Splash park plan draws opposition

Red Bank residents came out in droves last week to air concerns about a playground and splash park proposed at the Bellhaven Nature Area on Locust Avenue.

Citing issues such as traffic, cost, safety, litter and the environment, several residents spoke out against the plan during the Aug. 13 meeting of the Red Bank Borough Council.

“I live on Locust Avenue, so I will be directly affected. And, as a taxpayer, I will be affected by any cost this incurs,” resident Laura Kremer said during the packed council meeting. “I am constantly picking up litter already, [off] the street, our lawns. People just go by and drop their cups, their straws, their bags of chips.

“There are going to be alcohol bottles there. This is a big deal. This isn’t just about little kids having a good time.”

Despite the outcry from the majority of residents in attendance, Borough Engineer Christine Ballard said the proposal would take an unused property alongside the Swimming River and turn it into a pocket park for residents of the borough’s west side.

“This site is proposing both passive and active recreation as a way of getting people to play and also sit and enjoy the views,” she said. “It is a very small park — this is not designed to be an attraction. It is meant to be something where local kids can come and cool off in the summertime.”

The proposal includes a splash pad; two playgrounds; a pathway; educational signs about the on-site wetlands; and the remediation and removal of invasive phragmites, which are said to be overrunning the nature area.

According to Ballard, the project is expected to cost approximately $500,000. A Monmouth County Open Space grant would cover $239,000 of the total cost, but the grant stipulates that the park must be completed by next May. The park was first proposed in 2011, but Ballard said Tropical Storm Irene and superstorm Sandy delayed the plans. She said the original conceptual plans have been scaled back, and the splash park is now 1,150 square feet — nearly 1,000 feet smaller than the original proposal.

Article source: http://hub.gmnews.com/news/2014-08-21/Front_Page/Splash_park_plan_draws_opposition.html

Investigation launched after manatee drowns at Paris zoo

Barry, who was three years old and weighed 300 kilos, had only arrived at the newly reopened zoo last month as part of a European breeding programme.

The zoo’s scientific director, Alexis Lécu, said: “Evidently Barry became stuck in an underwater shaft between two parts of the pool which is usually closed off by a door.”

The manatee, of which only 3,000 still exist in the world, is a gentle, herbiverous mammal which spends most of its life under water but has to surface every ten minutes to breathe.

Adult manatees can reach the age of 60. 

Barry was born in a zoo at Odense in Denmark three years ago but was shipped to the Paris zoological park in July as a companion to an older manatee, Titus, aged 24. The creatures were to be one of the star attractions at the zoo which reopened in April after closing for five years for radical rebuilding.

Article source: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/investigation-launched-after-manatee-drowns-at-paris-zoo-9679462.html

Sekisui Chemical Co., Ltd. Starts Its Second Annual Sekisui Environment Week


SEKISUI CHEMICAL CO., LTD.(TOKYO:4204) started their second annual Sekisui Environment Week with participation from employees throughout the entire global group. Each company has set their activity week during the dates of August 1 through August 7.

Sekisui Chemical has reviewed their long term environmental plan “Sekisui Environment Sustainable Vision 2030”, in correlation with the corporate mid-term management plan “SHINKA!-Advance 2016”, and established “Sekisui Environment Sustainable Plan Take-Off” (2014-2016). One of the goals in this mid-term plan is to encourage participation by all employees from all business sites globally in environmental projects during the “Sekisui Environment Week”.

Main Events of “Sekisui Environment Week”

1) Cherry Tree Forestation Event in Suzhou, China
The Cherry Tree forestation event was held in Suzhou, China, on August 3, and 170 employees and their families from local subsidiaries participated, including the president and other executive directors from the Sekisui Chemical Group. Approximately 200 cherry trees were planted.

2) Examples of Other Environmental Projects
(1) Sekisui S-Lec Mexico S.A. de C.V.: Forestation activities
(2) Sekisui Aqua Systems Co., Ltd.: Clean-up activities around manufacturing site
(3) Sekisui Heim Chushikoku Co., Ltd.: Clean-up activities of surrounding roads
Last year, during the First Sekisui Environment Week, 156 sites out of 199 participated in nature observations and clean-up events.

