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  11. <title>Wild About Utah</title>
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  13. <link>http://wildaboututah.org</link>
  14. <description>A Utah Public Radio production featuring contributors who share a love of nature, preservation and education</description>
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  23. <title>Wild About Utah</title>
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  29. <title>Cache Valley Christmas Bird Count (CBC) and Climate Change</title>
  30. <link>http://wildaboututah.org/cache-valley-christmas-bird-count-cbc-climate-change/</link>
  31. <comments>http://wildaboututah.org/cache-valley-christmas-bird-count-cbc-climate-change/#respond</comments>
  32. <pubDate>Mon, 11 Dec 2017 14:41:56 +0000</pubDate>
  33. <dc:creator><![CDATA[Jack Greene]]></dc:creator>
  34. <category><![CDATA[Birds]]></category>
  35. <category><![CDATA[Citizen Science]]></category>
  36. <category><![CDATA[People]]></category>
  37. <category><![CDATA[CBC]]></category>
  38. <category><![CDATA[Christmas Bird Count]]></category>
  39. <category><![CDATA[citizen science]]></category>
  40. <category><![CDATA[climate change]]></category>
  41.  
  42. <guid isPermaLink="false">http://wildaboututah.org/?p=7815</guid>
  43. <description><![CDATA[<p>It might be worth checking one’s mental state if they were to spend many hours in frigid temperatures hoping to find a bird. There are many of those crazies in our valley here in northern Utah. Citizen Scientists they call us. After all, we do follow strict protocol that defines boundaries, time and what is &#8230; </p>
  44. <p class="link-more"><a href="http://wildaboututah.org/cache-valley-christmas-bird-count-cbc-climate-change/" class="more-link">Continue reading<span class="screen-reader-text"> "Cache Valley Christmas Bird Count (CBC) and Climate Change"</span></a></p>
  45. <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://wildaboututah.org/cache-valley-christmas-bird-count-cbc-climate-change/">Cache Valley Christmas Bird Count (CBC) and Climate Change</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://wildaboututah.org">Wild About Utah</a>.</p>
  46. ]]></description>
  47. <content:encoded><![CDATA[<p><figure id="attachment_7820" style="max-width: 250px" class="wp-caption alignright"><a href="http://wildaboututah.org/wp-content/uploads/Audubon-Camilla_Cerea_CBC_5-1.jpg"><img src="http://wildaboututah.org/wp-content/uploads/Audubon-Camilla_Cerea_CBC_5.250x167.jpg" alt="Cache Valley Christmas Bird Count Courtesy Audubon.org Camilla Cerea, Photographer All Rights Reserved" width="250" height="167" class="size-full wp-image-7820" /></a><figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Christmas Bird Count<br />Courtesy Audubon.org<br />&copy; Camilla Cerea, Photographer<br />All Rights Reserved</figcaption></figure>It might be worth checking one’s mental state if they were to spend many hours in frigid temperatures hoping to find a bird. There are many of those crazies in our valley here in northern Utah. Citizen Scientists they call us. After all, we do follow strict protocol that defines boundaries, time and what is legitimately called a bird siting or sounding. Yes, there are errors in counts when a flock of European starlings darken the sky, or when trying to identify a distant raptor, that is scarcely more than a black dot in the heavens. </p>
  48. <p>Called the Christmas Bird Count, this event is the longest citizen science program in the world, where data has been collected since 1899. Here in Cache Valley it began in 1955. It occurs throughout the state and world with many countries participating. Visit your local Audubon chapters if you care to be involved. Wasatch, Salt Lake and St George all have chapters. Bear Lake, Vernal and Provo also do counts. And I am sure there are others in your area if you inquire.</p>
  49. <p>Along with the fun it brings, the count has special significance for our changing climates’ impact on birds, which is disrupting populations and their spacial distribution are changing at an accelerating rate.<br />
  50. The data collected by observers over the past 118 years has allowed researchers to study the long-term health and status of bird populations across North America and Central and South America. When combined with other surveys such as the Breeding Bird Survey, it provides a picture of how the continent’s bird populations have changed in time and space. This long term perspective is vital for conservationists. It informs strategies to better protect birds and their habitat, and helps identify environmental issues with implications for people as well.</p>
