share Agreement. The report proclaims that TNC can foretell the future with Landscape Conservation Forecasting TM modeling.

    Future conditions of the Districts major ecological systems, under alternative management scenarios, can be predicted with computer state-and-transition models.

    TNCs crystal ball is trademarked, perhaps to create the illusion that this is cutting-edge stuff, or to dissuade activists prying into the process. Assumptions abound, with value judgements on the worth of plant communities heartily thrown into the mix. Crested wheatgrass seedings (exotic cattle forage grass) are considered benign. Encroaching native Pinyon, Juniper and Ponderosa Pine trees are high risk or bad actors.

    Predictably, TNC finds that the Forests woody plant communities, even Serviceberry (a whopping 70,000 acres) and Cliffrose (11,000 acres) categories, are drastically uncharacteristic. Serviceberry is 100% departed from the condition TNC claims it should be in. Who knew there was a major Serviceberry and Cliffrose health crisis on our National Forests? Theres not. Its all about how the modelers contrived to define and categorize what the plant community living in a particular land area should be.

    Categorizing the plant community as what an agency desires to be the dominant plant species, rather than what is present or what the late successional stage actually is, clears the way to justify destroying mature and old growth woody plant communities reducing them to bare dirt, ash, and the ultimate goal, grass for livestock forage.

    If you were to go out on the Dixie Forest and look at TNCs Serviceberry sites, you would see PJ, some Ponderosa Pine and a variety of shrubs growing there. Its the conifers that are the projects target. TNC states the major problem in Serviceberry sites istree encroachment by Pinyon-Juniper and Ponderosa Pine. The Dixie Forest can apparently get the most bang for the buck (a consideration in the TNC report) by slaying these trees. Why have trees when they can be replaced with exotic grass for cows instead? Any Serviceberry or Cliffrose plants present are likely to be killed as collateral damage in the vegetation purge being set in motion.

    TNC models the outcome of various forest destruction methods. For Serviceberry, these are: Chainsaw-Lopping, Herbicide+Plateau+Seed, Hypo-Hatchet-Spyke, Contractor Masticate+Herbicide+Seed, Inhouse Masticate+Herbicide+Seed, Rx Fire, Thin+Herbicide+Seed. A stench of herbicide wafts from the screen just reading about it.

    The Spyke HydroAx (I had to Google it) is an herbicide squirting ax that mainlines poison into a tree trunk. Seeding is to be done using exotic grass. The type of chemical generally referred to as herbicide is not revealed. Its likely to be the persistent plant poison Tebuthiuron, sold as Spike, that kills a broad range of woody vegetation. But who knows, it could be 2,4-D, glyphosate (Round Up), drifting Dicamba or a toxic brew of them all. Outside Roadless areas, all methods except chainsaws and fire are modeled for use. Inside Roadless areas, TNC finds a modest amount of tree encroachment which is high risk, so the forest would be Spyke hydro-hatcheted or burned in an Rx fire. They delight in making plant killing sound beneficial. Following deforestation, watersheds are proposed to be doused with Plateau (Imazapic) herbicide that interrupts plant seed germination and is touted as preventing cheatgrass.

    Theres already a big cheatgrass problem on this heavily grazed Forest that suffers many kinds of human impacts, with flammable cheatgrass carpeting understories of trees and shrubs in some areas, especially dominating in wildfire sites. Project disturbance will only make matters worse. Cheatgrass thrives in machine disturbed soils, hot deforested sites, and torn up cryptogamic crusts. These crusts are vital components of arid ecosystems, a living soil covering of lichens, mosses and blue-green algae that help prevent weeds, limit erosion, and sequester CO2. TNCs vegetation community descriptions and modeling are dead silent about crusts.

    Cheatgrass relishes the hot, dry conditions created by clearing the land of micro-climate moderating woody plants. It loves cattle grazing trampling tears up soils, manure and urine nutrients abound, and a half ton dispersal agent spreads seeds all over the place.