About the “Sekisui Environment Week”

From August 1 through August 7, 2012, Sekisui Chemical Group hosted the “Global Children’s Eco Summit 2012″ in Japan as the 65th company anniversary event. Total of 85 children of company employees from major sites around the world participated, and exchanged different cultures through environmental studies.
Working from the proposals received from the participating children, it was decided to establish “Sekisui Environmental Week”, in which the entire Sekisui Chemical Group will be involved in environmental contribution activities every August.


SEKISUI CHEMICAL will continue to develop the frontiers of “Creation of Housing/Social infrastructure” and “Chemical Solutions”, utilizing its prominent technologies and quality, thereby contributing to people’s lives around the world and the global environment.
Sekisui Chemical was established in 1947, and currently has over 200 affiliated companies and over 23,000 employees worldwide.
Visit www.sekisuichemical.com for more information.

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/multimedia/home/20140818005251/en/

MULTIMEDIA AVAILABLE:http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=50926055lang=en

Article source: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/sekisui-chemical-co-ltd-starts-093900608.html

Twitch and shout: Birdwatchers raving over rare birds in UK

A pair of rare glossy ibises have been spotted nesting at Frampton Marsh in Lincolnshire for the first time in the UK, raising hopes that the bird will colonise Britain within the next few years.

Until now, the nearest nesting site to the UK for this large, heron-like bird with bronze feathers and a slender curved bill was in the south of France.

“It’s as if they see Lincolnshire as being part of the Mediterranean and decided to nest,” said the RSPB’s Grahame Madge.

“This is a landmark year for Mediterranean birds coming to the UK,” Mr Madge added.

A pair of colourful bee-eaters were spotted nesting in the UK last month on the south side of the Isle of Wight – this was the first time since 2002 and only the third time in the country’s history.

A Black-winged Stilt flies

And in June, near Chester, the first black-winged stilt chicks hatched in the UK for 27 years.

“With a changing climate, we’re anticipating that several more southern European bird species may colonise southern England in the next few years,” said Gwyn Williams, the RSPB’s head of reserves and protected areas.

Article source: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/twitch-and-shout-birdwatchers-raving-over-rare-birds-in-uk-9674652.html

Carter’s Beach a hot topic in Port Mouton

NSE has been working on a plan to make Carter’s Beach in Port Mouton into a Nature Reserve.  A nature reserve designation gives the beach the highest level of provincial protection offered.

Officials made a presentation to locals at the West Queens Recreation Centre on Aug. 12 where they gave some ideas about their plans for the area and their research.

The nature reserve would encompass both beaches, Carter’s and Wobamkek, which are split by a river, salt marshes and dunes in the same area, along with several islands including Spectacle Islands, Jackies Island, and Massacre.

Some of the issues that locals are concerned about include parking, dogs, trash, and washrooms.  Many in attendance also expressed frustration about the much debated fish farm located just off Carter’s Beach and Port Mouton Island.

One local asked how the Carter’s Beach area can be considered a nature reserve if a fish farm waste is washing up on shore.  NSE officials stated that the Nature Reserve designation does not include the water and that fish farm issues are not under their jurisdiction but the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

            Locals who live on the Carter’s Beach Road expressed frustration on not being able to get down the road during the summer and the amount of garbage they are finding in ditches and on their own property.

            Sally Steele, Protected Area Coordinator for Western Nova Scotia, says the current plan is to move the parking lot back a little bit and then add a few spaces.

            “No matter how big we make the car park, we know we’re never going to have enough spaces for the amount of visitation we have,” says Steele.

            Officials say it is a delicate balance to keep wildlife safe and provide access to humans.  One official said if they provided more parking spaces, inevitably more people would visit the beach and each beach has a “carrying capacity” of humans it can handle. 