  51. <p>Audubon’s 2014 Climate Change Report is a comprehensive study that predicts how climate change could affect the range of 588 North American birds. Of the bird species studied, more than half are likely to be in trouble. The models indicate that 314 species will lose more than half of their current range by 2080.<br />
  52. Audubon’s Common Birds in Decline Report revealed that some of America’s most beloved and familiar birds have taken a nosedive over the past forty years.</p>
  53. <p>142 species of concern are found in our state, including our state bird, the California gull and our national bald eagle. </p>
  54. <p>If you aren’t up to braving the elements, Project FeederWatch and Great Backyard Bird Count are other options you may find by googling. I’m hoping for good visibility and temperatures above zero as I prepare my optical instruments and hot chocolate.</p>
  55. <p>And please keep those bird feeders full as we enter the coldest month of the year!</p>
  56. <p>This is Jack Greene writing and reading for Wild About Utah.</p>
  57. <p><span style="font-family:Verdana;font-size:10pt;"><span style="color: #2A7F55;font-weight:bold;">Credits:</span><br />
  58.    Image: Courtesy Audubon.org, Copyright &copy; Camilla Cerea, Photographer, All Rights Reserved<br />
  59.    Text:  &nbsp; &nbsp; Jack Greene, <a href="http://bridgerlandaudubon.org">Bridgerland Audubon Society</p>
  60. <p>    </a></span><br />
  61.    <span style="font-family:Verdana;font-size:10pt;"><span style="color: #2A7F55;font-weight:bold;">Additional Reading:</span><br />
  62. </span></p>
  63. <p>Project FeederWatch is a winter-long survey of birds that visit feeders at backyards, nature centers, community areas, and other locales in North America. FeederWatchers periodically count the birds they see at their feeders from November through early April and send their counts to Project FeederWatch. FeederWatch data help scientists track broadscale movements of winter bird populations and long-term trends in bird distribution and abundance. <a href="https://feederwatch.org/" target="newWindow">https://feederwatch.org/</a></p>
  64. <p>Launched in 1998 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, the Great Backyard Bird Count was the first online citizen-science project to collect data on wild birds and to display results in near real-time. <a href="http://gbbc.birdcount.org/about/" target="newWindow">http://gbbc.birdcount.org/about/</a> </p>
  65. <p>Audubon&#8217;s 118th Christmas Bird Count will be conducted this coming season, with all counts held between the dates of Thursday, December 14, 2017 through Friday, January 5, 2018.<br />
  66. <a href="http://www.audubon.org/conservation/join-christmas-bird-count" target="newWindow">http://www.audubon.org/conservation/join-christmas-bird-count</a><br />
  67. <a href="http://www.audubon.org/conservation/science/christmas-bird-count" target="newWindow">http://www.audubon.org/conservation/science/christmas-bird-count</a> </p>
  68. <p>58th Cache Valley (Logan) Christmas Bird Count: 16 Dec 2017<br />
  69. <a href="http://bridgerlandaudubon.org/our-projects/cache-valley-christmas-bird-count/" target="newWindow">http://bridgerlandaudubon.org/our-projects/cache-valley-christmas-bird-count/</a> </p>
  70. <p>Regional Christmas Bird Counts<br />
  71. <a href="http://www.utahbirds.org/cbc/cbc.html" target="newWindow">http://www.utahbirds.org/cbc/cbc.html</a> </p>
  72. <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://wildaboututah.org/cache-valley-christmas-bird-count-cbc-climate-change/">Cache Valley Christmas Bird Count (CBC) and Climate Change</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://wildaboututah.org">Wild About Utah</a>.</p>
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  76. </item>
  77. <item>
  78. <title>Winter Bird Feeding</title>
  79. <link>http://wildaboututah.org/winter-bird-feeding/</link>
  80. <pubDate>Mon, 04 Dec 2017 14:41:50 +0000</pubDate>
  81. <dc:creator><![CDATA[Ron Hellstern]]></dc:creator>
  82. <category><![CDATA[Birds]]></category>
  83. <category><![CDATA[Vertebrates]]></category>
  84. <category><![CDATA[Bird Feeding]]></category>
  85. <category><![CDATA[corn]]></category>
  86. <category><![CDATA[Feeding Birds]]></category>
  87. <category><![CDATA[millet]]></category>
  88. <category><![CDATA[niger seed]]></category>
  89. <category><![CDATA[sunflower seed]]></category>
  90.  
