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[ Champions of Surf and Sand ]

oceandtThe Surfrider Foundation is a community of everyday people who passionately protect our playground – the ocean, waves, and beaches that provide us so much enjoyment.

Our ocean faces growing challenges from pollution, offshore development and climate change. At the same time, expanding industries, such as offshore oil drilling, threaten to crowd our ocean and degrade its health, and those who call it home.

Every day poses new threats to our oceans and beaches. Our ocean and special places must be proactively protected before they are threatened and stem the tide before further damage is done to the ocean’s health.

This is precisely why Surfrider has built a network of passion-driven people who are on the ground and are the voice for our ocean and beaches. With one foot in the sand and the other in the water, Surfrider is the only non-profit organization who is 100% focused on our coasts.

Visit Surfrider.org to find out more.


[ Madison lakes: the problem with leaves ]

leavesbootsdtEven if you don’t live on the shoreline, there are things you can do to help improve the quality of Madison’s lakes, especially in the fall.

According to information from the Clean Lakes Alliance, leaves release phosphorus when they break down, representing one of the largest sources of urban phosphorus pollution. When left in the street, leaves make a phosphorus-rich tea that washes down storm drains and directly into our lakes. It only takes one pounds of phosphorus to produce 500 pounds of algae in our lakes. Yikes!

Here are some things you can do:

  1. Your neighbors might think you’re crazy, but rake leaves that have blown into the street. This prevents the leaves from going into the gutter and storm sewers into our lakes. If you have a mulching lawn mower, then mulch the leaves with the rest of them on your lawn!
  2. Get into composting.
  3.  Use leaves as garden mulch. You’ll save money because you won’t have to buy mulch at the store, and your plants will thank you!
  4. Learn about Madison’s Leave the Leaf Campaign.
  5. Get involved with the Clean Lake Alliance.

[ Save The Sea Turtles ]

seaturtlesdtExtinction is not a new concept.

In fact, species have been going extinct for millions of years from geological and climate changes. The issue now is from overconsumption, pollution, and habitat destruction brought on by humans causing more species to needlessly become extinct.

So why should we care about sea turtles extinction in particular?

For starters, sea turtles help maintain the health of sea grass by eating it. Healthy sea grass allows other oceanic species such as crustaceans, fish, and shellfish to be able to breed. This would impact a huge source of food for humans.

In addition, when sea turtles lay eggs in dunes, the shells and unhatched eggs left behind provide nutrients that facilitate vegetation growth. This strengthens the beach’s ecosystem as a whole and helps prevent erosion.

So help save sea turtles around the world by donating or purchasing some adorable sea turtle pillows here: http://costaricaturtles.com/how-to-help/

Donation not enough for you? You can always become an alliance partner!
For more information, visit: http://costaricaturtles.com/




[ Get Outside! 5 Places to Explore In & Around Madison ]

Pheasant Branch Conservancy Middleton

Pheasant Branch Conservancy Middleton

How many of these places have you visited in the Madison area?

UW Arboretum: Did you know the Arboretum has its roots in the Great Depression? Much of the land was purchased or donated during that time, and there was plenty of labor available to work it!  The Arboretum now has more than 1200 acres, bigger than New York’s Central Park.

Owen Conservation Park: Located on the west side of Madison on Old Sauik Road, this park is a great place for a short hike. You can see the state capitol as you look beyond the trails and fields filled with wildflowers. You may even see a wild turkey or two.

Lakeshore Nature Preserve: Folks with the UW say this undeveloped area along Lake Mendota is as important to the university as the classrooms! The preserve is located between the the Union Terrace and Eagle Heights Woods—12 miles in all. It’s also great place for a bike ride!

Pheasant Branch Conservancy: What a treasure so close to Madison!  There are a few places to enter the trail, including Century Avenue in Middleton. A great place to go for a run or bike ride with a paved trail and wooden bridges that cross Pheasant Branch Creek.

Pope Farm Conservancy: Located in the Town of Middleton heading out of Madison on Old Sauk Road, this is the place thousands of people visit each year to take photos of a never-ending sea of sunflowers! Sunflower Days this year is scheduled for August 12-20.


[ Loving Our National Parks! ]


Yosemite National Park, California

This month the 1thing profiles the National Park Foundation.

The National Park Foundation is the official charitable partner of the National Park Service.  The foundation’s goal is to enrich America’s national parks and programs through the support of private citizens, park lovers, stewards of nature, history enthusiasts and wilderness adventurers.

Chartered by Congress in 1967, the Foundation grew out of a legacy of park protection that began over a century ago when ordinary citizens took action to establish and protect our national parks.

Today, the National Park Foundation carries on the tradition of early park advocates, big thinkers, doers and dreamers. It works to keep trails clear, partners with collaborators to get kids outdoors, and most importantly, raises and allocates critical funds to keep our national parks safe. With government funds for the National Park Service threatened in the federal budget, help from the National Park Foundation is even more important.

Want to explore Wisconsin’s national parks? They include the Apostle Islands as well as the Ice Age Scenic National Trail and more. Find out more here.

Find out how you can help by clicking here.


