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Assignment Earth, Environmental Protection, This American Land, Video / 10.03.2010

For 10 years, the Ski Area Citizens Coalition has published its ski area environmental report card, a rating system that grades ski resports across the west according to their impact on the natural environment. Paul Joyce, a conservation assoicate at the environmental protection group Colorado Wild, says a ski resort’s grade depends on how well it plays in its own backyard. “When a ski area expands into the back country, expands into habitat, affects wildlife, affects vegetation, thereby affecting water, watersheds, water quality,” Joyce said, “those things weigh really heavy with the report card.” Resorts owned by the Aspen Skiing Company dominate the highest rated resorts in the west. “People listen to us in part because we’re an interesting news story, but also because we’re business people.,” Auden Schendler, environmental affairs director at Aspen Skiing. “Ultimately we’re not environmentalists. We’re business people. And we see climate changes as an existential threat to business. In this edition of This American Land we explore ski resorts that employ environmentally sustainable practices to protect natural areas that surround their slopes.
Assignment Earth, Environmental Protection, Video / 08.03.2010

Researcher Aly Courtemanch starts her work day on skis. That’s how she gets around on the alpine terrain where she studies the Teton Range bighorn sheep herd. Using GPS devices and trail counters, Courtemanch a scientist at the Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit at the University of Wyoming, tracks the movemnts of both sheep and skiers. "We really want to get a better sense of how bighorn sheep survive in the Tetons, both summer and winter,” she said. “We don't know very much about this bighorn sheep herd, it's really small and really hard to study because they're so remote and hard to observe." While other wild sheep move down to more moderate terrain, this herd winteres at some of the highest elevations in Wyoming. But they’ve stopped migrating about 60 years ago due to human development, firs suppression and other factors. In this edition of This American Land researchers take a look at this species on the brink of extinction.
Environmental Protection, Podcast / 08.03.2010

An interview with author John Francis

In 1971 John Francis witnessed a catastrophic oil spill in San Francisco Bay. The greasy black sludge that coated resident sea life and stained nearby beaches left an indelible impression him as well. As a young man at the dawn of the environmental movement he felt compelled to act. But what can one person do to change a society bent on its own destruction? Left with little do that would make a difference in world Francis abandoned all forms of motorized transport. He started walking. But still hoping to make an impact on his community and himself Francis took his devotion a step future and swore a vow of silence. For 17 years he did not utter a word. And yet he still managed to earn college and graduate degrees in science and environmental studies. Dr. John Francis went on to become the United Nation’s goodwill ambassador to the world’s grassroots communities and the U.S. Government hired him to help establish policies for the management of oil spills.
Examiner.com, Gear Review, Running / 06.03.2010

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to run in a low gravity environment, there’s spot in Madison where you can do just that. The Sport & Spine Clinic, a rehabilitative therapy center at 340 S. Whitney Way, recently acquired an Alter-G anti-gravity treadmill. “I’d been hoping to work with low gravity for my patients for a while now,” said clinic director David Nissenbaum. “I’d wanted a pool. But of course I don’t have room for a pool here. The Alter-G is the next best thing, maybe even better.” Read...

Assignment Earth, Environmental Protection, Video / 05.03.2010

Yellowstone National Park has been described as a winter wonderland. “We find that a lot of people from across the United States enjoy going into the park on snowmobiles, because ... you're out in the fresh air,” said Bill Howell, part owner of a local snowmobile and snowcoach tour company. “You get to see things on a snowmobile. With your guide you can stop and take pictures." But conservation groups have been seeking to ban snowmobiles here for more than a decade. Even snowmobile enthusiasts now admit the machines became a problem in 1990s. “The amount of machines and the amount of people going into the park skyrocketed, a lot more than I think anybody had ever predicted or thought would happen,’ Howell said. “And as a result it probably did get a little out of hand." In this edition of This American Land we take a look at efforts to create a balance between the use of snowmobiles in Yellowstone and those who aim to limit motorized access to the park.