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January 2014 Archives

Check Out Online Access to Research

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Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Education team members take seriously the application of research to design/deliver effective informal science education programs like Minnesota Master Naturalist and Driven to Discover: Enabling Authentic Inquiry through Citizen Science. We are therefore pleased that the online professional network, has announced a new agreement to provide members with access to the EBSCO Education Research database. This database covers thousands of journals and research articles to guide practitioners in making the most of their program design/delivery.

You have to be a member of the network to access the online research site. There is no charge to join

You can also learn more about Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Education programs at the University of Minnesota Education website.

Human design for Wildlife: It's Complicated

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In an interesting post on the Nature of Cities forum, Dr. Mark Hostetler of the University of Florida describes how human design decisions influence decisions by wildlife. In short, it is much more complicated than simply preserving nature spaces or establishing wildlife migratory corridors wherever most convenient in our human landscape. Dr. Hostetler points out that effective design must begin with asking "For which wildlife species?" Different species will react differently to a given space - the space topography, relative size and position of things like trees or bushes, the proximity of more human spaces. In Dr. Hostetler's words, "There is a direct connection between the design decisions made at different scales and the distribution of wildlife species within a region!" Moreover, he points out that these decisions are only the beginning. Nearby residents should be involved in the design, but also the long-term stewardship and refinement of human-designed sites for wildlife.

The University of Minnesota Extension offers a variety of research and resources to help Minnesotan's design for wildlife. Dr. Robert Blair, Extension Specialist in Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Education has research in review about the value of park reserves to migrating landbirds in an urban area. Extension Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Education Specialist, Dr. John Loegering operates a monitoring station to better understand how songbirds migrate through edges of prairies. Visit the Fish, Wildlife and Habitats website for information about University of Minnesota research, the natural history of Minnesota plants and animals, attracting wildlife to yards and gardens, or dealing with nuisance wildlife.

How will the Polar Vortex Affect Invasive Wildlife?

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Many of us are ready to welcome a January Thaw, after days of polar vortex deepfreeze earlier this week. But the sustained cold weather has fueled hopes for significant reduction of the invasive Emerald Ash Borer population in the coming year. Eli Sagor, University of Minnesota Extension Educator in Forestry, posted a brief article Will winter cold save us from emerald ash borer? on In his words, "Even if we lose a lot of EAB this winter, we will not lose them all. Many will survive, either because they are fortunate enough to be in a relatively warm spot (temperature can vary fairly widely across the landscape based on wind exposure, aspect, topographic position, and so on) or because they are more cold hardy than most. These survivors will find each other and begin to rebuild the population."

Visit to read the full article.

As a bonus, you can also read a CoolGreenScience blog post by Matt Miller, Nature Conservancy Science Writer, about how the frigid temps may affect other wildlife across the country.

Minnesotans with backyard ice rinks may want to join a Canadian citizen science study - RinkWatch - aiming to gather climate data. According to an article in the Ottawa Citizen, a team of scientists, lead by Robert McLeman at Wilfrid Laurier University are working with over 1000 volunteers to gather observations about skating conditions on backyard rinks across Canada, the United States and other countries. They aim to pool data across sites to track changes in weather over the winter season. RinkWatch volunteers can also share tips for making their rinks, and photos of their sites.

RinkWatch is a great example of how science can become a productive part of our existing traditions and outdoor activities.

Visit the RinkWatch site to learn more about the program, explore participant observations, or sign-on.

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