    A new scientific paper has yet again demonstrated that livestock grazing causes cheatgrass. Project disturbances will generate the perfect storm of conditions for cheatgrass to dominate in this chronically grazed landscape. No amount of herbicide will prevent it. TNC models project outcomes with proper livestock grazing, without detailing what this means. If it is grazing under the Forest Plan standards, the weeds stem from those failed policies. Another recent paper warns that frequent fires from annual arson grasses are causing forest loss.

    with climate change and human assistance we are moving to a grass world.

    The grasses are, more or less, like kindling. If someone lights a match and throws in the middle of a forest, it is unlikely a fire will start, but throw it in a field of cheatgrass and odds are that its going to catch.

    This raises the specter that arid mountains are fated to become treeless as cheatgrass and other annual weeds drive fire after fire, precluding native plant recovery. Proposing radical disturbance of the Pine Valley project in a landscape highly vulnerable to weed expansion is madness.

    TNCs cheatgrass cure-all is Plateau herbicide. Ive seen its handiwork in plenty of places. BLM revels in spraying this chemical in its cattle-centered fire rehab projects, and its own woody vegetation assaults. Plateau does not discriminate between cheatgrass seeds and native plant seeds when it halts germination. It disrupts natural recovery that may be taking place. Spray hype ignores that Plateau (plus 2,4-D or other chemicals that may be mixed in if cheatgrass has already started germinating) can kill the perennial native grasses and forbs that survived fires. BLM sprayed it to control cheatgrass after the Holloway Fire in eastern Oregon. Result: Gray stripes of dead herbicide-killed bunchgrass and lots of cheatgrass. In the aftermath of the 2015 Owyhee Idaho-Malheur Oregon Soda Fire, BLM spent vast sums on aerial spraying of Plateau. Theres now an explosion of cheatgrass and seas of expanding medusahead.

    TNCs Pine Valley modeling for Wyoming Sagebrush (85,000 acres, 100% departed) and other communities follows the Serviceberry pattern in lockstep. Areas occupied by trees are categorized as sage sites, found to be highly departed and uncharacteristic. In the immortal words of Ely BLM whose massive PJ killing projects have long relied on TNC methods, the forests are out of whack. This can only be cured by laying them to waste. For the 100,000 acres of Pine Valley Pinyon-Juniper forest that TNC concedes is present, 83% of the PJ is in a state of Departure. Across the landscape, TNC finds an out of balance build up of conifers.

    Landfire website information is key in TNC, BLM and the Forest Service categorizing plant communities in an earlier successional state as the norm, with minimal woody vegetation cover. Clicking on BPS at the Landfire site takes you to a TNC Conservation Gateway site. TNC has long been deeply involved in generating the data that underlies the manipulation of woody vegetation communities, with work supported by taxpayers through Challenge Cost Share grants. The FRCC site is cited as a joint government and TNC site:

    Homepage of the Interagency and The Nature Conservancy Fire Regime Condition Class website, USDA Forest Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, The Nature Conservancy, and Systems for Environmental Management.

    I truly dont understand the whole circular reasoning process. I do, however, understand enough from reviewing scores of agency documents using BPS, FRCC and similar model artifices and classifications to justify radical deforestation and sagebrush destruction, to believe that this methodology has become a huge problem for conservation of wildlife habitats and biodiversity. I encourage other activists and scientists more skilled than me to critically examine it. The BPS and FRCC categories are used as the basis for finagling ways to attack late successional forests and shrubs. This lays the foundation for disrupting natural plant succession, preventing mature forests from developing, and destroying those that exist. Heres a typical goal from an Ely BLM document: Move the landscapes within the watersheds towards Fire Regime Condition Class (FRCC) 1, with a mosaic of seral stages attaining the potential cover percentages of grasses and forbs for the respective biophysical settings (BpS).

    What Ely BLM does to a PJ forest that TNCs models proclaim to be Out of Whack.

    In Pine Valley, TNC admits that PJ grows in the similar elevation and precipitation zone as Serviceberry, but points to a hodgepodge of references at the Landfire site to proclaim that Serviceberry, not PJ is what should be present. Departure is based on the difference between the plants on the land now and the plants that are claimed to have been present under pre-settlement conditions.