  91. <guid isPermaLink="false">http://wildaboututah.org/?p=7709</guid>
  92. <description><![CDATA[<p>Most people enjoy watching birds, except for their occasional deposits on cars or windows. In an earlier program, I mentioned at least fifteen benefits that birds provide to humans and planet Earth. But as human population and developments increase, the survival of many bird species becomes threatened. Now, as winter approaches, colder weather and lack &#8230; </p>
  93. <p class="link-more"><a href="http://wildaboututah.org/winter-bird-feeding/" class="more-link">Continue reading<span class="screen-reader-text"> "Winter Bird Feeding"</span></a></p>
  94. <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://wildaboututah.org/winter-bird-feeding/">Winter Bird Feeding</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://wildaboututah.org">Wild About Utah</a>.</p>
  95. ]]></description>
  96. <content:encoded><![CDATA[<p><figure id="attachment_7713" style="max-width: 250px" class="wp-caption alignright"><a href="http://wildaboututah.org/wp-content/uploads/hellstern.birdfeeders.jpg"><img src="http://wildaboututah.org/wp-content/uploads/hellstern.birdfeeders.250x103.jpg" alt="A suet feeder, individual cake and a box of cakes. To the right are three gravity feeders with black oil sunflower seeds as well as other seeds. Courtesy Ron Hellstern, photographer" width="250" height="103" class="size-full wp-image-7713" /></a><figcaption class="wp-caption-text">A suet feeder, individual cake and a box of cakes.  To the right are three gravity feeders with black oil sunflower seeds as well as other seeds.<br />Courtesy Ron Hellstern, photographer</figcaption></figure>Most people enjoy watching birds, except for their occasional deposits on cars or windows.  In an earlier program, I mentioned at least fifteen benefits that birds provide to humans and planet Earth.  But as human population and developments increase, the survival of many bird species becomes threatened.  Now, as winter approaches, colder weather and lack of food adds to the life-threatening dilemmas birds face.  Some birds migrate to warmer habitats, but for those that stay in the northern regions a helping-hand from humans is no doubt appreciated.</p>
  97. <p>Presenting “gifts” of birdfeeders and seeds to others (and your own family) will help songbirds and fowls to survive so they can provide their songs and beauty in the Spring.  Consider these tips:</p>
  98. <dl compact style="font-size:8;">
  99. <div>
  100. <li>  Buy large birdfeeders so you don’t have to fill them so often.  Wet seed can grow harmful bacteria, so use feeders with wide covers.</li>
  101. <li>  If deer, or other pests, invade your feeders, hang them up higher in trees.</li>
  102. <li>  Place feeders 10’ away from dense cover to prevent sneak attacks from cats.</li>
  103. <li>  Provide multiple feeders to increase amounts and diversity of foods.</li>
  104. <li>  “Favorite” winter foods depends on the species.  Black Oil sunflower seeds are loved by most birds, but niger, millet, peanuts, corn, and wheat will attract a diverse range of birds.  Experiment and see what comes to your feeders.</li>
  105. <li>  A combination of beef-fat, with seeds or fruit, is called suet.  It is a high-energy food which helps birds stay warm.  The 4” cakes are placed in small cages and are loved by flickers, woodpeckers and many other birds.  Peanut butter is also relished by birds, but is more expensive than suet.</li>
  106. <li>  Once birds find your feeders, they will rely on them for regular food supplies.  If your feeders become empty, especially during ice storms or blizzards, birds will have a hard time finding natural food.  If you take a trip, have a neighbor keep your feeders filled.</li>
  107. <li>  Buy extra seed and store it in a cool, dry place like a covered plastic trash can which can be kept on a deck, porch, or in a garage.</li>
  108. <li>  Make sure the feeders are kept clean with hot water, and then dried, about once a month.</li>
