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This is Martha, the last Passenger Pigeon. She died on September 1, 1914 in the Cincinnati Zoo. Shortly thereafter, her body was packed in ice and sent by railroad to Washington, DC, to become a part of the National Museum of Natural History’s collection as a lasting legacy of the harm that can be done to the natural world by humans. Just decades prior, the Passenger Pigeon was the most abundant bird in North America. The disappearance of the species helped ignite the modern conservation movement.

For the Centennial of her death, Martha was recently brought out for display and is currently on view in the exhibition Once There Were Billions, Vanished Birds of North America. Sponsored by the Smithsonian Libraries in partnership with the National Museum of Natural History and the Biodiversity Heritage Library, the exhibition tells the story of the last Passenger Pigeon, a member of a species that once numbered in the billions, along with the disappearance of the Great Auk, Carolina Parakeet, and Heath Hen. These extinctions reveal the fragile connections between species and their environment. 

The Smithsonian Libraries, National Museum of Natural History, and the Biodiversity Heritage Library will be hosting a Twitter Chat on September 2, 2014 from 2-3 pm Eastern Time. This is your chance to ask questions about the Passenger Pigeon, extinction, and biodiversity literature.

Follow @SILibraries, @NMNH, and @BioDivLibrary and use the hashtag #Martha100 to tweet your questions.


The Amazon is home to more plant and animal species than any other ecosystem in the world. It helps regulate global weather patterns, carries 20% of the planet’s fresh water and is home to thousands of indigenous tribes. At the current rate of destruction, the Amazon could be gone in 40 years. #whytheamazon #thinkaboutit #macaws #rainforest #amazon #art #earth #conservation

Studies consistently demonstrate that spending time in nature improves people’s mental and physical condition. So says an academic literature review by Deakin University and Parks Victoria in Australia. The review cites three studies showing that exposure to natural environments such as parks enhances the ability to cope with and recover from stress, illness and injury.

Most urbanites can only experience nature by visiting parks, and most of them are unaware of parks and their potential health benefits, the review says. Making people healthier is a great reason for the League to connect more people with redwood parks.

Save the Redwoods League (Aug. 12, 2014)

This Wednesday (Aug. 13): Coastal Commission - Fracking demo!

The Coastal Commission will be holding its next regular weeklong meeting in San Diego.  Although there are now no oil and gas relevant actions on the agenda, we want to continue to let them know that we demand that offshore fracking be halted.  

The rally will take place outside on the sidewalk in front of the Catamaran Resort. We will stand with signs and have hazmat suits, snorkels and masks for folks to wear. If you have a wetsuit and longboard you are encouraged to bring those as well with signs “Surfers Against Fracking”.
Parking is difficult in this area.  We plan on convening on the sidewalk out front of the resort around 8:30 am so those arriving for the conference see our “displays” - however, the actual rally itself will be from 10 to 11 am.  Please give yourself lots of time to find parking if needed.  Carpooling is always encouraged.  Please plan to arrive by 9:30 at the latest. 


This landscape testifies to nature’s size, beauty, and diversity - huge mountains, rugged foothills, deep canyons, vast caverns, and the world’s largest trees.

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks lie side-by-side in the southern Sierra Nevada, east of the San Joaquin Valley. Visitor activities vary by season and elevation (1,370 to 14,494 feet).

Photo: Cliff LaPlant (


Check out the feature article about Organ Mountains—Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico.

The 496,330 acre Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument was established on May 21, 2014, by Presidential Proclamation. The BLM-managed national monument includes four distinct areas: the Organ Mountains, Desert Peaks, Potrillo Mountains, and Doña Ana Mountains.

While all four areas offer unique recreational opportunities, the most developed portion of the monument is the Organ Mountains which is the location of the Visitor Center at Dripping Springs. The Organ Mountains are a steep, angular mountain range with rocky spires that jut majestically above the Chihuahuan Desert floor to an elevation of 9,000 feet. It is so named because the needle-like spires resemble the pipes of an organ. This picturesque area of rocky peaks, narrow canyons, and open woodlands ranges from Chihuahuan Desert habitat to ponderosa pine in the highest elevations. Located adjacent to and on the east side of Las Cruces, this part of the Monument provides many opportunities for photography, hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, camping, and wildlife viewing. There are several recreation areas within the Monument including the Dripping Springs Natural Area, the Aguirre Spring Campground, four National Recreation Trails, and many miles of hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking trails.

CLICK HERE to plan your visit and #SeeBLM.

Photos by Lisa Phillips, BLM New Mexico

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