    Fire return intervals and Fire Regime Condition Class from Landfire data (which TNC has been deeply involved in, and funded for, developing over the years) are used to divine pre-settlement plant reference communities. These fire return intervals are used to plot the Historical Range of Variability (HRV). FRCC uses the departure from HRV. The modeled plant community is called the Biophysical Setting (BPS). Monocultures of flammable cheatgrass and old growth forests can end up in the same agency FRCC category, Class 3. How can that be? Under the models, cheatgrass burns too frequently (which is true), and mature forests and sage have not burned frequently enough. Hence, the only recourse is treatment. Somehow it is only ever the forests that get treated by the Feds, not cheatgrass monocultures. Placing plant communities in FRCC Classes 2 and 3 is used by agencies for fire risk fearmongering. Class 1 is the stark ideal.

    A cardinal rule seems to be to never look outside the artificial world you are creating, to see what evidence is around you. Never consult historical sources from or about the early settlement era such as explorer or settler journals, Mining District records, the early Interior Departments General Land Office survey records or other sources. Never look at all the past agency veg clearing projects that drastically altered communities. Never look at what the land can tell you, the weathering stumps of very old trees, or blackened soils from charcoal processing. In this case, that extends to never look at the Forests Website. There, up until recently, by a photo of a stone monument to Mountain Meadows Massacre victims, was a photo of charcoal kilns from the regions iron ore mining and other evidence of considerable early settlement era disturbance.

    The Dixie country is no stranger to trickery and deceit. At Mountain Meadows in the project area, the Mormons Utah Territorial Militia (Nauvoo Legion) armed Southern Paiutes and coerced them into joining a militia attack on an emigrant wagon train bound for California. The Whites plotted to pin the attack on the Paiutes. Militiamen disguised themselves as Native Americans but feared some emigrants had seen through their disguises. Using a white flag of truce, they led all the emigrants over 8 years old to slaughter. John D. Lee, the only militiaman to be convicted, believed Brigham Young may have ordered the attack and concealed evidence. Surviving children recounted seeing the militiamen washing off war paint.

    Back to the TNC report. Its full of little boxes and connecting lines, called state and transition models. These diagrams of little boxes make it all appear very complicated when basically they represent disrupted plant community succession stages. The modeling rigamarole is aimed at keeping woody plant communities from existing on the land as a late successional climax stage, i.e. a fully developed forest and/or shrubland.

    The modeling is also infused with value judgments about the benign nature of crested wheatgrass, forage kochia and other plants the Forest Service and cattlemen prefer, in developing something termed Unified Ecological Departure defined with nonsensical jargon. This can only be cured by huge influxes of federal funds totaling as much as $550/acre for PJ mastication and herbicide, or $800/acre for aspen thinning.

    The Wests Arid Forests Are Being Ripped Apart Based on Modeling Chicanery Targeting Woody Plant Communities

    Beautiful wild places and irreplaceable wildlife habitat across public lands are being destroyed based on these convoluted modeling schemes. In Bodie Hills Bi-State Sage-Grouse country of California and Nevada, a TNC report is used by BLM as a basis for manipulation across the landscape. In Montana, TNC is aiding cattle ranchers in targeting lower elevation Douglas fir for eradication.

    Nevada Ely BLM Watershed Assessments (Cave and Lake Valleys, South Steptoe, Egan Johnson project and many others) are masterpieces of the Dark Arts and arcana of modeling deception in support of landscape-level attacks on forests and sagebrush. Fire return intervals and other information embraced and/or developed by TNC undergird the documents. The 2019 Ely BLM Long and Ruby Valley Watershed EA continues to use TNC Biophysical Setting (BPS) info via the Landfire sites link to TNCs own website.

    In Idaho, Owyhee BLM, NRCS, TNC and cattle ranchers long schemed to destroy the ancient juniper forests on Juniper Mountain by using bogus fire return intervals and other information from the Landfire site to model the trees out of existence. If a short enough fire return interval is used, the modeling finds that forests cant exist because the land burns too often. This aids BLM and the livestock industry immensely in Rangeland Health Assessment process. It provides a tree scapegoat that distracts attention from livestock damage. The land is defined as unhealthy because there are junipers present. Rather than deal with the cows, the agency gets rid of the trees. Abracadabra. Ancient forests vanish.