  109. <li>  Some birds, like juncos, towhees, doves and pheasants prefer eating seed which has fallen to the ground.  Compact the snow below your feeders so they can find that seed easier.</li>
  110. <li>  Unless you live near a natural water source, place a pan of water near a feeder on warmer days. Or you could consider a heated bird bath to provide drinking water.</li>
  111. <li>  If you have fruit trees or berry bushes, leave some of the fruit on the plants to provide natural foods.</li>
  112. <li>  You may wish to leave birdhouses and nest-boxes up all year for winter roosting sites.</li>
  113. </div>
  114. </dl>
  115. <p>Now the fun part comes.  After your feeders have been discovered by some birds, word soon gets around the neighborhood and others will arrive.  But do you know what they are?  The Peterson Field Guidebooks are a great help for beginners because the illustrations are often grouped by color.  Then you can become a citizen-scientist and submit your observations to Cornell’s Project Feederwatch or participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count each December.  Look online for details.</p>
  116. <p>Time to get started with your own feeders, or as gifts to others, and begin enjoying the colorful company of finches, woodpeckers, towhees, juncos, sparrows, doves and many others.</p>
  117. <p><span style="font-family: Verdana; font-size: 10pt;"><span style="color: #2a7f55; font-weight: bold;">Credits:</span></span></p>
  118. <p>Images:  Courtesy &amp; Copyright Ron Hellstern, Photographer<br />
  119. Text:    Ron Hellstern, Cache Valley Wildlife Association</p>
  120. <p><span style="font-family: Verdana; font-size: 10pt;"><span style="color: #2a7f55; font-weight: bold;">Additional Reading</span></span></p>
  121. <p>Feed the Birds, Jim Cane &#038; Linda Kervin, Wild About Utah, Bridgerland Audubon Society, Dec 1, 2011, <a href="http://wildaboututah.org/tag/feeding-birds/">http://wildaboututah.org/tag/feeding-birds/</a></p>
  122. <p>Winter Song Birds, Jim Cane &#038; Linda Kervin, Wild About Utah, Bridgerland Audubon Society, Feb 3, 2009, <a href="http://wildaboututah.org/tag/feeding-birds/">http://wildaboututah.org/tag/feeding-birds/</a></p>
  123. <p>Audubon Guide to Winter Bird-Feeding, Steve Kress, Audubon Magazine, Nov-Dec, 2010, <a href="http://www.audubon.org/magazine/november-december-2010/audubon-guide-winter-bird-feeding" target="newWindow">http://www.audubon.org/magazine/november-december-2010/audubon-guide-winter-bird-feeding</a></p>
  124. <p>Backyard Birding, Bird Feeding, US Fish &#038; Wildlife Service(FWS), Last Updated: February 19, 2016, <a href="https://www.fws.gov/birds/bird-enthusiasts/backyard/bird-feeding.php" target="newWindow">https://www.fws.gov/birds/bird-enthusiasts/backyard/bird-feeding.php</a></p>
  125. <p>Backyard Birding, Helping our Feathered Friends, US Fish &#038; Wildlife Service(FWS), Last Updated: June 1, 2016, <a href="https://www.fws.gov/birds/bird-enthusiasts/backyard/songbird-conservation.php" target="newWindow">https://www.fws.gov/birds/bird-enthusiasts/backyard/songbird-conservation.php</a></p>
  126. <p>Backyard Bird-Feeding Resources, Birds at Your Feeder, Erica H. Dunn, Diane L. Tessaglia-Hymes, Project Feederwatch,  <a href="https://feederwatch.org/learn/articles/backyard-bird-feeding-resources/" target="newWindow">https://feederwatch.org/learn/articles/backyard-bird-feeding-resources/</a></p>
  127. <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://wildaboututah.org/winter-bird-feeding/">Winter Bird Feeding</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://wildaboututah.org">Wild About Utah</a>.</p>
  128. ]]></content:encoded>
  129. </item>
  130. <item>
  131. <title>Jack&#8217;s Cougar Encounter</title>
  132. <link>http://wildaboututah.org/jacks-cougar-encounter/</link>
  133. <pubDate>Mon, 27 Nov 2017 14:41:01 +0000</pubDate>
  134. <dc:creator><![CDATA[Jack Greene]]></dc:creator>
  135. <category><![CDATA[Mammals]]></category>
  136. <category><![CDATA[Vertebrates]]></category>
  137.  