            Dunes, nesting grounds for birds, and a rare breed of lichen have already been disturbed by human interference.

“You cannot legislate common sense.”

            Another concern for NSE and locals was the lack of washroom facilities. Many chimed in that they’d like to see an outhouse at the Carter’s Beach site but officials seem hesitant to put one in place because it encourages longer stays at the beach.

            Steele says the local port authority will allow for the use of a port-a-potty near a public wharf but that location is 1.2 kilometres away.

            One local, Louise Swain, who lives on Carter’s Beach Road says she and her husband have been picking up litter from the beach and road for years. 

            “They leave chairs that are broken down, they leave them on the beach… the other day I picked up three dirty diapers off the beach,” says Swain.  “You cannot legislate common sense.”

            A garbage can is provided at the site of the parking lot but it is only emptied once a week.  Officials say that as part of their planning they have thought about taking away the garbage can because in areas that don’t have one, they surprisingly find there is less garbage.

            Officials from NSE provided the meeting attendees with paper and pens to write down suggestions and markers and maps to draw on to show, which plans they liked or disliked.  The plans are not set in stone yet.

            Questions and comments on the plan can be made to Sally Steele at 902-543-4685 or emailed at steelesd@gov.ns.ca

An interactive map of Nova Scotia’s parks and nature reserves can be found at www.novascotia.ca/parksandprotectedareas/

Article source: http://www.theadvance.ca/News/Local/2014-08-15/article-3836409/Carter’s-Beach-a-hot-topic-in-Port-Mouton/1

Cooling or Warming? Scientists Present Past Climate Change Conundrum

Is our climate cooling down or warming up? A new study of past climate data reveals that, despite previous belief, there has been a consistent global warming trend over the last 10,000 years, rather than a period of global cooling before humans intervened.

“We have been building models and there are now robust contradictions,” lead study author Zhengyu Liu, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said in a news release. “Data from observation says global cooling. The physical model says it has to be warming.”

Share This Story

Our current geological epoch is called the Holocene, and the problem Liu is describing is referred to as the Holocene temperature conundrum.

Determining the cause of these clashing findings has important implications for understanding climate change and evaluating climate models, as well as for the benchmarks used to create climate models for the future. However, the researchers stress that their recent study does not change the evidence of human impact on global climate beginning in the 20th century.

“The question is, ‘Who is right?’” Liu said. “Or, maybe none of us is completely right. It could be partly a data problem, since some of the data in last year’s study contradicts itself. It could partly be a model problem because of some missing physical mechanisms.”

Over the last 10,000 years, atmospheric carbon dioxide rose by 20 parts per million before the 20th century, and the massive ice sheet of the Last Glacial Maximum has been gradually retreating. These ecological changes suggest that the annual mean global temperature should have continued to warm, even as regions of the world experienced cooling.

And yet, a study last year published in the journal Science indicates a period of global cooling began 7,000 years ago until human activity, such as the burning of fossil fuels, started heating things up.

Clearly both of these findings do not add up, so Liu and his team created three models, running simulations of climate influences that ranged from the intensity of sunlight on Earth to global greenhouse gases, ice sheet cover and meltwater changes. Each showed global warming over the last 10,000 years.

The authors say it’s possible that samples collected for the previous study may not have adequately addressed the bigger picture. For example, biological samples taken from a core deposited in the summer may be different from samples at the exact same site had they been taken from a winter sediment.

The latest study proves that more research may be needed to determine exactly what sort of trends impacted our planet in the past. This, in turn, could help inform future climate models.

The findings are published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Article source: http://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/8519/20140812/cooling-or-warming-scientists-present-past-climate-change-conundrum.htm

GREEN SCENE: Nature, by the numbers

With a world increasingly challenged by many environmental problems, including that of global warming, I sometimes worry that people remain distracted and fail to notice the forces of nature that bind our world together are becoming increasingly frayed and weakened.

Thus, I was much encouraged by a survey conducted for Environment Canada that showed a high proportion of Canadians appreciated and understand the value of the natural world.