    Voodoo vegetation modeling map for Juniper Mountain, used to justify napalming many thousands of ancient Western Juniper trees across the rugged mountain. The maps left sidebar has no indication of any juniper at all being present. Zero juniper communities are mapped.

    Juniper Mountain was covered in Western Juniper forest before the trees were modeled out of existence, and fated for treatment.

    Six-foot diameter charred stump of Western Juniper after the Juniper Mountain forest was napalmed by BLM.

    These projects destroy native vegetation to generate more cattle forage across the West all the while claiming lofty goals of restoring pre-settlement plant communities, fire suppression, saving sage-grouse or other species, when in fact they are doing just the opposite.

    Expanse of Juniper Mountain Western Juniper, some still smoking in the aftermath of Owyhee BLMs Rx burn.

    The Dixie Forest modeling madness is mirrored in methods being used by federal agencies across the West. Ignore what is on the land now especially mature and old growth forests. Ignore crusts. Use the shortest fire return/disturbance intervals you can get away with. Ignore history. Conjure up plant community categories heavy on grass and short on woody plants. Categorize plant communities growing in the elevation and precipitation zone where Pinyon-Juniper grows as some other type of plant community with shorter fire return intervals. Design Ecosites and other models to justify keeping the land in a permanent state of arrested development, where theres more grass and less woody plant cover. Cloaked in scientific garb, TNC operates as an agent, enabler and tool of government and corporate policies tailored to benefit the livestock, logging and other industries, getting government grants for its work.

    Sagebrush communities cant rest easy either. Mature and old growth sagebrush with denser canopies exceed the amount of cover the models allow. Sage with splendid crusts but sparse grass cover, or sites where the cows have killed off understory plants, are similarly found to be deviant and uncharacteristic. Sagebrush that provides crucial habitat for Pygmy Rabbit, Brewers Sparrow, Sage Thrasher, Sage Sparrow and Sage-grouse must be mowed, roller-beat or otherwise abused. Passive restoration, removing grazing disturbance to heal understories, is verboten.

    Heres my non-trademarked Future Forecasting (even without consulting what happens when the Wheel of Fortune is reversed in the little Tarot book I found soggy in the street one day):

    Intertwined wild cards of climate change, weeds and grazing, now rule. Arid mountain ranges are becoming treeless. They are under siege from hotter temperatures, climate-driven fire and other stresses. Federal deforestation projects that denude mountains of climate-moderating trees and woody plant cover worsen the Climate Crisis. They fast forward potentially irreversible forest and shrub community loss.

    David Charlets Shah-Kan-Daw paper, written after a trip to Iran in the Bush Iraq War years, lays out the path the public lands are on. What happened to Irans forests and shrubs over many millenia is happening to the arid West in a heartbeat, less than 200 years. Federal projects based on flawed models are driving ecosystems past a point of no return.

    Instead of elaborate scheming to justify killing more trees and shrubs under a relentless Manifest Destiny management mindset, we must preserve all that we have. Shred the heap of BLM and Forest Service plans authorized or in the works, based on dodgy models designed to disrupt native woody communities. End weed-causing grazing. Apply the funds saved to developing bio-controls for annual grasses. Reforest and restore shrubs across our public lands.

    Cheatgrass and other weeds thriving 2 or 3 years after BLM cut and burned junipers in Pole Creek on Juniper Mountain.

    A wall of cheatgrass and bulbous bluegrass from Owyhee BLM Pole Creek juniper burning continuous tinder dry grass where four years ago there was forest cover.

    Voodoo Vegetation Modeling Dooms Native Forests and Wildlife Habitat - CounterPunch

    Apple breaks ground on its new 133-acre campus in Austin, Texas – The Architect’s Newspaper - December 4, 2019 by admin

    On November 20, multinational technology company Apple announced that it had broken ground on its new 133-acre office park in Austin, Texas, that will cost an estimated $1 billion to construct, and released a first look at the project. The campus, which will contain over three million square feet of usable interior space across 10 buildings once complete, will initially house 5,000 employees, with plans to eventually make room for over 15,000.