[ Ride the Drive ’17 ]

ridethedriveThis year’s Ride the Drive is scaled back from previous years, but will still be a fun event for walkers, roller-bladers and bike riders of all ages!

Ride the Drive is more than just closing roads to traffic. At this year’s Ride the Drive you can stroll, roll, pedal or glide your way to three downtown area parks. Join the fun at Brittingham Park, Olin Park and Law Park.

There will be plenty of vendors, opportunities to learn about biking organizations–and you may even see some cool old bicycles and modified artsy bikes as well. One year I saw a bike that was covered with growing grass! (The kind on your lawn, not the other kind.)

The event goes from 10-2pm on Sunday July 16th, with John Nolen Drive closed from 8:30am-3pm.

More info here.


[ A Greener 4th of July ]

pinwheeldtThe 4th of July is all about the red, white and blue, but we suggest you add some green to the holiday with these eco-friendly tips.

  1. Going on a picnic? Serve all those icy cold beverages without a straw. Americans use half a billion straws a day, and many end up in landfills. Others end up in rivers or other bodies of water where animals mistake them for food.
  2. If you must use disposable plates, use the paper ones and not styrofoam. Styrofoam takes at least 500 years to decay, and may actually last forever.
  3. If you’re planning on going camping, be sure to “leave no trace.” Pick up after yourself, and if you have a campfire, be sure to use only dead wood.
  4. In addition to getting outdoors to watch fireworks–get outside and enjoy nature! Don’t forget to bring some bug spray and be wary of ticks. c
  5. Choose a non-toxic sunscreen so you don’t harm yourself or the environment. More info about that here.
  6. Declare your independence from technology. Leave your smart phone at home or in your pocket or purse and enjoy all the gifts our planet has to offer!

[ Save Our Oceans ]

dolphindtOne of the great organizations working hard to save our planet is Oceana. Founding in 2001, Oceana is the largest international advocacy organization focused solely on ocean conservation.
Our oceans are in trouble.Scientists report that the amount of fish caught from the oceans began declining, for the first time in recorded history, just a few decades ago.

Fortunately, Oceana knows how to fix things.  Oceana seeks to make our oceans more bio-diverse and abundant by winning policy victories in the countries that govern much of the world’s marine life.   Oceana channels their resources towards strategic, directed campaigns to achieve MEASURABLE OUTCOMES that will protect and restore our oceans to former levels of abundance.

Oceana believes in the importance of science in identifying problems and solutions for the oceans, and their scientists work closely with teams of economists, lawyers, communicators, and advocates to achieve tangible results for the oceans.

How can you help?  Find out  here.


[ Those Pesky Skeeters ]



We’ve already heard a lot about ticks this year, but don’t forget to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites. Not only are the bites itchy and irritating, they can make you sick!

Officials with Public Health Madison & Dane County say a dead bird found in Dane County has West Nile virus. This is the first bird that tested positive for West Nile virus in Dane County since monitoring for the mosquito-transmitted virus began May 1st.

“Finding this bird means that residents need to step up their efforts to prevent mosquito bites,” says Director Janel Heinrich.

Here are their suggestions:

  • Limit time spent outside at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Apply insect repellent to clothing as well as exposed skin since mosquitoes may bite through clothing.
  • Make sure window and door screens are in good repair to prevent mosquito entry.
  • Properly dispose of items around your property that hold water, such as tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots, or discarded tires.
  • Clean roof gutters and downspouts for proper drainage.
  • Turn over wheelbarrows, wading pools, boats, and canoes when not in use.
  • Change the water in bird baths and pet dishes at least every three days.
  • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas, and hot tubs; drain water from pool covers.
  • Trim tall grass, weeds, and vines since mosquitoes use these areas to rest during hot daylight hours.
  • Landscape to prevent water from pooling in low-lying areas.

According to a release, most people (80%) who are infected with West Nile virus do not get sick. Those who do become sick usually experience mild symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle aches, rash, and fatigue. Less than 1% of people infected with the virus get seriously sick with symptoms that include high fever, muscle weakness, stiff neck, disorientation, mental confusion, tremors, confusion, paralysis, and coma. Older adults and those with weakened immune systems are at greater risk of developing central nervous system illness that can be fatal.


[ Save Our Public Lands ]

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

This month the 1thing highlights the Trust for Public Lands.

This organization works to protect the places people care about and to create close-to-home parks and wild spaces—particularly in and near cities, where 80 percent of Americans live.  Their goal is to ensure that every child has easy access to a safe place to play in nature. They also work to conserve working farms, ranches, and forests; lands of historical and cultural importance; rivers, streams, coasts, and watersheds; and other special places where people can experience nature close at hand.

In 2016, the Trust for Public Lands  saved threatened land for national parks including Yosemite, Rocky Mountain, and Saguaro. In small towns like Sand Point, Idaho, and Milan, New Hampshire, they empowered neighbors to protect the forests, streams, and trails that sustain local economies. And in cities from New York to San Francisco, they built parks and playgrounds that help people stay happier and healthier—while meeting the challenges of climate change head-on.

Want to know more? Click here.