environment

David~O / Creative Commons

Here's the thing about hummingbirds: Almost nothing they do is like a regular bird. A hummingbird's heart beats about 1,200 times a minute while exercising. 

CFECT Archives

A reclusive North Stonington resident who died in September has left an approximately $8 million donation to the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut. According to the group, it's the largest gift it's ever received.

Jordanna Hertz

One year ago, 19 firefighters from the Granite Mountain Hotshots died battling a wildfire. While Connecticut isn't known for its forest fires, it is known for a surprisingly elite group of firefighters: the Connecticut Wildfire Crew. 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced a six-month delay on whether or not to list the Northern Long-eared Bat as endangered. The delay is so scientists can examine the impact of White-Nose Syndrome.

Governor Dannel Malloy

Connecticut's revised state budget and a host of new laws take effect Tuesday after being passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Dannel Malloy.

White House Task Force To Save Bees Stirs Hornet's Nest

Jun 27, 2014

When President Obama announced last week that he was creating a federal task force to investigate the nation's vanishing bee colonies, the moment provided newly minted Press Secretary Josh Earnest an opportunity to crack one of his first jokes on the job.

"When I walked out here today, I knew I was going to be handling a range of sensitive issues," he told reporters. "I didn't know I was going to be talking about the birds and the bees."

Patrick Skahill / WNPR

Connecticut has a lot of trees. Our state leads the nation on this piece of technical jargon from the state forester, "woodland urban interface tree density." That means two things -- one: Connecticut has a lot of old, towering, trees -- and two, when major storms, like the ones in 2011 and 2012, hit those trees can be really vulnerable.

Meredith Metcalf / Eastern Connecticut State University

A new project at Eastern Connecticut State University is looking at arsenic contamination in privately-owned wells. The question of where that arsenic is coming from has attracted surprisingly little attention, until now. 

From the water's edge in Norfolk, Va., the U.S. naval base spans the whole horizon. Aircraft carriers, supply centers, barracks and admirals' homes fill a vast expanse.

But Ray Toll, a retired naval oceanographer, says the "majority of [the naval base], if not all of it" is at risk of flooding "because it's so low and it's flat."

Fifth World Art / Flickr Creative Commons

The Connecticut Audubon Society wants to get a better handle on osprey populations in the state. To do so, the group is launching a new citizen science program called "Osprey Nation."

City of Bridgeport

Let your pedestrian flag fly. That's the message coming from the City of Bridgeport, which is piloting a new program in front of the City Hall Annex aimed at increasing pedestrian safety through crosswalk flags. 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

It’s mating season for Long Island Sound’s horseshoe crabs. Every year, a group of biologists from Sacred Heart University scour Connecticut’s beaches to track and tag these ancient creatures. I met up with one group in Milford, under a full moon at midnight, to learn more.

President Obama unveiled a proposal on Tuesday that would create the world's largest ocean sanctuary south and west of Hawaii, The Washington Post and The Associated Press are reporting.

Tar Sands Blockade / Creative Commons

Governor Dannel Malloy has signed a bill imposing a moratorium on bringing fracking waste into Connecticut. The moratorium will extend to at least to July 2017. In the meantime, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection will draft regulations about what, if any, fracking waste can come to Connecticut.

Creative Commons

Last June, Connecticut played host to an emergence of periodical 17-year cicadas. For many, promises of bug swarms covering neighborhoods never came to pass.

For others, in places like Meriden and North Branford, millions of cicadas did take over, lining roads, trees, and mailboxes. One year later, I met up with an entomologist to see what those bugs have left behind.

Japan, which earlier this year said it would scale back what it has described as "research whaling," is signaling that it wants to go back to a larger hunt.

"I want to aim for the resumption of commercial whaling by conducting whaling research," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said.

Japan, which is a signatory to a 1986 International Whaling Commission moratorium, has nonetheless continued to hunt cetaceans using a loophole in the ban that allows taking some whales for scientific purposes.