    Apple currently employs around 7,000 people throughout Austin, more than twice as many as it had just five years ago, and the company shows little signs of slowing down growth in the area. A production facility near the city has recently taken on the important task of building the latest fleet of Mac Pros and shipping them out to customers in December. With the construction of our new campus in Austin now underway, said Apple CEO Tim Cook in a press release, Apple is deepening our close bond with the city and the talented and diverse workforce that calls it home. Responsible for 2.4 million American jobs and counting, Apple is eager to write our next chapter here and to keep contributing to Americas innovation story.

    The company has partnered with Bartlett Tree Experts, an Austin-based tree and shrub care company, to ensure that the diversity of native trees on the property are responsibly preserved while increasing their numbers to stock the 50-acre nature and wildlife preserve planned for the site. In addition, the new campus will run entirely on renewable energy from locally-sourced solar power. The construction of the new campus reflects the companys commitment to contributing $350 billion to the US economy between 2018 and 2023, during which time it also plans to create 20,000 jobs.

    Like other buildings in Apples portfolio, the new campus will be awash in crisp white surfaces contrasted against floor-to-ceiling glass to reflect the companys minimalist identity. The new Apple campus is expected to be completed by 2022. While Apples UFO-like headquarters building in Cupertino, California, was designed by Foster + Partners, the company has not as of yet released information on who designed their Austin offshoot.

    The rest is here:
    Apple breaks ground on its new 133-acre campus in Austin, Texas - The Architect's Newspaper

    Invasive of the month Impact of ornamentals not pretty – Yellow Springs News - December 4, 2019 by admin

    After recent cold and snow, the fire of fall has mostly dimmed from the landscape. Gone or fading are the brilliant reds and pinks of burning bush, a popular ornamental shrub that lights up local yards each autumn.

    Pretty as it is, the shrub is considered invasive by most experts.

    Its not on the same scale as honeysuckle, its more a slow-moving thing, local landscaper and horticulturalist Bob Moore said in a recent interview.

    Still, Moore avoids using burning bush in his landscaping practice, opting instead for native bushes and small trees.

    Burning bush is one of a trio of invasive woody shrubs the News is highlighting this month. Rounding out the triple threat is common privet, often used as a privacy hedge, and Amur honeysuckle, the most widely known, and widely reviled, invasive plant species in our area. November is a good time to identify these species and remove them from your yard.

    The present article is the last in this seasons invasive of the month series, which began with a two-part article on the local impact of non-native invasive plants last spring, and continued with monthly features focused on specific invasives of local concern. The series was undertaken in consultation with Glen Helen.

    We plan to return with more of our local least wanted flora in the spring.

    How to identify

    Burning bush, Euonymus alatus, is the easiest to identify. It grows up to 10 feet tall, depending on the variety, with leaves that turn pink-red in the fall. Harder to spot are its tiny, dangling red berries. The shrubs autumn color and general hardiness account for its widespread planting, according to Moore.

    It was planted at every new house in our area for the last 30 years, he said.

    Common privet, Ligustrum vulgare, is a large shrub reaching up to 16 feet. Its dense branching structure makes it a popular privacy hedge. It has small leaves, which turn yellow or coppery in the fall, and clusters of blue-black fruits that persist into winter.

    Both burning bush and common privet are prevalent in yards throughout Yellow Springs, as well as in alleyways, weedy margins and local woods.

    Amur honeysuckle, Lonicera maackii, bedevils the landscape across our region. Though deciduous, this species of bush honeysuckle hangs onto its leaves into winter, and is one of the earliest plants to leaf out in the spring. Honeysuckles tenacity gives it a competitive edge over native plants and makes it easy to identify.

    See something green in the November woods, and chances are its honeysuckle.

    The plant produces clusters of bright red berries in late summer that remain through the fall, another identifying feature.

    Impact on local landscape

    All three species are widely considered invasive, but honeysuckle is in a class by itself. One of 38 non-native invasive plants banned for sale in Ohio, Amur honeysuckle has profoundly altered parts of the local landscape over the past 30 years. Where it moves in, native plants are crowded out and die off, leading some to dub Amur honeysuckle a green death.

