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The Adirondack Cultural Symposium sponsored by AdkAction.org on September 10, 2015 is getting filled up to the 75 attendee limit, solely through pre-registrations. The Symposium is free to directors and board chairs of invited insitutions as well as to AdkAction.org members.
The symposium, at the Lake Placid Convention Center, will discuss ways we can collectively achieve our individual missions better by collaboration. The Symposium will be moderated by Jim Herman and David Mason of the Adirondack Futures Project. The format will be a morning of provocative presentations and round-tables discussions on topics of interest to all cultural organizations, such as increasing membership and attendance; using county, state and federal support services; opportunities for collaboration and cross-promotion, and so on.
Follow this link to learn more and pre-register.
If there were such a thing as Monarch Futures* on the market right now, I'd buy all I could. The immediate future for monarchs looks bright – there is a good chance the population will increase this year. Read the press release by Monarch Butterfly expert, Chip Taylor.
Long-term declines in the overwintering Eastern population of North American monarch butterflies are significantly increasing their likelihood of becoming extinct over the next two decades, according to Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego and U.S. Geological Survey research recently published. The new study, available in the journal Scientific Reports, found that the Eastern migratory monarch population declined by 84 percent from the winter of 1996-1997 to the winter of 2014-2015.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service's spring bulletin highlights saving the monarch and likens the efforts to save these important insects to those used years ago to save the bald eagle. We were successful with the eagles and if we all work together, we can be successful with the monarchs.
Eight videos from the September 2014 (3rd) Winter Road Maintenance Conference are now available by following this link.
This new cooperative agreement is an innovative conservation partnership created to build a network of diverse conservation partners and stakeholders to protect and restore the important Monarch habitat. They are asking Americans to get involved and plant milkweed. Click here to watch the video.
An important new report about the Monarch butterfly prepared for the U.S. Forest Service by NatureServe and the Xerces Society is now available.
The thing that marks this report from others is that it includes a newly completed assessment that found that monarch butterflies in North America are vulnerable to extinction. The assessment was done using NatureServe's conservation status assessment methodology, which has been successfully applied to hundreds of species of animals.
Using data on population abundance, trends, and threats, it was determined that while the monarch butterfly species as a whole, Danaus plexippus, is apparently secure, the subspecies occurring in North America, Danaus plexippus plexippus, is vulnerable to extinction. Under the assessment, the North American monarchs were split into an eastern population that migrates from as far north as southern Canada to central Mexico each fall, and a smaller western population, that largely migrates to coastal California to spend the winter. The eastern monarch population was assessed as "critically imperiled" due to recent rapid decline and widespread threats. The western population, with a slightly slower rate of decline and less widespread threats, was categorized as "vulnerable to imperiled."
The report, Conservation Status and Ecology of the Monarch Butterfly in the United States, summarizes the monarch's North American distribution, life history, pop¬ulation, current conservation status, and potential causes of decline. In addition, it includes a set of breeding and overwintering habitat management recommendations. This report aims to inform government agencies charged with biodiversity protection, as well as conservation organizations and the public in general, about the threats to and current conservation status of this much-loved, iconic insect.
Download Conservation Status and Ecology of the Monarch Butterfly in the United States at http://www.xerces.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/NatureServe-Xerces_monarchs_USFS-final.pdf.
AdkAction.org board member, David Wolff, has been recognized as a 2014 NYS Extraordinary Broadband Leader by the NYS Broadband Program Office. Read the letter written by David Salway, Director of the NYS Broadband Program Office, on behalf of Govenor Andrew M. Cuomo, Lt. Governor Robert Duffy, and New York State by clicking here.
This study sheds light on evolutionary origins and the genes central to migration and warning coloration. To learn more about the article by The University of Chicago Medical Center, click here. [READ MORE]
Why I Back the Move to Give Monarchs Federal
Threatened Species Status
by Marsha Stanley
Over the past 18 months, I have had the incredible opportunity of having Chip Taylor and Lincoln Brower as guests in my home in the Adirondacks. We had hours to converse with each and ask questions to our heart's content. We found both brilliant, charismatic experts in their field. Each came to lecture at The Wild Center, the Natural History Museum of the Adirondacks, under the sponsorship of a small non-profit I helped found, AdkAction.org.
Of course, I am no scientist and no expert on this subject. But I find myself having to make a choice of whether to side with Lincoln or Chip on Lincoln's recent quest to have Monarchs added to the threatened species list, which offers all its potential protections.
Lincoln says it's time we extended this vital protection, which might be one way to get some influence on the spread of destructive GMO agri-business. Chip argues on strict scientific ground that Monarchs are not an endangered species. He says there are on-going populations in California, Florida and on some Caribbean islands. As a layperson who tries to keep informed, I know the California population is in steady decline. I believe as well that the Florida and Caribbean islands populations are highly vulnerable to climate change.
Here is a theoretical: Say there were a thriving, non-threatened population of Monarchs on -- oh-- Easter Island. You might stand on scientific principle and say, no, they are not a threatened species because they thrive on Easter Island.
What comfort is this to a little boy in Michigan who will know Monarchs only by their iconic photos? What joy is there in that to a 70-year-old woman in the Adirondacks who grew up loving Monarchs from her childhood in Appalachia and has planted an entire garden around their needs?