  138. <guid isPermaLink="false">http://wildaboututah.org/?p=7639</guid>
  139. <description><![CDATA[<p>There are those moments in one&#8217;s life when time stops and moments become hours. So it was while trail running in the Wellsville mountains of northern Utah Deep in the forest shadows materialized a form- a coyote! Well, that was the initial thinking. I stopped for closer inspection and began talking in a soft, welcoming &#8230; </p>
  140. <p class="link-more"><a href="http://wildaboututah.org/jacks-cougar-encounter/" class="more-link">Continue reading<span class="screen-reader-text"> "Jack&#8217;s Cougar Encounter"</span></a></p>
  141. <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://wildaboututah.org/jacks-cougar-encounter/">Jack&#8217;s Cougar Encounter</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://wildaboututah.org">Wild About Utah</a>.</p>
  142. ]]></description>
  143. <content:encoded><![CDATA[<p><figure style="max-width: 237px" class="wp-caption alignright"><a href="http://wildaboututah.org/wp-content/uploads/fws.moats_.larry_.mountain.lion_.jpg"><img style="margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; border: 0px;" title="Photographer: Larry Moats Courtesy US FWS Digital Library" alt="jacks cougar encounter" src="http://wildaboututah.org/images/fws.mountainlion.jpg" width="237" height="158" align="right" border="0" hspace="10" /></a><figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Photographer: Larry Moats<br />Courtesy US FWS Digital Library</figcaption></figure>There are those moments in one&#8217;s life when time stops and moments become hours. So it was while trail running in the Wellsville mountains of northern Utah</p>
  144. <p>Deep in the forest shadows materialized a form- a coyote! Well, that was the initial thinking. I stopped for closer inspection and began talking in a soft, welcoming tone so as not to frighten away my favorite song dog.<br />
  145. The animal form persisted- no frenzied running up the steep slope just beyond. Interesting.<br />
  146. I walked toward the figure to find the fright distance and for closer encounter. Eight steps in crunchy leaves and the animal began to move. Wow! A long tail emerges. The canine face transforms to feline. MOUNTAIN LION!!!</p>
  147. <p>After 50+ years of trapesing through wild, rugged country in the western U.S., dream becomes reality- that of seeing this shadow being in real form.</p>
  148. <p>Mesmerized, I continue a cautious approach. The cat holds its ground. Our distance closes to 50 yards when it begins a leisurely retreat. I continue singing praises to its magnificence. At one point I find myself emitting &#8220;Here Kitty, Kitty, Kitty&#8221; to which fortunately it doesn&#8217;t respond.</p>
  149. <p><figure style="max-width: 237px" class="wp-caption alignright"><a href="http://wildaboututah.org/wp-content/uploads/USDA.mountain_lion_full.jpg"><img style="margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; border: 0px;" title="Mountain Lion Courtesy USDA" alt="" src="http://wildaboututah.org/images/USDA.mountain_lion.jpg" width="237" height="140" align="right" border="0" hspace="10" /></a><figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Mountain Lion<br />Courtesy USDA Forest Service</figcaption></figure>A large tom with striking colors- its lithe, fluid, soundless movement- poetry in motion, a marvel of artistic expression. It stops frequently, looking back to lock eyes with wonderment- perhaps its first close encounter with this strange being. </p>
  150. <p>Eventually it gains the steep slope and picks its way upward. Occasional sunburst accents the rich tawny gold and well-muscled body. Eyes strain to follow its progress, fading into the dream it once was.</p>
  151. <p>Cougars are solitary animals, making them a rare sight for humans. They usually hunt alone and at night, ambushing their prey from behind. Typically, cougars kill their prey with a bite to the lower neck. After making a kill, a cougar often will take the carcass to the base of a tree and cover it with dirt, leaves or snow, saving it to eat later.</p>
  152. <p>Their main prey is deer, so cougars are often found close by. They can live up to 12 years in the wild but have lived up to 25 years in captivity. </p>
  153. <p>Only 20 people in North America have been killed by cougars during the past 125 years, including six in California and 8 in Canada. No deaths have ever been reported in Utah. It is far less likely than dying from snake bites, avalanches, lightning strikes, hypothermia, or bee stings, or just about any other means. Children are particularly vulnerable when alone. </p>
  154. <p>If approached by one, intimidation by intense eye contact, loud shouting, and any other actions to appear larger and more menacing is warranted. </p>
  155. <p>This is Jack Greene writing and reading for WAU</p>
  156. <p><span style="font-family: Verdana; font-size: 10pt;"><span style="color: #2a7f55; font-weight: bold;">Credits:</span></span></p>