    Honeysuckle has been especially destructive in local woods, where it takes the place of a rich understory layer. Honeysuckle-laden forests are less healthy and resilient, experts say.

    Honeysuckle is by far the most pervasive of the woody shrubs; it occupies ecological niches year-round, displacing many native species, Glen Helens land manager, Ben Silliman, wrote in a recent email.

    The Glen has cleared about 325 acres of honeysuckle to date, with a focus on higher-quality areas away from trails and roads, he added. The preserve occupies about 1,000 acres in total.

    Burning bush and common privet are less harmful than honeysuckle. Neither is currently on the states invasives list, but area experts still consider these species a threat.

    Burning bush is presently being assessed by the Ohio Invasive Plants Council, or OIPC, while several privet varieties are also under review. A fact sheet from the Ohio State University pinpoints the potential impact of common privet.

    Dense thickets of privet can form and crowd out desirable native woodland species, the fact sheet states.

    The fact sheet also notes that common privet thrives in sunlight but tolerates heavy shade, and leafs out early and holds leaves late all sources of competitive advantage over native plants.

    A recent post to the website of the Appalachian Ohio Weed Control Partnership warns of the negative impacts of burning bush.

    It thrives in the shade, where it displaces spring wildflowers and other natives. It is a very adaptable plant and can thrive in a variety of sites, wreaking havoc on a variety of native ecosystems, the post states.

    Locally, burning bush and common privet have moved into the Glen. Burning bush usually pops up as individual specimens that are pretty easily eradicated, according to Silliman. Common privet grows in riparian corridors, along the Yellow Springs Creek and the Little Miami River.

    Both species are spread by birds and other wildlife, which carry their seeds beyond landscaped areas into the woods. Seeds also get washed by rain and local waterways into the Glen. Such dispersal is the reason for avoiding planting these species in your yard or considering removing existing plants.

    How to manage

    Experts agree that honeysuckle should be removed. Period. But thats easier said than done.

    According to a fact sheet from the OIPC, the most effective way to control honeysuckle is through a combination of cutting and the selective use of an herbicide such as glyphosate.

    Well-established stands of bush honeysuckles are best managed by cutting the stems to ground level and painting or spraying the stumps, the fact sheet states.

    This is the method the Glen uses.

    Smaller stands, especially in shady areas where the plant is less resilient, may be eliminated by repeated cutting, provided plants are cut to the ground regularly over a period of years, according to the OIPC fact sheet. Consistency is key, because honeysuckle sprouts vigorously when cut.

    Regarding burning bush and common privet, smaller specimens can be cut down and dug out of the ground, with care taken to remove their root systems. For both plants, cutting and digging is best done when the ground is moist.

    Larger specimens of these species often require a combination of cutting and selective herbicide application, in the opinion of some area experts.

    The Appalachian Ohio Weed Control Partnership recommends painting the stump of burning bush with an herbicide after cutting. A similar treatment is described as one option for common privet, according to the Ohio State University fact sheet.

    Simply cutting the shrub off at the base will cause prolific sprouting and increase the number of stems, the fact sheet on privet states. Herbicide applied to the plants stump will kill its roots, the fact sheet continues.

    A word of caution when cutting privet: the Glens Silliman notes that mature privet has multiple hard but brittle stems that can throw the chain off a chain saw.

    Native alternatives

    The good, indeed beautiful, news? There are many attractive and ecologically useful native alternatives to invasive woody shrubs, according to Moore.

    In his experience, local residents want to plant natives, but hesitate to lose the privacy and sense of sanctuary that mature privet or honeysuckle provides.

    People know honeysuckle is really invasive, but they dont want to lose that sense of enclosure, he said.

    He works gradually with some local clients to replace invasives with a few native plantings a year, phasing out the non-native plants and allowing the new plantings to establish themselves and grow to greater size.

    Native bushes that could replace invasive woody shrubs include bottlebrush buckeye, sweetspire and some viburnums Moore favors viburnum juddii. Some varieties of hydrangea are also good options; oakleaf hydrangea, which is non-native but non-invasive, is especially lovely in the fall.

