Living Lands and Water Barge Tour

During Tugfest 2014 in Port Byron, Illinois the Living Lands and Waters barges were berthed offshore and open for tours. Here’s a short tour and quotes from Chad Pregracke’s dad and one of his former board members. Chad wasn’t there Saturday or else I would have interviewed him too.

Tugfest is an annual event held on the Mississippi River in Le Claire, Iowa and Port Byron. Teams play tug-of-war with a giant rope stretched across the river. The festival offers rides, arcade games, live music, food vendors and fireworks.


Latest Study Says Widely Used Pesticide is Killing Bees

A new Harvard University study published this month in the Bulletin of Inscectology says that “sub-lethal exposure of neonicotinoids, imidacloprid or clothianidin” causes Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). CCD is responsible for wiping out millions of pollinators vital to the reproduction of crops and other plants.

Here’s two articles detailing that recent Harvard study: Discover online / Christian Science Monitor

Recently on Iowa Public Radio, Iowa State University entomologist Donald Lewis told host Charity Nebbe that Iowa has lost about 70 percent of its bees due to bad weather and other factors.

Neonicotinoid pesticides are manufactured by Bayer CropScience, Inc. An article published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune says Bayer disputes the findings that their products are harmful to bees.

European Union nations have already banned, for two years beginning December 2013, the use of neonicotinoids on their crops.

Here’s a link to the EU press release regarding the ban.

Jane Goodall Greets Over Five Thousand Supporters at U of I

Here’s the start of Dr. Goodall’s speech. Her goal is to educate and motivate children and adults to heal our planet. We were allowed to tape and photograph the first five minutes only.

Click to Listen: Opening of Her Speech at University of Iowa

Be Sure to Watch CNN Heroes, Sunday, Dec. 1 at 7 p.m.

One of the Quad Cities own local heroes, Chad Pregracke, will receive a special honor Sunday night from CNN. His non-profit organization, Living Lands and Waters, has enlisted the help of tens of thousands of volunteers to help clean up the Mississippi and other rivers.  Over the years LLW has expanded its conservation efforts to include teacher workshops, field trip opportunities on the barge that serves as a floating classroom, and many other advocacy activities.

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Tornado Damage and Stories from Survivors in Washington, Illinois

Click to Listen: Don Keley, Washington, Illinois resident

Click to Listen: Katie Petravick describes how her family found out their house was destroyed.

Click to Listen: Eric and Tiffany Judd Siblings describe how their mom survived the tornado.

Follow this link to the slide show on You Tube. flag holder

Iowa Public Radio reports that a popular insecticide might be killing honey bees

Do you remember way back in 2007 when 60 Minutes reported that honey bees, perhaps the farmer’s most valuable partner, were dying off at alarming rates? Here’s a link to that story. This week Iowa Public Radio and other news sources reported that a group of environmentalists and beekeepers are suing the Environmental Protection Agency over bee deaths. The plaintiffs want the EPA to ban the use of certain pesticides known as neonicotinoids or neonics for short. (A European blog also explored the idea that neonics might be killing the bees in 2012. There are many other websites devoted to this topic as well.)

Why do bees matter? Let’s go back to what we learned about the food chain in elementary school. Bees are the primary pollinators of many plants, fruits, and flowers we eat and enjoy. They also pollinate many plants animals need to survive. Without bees, who work for free, human beings would have to figure out a way to transport trillions of tiny bits of pollen from one plant to another. Every orange starts from an orange blossom that has to be pollinated. Every pumpkin for pumpkin pie starts as a pumpkin flower. That cup of coffee you might have had this morning? That beverage came from a coffee bean and that coffee bean started out as a coffee blossom which was probably pollinated by bees.

Thanks to Iowa Public Radio for the link to this document.  2013-03-21NeonicsBeesComplaint

4/30/13 Related article from the Los Angeles Times: Honey May Hold the Sticky Solution to Bee Colony Collapse

Syngenta Agrees to Compensate Communities for Expense of Removing Atrazine

6/5/12   Link to the lawsuit website.    Link to the AP story.   Link to the AgNet audio story.   
Iowa Public Radio reported this morning that Quad Cities water treatment facilities are included as plaintiffs.  That information has not yet been independently confirmed.