  157. <p>Images:  Courtesy US FWS Digital Library<br />
  158. Text:     Jack Greene</p>
  159. <p><span style="font-family: Verdana; font-size: 10pt;"><span style="color: #2a7f55; font-weight: bold;">Sources &amp; Additional Reading:</span><br />
  160. </span></p>
  161. <p style="font-family: Verdana; font-size: 10pt;">Mountain Lion, Wildlife Notebook, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, </p>
  162. <p><a href="http://wildlife.utah.gov/publications/pdf/newlion.pdf">http://wildlife.utah.gov/publications/pdf/newlion.pdf</a></p>
  163. <p>Starving Cougar Attacks Vernal Man, Hans Moran, Deseret News Nov. 12, 1997, <a href="http://www.deseretnews.com/article/594408/Starving-cougar-attacks-Vernal-man.html">http://www.deseretnews.com/article/594408/Starving-cougar-attacks-Vernal-man.html</a></p>
  164. <p>Mountain Lion, National Geographic, <a href="http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/mountain-lion.html">http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/mountain-lion.html</a></p>
  165. <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://wildaboututah.org/jacks-cougar-encounter/">Jack&#8217;s Cougar Encounter</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://wildaboututah.org">Wild About Utah</a>.</p>
  166. ]]></content:encoded>
  167. </item>
  168. <item>
  169. <title>Talking Dirt</title>
  170. <link>http://wildaboututah.org/talking-dirt/</link>
  171. <pubDate>Tue, 21 Nov 2017 14:41:17 +0000</pubDate>
  172. <dc:creator><![CDATA[Jack Greene]]></dc:creator>
  173. <category><![CDATA[Biome]]></category>
  174. <category><![CDATA[Soil]]></category>
  175. <category><![CDATA[carbon sequestration]]></category>
  176. <category><![CDATA[conservation]]></category>
  177. <category><![CDATA[Soil Crusts]]></category>
  178.  
  179. <guid isPermaLink="false">http://wildaboututah.org/?p=7651</guid>
  180. <description><![CDATA[<p>It’s time to talk dirt- and I’m not talking politics, but real, factual dirt! Of all our amazing planets ecosystems, there is one that rises above all others. It’s the one your home is standing on, the one you don’t want your kids to track in the house. By now you’ve probably guessed it! The &#8230; </p>
  181. <p class="link-more"><a href="http://wildaboututah.org/talking-dirt/" class="more-link">Continue reading<span class="screen-reader-text"> "Talking Dirt"</span></a></p>
  182. <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://wildaboututah.org/talking-dirt/">Talking Dirt</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://wildaboututah.org">Wild About Utah</a>.</p>
  183. ]]></description>
  184. <content:encoded><![CDATA[<p><figure id="attachment_7663" style="max-width: 250px" class="wp-caption alignright"><a href="http://kingcounty.gov/depts/dnrp/solid-waste/programs/natural-yard-care/soil-building.aspx"><img src="http://wildaboututah.org/wp-content/uploads/king-county-wa-soil-spoon-crop.250x181.jpg" alt="Talking Dirt: There are over four billion micro-organisms in a teaspoon of healthy soil. Courtesy King County, WA" width="250" height="181" class="size-full wp-image-7663" /></a><figcaption class="wp-caption-text">There are over four billion micro-organisms in a teaspoon of healthy soil.<br />Courtesy King County, WA</figcaption></figure>It’s time to talk dirt- and I’m not talking politics, but real, factual dirt! Of all our amazing planets ecosystems, there is one that rises above all others. It’s the one your home is standing on, the one you don’t want your kids to track in the house. By now you’ve probably guessed it!</p>
  185. <p>The diversity and abundance of life that exists within soil is greater than in any other ecosystem. A &#8216;biological universe&#8217; exists in a gram of soil. Soil biota within this tiny universe transform energy, create and modify their habitat, influence soil health, and aid in the regulation of greenhouse gases. There are more microbes in a teaspoon of soil than there are people on the earth. We’re talking such characters as bacteria, fungi, protozoa, nematodes, earthworms, and arthropods. No wonder kids are so drawn to this miraculous stew of life! My one year old granddaughter can’t resist a mouthful given the opportunity! So let’s dive into a handful of soil.</p>
  186. <p><figure id="attachment_7659" style="max-width: 250px" class="wp-caption alignright"><a href="http://wildaboututah.org/wp-content/uploads/usgs.biogeochemical-cycling.jpg"><img src="http://wildaboututah.org/wp-content/uploads/usgs.biogeochemical-cycling.250x209.jpg" alt="Biogeochemical Cycling Courtesy USGS, Public Domain https://www.usgs.gov/media/images/biogeochemical-cycling-diagram-showing-climatic-processes-hydrologic" width="250" height="209" class="size-full wp-image-7659" /></a><figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Biogeochemical Cycling<br />Courtesy USGS, Public Domain<br />https://www.usgs.gov/media/images/biogeochemical-cycling-diagram-showing-climatic-processes-hydrologic</figcaption></figure>The majority of life on Earth is dependent upon six critical elements: hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, oxygen, and sulfur that pass through, and are transformed by, soil organisms. This process, called biogeochemical cycling, is defined as the transformation and cycling of elements between non-living and living matter. These processes are dependent upon life in the soil.</p>