    Small native trees to consider include pawpaw, white fringe tree, redbud, American hornbeam, blackhaw, wahoo (a native member of the euonymus family, with bright pink berries in the fall) and dogwood varieties such as red twig and gray dogwood.

    There are really great natives to fill the honeysuckle void, Moore observed.

    Best of all, by replacing invasives with natives, homeowners can create a landscape that nourishes the soul, and the health, of local ecosystems.

    Youre developing a true sanctuary not just for you, Moore said.

    See more here:
    Invasive of the month Impact of ornamentals not pretty - Yellow Springs News

    Did You Leave Any of These Luxe Gifts Off the Sephora Wish List of Your Dreams? – POPSUGAR - December 4, 2019 by admin

    If you haven't considered the answer to "What do you want from Sephora if money were no object?," now is the time and here is the list to get you started. A $270 set of fake lashes, a $460 face cream, an $860 fragrance these are all included in this luxe roundup of Sephora gifts.

    Some of the best presents still come in small sizes or with petite prices, but that doesn't mean there's no room for a posh product or two on the gift list of your dreams, like those La Mer, Dyson, and Dior products you've been longingly eyeing. There are also some high-tech gifts that you may have never seen before like at-home self-tanning machines, microneedling devices, and rollers to smooth your body. All products you could easily and gladly work into your regular beauty regimen.

    These are the most luxe Sephora items that will have you thinking they really shouldn't have . . . but still be very, very happy that they did.

    Check them out ahead. (Santa, are you listening?)

    See the article here:
    Did You Leave Any of These Luxe Gifts Off the Sephora Wish List of Your Dreams? - POPSUGAR

    GALLERY: 74 pictures from The Press Business Awards 2019 – York Press - November 25, 2019 by admin

    THE best of business in the region was celebrated at The Press Business Awards 2019.

    More than 300 people attended a glittering black tie ceremony at York Racecourse where plant, tree and shrub supplier Johnsons of Whixley Ltd won the coveted title of The Press Business of the Year.

    They were the big winners on a night when 11 awards were handed out at the event, which was sponsored by TalkTalks York Ultra Fibre Optic project.

    Don't miss The Press on Wednesday for a 12-page souvenir supplement on the awards ceremony.

    Read more about the awards night here>>

    The Press Business Awards 2019 roll of honour

    Small Business of the Year (sponsored by Hethertons Solicitors)

    Winner ISF

    Finalists Netsells, RotaCloud

    New Business of the Year (sponsored by Make It York)


    ilke Homes Ltd

    Finalists Angela Bare, York Gin

    Socially Responsible Business of the Year (sponsored by York St John University)

    Winner Benenden Health

    Finalists Torque Law LLP, Choc Affair

    Employer of the Year (sponsored by Langleys Solicitors)

    Winner Benenden Health

    Finalists Home Instead Senior Care, ilke Homes Ltd

    Large Business of the Year (sponsored by LOCALiQ)

    Winner The Skills Network

    Finalists Soanes Poultry, Johnsons of Whixley Ltd

    Business Personality of the Year (sponsored by York Racecourse)

    Winner Tricia Sheriff

    Finalists Graham Usher, Tarnia Hudson

    Business Innovation of the Year (sponsored by the University of York)

    Winner Netsells

    Finalists Tancream, Roche Legal

    Family Business of the Year (sponsored by Shepherd Group)

    Winner Johnsons of Whixley Ltd

    Finalists Playscheme, Glencor Golf Holidays

    Retail, Tourism and Leisure Business of the Year (sponsored by Synergy Commercial Finance)

    Winner Spirit of Yorkshire

    Finalists Jorvik Viking Centre, Humble Bee Leisure

    Exporter of the Year (sponsored by The Press)

    Winner Maxwell-Scott

    Finalists Maximise PM Ltd, Wold Top Brewery

    The Press Business of the Year (sponsored by Talk Talk)

    Johnsons of Whixley Ltd

    Go here to read the rest:
    GALLERY: 74 pictures from The Press Business Awards 2019 - York Press

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