Odd and Amusing Environmental News Roundup

Odd and Amusing Environmental News Roundup

Alisa Opar
Published: 09/24/2010
This week's roundup includes dog poop powered lights, a surprise visit from an American bittern, and a stuffed creature made with parts of various animals, include a swan, deer, and coyote.
 

Photo: Verdlanco, Wikimedia Commons

 
DOG POOP POWERS PARK LIGHTING
Well, here’s one way to deal with all the dog feces in cities: Use it to power lights. Don’t you just love looking on the bright side?
 
The "Park Spark" poop converter is actually two steel, 500-gallon oil tanks painted a golden yellow, connected by diagonal black piping and attached to an old gaslight-style street lantern at the [Cambridge, Mass.] Pacific Street Park.
 
After the dogs do their business, signs on the tanks instruct owners to use biodegradable bags supplied on site to pick up the poop and deposit it into the left tank. People then turn a wheel to stir its insides, which contain waste and water. Microbes in the waste give off methane, an odorless gas that is fed through the tanks to the lamp and burned off. The park is small but has proven busy enough to ensure a steady supply of fuel.

Puppy poo is a subject our Green Guru Susan Cosier has tackled. Find out the best way to dispose of dog feces and cat litter box waste.
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Photo: Enrique Gomez De Molin
WILD ART
Strange. Bizarre. Disturbing. Fascinating. Huh. Any of these might describe some of the pieces at the "Nature, Revisions, and Dreams" exhibit at the Florida Gulf Coast University Art Gallery. Take, for instance, Enrique Gomez De Molina’s piece “Pandora.” The stuffed, two-headed creature is made from a swan, deer, antelope, dik-dik horns, and a coyote. Hmm, maybe he should’ve called it “Chimera” instead.
 
From the News-Press
 
No animals are hurt or killed for the art. Certain animal farms, collectors and pet shops call him when an animal dies. De Molina will then skin the animal, preserving it in two studio freezers. He uses wire, foam and clay to sculpt, fill and shape the animals.

 
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Photo: Enrique Gomez De Molina
AMERICAN BITTERN BLOWS INTO TOWN
Homeowners Robern and Jane Omlor, of Schuyl-kill Haven, Pennsylvania, received an unusual visitor on Wednesday when a storm blew an American bittern into their home, the Republican Herald reports. Though the herons are stocky birds with three-foot wingspans, they’re rarely seen because they’re well camouflaged and prefer to stay out of sight in marshes and wetlands. The bird is being rehabilitated at a local wildlife center.
 
From the article: Unlike waterfowl, which travel in pairs or flocks, bitterns are usually solitary and prefer to walk - rather than fly - as they move through cattails and rushes. If a bittern senses it has been seen, it becomes motionless and usually points its bill upward to further blend into its surroundings.
 
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SAFETY FIRST
Bike riding is a great way to scale down your carbon footprint and stay in shape. But taking a hand off the handlebars to signal for turns and stopping can be awkward and even dangerous at times. As we saw on TreeHugger, the folks at Lee Myung Su design lab have come up with a solution: the Seil Bag is designed to show turn signals and messages for riders to the back (you know, like “STOP”), lit up with LEDs. Check out the video above. (P.S. We at Audubon are firm believers in bike helmets...especially those of us who still seem to fall off or run into stationary objects despite decades of riding.)
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Photo: USFWS
CROCS ON THE RUN

If you happen to be near La Antigua, in the Mexican state of Veracruz, keep an eye out for crocodiles. Reuters reports that at least 280 Morelet’s crocodiles—perhaps up to 400—escaped from a refuge near the Gulf of Mexico after heavy flooding caused by Hurricane Karl. The government has dispatched wildlife experts to recapture the endangered reptiles, which can grow to nearly 10 feet long. Apparently that's not even all that big, by croc standards.

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