  187. <p>Although we understand the vital services that these organisms provide by breaking down organic debris and recy¬cling nutrients, scientists have only begun to study the rich and unique diversity that is a part of the soil ecosystem. Of particular interest for myself is understanding the functions of certain fungi and their roles in storing atmospheric carbon dioxide.</p>
  188. <p>As you may have heard in past WAU readings, climate change is a major threat to Utah’s wildlife including birds, cold water fish, pollinators, and pica.</p>
  189. <p><figure id="attachment_7665" style="max-width: 250px" class="wp-caption alignright"><a href="https://cfpub.epa.gov/watertrain/moduleFrame.cfm?parent_object_id=1362" target="newWindow"><img src="http://wildaboututah.org/wp-content/uploads/epa.tractor.250x180.jpg" alt="Conservation Tillage: Minimizing tillage and maintaining a crop residue on the soil surface can greatly reduce erosion impacts Agricultural Management Practices for Water Quality Protection--Watershed Academy Web, Courtesy US EPA" width="250" height="180" class="size-full wp-image-7665" /></a><figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Conservation Tillage:<br />Minimizing tillage and maintaining a crop residue on the soil surface can greatly reduce erosion impacts<br />Agricultural Management Practices for Water Quality Protection&#8211;Watershed Academy Web, Courtesy US EPA</figcaption></figure>And here’s where our farms and ranches have the opportunity to play a crucial role beyond feeding us.<br />
  190. Deploying what’s called regenerative agricultural practices like tillage reduction, cover crops, companion planting, planned grazing, and keyline plowing—will not only improve soil quality making it more resilient to climate conditions like flooding and drought, but also increase soil’s organic matter which require less fertilizer. This in turn, means less runoff into waterways and greater profitability for farmers.</p>
  191. <p>Perhaps most important of all, managing farms this way actually draws carbon out of the atmosphere. If all cropland in the U.S. was farmed using these regenerative practices, the greenhouse gas reduction would be equivalent to eliminating nearly 90 percent of our country’s cars. And now some states are considering economic incentives like tax breaks for carbon sequestration farming, and enlisting Farm Bureaus to provide additional support. Will Utah be next?</p>
  192. <p>This is Jack Greene writing and reading for WAU.</p>
  193. <p>Fortuna, A. (2012) The Soil Biota. Nature Education Knowledge 3(10):1, <a href="https://www.nature.com/scitable/knowledge/library/the-soil-biota-84078125" target="newWindow">https://www.nature.com/scitable/knowledge/library/the-soil-biota-84078125</a></p>
  194. <p>Biogeochemical Cycles, U.S. Global Change Research Program, <a href="http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/report/sectors/biogeochemical-cycles#intro-section-2" target="newWindow">http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/report/sectors/biogeochemical-cycles#intro-section-2</a></p>
  195. <p>How do microbial mats work? Microbial Mat Biogeochemical Cycling, NASA Ames Research Center, <a href="https://spacescience.arc.nasa.gov/microbes/about/microbial.html" target="newWindow">https://spacescience.arc.nasa.gov/microbes/about/microbial.html</a></p>
  196. <p>Biogeochemical Cycling, Center for Forested Wetlands Research, Southern Research Station, USDA Forest Service, <a href="https://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/charleston/research/biogeochemical/" target="newWindow">https://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/charleston/research/biogeochemical/</a></p>
  197. <p>Subsurface Biogeochemical Research Program, Climate and Environmental Sciences Division, Office of Biological and Environmental Research, U.S. Department of Energy, <a href="http://doesbr.org/" target="newWindow">http://doesbr.org/</a></p>
  198. <p>The Carbon Cycle, NASA Earth Observatory, EOS Project Science Office, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, <a href="https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/CarbonCycle/" target="newWindow">https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/CarbonCycle/</a></p>
  199. <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://wildaboututah.org/talking-dirt/">Talking Dirt</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://wildaboututah.org">Wild About Utah</a>.</p>
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