August 7, 2010

“YIKES BATMAN, THE BAT CAVE IS EMPTY!”

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 1:18 pm
WHITE  NOSE  SYNDROME
Even Batman and Robin can’t solve this mystery. NO….It’s  not  what a lifeguard’s nose might look like on any summer day at the beach or a description of a very sloppy cocaine user. Our little nocturnal friend, THE BAT, is dying from White Nose Syndrome by the millions. Why should we care, you ask? Read on and you might just change your mind about this misunderstood creature.  

                                                              

OK, SO BATS AREN’T SEXY                                                                                              

 BUT MIGHT BE MORE OF A SUPER HERO THAN WE THINK!

It all started in 2006 when a caver discovered a mass of dead bats right outside a cave near Albany, New York. The fungus appears on the bat’s muzzle and limbs,  causes a skin irritation, and awakens the bats from hibernation to groom and clean themselves. In a hibernaculum, infected bats lack the adequate amount of body fat to survive until spring time. Early awakened bats display erratic behavior by flying during the day and during cold winter weather when their food supply of insects is not available. So, are they dying from starvation or from the WNS? Biologists are not certain and understand this is a race against time. There is evidence human contact is contributing to the bat’s demise. The fungus can live independently in caves and be transported in dirt by caver’s boots.  Hmmm, very interesting…WNS exists in caves where people have been and does not exist in caves where people have not been. Some biologists have speculated that pesticides used on crops might play a role in WNS.  Since 2006, there has been a sweeping path of WNS transmission from the New York epicenter to as far north as Canada, up and down the Appalachian Mountain spine, and as far west as Missouri and Tennessee. In Vermont, New York and Massachusetts, almost 80% of small-footed bats and 93% of long-eared bats have died from this disease in just two years! The mid-western  and southern states are at high risk and this year in West Virginia, bats were seen flying out of a popular bat cave in the middle of winter. If the open mid-western plains do not stop the westward spread of WNS, Quebec, Canada, where the fungus has also been found, may provide a northern route to the west putting all western bats at risk.

WHY SHOULD WE CARE?

Bats eat insects, that’s why! Heavily included in a bat’s daily diet are moths, beetles and mosquitoes. Many insects eaten by bats are agricultural pests. Without bats, crops and forests would see more devastation from these insect pests resulting in the use of even more pesticides contributing  additional harm to the environment. If you live in a area where there are mosquitoes, please take note. Bats can eat up to 1,000 mosquitoes an hour! Without our little nocturnal friends, mosquitoes will increase by the millions and millions. Between West Nile Virus in the northeast already spreading and Dengue fever cases emerging in south Florida recently, what’s next, Malaria becoming common place?  When we think of animals on the Endangered Species List, we  often think of fluffy white polar bears, sea turtles-we eagerly follow their egg laying paths, dolphins – smart communicators with humans, whales that sing to each other, panda and koala bears we wish we had for pets and so on. Although these marvelous animals need our constant protection, the “not so sexy” and now endangered bat has not gotten the media attention it deserves and is in danger of becoming extinct.

A MESSAGE TO CAVERS & HIKERS

Warning signs like this one are popping up all over the U.S. by the Department of Natural Resources. While research is under way, experts say that their only efforts are to contain the disease at this point. Scientists are preserving bats’ DNA in case species go extinct. Studies are underway to fight the disease and Congress has appropriated $1.9 million to combat WNS with $450,000 cash from that fund given to natural resource agencies in 23 states from the Fish and Wildlife Service.

It is also recommended that people refrain from caving anywhere during bat hibernation to minimize disturbance to bats.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON BATS, VISIT THESE WEBSITES

Bat Conservation International

             U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service 

 

HOMEMADE MOSQUITO REPELLENT RECIPE

Since there  is a threat of a large increase of biting mosquitoes due to bats dying off from WNS, people will be needing more protection against nasty mosquito bites. Here is a natural mosquito repellent recipe that is for sensitive skin and actually has a pleasant fragrant smell. I made this repellent for family and friends in New York last  summer and received positive feedback that it worked. This recipe is basically for one person making 2 to 3 ounces. Increase quantities evenly to make more. See below for tips.

