January 5, 2018
New Year,
New Website for McGraw’s CLfT
By Zach Lowe/McGraw
CLfT photo
McGraw’s Conservation Leaders for Tomorrow program has launched an updated website, reflecting a more modern look and providing an integrated experience for instructors and participants. 

CLfT, which trains professionals and future leaders about the role ethical and legal hunting plays in conservation, has grown significantly since its inception. That created the need to provide easier access to program information and logistics, and the website was the perfect tool. 

The website remains a landing space for anyone who might want to know more about the program’s impact, but now it also provides behind-the-scenes support to instructors and participants via instructional materials and logistical information. 

Please take a look at the public portion of the site, check out the visual tour, recent reports in the Library, and see what instructors and past participants are saying about their CLfT experiences.
Was 2017 Turning Point
for Louisiana’s Eroding Coast?
By Steve Cochran/nola.com
Photo by NOAA/flickr
You hear it all the time: Louisiana's coast is sinking and disappearing. Since the 1930s, 2,000 square miles of land have turned into open water. As seas rise, hurricanes strengthen and land sinks, maintaining a future for our nationally-significant coast looks increasingly daunting.

But challenges are meant to be met. And while it will be decades before we can judge if we truly met this one, there is a good chance we will look back at 2017 and see a pivot point.

A major step forward is Louisiana's 2017  Coastal Master Plan , the innovative result of combined administrative and legislative action, strong public support and input, and sound science. The plan is the continuing blueprint for large-scale coastal restoration and protection efforts and aims to build and maintain as much land as possible into an uncertain future.

The suite of restoration projects laid out in the master plan includes marsh creation, barrier island restoration and sediment diversions. In particular, these sediment diversions use the most powerful resource at our disposal - the Mississippi River and its land-building sediment - to restore a functioning system and sustain land over time. 
For Conservation, Should We Change Values or Behavior?
By Brandon Keim/Anthropecene
Photo by NASA/flickr
In order to protect species from extinction, habitats from destruction, and prevent the impoverishment of Earth’s nonhuman life, is it necessary to change people’s values — or should nature-loving citizens work within existing value systems, seeking pragmatic rather than radical transformations?

It’s an existential question, and played out in a debate that kicked off when researchers led by Michael Manfredo, a social psychologist at Colorado State University,  authored a Conservation Biology paper on values, change and conservation .
“Why do people seem unconcerned about the unprecedented loss of biodiversity, and why does society fail to act in the face of calamitous predictions?” they asked. “Research provides a rather disconcerting answer to this question: a great many people simply do not prioritize the environment as an important concern relative to other issues in their lives.”

Conservationists have long hoped to change those priorities, to inculcate a sense of care and responsibility that extends beyond our own species — and while it’s true that value changes lead to substantial changes in behavior, Manfredo and colleagues draw upon a social science literature that’s found values to be extremely resistant to change.
Winter Forecast: Falling Raccoons, Heavy at Times
By Karin Brulliard/The Washington Post
Photo by Robert Engberg/flickr
Nov. 23 was not a typical workday at one Toronto-area office building. When employees showed up, there was a gaping hole in the ceiling above one desk. Underneath the desk, near the legs of a red chair, sat a masked intruder looking remarkably relaxed.

It was a raccoon, and it had crashed through the ceiling.

Such incidents occur year-round. But wildlife professionals say they are a bit more common in the cold of winter, when raccoons, which are adept at locating and squeezing through even small crevices in buildings and houses, cozy down in nooks of human shelters for longer stretches of time. Squirrels love attics, too, but when testing the load-bearing limits of ceilings, raccoons have a weight disadvantage. That is particularly true in commercial buildings, which often feature dropped ceilings meant to hide infrastructure, not serve as raccoon terrain.
Tracing Afghanistan’s Secretive and Elusive Snow Leopards
By Paul Salopek/Out of Eden Walk
Photo by Lucie Provencher/flickr
Far above the greening, medieval valleys of Afghanistan’s Wakhan corridor soars the wild domain of  Panthera uncia , the snow leopard.

Snow leopards are high altitude predators. They are relics of the ice ages, adapted to extreme cold, to blizzards and vertical slopes, and are rarely seen below 6,000 feet. Their pelts are smoky white with ashy rosettes. Their eyes, sliced by vertical feline pupils, are the color of hoar frost. Half of their six-foot-long bodies consists of a magnificent tail: a thick, furry balancing rod for a cat that can leap 30 feet through the air.

As few as 2,700 adult snow leopards now remain in the world, biologists say, and they are sprinkled thinly across a dozen mountainous nations in Central Asia. The animals are so secretive, so well camouflaged, and so incredibly difficult to observe, that 25 years ago almost nothing was known of their ecology. But recent intensive field studies have begun to unveil the cats’ behavior, and this has helped mobilize better conservation efforts.

“The local communities have agreed to stop hunting them,” says Ali Madad Rajabi, an Afghan veterinarian with the  Wildlife Conservation Society of New York , or WCS, which maintains a field office in the Wakhan. “The main problem now is the security forces. They have the guns. We are trying to raise their awareness.”

"There is no more fascinating place than a marsh anyhow."

- Robert Ruark
To read past McGraw Reports click here.