Audubon Releases Virtual Birds All Over the Internet

Buy a Bottle, Save a Bee

Homegrown & Handmade A Practical Guide to More Self-Reliant Living

Oats: Good For You and Good For The Environment

Top 10 Emerging Destinations for Green and Sustainable Travel

nature conserve

friendship bag

Audubon Releases Virtual Birds
All Over the Internet

Birdwatching hit the Internet in a big way earlier this month when Audubon launched its groundbreaking social media campaign, Birding the Net, on October 11. Visitors to over 100 websites—including AOL, Slate, Discovery Channel and more will encounter unexpected avian visitors—each inviting them to find more birds to add to their lists. The campaign, created by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, will bring the excitement of birds and birding to a broad new audience in a new and unexpected way.

“Birds are the best possible ambassadors for the environment, and this will help people see them in a whole new way,” said David Yarnold, President & CEO of Audubon. “This is about fun – but it’s also about getting more people involved in taking action to protect birds and the planet we share with them. And with this unprecedented use of social media and the web, we’re also making it clear that this is not your grandmother’s Audubon.”

In the recently release film The Big Year, characters compete to see the most North American birds in one year. Birding the Net brings to the Internet the thrill of the chase found in real-world birding, challenging players to spot dozens of species that will be released from Oct. 11 through Nov. 7. Web surfers will observe virtual birds doing the same things that birds do outdoors: animations of birds will fly across homepages, perch on mastheads, and flock to birdhouses that anyone can install on personal websites and blogs. Clicking on the animated birds on the many participating websites takes players to an Audubon Facebook page to collect and trade “bird cards” which feature recordings of birdsongs, bird facts, and video. The first players to collect all the birds will win prizes, including a voyage to the Galapagos Islands.

"This campaign amazingly combines bird preservation, education and alluring animation in an addictive experience that spreads across the Internet,” said Jeff Goodby, Co-Founder and Co-Chairman of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners and long-time supporter of Audubon. Says Goodby, “the game turns the cold digital world into a resonant reminder of what we love about the warm and fragrant natural world around us."

All that is required to play is to visit Audubon on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NationalAudubonSociety. The game will go viral, since trading bird cards helps a player’s chances of winning; the more Facebook friends that compete in Birding the Net, the more opportunities for trading birds. And for exclusive hints on where to find birds on the Internet, Audubon followers on Twitter (@AudubonSociety) can interact and follow campaign “spokesbirds” @FloridaScrubJay and @RufHummingbird.

In addition to the grand prize voyage for two to the Galapagos Islands courtesy of Lindblad Expeditions, prizes include Canon cameras, Nikon binoculars, gift cards to Woolrich and downloads of the Audubon Birds – A Field Guide to North American Birds mobile app from Green Mountain Digital. All 200 winners also receive one-year membership to Audubon.

Now in its second century, Audubon connects people with birds, nature and the environment that supports us all. Our national network of community-based nature centers, chapters, scientific, education, and advocacy programs engages millions of people from all walks of life in conservation action to protect and restore the natural world. Visit Audubon online at www.audubon.org.

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Buy a Bottle, Save a Bee

Honeydrop Beverages, the leading producer of natural teas and juices made with a tablespoon of honey, recently announced the launch of their “Buy a Bottle–Save a Bee” campaign at the regional Natural Products Expo East 2011. This initiative, established to help fight Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), an epidemic threatening the global bee population, is at the heart of the brand, with Honeydrop donating a percentage of profits from each bottle sold to carefully selected local beekeepers across the U.S.

Since 2006, the honeybee population has been diminishing at an alarming rate, with nearly 30% of honeybees lost each year to a spectrum of causes, widely known as CCD. According to the company, honeybees not only produce Honeydrop’s key ingredient, but also pollinate 1/3 of all the produce we consume, including 90% of apples and oranges and 100% of almonds grown in the U.S., making them an essential member of our agricultural community.

“Being a part of the solution to CCD is an important part of our mission,” says Honeydrop CEO and Founder, David Luks. “Without honeybees, not only is there no honey, but also no almonds, no melons, no tomatoes, no sweet potatoes…they truly are an integral part of our food chain.”

Through “Buy a Bottle–Save a Bee,” Honeydrop will help save the threatened bee population, as a percentage of profits from every bottle sold will be donated to the brand’s community beekeeper partners, helping them to build and maintain new beehives. Each new beehive increases the bee population by 40,000-60,000 bees, actively combating Colony Collapse Disorder.