I beg your indulgence here while I digress to share with you an email sent by my good friend Rick Mincher, a poet and academic to the core, in response to my Power of One article about Monarchs.
Thank you so much for taking the time to write this article and for caring for the monarchs.
Somewhere along the past year I read up on these colorful travelers and I noticed this line in the Wikipedia description of the monarch butterfly. The monarch was originally described by Linnaeus in his Systema Naturae of 1758 and it was placed in the genus Papilio. Upon reading this single line it may not seem all that unique or interesting to most folks.
Years ago I was trying to find the origin to the practice of drawing a line in the sand to force others into making decisions. The earliest account I could find was the story of Gaius Popillius Laenas. I found the comparison eerie when seeing that the monarch was originally described by Linnaeus who placed it in the genus Papilio. Here is this simple story. (Stay with me here. Don't neglect to read all of Rick's email. It's short with a big pay-off.)
The story of Gaius Popillius Laenas
"Once upon a time there was a very bad and nasty King of Syria named Antiochus. [...] Even though Syria was a rich kingdom, King Antiochus IV lusted after the neighbouring kingdom of Egypt [...] so King Antiochus IV invaded Egypt, captured Pelusium, marched down the Delta to Memphis, captured that, and began to march up the other side of the Delta toward Alexandria.
"Having ruined the country and the army, the brothers Ptolemy and their sister-wife, Cleopatra II, had no choice but to appeal to Rome for help against King Antiochus IV, Rome being the best and greatest of all nations, and everyone's hero. To the rescue of Egypt, the Senate and People of Rome (being in better accord in those days than we would believe possible now - or so the storybooks say) sent their noble brave consular Gaius Popillius Laenas. Now any other country would have given its hero a whole army, but the Senate and People of Rome gave Gaius Popillius Laenas only twelve lictors and two clerks. However, because it was a foreign mission, the lictors were allowed to wear the red tunics and put the axes in their bundles of rods, so Gaius Popillius Laenas was not quite unprotected. Off they sailed in a little ship, and came to Alexandria just as King Antiochus IV was marching up the Canopic arm of the Nilus toward the great city wherein cowered the Egyptians.
"Clad in his purple-bordered toga and preceded by his twelve crimson-clad lictors, all bearing the axes in their bundles of rods, Gaius Popillus Laenas walked east. Now he was not a young man, so as he went he leaned upon a tall staff, his pace as placid as his face. Since only the brave and heroic and noble Romans built decent roads, he was soon walking along through thick dust. But was Gaius Popillus Laenas deterred? No! He just kept on walking, until near the huge hippodrome in which the Alexandrians liked to watch the horse races, he ran into a wall of Syrian soldiers, and had to stop.
"King Antiochus IV of Syria came forward, and went to meet Gaius Popillius Laenas.
"'Rome has no business in Egypt!' the King said, frowning awfully and direfully.
"'Syria has no business in Egypt either,' said Gaius Popillius Laenas, smiling sweetly and serenely.
"'Go back to Rome,' said the King.
"'Go back to Syria,' said Gaius Popillius Laenas.
"But neither of them moved a single inch.
"'You are offending the Senate and People of Rome,' said Gaius Popillius Laenas after a while of staring into the King's fierce face. 'I have been ordered to make you return to Syria.'
"The King laughed and laughed and laughed. 'And how are you going to make me go home?' he asked. 'Where is your army?'
"'I have no need of an army, King Antiochus IV,' said Gaius Popillius Laenas. 'Everything that Rome is, has been, and will be, is standing before you here and now. I am Rome, no less than Rome's largest army. And in the name of Rome, I say to you a further time, go home!'
"'No,' said King Antiochus IV.
"So Gaius Popillius Laenas stepped forward, and moving sedately, he used the end of his staff to trace a circle in the dust all the way around the person of King Antiochus IV, who found himself standing inside Gaius Popillius Laenas's circle.
"'Before you step out of this circle, King Antiochus IV, I advise you to think again,' said Gaius Popillius Laenas. 'And when you do step out of it - why, be facing east, and go home to Syria.'
"The King said nothing. The King did not stir. Gaius Popillius Laenas said nothing. Gaius Popillius Laenas did not stir. Since Gaius Popillius Laenas was a Roman and did not need to hide his face, his sweet and serene countenance was on full display. But King Antiochus IV hid his face behind a curled and wired wigbeard, and even then could not conceal its thunder. Time went on. And then, still inside the circle, the mighty King of Syria turned on his heel to face east, and stepped out of the circle in an easterly direction, and marched back to Syria with all his soldiers."
Colleen McCullough, The First Man in Rome, pp.265 - 266.
I love the way that this Roman peacemaker, one man, used his wit and wisdom to halt an evil Syria from terrorizing Egypt. The power of one, and somehow in a quirky sense the story of the monarch is connected to finding peace in the middle east, even if it was two thousand years ago.
Lincoln Brower and his colleagues want to draw that line in the sand for Monarchs. I love and respect you, Chip, but my heart and mind tell me to stand with Lincoln on this on his side of this line in the sand.
All on d-plex and elsewhere will, of course, have to make up your own minds. I urge you to give serious, deep consideration, as I have, then go to this link and sign the petition to place Monarchs on the threatened species list before it it too late.
Thanks to all for taking time to read this and consider its message. And again, go here to sign the petition: http://action.biologicaldiversity.org/o/2167/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=16354
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