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Dr. Michael Mann, Keynote Speaker

Land trusts can be an important part of the climate solution. We have an opportunity to continue to amplify the change that needs to happen.

Dr. Michael Mann will speak at the Pennsylvania Land Trust Conference in April 2023. A world-renowned climate scientist and climate communicator, Dr. Michael E. Mann is Presidential Distinguished Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Science at the University of Pennsylvania, with a secondary appointment in the Annenberg School for Communication. His most recent book is The New Climate War: The Fight to Take Back Our Planet.

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Corn Field

Learn more about Conservation Innovation Grants

Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) is a competitive program that supports the development of new tools, approaches, practices, and technologies to further natural resource conservation on private lands.

Through creative problem solving and innovation, CIG partners work to address our nation’s water quality, air quality, soil health and wildlife habitat challenges, all while improving agricultural operations.

There are three annual Conservation Innovation Grants funding opportunities…

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Judy Anderson

Healthy soil grants

Funding is increasingly available to improve farming practices, sometimes called regenerative agriculture, to help slow down climate change and improve water quality, soil health, and clean air.

Vermont farmers have an essential role to play in combating climate change. Some farming practices can trap carbon and keep it out of the atmosphere, while supporting wildlife habitat, healthier soils, and cleaner water. The challenge can be sustaining profitability while making significant changes.

Which practices are worth the investment? And how long will they take to pay off?

To answer these questions and more, we are partnering with Bio-Logical Capital and the University of Vermont on a Conservation Innovation Grant funded by the Natural Resources Conservation Service. This five-year research project will provide direct payments to Vermont farmers who agree to implement farming practices that improve soil health

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Forest Light

Rescuing the planet

This webinar might be of interest to those who would like to take action to slow the extinction emergency, as well as slowing down climate change as part of that effort. You could share it with others.

On Dec 1st at 7p.m. eastern, join the Natural Areas Conservancy (of New York City) and the Cary Institute for a virtual book talk featuring author and scholar Tony Hiss. He will discuss his new book, Rescuing the Planet – Protecting Half the Land to Heal the Earth, in conversation with Cary President Dr. Joshua Ginsberg and the Natural Areas Conservancy’s Executive Director Sarah Charlop-Powers.

In Rescuing the Planet, Hiss takes stock of the “superorganism” that is Earth and what we can do to keep it, and ourselves, alive. He invites [people] to understand the gravity of the problems we face, and makes the case for why protecting half the land by 2025 is vital to halting the extinction crisis and ensuring the health of our planet.

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Nearly 3 billion birds gone

Watch this a short video by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology about findings on North America’s steep bird declines.

The first-ever comprehensive assessment of net population changes in the U.S. and Canada reveals across-the-board declines that scientists call “staggering.” All told, the North American bird population is down by 2.9 billion breeding adults, with devastating losses among birds in every biome. Forests alone have lost 1 billion birds. Grassland bird populations collectively have declined by 53%, or another 720 million birds.

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Dopeyden / Getty Images stock

Just hearing or seeing birds can boost our mental health, new report suggests

Birds can be a catalyst for climate action. Renewable energy is going to be critical for bird survival; we can help people understand the importance by connecting to what they care about.

“Our main finding is that there is a time-lasting association between seeing or hearing birds and improved mental well-being,” said the study’s lead author, Ryan Hammoud, a PhD candidate and a research assistant at the institute of psychiatry and psychology and neuroscience at King’s College London…

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Judy Anderson

Messaging guru offers list of words to use (and avoid) to build support for climate solutions

Words matter. If you are working to increase climate action you'll want to be strategic in how you connect to people. (Otherwise, you might accidentally drive them away.)

As a messaging expert, Luntz is now offering his advice on how activists should talk about the problem of climate change and solutions including clean energy, featuring his version of the ever-popular list of “words to use and lose”…

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Cable Solar
Rute Foundation

Agrivoltaic solar tracker uses cables instead of buried steel

As extreme weather (including drought) stresses agriculture, the shade from well-designed solar panels may provide a respite that in the past might have been seen as an unwanted barrier. Cable, rather than posts as shown below, may allow for additional flexibility with farm use and reduce installation expenses.

The Suntracker system is suspended by cables, rather than mounted on steel driven into the ground, providing what the company says is the lowest levelized cost of energy (LCOE) for high-clearance solar. Rute reports that by using cables rather than steel foundations, steel use is reduced by as much as 30%.

Another advantage of the cable system is that the land does not have to be disturbed in order to install the system, which is a benefit in the agricultural industry. It also enables the land to be returned to its original condition in the event that the solar installation were to be removed…

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City Rain
Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Excessively wet year in eastern U.S. shows fingerprints of climate change

The effects of changing weather patterns are affecting pollinators. Drought conditions in the western U.S. in 2021 dried up bee forage — the floral nectar and pollen that bees need to produce honey and stay healthy. And extreme rain in the Northeast limited the hours that bees could fly for forage.

Five tropical storms and a summer of frequent thunderstorm activity have propelled parts of the eastern United States to one of its wettest calendar years on record.

Through November, 25 of 344 climate regions nationwide reported precipitation that exceeded 90 percent of years since 1895. All but two of these top-10 percent-rainfall regions were east of the Mississippi River, spread from Louisiana to Massachusetts and Illinois to Florida.

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Annual 2021 Drought Report

The patterns of drought and extreme rainfall are worsening as climate change accelerates.

Overall, when integrated across the nation and across the entire year, 2021 was a warm year with precipitation averaging near the middle of the historical distribution. The annual nationwide ranks were fourth warmest and 57th wettest (71st driest), based on data for 1895-2021. But this was a year of extremes as considerable variation occurred throughout the year and across the country. The year was unusually wet from the Gulf of Mexico coast to the eastern Great Lakes and southern portions of New England, where Massachusetts had the ninth wettest year on record and three other states ranked in the top twenty wettest category.

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