Environment

Education
3:10 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Colleges Band Together to Save Energy Costs

Five Virginia private liberal arts colleges have joined together to reduce their energy costs. 

Hollins University along with Emory & Henry, Lynchburg, Randolph, and Sweet Briar Colleges are the first such institutions of higher education in Virginia to provide 100 percent renewable electricity to their campuses.

The energy is coming from landfills located around the Commonwealth.  Ingenco captures landfill gas emissions and sends it to the schools.  Emory & Henry spokesman Jesse Freedman says this will enable them to cut their carbon footprint by half.

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Fighting One Invasive Species With Another
12:54 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Saving Hemlocks from Extinction

A tiny, invasive bug is bringing down hemlock trees from Appalachia to southern Canada. And scientists fear another treasured native tree may be going the way of the American chestnut, forever changing forest ecosystems.

Researchers at Virginia Tech are hoping to beat the invaders at their own game. They’re using a new invasive species to keep an old one in check, and save the American hemlock tree.

 

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Legislative Hearing Scheduled
1:34 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

The Future of Stadium Woods

A 14-acre  stand of trees on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg recently escaped destruction when the University agreed not to build an athletic practice facility on that spot. 

Now a Virginia Senator wants to make protection of the parcel, known as Stadium Woods, permanent.

Senator John Edwards applauds Virginia Tech’s Board of Visitors for voting to save Stadium woods from development – for now. But he’s introduced a bill that would make protection permanent with a conservation easement on the land.

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VT's Freshwater Mollusk Conservation Center
4:41 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Growing Mussels

Credit Virginia Tech

Forty years on, the Endangered Species Act continues to demonstrate its effects on a species native to this area; the fresh water mussel. 

You might say these shellfish do the heavy lifting when it comes to keeping waterways healthy. More strains of these living water filters grow in this region, than anywhere else in the world. 

The small buildings at Virginia Tech’s Freshwater Mollusk Conservation Center in Blacksburg seem more like a fishing village than a high tech research facility.

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Taking Stock after 40 Years
10:55 am
Thu January 2, 2014

Endangered Species Act

Credit Virginia Tech

The federal law protecting endangered species turned forty in 2013.  And that calls for taking stock of how it’s been working.  

Fresh Water mussels are at the foundation of aquatic life in inland waterways.  At different times in their life cycle, the burrow into river bottoms, keeping soil substrates aerated, and they act as powerful filtering systems that help keep the water clean. But they’re on the endangered species list, and anything that threatens them, also threatens our fresh surface water.

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