July 27, 2018
Listen and Read: Remembering
a True Giant of Conservation
Photo by Joe Bartlett/flickr
He saved endangered species. He made communities clean up pollution. He helped preserve fragile lands. And he fought to restore his beloved Florida Everglades.

Nathaniel Reed was an extraordinary environmental statesman whose influence stretched across the country leaving a legacy few others may ever match. His death on July 11, from a head injury incurred  from a fall while fishing  in Canada, has left saddened conservation leaders remembering his enormous advocacy that stretched for 50 years and included stopping a jetport in the Everglades, ending DDT use, and championing the Endangered Species Act.

McGraw President and CEO Charlie Potter, a longtime friend of Mr. Reed, remembered him on a recent episode of his “Great Outdoors” radio show. The Audubon Society also published a tribute.
The Crane that Fell in Love
with a Human
By Sadie Dingfelder/The Washington Post
Photo by Josh More/flick r
Early one summer morning, as rain is misting the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, a middle-aged man is courting a crane. Chris Crowe, 42, bends forward in a slight bow and then flaps his arms slowly, like wings. “Hey, girl, whatcha think,” he coos.

Walnut has heard that line before. The stately bird ignores Crowe, reshuffles her storm-cloud-gray wings, and snakes her head gracefully to the ground, looking for something tasty to eat.

“Come on, now,” Crowe says. The zookeeper grabs a fistful of grass and tosses it into the air. This is Crowe’s sexiest move — a sly reference to building a nest together. Walnut looks up, curiosity glinting in her marigold eyes, but then she returns to probing the soft, wet ground with her bark-colored bill. She’s simply not feeling romantic, and who can blame her? I’m watching the two of them from behind a van. With binoculars. The bird must be totally creeped out.
Decades Later, Duck Stamps Still Work for Waterfowl
By Jeff Rawlinson/Lincoln Journal Star USFWS/flickr
This year’s federal duck stamps are now available for purchase. By buying them, waterfowl hunters are paying homage to conservation efforts that have supported wildlife for nearly 85 years. Like all stories, though, the facts are worth learning about.

As the United States entered the 20th century, the trajectory for our nation’s wildlife looked dark. This large-scale loss of flora and fauna was exacerbated by the 1930s with the onslaught of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. The prairie potholes and wetlands across the Midwest had dried up. Market hunting had left waterfowl populations in disrepair, and the sportsmen and women demanded greater conservation measures. Fueling the flames of these demands was a legendary editorial cartoonist and waterfowl hunter named Jay “Ding” Darling – who, coincidentally, was a lifelong friend of Max McGraw.

Darling, at times, had been critical of President Franklin Roosevelt. But as fate would have it, the two giants needed each other for a common conservation goal.
Read More
As West Warms, the Rio Grande
is Drying Up
By Henry Fountain/The New York Times
Photo by .imelda/flickr
Mario Rosales, who farms 365 acres along the Rio Grande, knows the river is in bad shape this year. It has already dried to a dusty ribbon of sand in some parts, and most of the water that does flow is diverted to irrigate crops, including Mr. Rosales’s fields of wheat, oats, alfalfa and New Mexico’s beloved chiles.

Because last winter’s mountain snowpack was the second-lowest on record, even that irrigation water may run out at the end of July, three months earlier than usual. But Mr. Rosales isn’t worried. He is sure that the summer thunderstorms, known here as the monsoon, will come.

“Sooner or later, we’ll get the water,” he said.
Read More
What in the World Is a CWD Prion?
By Charlie Booher/TRCP
Photo by Wisconsin DNR/flick r
My home in Wisconsin is less than 20 miles away from the detection site of the first case of Chronic Wasting Disease east of the Mississippi River in 2002. Michigan State University, where I attend school, is within the same proximity of the first detected case in the state of Michigan. It is safe to say that this disease has been in my backyard for most of my life.

As the disease spreads across the country, more and more hunters are finding CWD in their backyards too. And while its name is increasingly familiar among sportsmen and women, CWD still remains a source of confusion for many, much of which pertains to the small particles that cause it, known as  prions . Although we commonly associate transmissible diseases with viruses and bacteria, prions are neither. Nor are they Fungi. They are not even alive.

So just what are these things, how do they spread, and why should we be worried about them?
Read More
“Please let everyone know that he was a fighter at his core, that he felt allowing despoliation of the environment to be a real and unacceptable sin .”

- Adrian Reed, about his father, Nathaniel

To read past McGraw Reports click here.