RECIPE                                                                                                                                                

  • 2  1/2  tablespoons grape-seed oil
  • 1 teaspoon shea butter
  • 1 teaspoon beeswax
  • 2  1/2 tablespoons lavender hydrosol
  • 1/4 teaspoon borax powder
  • 5 drops citronella essential oil
  • 5 drops lavender essential oil
  • 3 drops lemongrass essential oil
  • 3 drops tea-tree essential oil
  • 2 drops sage essential oil

1.) In a double boiler, heat the grape-seed oil, shea butter and beeswax to about 140 degrees F, or until all of the ingredients have melted. Remove from heat.

2.) In a separate pot, heat the lavender hydrosol to about 140 degrees F and stir in the borax powder until dissolved. Remove from heat.

3.) Stir the lavender hydrosol into the hot-oil blend to make an emulsion.

4.) Allow to cool until slightly warm; then mix in the essential oils. Store in a plastic squeeze bottle in a cool place or refrigerator.

APPLICATION

Shortly before going outside, apply mosquito repellent to exposed parts of the body. Reapply after 2 to 3 hours.

STORAGE TIP

Natural mosquito repellent keeps for 2 months. To extend the shelf life to 3 months, store in the refrigerator. This recipe will thicken when cooled.

SPECIAL PROPERTIES FOR SPECIAL INGREDIENTS

Grape-seed Oil has a nourishing and protective effect on normal and sensitive skin types. Grape-seed oil’s fine, thin consistency does not clog pores.

Lavender Hydrosol, a watery thin by-product of lavender oil, can heal sensitive, slightly chapped skin and protect it against environmental irritants.

Tea Tree Oil is a potent antiseptic and antibacterial essential oil with a slight medicinal scent.

Citronella and Lemongrass have a citrus-like fragrance and are mood lifters.

Sage Oil acts as an antiseptic and skin toner.

BRIGHT GREEN IDEA

THE ECO INDEX – A software tool developed by 100 well known apparel and footwear retailers to measure their environmental impact from raw material to garbage dump. Similar to the Energy Star ratings created in 1992 by the EPA for rating the energy efficiency of appliances, the ECO INDEX could become the international standard for the apparel world. Going public and having availability to shoppers at the point of sale is the goal in order to become the standard for measuring environment and human-rights impacts on apparel and footwear. A beta version of the ECO INDEX will roll out at the Outdoor Industry Association in Salt Lake City, Utah. The start up retailers are hoping for the ECO INDEX rating to catch on and extend to the broader apparel industry.

 

 MY GREEN RAINBOW – G – RATING

This is a totally unofficial green rating system using the 7 green shades of my green rainbow. Using G-1 (green beginners) to G-7 (very best green), we will rate businesses, products, projects etc; for their greenness.

A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN – ROOFTOP- ORGANIC STYLE

With a wide stretched view of the Manhattan skyline, on a warehouse rooftop in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, urban organic farming has taken root. Measuring 6,000 square feet, Eagle Street Rooftop Farm takes organic farming to a higher level in this urban environment. Open on Sundays  to the public, the farm sells organic vegetables and “Rooftop Honey” harvested from their own domesticated Italian beehives. The farm also sells their produce at local markets and restuarants. Eagle Street Rooftop Farm offers workshops for children and adults to include such topics as city composting, growing food in New York City-urban style, the art of cooking locally, bees and beekeeping and hosting guest lecturers. Throughout the growing season, this farm offers several internships and apprenticeships. Check out the website for more information on the volunteer programs. If you live in the area or are visiting, make it a point to visit  this organic farm for an enjoyable and educational experience.

My Green Rainbow awards Eagle Street Rooftop Farm with a G-7 Rating, the very best Forest Rain green. We feel this farm deserves it since the warehouse roof itself is used in a practical, sustainable manner along with the urban organic farm that serves the surrounding community.