After dabbling in research on bats, fish, newts, watersheds, prairie dogs and rangeland grasses, Alisa Opar decided to redirect her passion for science and all things wild into journalism. Now the articles editor at Audubon, she particularly enjoys editing and writing stories about wildlife, conservation, climate, and energy. Though she’s come to appreciate the resourceful flora and fauna (people included) that thrive in New York City, whenever possible she likes to travel to far-flung destinations–especially those that are mountainous. Follow her on Twitter @alisaopar.
Alisa Opar's blog
The horned puffin is among the numerous bird species that could be affected by an oil spill in Arctic waters. Photo: USFWS via Flickr
Royal Dutch Shell PLC is calling it quits for drilling in the waters off Alaska’s north coast—at least for 2013. The move comes as no surpise, given the series of setbacks the company has encountered.!--/end tags-->
Pacific black brant geese with goslings. Photo: Jeff Wasley/USGS
Birds, caribou, and oil companies will share vast Alaskan wilderness. “[It’s] a victory for birds, wildlife, and America’s future,” Audubon president and CEO David Yarnold said of the first-ever management plan for the 22.8 million acre reserve in northern Alaska. “It says that some places really are too precious to drill.”!--/end tags-->
Every week we post a funny animal photo that’s begging for a caption. Join in the fun! You’ve got til 11:59 pm (Eastern time) on Sunday to enter your suggestion (click “Read more” below). On Monday we’ll choose our three favorite captions and list them under the image.!--/end tags-->
Converted barn at the Audubon Center at Bent of the River. Photo: © Rob Johnson
Yesterday staff members of the Audubon Center at Bent of the River in Southbury, Connecticut, took part in the Christmas Bird Count, as they do every year. But this year, it was nearly impossible to concentrate on the birds. The day before, unimaginable horror struck when gunman Adam Lanza killed 26 people—including 20 children—at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, about five miles from the center, a 700-acre sanctuary with 15 miles of trails that has long been a peaceful retreat for the local community.
“Today is the Christmas Bird Count, and we’re all out there stumbling around, shaken because we know these kids, these are our kids,” says Leslie Kane, director of the center, which offers a nature summer camp and educational programs during the school year for several communities in western Connecticut. “Ken Elkins, my educator, called me up and said ‘I’m sitting in my car, trying to count birds, and I can’t stop staring up the road, to the hill where the school is.”!--/end tags-->
In each issue of Audubon, the editors review a mix of narrative nonfiction titles, as well as art books and children’s books about nature. For ease, we’ve compiled the dozens of fantastic works we reviewed in 2012 in one place, and we’ve added a few additional books that we covered exclusively online.!--/end tags-->
With Christmas just around the corner, and Hanukah underway, many of us are scrambling to buy presents for our loved ones. If there’s someone in your life who is passionate about wildlife or conservation, consider a symbolic adoption. Whether you’re looking for a gift for a birder, ocean lover, or outdoors enthusiast, here are options for nearly every eco interest.!--/end tags-->
Photo courtesy USDA
The lesser prairie chicken—known for its flamboyant courtship behavior, where the fellas display brilliant yellow eyecombs and red air sacs as they dance about—took center stage today when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife proposed listing it as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act. The bird has suffered an 84% decline in the five states where it lives: Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.!--/end tags-->