Stop Spillover

Originally published as a digital essay for a university course April 22, 2020. U. S. Agency for International Development Emerging Threats Program launched the infectious disease surveillance program PREDICT in 2009. It included teams from more than 60 countries that would survey the world for unknown viruses in animals and assess their risk of causing … Continue reading Stop Spillover

Spillover in the Modern World

Originally published as a digital essay for a university course April 22, 2020. Human society traded one brand of disease outbreaks for another. In the past, we lacked hygiene, medical infrastructure, and knowledge of what causes disease. Today, we’re better in all three categories, especially in developed countries, but we’re disturbing ecology more and more, … Continue reading Spillover in the Modern World

Film Reflection: Africa: Eye to Eye with the Unknown by BBC Earth

One of BBC Earth's TV miniseries, Africa features the staples of intensive camera work and David Attenborough. The six-episode series released in 2013 travels between the Kalahari Desert, eastern savanna, Congo rainforest, southern Cape, Sahara, and a thematic episode focused on conservation and Africa's future. Africa is full of jungle and safari stereotypes, but this … Continue reading Film Reflection: Africa: Eye to Eye with the Unknown by BBC Earth

Book Reflection: American Chestnut: The Life, Death, and Rebirth of a Perfect Tree by Susan Freinkel

The American chestnut tree, Castanea dentata, was one of the first biological icons to be virtually vacated from an integral position in both the environment and American society. We knew little about accidental imports of exotic species, and the introduction of the fungus Cryphonectria parasitica spurred the discussion and action. I was fascinated with the topic when … Continue reading Book Reflection: American Chestnut: The Life, Death, and Rebirth of a Perfect Tree by Susan Freinkel

Keystone Species in a Yellowstone Shell

Keystone species: like a stone bridging the two sides of an arch, once removed the structure crumbles. One of ecologists favorite example in the last twenty years has been the grey wolf. Humans have a long history of destroying ecosystems and obliterating biodiversity. More than likely we've seen the loss of more keystone species than … Continue reading Keystone Species in a Yellowstone Shell

Rhino face

Pink Rhinos and Elephants?

Poisoning ivory horns tagged with pink dye to deter poachers. When I read this old news on Facebook, at first I thought, "How does this affect survival among other wild animals?" Then I remembered that this is limited to animals living in fence reserves and human kill far more than the lions do. Then there … Continue reading Pink Rhinos and Elephants?

sea turtle

Mystery of a Newfoundland Leatherback Sea Turtle

In 2006 my dad and I packed our black F-150 and drove a total of 6,000 miles. We took Interstate highways before and after we were in Canada and while in Canada we toured the Atlantic provinces. We barely touched on Newfoundland before we had to start heading back (funding and free time being the … Continue reading Mystery of a Newfoundland Leatherback Sea Turtle

Soil Food Web

Introduction to Soil Science: The Best Way to Put It

Sometimes I read articles and books or watch documentaries and I always wonder what is the best way to translate what I'm learning. I find most of anything in nature and natural sciences (if you care to split those--I don't, but I understand that they sometimes elicit two different concepts) fascinating beyond measure, like concurrent … Continue reading Introduction to Soil Science: The Best Way to Put It

Beauty of Composting and the Soil Nutrient Cycle

You watch your favorite TV show. The characters discuss a conflict over the dinner table and by the time the argument resolves or exasperates the characters retire to the kitchen. They shovel the left overs of the meal into the trash bin. Perfectly good food. It had the potential to be tomorrow's lunch. Even the … Continue reading Beauty of Composting and the Soil Nutrient Cycle

book cover

Book Reflection: Folks, This Ain’t Normal by Joel Salatin (Part II)

From Part I: Growing, processing, and marketing the food items all in a single region mitigate many of those secondary issues, organic or not. It’s also worth mentioning that labels require hefty fees for each individual product to the government for licensing—fees that your small-scale organic farmer cannot pay for. Part II Do you want to … Continue reading Book Reflection: Folks, This Ain’t Normal by Joel Salatin (Part II)