In addition to the launch of their “Buy a Bottle – Save a Bee,” program, Honeydrop recently has launched new products, adding to their line of fresh brewed teas and all natural juices—Green Tea, Lemon Tea, and Lemon Ginger Tea flavors.

Honeydrop Beverages offer a healthy line of teas and juices powered by honey. Each drink contains one tablespoon of pure wildflower honey, domestically sourced from regional beekeepers across the U.S., is void of all refined or artificial sweeteners and contains only 70 to 90 calories. Honeydrop is available at leading natural and gourmet grocers nationwide, including Whole Foods, Nugget Markets, Dean & DeLuca and other fine stores. The 14 oz. glass bottle of Honeydrop sells for $1.99. www.honeydrop.com

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Homegrown & Handmade
A Practical Guide to More Self-Reliant Living

Deborah Niemann is living proof that it's possible to grow a large portion of your own food without being a master gardener or growing up on a farm or being a morning person who rises with the sun. She grew up in a small town eating frozen pizza and canned ravioli and she was sick all the time. When she got pregnant with her first child, she started learning about nutrition and realized that maybe her children would not have to endure a childhood filled with earaches and influenza if they had a healthier diet.

So more than 20 years ago, she and her husband became vegetariansand she started baking bread, and each year they improved a little in various parts of their diet, and in 2002, they took the plunge and moved to 32 acres on a creek – 90 miles south of Chicago – to grow their own food organically. Today they grow 100% of their own meat, dairy, eggs, maple syrup, and a large part of their fruits and vegetables.

Niemann’s new book, Homegrown & Handmade: A Practical Guide to a More Self-Reliant Living (New Society Publishers/$22.95 Paperback) shows how making things from scratch and growing at least some of your own food can help you eliminate artificial ingredients from your diet, reduce your carbon footprint and create a more authentic life. Whether the goal is increasing self-reliance or becoming a full-fledged homesteader, it’s packed with answers and solutions to help individuals:

- Get started on taking control of your food supply from seed to plate
- Grow herbs indoors
- Extend the tomato harvest
- Preserve your own fruits and vegetables
- Make your own butter, buttermilk, yogurt and cheeses
- Garden in the winter
- Learn about self-pollinating plants, wind-and insect-pollinating plants, composting
- Food safety and ethics

Niemann is a self-sufficiency expert and a much sought-after speaker. She speaks about the slow-food movement and sustainability issues at conferences nationwide. She’s been interviewed on Oprah, 20/20, Extra!, Leeza as well as numerous national shows and every news station in Chicago. She is also a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in numerous magazines including Mother Earth News, Chicago Parent, Writer’s Digest and others.

The first half of the book is well-written and informative—helpful for both the new and experienced gardener. The second half of the book, while interesting and packed with valuable information including many good recipes, offers a more adventurous look at farming, starting a dairy, and raising poultry. The recipes and projects look fun and are easily explained—we can’t wait to try the recipe for Easy Mozzarella! For additional information please visit: www.homegrownandhandmadethebook.com.

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Oats:
Good For You
And Good For The Environment

During the last decade, most Americans have learned about the important nutritional benefits of eating oats. There is even a website completely devoted to oats, appropriately called www.eatmoreoats.com, where you can find the history of oats, recipes, and interesting information about worldwide oat production and yields.

Oats have many uses and can be found in many forms. After all, there are not many products that can claim such a wide variety of uses and benefits, including feeding both humans and livestock, providing significant health benefits, cleaning and exfoliating the skin, and brewing beer, among the many.

What most Americans don’t know, including some farmers, are the environmental benefits of growing oats. According to the North American Millers’ Association (NAMA), oats are an ideal "low-input" crop, which, when included in rotations, encourage crop diversity to control plant diseases, insects and weeds, and to reduce soil erosion.

It is believed that oat consumption by humans dates back to around 400 BC where it was used as a bulk former, a healing agent, and as a drying and soothing salve for the skin. This versatile grain found widespread acceptance in Europe, particularly in Ireland and Scotland where the Highlanders used it in a variety of porridges and baked goods. It is estimated that oats reached America around 1602 and were primarily used for medicinal purposes, relieving stomach discomfort and other ailments.

When several oat mills joined forces at the turn of the century to create The Quaker Oats Company, oats began to be effectively promoted to the public as a healthy food. After several years of declining production, the late 1980s brought consumer interest back to oats as the information about their cholesterol lowering properties made headlines.

According to NAMA, oats are consumed mainly as a breakfast food, snack product, or in bran form in this country. Before oats are milled, the hulls are removed, leaving the oat groat. Groats are milled into steel-cut oat, rolled flakes, quick and instant flakes, oat flour, and oat bran. Approximately 85% of human oat products are consumed as either standard or instant oatmeal or oat bran. The remaining 15% are used as oat flour or in snack products like granola bars.