An epic meditation, multimedia outdoor spectacle with lasers, dance, drums, music, sculpture, water, fire, science, technology, climbers, shadows, and projections: Witness the geological, climatic anthropological history of the Stony Creek Quarry as it evolves through ancient history to our projected future. 

Park Ranger / Creative Commons

With sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s and 80s expected this weekend, the Connecticut Forest and Park Association is encouraging everyone to get outdoors and participate in one of the 258 Connecticut Trails Day Weekend events happening Saturday and Sunday throughout the state. 

Jessica Whittle / Creative Commons

One of the most basic functions of local government is to protect its citizens. We talk with a panel of local firefighters who do just that.

When a fire breaks out, many Connecticut towns have volunteer forces that go to the rescue. What draws firefighters to this profession that includes a lot more than just fighting fires? Some Connecticut firefighters are even taking it a step further, and are going out west to help fight forest fires.

Hanay / Creative Commons

A group of students at East Haven High School created a short documentary, “Weaving the Way: Lessons From the Weaver Bird.” The film recently won outstanding documentary short at the Connecticut Student Film Festival.

Fabien Cousteau has been following in his grandfather Jacques Cousteau's flipper-steps for years — scuba diving around the world and making underwater documentaries of his own. Now he's seeking to break the elder oceanographer's record for the longest period of time spent underwater.

New federal regulations announced Monday aim to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by 30 percent by 2030.

The draft proposal from the Environmental Protection Agency has sparked opposition from industry groups who say the changes would be prohibitively expensive. But the proposal's backers say the rules are needed to cut carbon pollution that scientists say contributes to climate change.

Update at 10:45 a.m. ET: Proposed Rule Published

Wesleyan University / Wikimedia Commons

Is college worth it? The news about higher education is mostly bad. Student loan debt is now $1 trillion and climbing. Underpaid, demoralized, and harassed adjunct faculty are taking on more and more of the teaching load. By many measures, college isn't doing its most important job: providing a ladder that young people with fewer advantages can climb.

College right now seems to be reinforcing class structure rather than loosening it up. 

Into all of the above steps an optimist: Wesleyan president Michael Roth, who doesn't deny the problems, but insists that a liberal education is essential, and worth it. Despite the shift towards specialized courses of study, a liberal arts education is more important than ever. 

Uwe Kils / Creative Commons

Governor Dannel Malloy has vetoed a bill that could have brought a glass eel fishing season to Connecticut. Glass eels are a juvenile species of American eel that can sell for hundreds of dollars per pound, but how did those prices get so high?

Flickr Creative Commons

The Council on Environmental Quality issued its annual report on state environmental data on Wednesday, and one number seems to be at the center of some questions: 72.

Mark Mühlhaus / attenzione

Students in five Connecticut technical high schools are set to present findings and recommendations from a year-long investigation of the environmental impact of their school's energy use. 

Bruce Berrien / Creative Commons

Earlier this month, the National Climate Assessment was released, and the results are less than stellar. The report says, “Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present.” The release of the climate assessment report prompted both of our local talk shows to tackle climate change last week, from very different perspectives.

Patrick Skahill / WNPR

This month marks the centennial of the American Radio Relay League. That’s the largest association of ham radio hobbyists in the United States that is headquartered in Newington, Conn. WNPR paid a visit to “the mecca of ham radio” where each year hundreds of people converge to broadcast signals across the globe.

Before and after shots taken by a Mars-orbiting satellite have detected a newly created impact crater half the size of a football field near the planet's equator.

NPR's Joe Palca says that while objects are striking Mars all the time (with big chunks surviving until impact, thanks to the Red Planet's thin atmosphere), this is the first time scientists have been able to determine the exact day a meteor struck – in this case, sometime on March 28, 2012.

But it wasn't noticed until two months ago.

Chion Wolf

When President Obama introduced the National Climate Assessment a couple of weeks ago, he asked eight special people to help him. They were national and local weather casters including Al Roker.

It was an interesting choice.  

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