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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

News Follow-Up

Air Date: Week of

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New developments in stories we’ve been following recently.


CURWOOD: Time now to follow up on some of the news stories we've been tracking lately.

(Music up and under" Update Theme & Stings")

CURWOOD: It was a year ago that the National Park Service lost control of a prescribed burn in New Mexico that was designed to thin out dense growth. More than 47,000 acres burned, and more than 400 families lost their homes. The landscape is recovering now, thanks to the nutrients in the ash left behind by the fire. Julie Habiger works for Los Alamos County.

HABIGER: Even though we have a lot of, what we call, our burnt toothpicks, a lot of tree stalks with nothing on them, we also have a lot of new vegetation, brush, shrubbery, wildflowers, that are just beginning to come on strong just within the last couple of weeks.

CURWOOD: The mountain area is preparing for monsoon rains, which could bring more soil erosion and flooding.

(Music up and under" Update Theme & Stings")

CURWOOD: Chemicals like DDT and dioxins are known to cause serious health effects. Now, 127 countries have agreed to a treaty banning DDT, dioxins, PCBs, and nine more of these so-called persistent organic pollutants. EPA administrator Christie Whitman was on hand in Sweden to represent the United States at the treaty signing. The persistent organic pollutants, better known as the POPs treaty, will go into effect once 50 countries ratify it.

(Music up and under" Update Theme & Stings")

CURWOOD: Over the years we've reported on attempts to rebuild whooping crane populations. Scientists use sandhill cranes, a close cousin of the endangered whoopers, to test different rearing techniques. These cranes don't know how to migrate when they are born in captivity, so researchers teach them to fly south by getting them to follow an ultralight aircraft. This spring, for the first time, a flock of sandhill cranes returned on their own to where they were raised in Wisconsin. Jennifer Rabuck of the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge says the sandhills' return means that scientists have chosen a hospitable area that the birds like, too.

RABUCK: Having the sandhills return to this spot means that it's very, very likely that the whooping cranes that we would raise this year, under the exact same set of circumstances, would also come back to that exact same location.

CURWOOD: Biologists in Wisconsin anticipate leading about ten whoopers south to Florida this fall. They hope to establish a migrating flock east of the Mississippi River.

(Music up and under" Update Theme & Stings")

CURWOOD: And finally, there's a new way to help wildlife recover after an oil spill. The Tasmanian Conservation Trust has put out the call for penguin sweaters. The tiny wool jerseys prevent penguins from preening and ingesting oil. Sure, the birds don't enjoy being covered from neck to ankle, but hey, sometimes you have to suffer for fashion. If your knitting needles are raring to go, check out our Web site, www.loe.org., for a link to a pattern for sweaters that fit Australia Fairy penguins. And that's this week's follow-up on the news from Living on Earth.

(Music up and under" Update Theme & Stings")

CURWOOD: Just ahead: Changing lives with simple straw bale homes. Mexicans combine the powers of ecology and economy. First, this environmental business note from Jennifer Chu.

(Music up and under: Allison Dean, "Technology Note Theme")



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