June 14, 2019
What’s growing at McGraw? Lots
McGraw photo
As summer approaches, the McGraw shooting sports team is busy working on hunting fields for the fall – but they’re also hard at work preparing for the McGraw of the future.

Over the course of 48 hours in late May, team members planted more than 8,000 shrubs and trees across the Foundation’s property, and planted thousands more in subsequent days. Consisting mostly of fruit-bearing native shrubs and a few select oaks and conifers, these plantings will provide upland hunting cover, needed habitat for game and songbirds, and support a more diverse fauna of pollinators for decades to come.

In addition, the team planted shrubs and trees in open spaces around the Shooting Sports Center and elsewhere on the property. The goal is provide a ready supply of maturing plants that can be used to selectively enhance the landscape over time. 

Midwest floods to create largest ‘dead zone’
By Sarah Kaplan/The Washington Post
Photo by WBEZ/flickr
As rain deluged the Midwest this spring, commercial fisherman Ryan Bradley knew it was only a matter of time before the disaster reached him.

All that water falling on all that fertilizer-enriched farmland would soon wend its way through streams and rivers into Bradley’s fishing grounds in the Gulf of Mexico, off the Mississippi coast. The nutrient excess would cause tiny algae to burst into bloom, then die, sink and decompose on the ocean floor — a process that sucks all the oxygen from the water, turning it toxic. Fish would suffocate or flee, leaving Bradley and his fellow fishermen nothing to harvest.

Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Louisiana State University have confirmed Bradley’s worst fears, predicting this spring’s record rainfall would produce one of the largest-ever “dead zones” in the Gulf of Mexico. An area the size of New Jersey could become almost entirely barren this summer, posing a threat to marine species — and the fishermen who depend on them.

Why Botswana reinstated elephant hunting
By Max Bearak/The Washington Post
Photo by miquitos/flickr
For as long as they can remember, farmers in Botswana lived mostly at peace with elephants, whose knowing eyes and playful kids made them seem almost like friendly human neighbors.

This southern African country of savannas and swamps is home to roughly one-third of Africa’s elephants, thanks in part to strict anti-poaching enforcement and a trophy hunting ban that have made it a darling of conservationists and a mecca for high-priced tourism. But the population spike has not been easy for the people who live alongside them, and a backlash has erupted.

“I hate elephants,” said Lumba Nderiki, a farmer well into her 80s, as she strolled through her modest and barren field in the Chobe enclave, a strip of mostly farmland between the river and national park of the same name. “Two simple reasons: They have widowed me, and they have left me without a harvest.”

The vampire birds of the Galápagos
By Joshua Sokol/The New York Times
Photo by Anna/flickr
For half the year, a little brown bird on the northernmost islands of the Galápagos uses its wickedly sharp beak to pick at seeds, nectar and insects. But when the climate dries out, it drinks blood.

Yes, there is such a thing as a vampire finch.

Yes, it is what it sounds like.

Galápagos finches have been used since Darwin’s time to illustrate evolution in action. Even among them, Geospiza septentrionalis is an outlier, one of the few birds in the world to intentionally draw and drink blood. And the species is only found on Wolf and Darwin islands, two of the most remote and off-limits places in the entire archipelago.

Meet some of the people who use public land
Field & Stream
Photo by Peter Anderson/flickr
Maggie Hamilton grew up in northern Wisconsin, and most years she still makes it back home to hunt opening weekend of deer season with her 93-year-old grandfather.

That passion for wild places, and the connections they nourish, informs her work behind the lens. Hamilton recently graduated with a Master of Arts in photography from the University of Montana, and for her graduate project she took portraits of public-land users from California to Florida.nstead of focusing solely on hunters and anglers, Hamilton chose a wide variety of public lands users.

“For this campaign,” she wrote, “I wanted to show the broader truth, unlike a lot of media that show just white men using our lands. I wanted to show that everyone uses public lands. The sitters are people from every walk of life.”
For the portrait session Hamilton simply asked the model to bring whatever gear that they would need to use public land in their preferred way, whether it was a wetsuit and a surfboard or a crossbow and camo. That’s the broader, deeper truth found in Hamilton’s portraits. Take a look,

“The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”

- Nelson Henderson

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