This recently published study (available at www.biodivcanada.ca) examined the awareness and attitudes towards nature expressed by 24,000 Canadians throughout 2012/’13 and showed, nationally, 92% of Canadians were aware of the term “species at risk” while 76% of us had heard of biodiversity. Slightly fewer people were aware of what “ecosystem services” are; these describe the many vital services nature provides us, including producing oxygen, creating fertile soils and purifying water through the water cycle. Apparently, 14% of all Canadians donate money to protect species at risk on an annual basis.

The survey also indicated that approximately half of Canadians had chosen to live in places in part because of the access provided to nature. In B.C., this proportion was higher than the national average, with two thirds of respondents indicating they chose to live, in part, in places that offered access to nature (developers, take note!).

More than half of those surveyed stated they had chosen to purchase products that were more environmentally friendly, such as bird-friendly (i.e., shade-grown organic coffee) or recycled toilet paper. While this was an encouraging finding, it was not clear if making such purchases was done on a consistent basis.

An astonishingly high number of people — almost 90% — indicated they participated in some form of a nature-based activity in the past year. Admittedly, the criteria for such activities were broad and included picnicking, gardening, reading about nature or viewing nature-focused media. In B.C., only 29% of us had camped in the past year, although 76% of us claimed to have gone hiking. The category of hiking included less rugged activities such as nature walks, which likely accounts for the high proportion of participants. Some people would consider hiking to be a specific activity with a strong uphill component that often takes participants into alpine ecosystems. About a fifth of B.C. survey respondents had gone birding or fishing in the past year while those who hunted accounted for considerably less of the participants (7%). In this survey, golfing was, to my surprise, included as another nature-related activity in which 21% of us had participated. Agritourism, which I assume includes trips to local farmers’ markets, had a participation rate of 24%.

These rather broad categories for nature-based activities also probably account for the high number of days that B.C. residents appeared to have participated in such activities. For example, the average number of participation days for B.C. residents was about 130 days per year. Given that a typical B.C. year consists of a high proportion of rainy weekends, I can only assume that much of the nature-based activities in this survey must be indoor ones or consist of short neighbourhood walks or, possibly, filling up the backyard bird feeder. Birders, a generally dedicated group, spent over 120 days per year bird-watching while anglers spent only about 30 days fishing.

Economically, spending on nature-based activities in B.C. contributed $7.5 billion to the economy, with annual expenditures of $2300 per person. Most of this money was spent on transportation (21%), accommodation (8%), food (11%) or the purchase of equipment and payment of fees (27%). Sometimes, it can be a challenge to enjoy nature and, at the same time, minimize fossil fuel emissions.

I was surprised to learn that 13% of those surveyed reported they had volunteered for a nature-related activity in the past year. This could have been something as simple as participating in a shoreline cleanup or planting native plants.

I have to admit, however, that I am a little doubtful of these numbers. Whenever I have been involved with volunteer nature activities, we typically have 15 to 30 volunteers show up — not the hundred or so that would be expected if 13% of Tri-Cities residents volunteer for nature at least once a year. I suspect the criteria for “volunteering” in the survey included things such as participating in annual events such as Fingerling Festival in Port Moody or Port Coquitlam’s Hyde Creek Salmon Festival.

Regardless, volunteers are responsible for much of the good work that is done for nature in this community such as restoring streams, raising salmon, leading nature walks and invasive plant removal. We should be encouraging their increased participation.

While this survey indicated a good level of general understanding and appreciation for nature, there is still much work to be done to educate others about the need to protect species at risk and preserve critical habitat. We also need to put more emphasis on building communities that will be resilient to the impacts of global warming while at the same time making efforts to reduce our dependence on the fossil fuels that are driving climate change.


Elaine Golds is a Port Moody environmentalist who is conservation/education chair of the Burke Mountain Naturalists, chair of the Colony Farm Park Association and a founding director of the board of the Port Moody Ecological Society.



Article source: http://www.bclocalnews.com/lifestyles/271123381.html