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Top 10 Emerging Destinations for Green
and Sustainable Travel

Eco trailblazer Greenloons is here to help travelers source the green vacation of their dreams, one that’s been certified sustainable. Irene Lane, Greenloons founder, suggests 10 emerging eco destinations as the next “best bets” to take folks off the sometimes beaten green path.

“Traveling sustainably in new destinations,” Lane said, “helps raise living standards and can create environmental reverence by emphasizing conservation education and advocating sustainable activities that lessen degradation.”

Here’s a list of Lane’s top developing destinations for green travel:

1. Jordan Family Adventure: Jordan’s eco-lodges combine local heritage and educational experiences while exploring a mix of modernity, ancient wonders and nature. Think horse or camel safaris, Bedouins, the endangered Arabia oryx, Petra, the Dead Sea and trekking through Dana Nature Reserve.

2. Borneo Family Adventure: Borneo’s jungles, beaches, caves, exotic wildlife and more than 5,000 diverse and endemic plant species are revealed by, among others, trekking the relatively untouched Mt. Kinabalu and exploring the Kinabatangang River, home to wild boar, orangutans, elephants, king fishers, macaque and proboscis monkeys. Award-winning eco-lodges harvest rainwater, use solar power and manage wildlife rehabilitation.

3. Philippine Discovery: The Philippines is among National Geographic’s 20 Best Destinations for 2011 and Palawan Island its top eco-destination. Among 7,000 islands guests swim with whale sharks, discover endangered sea turtles, spy on the rare Philippine eagle and discover the mountain-to-sea ecosystem of the Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park. Eco-lodges serve locally sourced food and wildlife education.

4. Kayak Belize: Belize offers more than 87 distinct types of ecosystems, making ecotourism the lifeblood of its economy. Along with 150 identified species of mammals are rainforests, Mayan temples, the world’s second longest barrier reef and an abundance of eco-lodges educating travelers about the fragility of its ecosystem.

5. Delta & Falls Experience: Botswana favors low volume, high quality, environmentally conscious safari travel into the Okavango Delta and Kalahari Desert, the savannahs of the Moremi Reserve and the forests of Chobe and Linyanta Game Reserves. Guests enjoy game drives, walking, elephant/horseback/bicycle safaris and boating, plus youth explorer programs emphasizing conservation and bush survival skills. Tented bush camps are environmentally friendly.

6. Best of Eastern Europe: Poland has mountains, rivers and wetlands and is a haven for hundreds of thousands of migratory birds as well as avid hiking enthusiasts. With 23 National Parks and forests covering nearly 30 percent of the country, Poland has its own Big Game: the European bison, lynx, stoats, martens and red deer. Guests can enjoy eco-ranch lodges.

7. Dalmatian Islands Walk: Croatia’s eco/agritourism focuses on culinary tours with locally sourced organic produce and family farm stays. Activities can include hiking, biking, rafting and canoeing.

8. Guyana Wildlife Adventure: Guyana’s mountain ranges, savannahs and jungle canopy walks combine with river and rainforest eco-lodges for close-up views of exotic birds, jaguars, red howler monkeys, giant river otters and other wildlife. The famed Karanambu Ranch rehabilitates orphaned giant river otters so they can be released back into the wild.

9. Glacier National Park—El Chalten: Argentina is home to Glacier National Park and the active Perito Moreno, one of the world’s only advancing glaciers, as well as the tropical rain forests of Iguazu Falls near Brazil, the Antarctic environment of Tierra del Fuego, the Andean mountains, the wind-swept Patagonian steppe and the coastal marine habitat of the Valdes Peninsula. Eco-lodges are crafted from local materials to integrate with the environment.

10. Ethiopia Explorer: Ethiopia may be a trek across the Roof of Africa through the virtually untouched Simien Mountains, home of the Gelada baboon, Walia ibex and endangered Ethiopian wolf. Or it may be Rift Valley Lakes and Blue Nile Falls or Lalibela, considered to be one of the greatest spiritual-historical sites of the world. Eco-lodgings are built in the traditional “tikka” style and solar-powered.

Greenloons guides families to travel experiences managed by certified third-party suppliers engaged in eco- and sustainable tourism. Lane founded Greenloons in 2010 for the global community of nature enthusiasts and wildlife conservationists interested in accessing detailed and reliable information about responsible, sustainable and certified ecotourism travel vacations both in the US and abroad.

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