Environment & Conservation

Saving a River from Poison

The Putumayo River is home to some of the purest water in the Amazon basin—but maybe not for long. The huge Amazon tributary forms the border between Colombia and Peru, draining from giant Amazonian forests, orchid-covered peatlands, and, most presciently, soil bearing traces of gold. But mining that gold has the unfortunate side-effect of poisoning the water with mercury.

With an emphasis on culture, a new kind of nature trail emerges along Chicago’s south lakefront

North of the Margaret Burroughs Beach, a Caracol-inspired gathering space with a Mesoamerican hop scotch game will be part of a new trail in the Burnham Wildlife Corridor. This will be one of five sites installed in spring of 2016 by teams of artists and community-based organizations whose designs are inspired both by local ecology, as well as the heritage of communities adjacent to the south lakefront.

A Monarch’s View of the City

The iconic monarch butterfly and other pollinators are in trouble.  Monarch butterfly habitat— including milkweed host plants and nectar food sources—has declined drastically throughout most of the United States. Population levels have also exhibited a long-term downward trend, suggesting that loss of habitat is a major factor in monarch declines. Fortunately we can reverse this decline! By adding the plants monarchs need to survive, primarily native milkweed and other native flowers, to home gardens, schools, offices, and farms we can bring back the monarch.

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