Ducklings Adopted by…

Have you #GotMilkweed?

David Suzuki Foundation
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Who’s got milkweed?

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By Jode Roberts, Team Lead, Homegrown National Park Project

The monarch butterfly has it bad. Fortunately, we have a solution. As part of our Toronto-based Homegrown National Park Project, we’ve #GotMilkweed.

This year the number of monarchs overwintering in Mexico hit an all-time low. Severe weather and the disappearance of milkweed (the plant they depend on) along their migratory path are making an already epic journey downright dangerous. There are even doubts that the monarchs will make it back to Canada!

That’s why we launched the #GotMilkweed earlier this month. We’re planting a milkweed corridor through the City of Toronto. And the response so far has been amazing!

Torontonians bought almost 1,000 milkweed plants in the first few days and are close to double that amount now. And hundreds of nice folks like you contributed $25 to buy plants for our volunteer Homegrown Park Rangers to plant in local schoolyards and parks. The Toronto Star even splashed the story on its front page.

Want to help?Torontonians can order milkweed now, while supplies last. When spring finally arrives, plant them in your yard or on your balcony. You can even become a butterfly “block captain” and inspire your neighbours, local schools, stores and churches to do the same.

Not from Toronto? No worries. You can check in with local conservation groups and nurseries in your community. Here is a good list of local nurseries. If they don’t stock milkweed species native to your region, politely ask them to start.

The monarch butterflies have it bad. Help us bring them back, one milkweed plant at a time.

Truly,

Jode Roberts
Team Lead, Homegrown National Park Project
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Bundy’s an asshole and his supporters are morons

Twitter

Steve Marmel ‏@Marmel

Here’s everything you should know about #BundyRanch. He’s no patriot and no hero. pic.twitter.com/6ALKLsRyHm


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College “Sports” Emilio DeGrazia

PRIVATIZE

“Have we gone insane?” is what a Minnesota cattle farmer probably not much interested in March Madness asked. His question was a reaction to the news that Jerry Kill, the University of Minnesota football coach, had his $1,2000,000 salary increased by an extra $2,100,000, plus perks, for guiding the Gophers to eight wins and five losses during the 2013 season. Maybe winning isn’t everything. It certainly isn’t for everyone.
No doubt Coach Kill is a nice enough guy and competent enough at what he does. And he didn’t complain about the salary bump he received. Ohio State’s Urban Meyer makes $4,600,000, plus perks, and he’s in the same league.
It’s hard to imagine anyone in his or her right mind seriously believing that the NCAA Division One big money sports––football, basketball, hockey––have anything but a tendril connection to a university’s higher education missions. There are several fine student-athletes who get excellent grades while working very hard at their sports. The graduation rate for athletes and non-athletes is comparable, though the amount of money it takes to get a student-athlete a degree is hidden in a murk of red ink. But it seems obvious that the hazards of football seem well out of line with what health educators teach, and that at the D-1 level students need to learn how to keep their classes from interfering with their serious sports jobs.
Student-athletes must suspect they’re part of an entertainment industry. Coach Kill was honest enough to fess up to it, and he left the impression that as a newcomer to the industry his new salary represents his fair market value.
But some of the people responsible for overseeing the numbers at D-1 higher educational institutions maybe need some refresher courses in elementary arithmetic. Only 23 of the 228 NCAA D-1 sports programs generated enough income to cover expenses in 2012, and 16 of the 23 winners received subsidies by way of student fees and university and state funds. The other 205 were losers, as were the donors and tax payers who picked up the tab. Losing seasons are a financial trend for most NCAA schools.
Meanwhile, the NCAA as an organization quietly showed a profit of $71,000,000 for 2012. Rather noisily state governments try to figure out how to pay their bills.
It’s time to turn these big-time sports teams into what they really are: Businesses. Because I’m addicted to thrift I think they should get off an unsustainable welfare system. Privatize them.
I’m not a spoil-sport. I know that millions love to cheer for the logos and colors on the laundry they love. Big time sports are major rituals that stimulate a deep need for community identity. As a kid in Michigan I grew up loving the Spartans and Wolverines, and I got my graduate degrees as a Buckeye at Ohio State, and when I married a Nebraska woman I learned to love Cornhuskers, and because I pay taxes in Wisconsin I have a Badger in me, and because my daughter is a student at the University of Iowa I’m a Hawkeye too. As a Minnesotan I’m a devout Gopher, for reasons I can’t fully explain. I want everyone to win.
A lot of people are not ready to give up big-time collegiate sports yet, even when they go home from a game losers again.
Turning big-time collegiate sports programs into for-profit enterprises should especially appeal to fiscal conservatives who have a passion to cut taxes and privatize the public schools.
Here’s my business plan: Turn the big-time intercollegiate sports over to private entrepreneurs willing to invest in new business ventures. Let entrepreneurs, rather than participating schools, run them as private for-profit businesses. They buy the naming, branding, and concessions rights from universities. They lease the cheerleaders and marching bands. They lease university facilities, or construct their own. They pay all travel and advertising expenses. They cut their own TV and bowl game deals. They hire the coaches and other managers. They pay the bills and enjoy the profits that come rolling in. Private investors could get involved, and maybe Wall Street too.
Could these new business enterprises––let’s call them clubs––still be considered intercollegiate sports? A few rules would give them permission to say yes. The players would be recruited from the pool of graduating high school student-athletes, as they are now. They would have five years to fulfill four years of service on the playing field. They would be required to establish student identity by taking at least one class at the university whose logo they wear during games.
Nothing much would change, except the ownership of teams, business plans, and bookkeeping responsibilities. Gopher fans could continue to cheer for players wearing Gopher uniforms, and everyone could continue to have a good time.
Currently there’s some talk about student-athletes unionizing. That’s an issue players could work out with management, maybe after some discussion about salaries for coaches and club executives. Clubs, as free enterprise businesses, could make millions, or not. And if not, owners could downsize or apply other lean strategies.
Already there are rumors about the University of Minnesota needing $190,000,000 for improved practice facilities. Experts feel that the UM will not be able to compete without the upgrades. They’re very probably right. Why would an eighteen year-old super athlete high school recruit want anything but the latest and best high-tech facilities? Why not go to Penn State instead?
Tim Dahlberg, sports writer for the AP, says, “That’s the way things are in big-time college athletics, where the rich are getting richer. Hard not to profit when the labor is free.” Hard not to profit when public university athletic programs are bailed out by student fees and tax dollars.
I’m with the cattle farmer from western Minnesota. Why play this game? “Have we gone insane?”
Four or five times a year I get a call from sweet-voiced students at my alma mater Ohio State. They want me to send OSU money because there’s never enough to go around. I plead with them to spread the word: For starters, I tell the voices on the line, cut the coaching salaries in half. Call me again after you begin there.=

Eagle buzzed by a seagull

Red Wing, MN at Colvill Park 3/26/2014

my distance from the eagle :-)

Gull Buzzes Eagle, Colvill Park, Red Wing

Gull buzzing an eagle at Colvill Park, Red Wing, MN 20140326 4pm