Making a Difference: Restoring the Range

David Bamberger

David Bamberger (center), founder of the Bamberger Ranch Preserve.

When Ohioan J. David Bamberger first moved to San Antonio, Texas as a vacuum cleaner sales representative, he was charmed by the dry, grass covered rangeland of the Texas Hill Country. But much of the land was degraded. It had been overgrazed by cattle and was left with thin soil and dried-up creeks.

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Points of View: The Three Gorges Dam

China’s Yangtze River is the third longest river in the world after the Nile and the Amazon. The Yangtze River flows through the Three Gorges region of central China, which is famous for its natural beauty and historical sites. For thousands of years, the area’s sheer cliffs have inspired paintings and poems. This idyllic region seems like the sort of place that would be protected as a park or reserve. But in fact, it is the site for the Three Gorges Dam—the largest hydroelectric dam project in the world. Now that the dam is fully operational, the Yangtze River forms a reservoir that is 595 km (370 mi) long—as long as Lake Superior. In other words, the reservoir is about as long as the distance between Los Angeles and San Francisco!

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Making a Difference: A Little Piece of Cajun Prairie

collecting seed

Charles Allen is shown here collecting seeds from a compass plant at a Cajun prairie remnant. The leaves of the compass plant face east to catch the sun.

Cajun prairie is a distinct grassland, named for the settlers who lived there. It once covered more than 2.5 million acres of southwest Louisiana. Today, only about 100 acres of Cajun prairie remain. If the work of two biologists and many volunteers pays off, however, a little piece of Cajun prairie will always exist in Louisiana.

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Society and the Environment: Bats and Bridges

Congress Avenue bridge bats

Mexican free-tailed bats leave their roost under the Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin, Texas, to hunt for insects.

A large colony of Mexican free-tailed bats lives under the Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin, Texas. These bats eat millions of insects a night, so they are welcome neighbors. Communities around the country and around the world have learned of the bats and have asked Austin for help in building bat-friendly bridges. But all that the people of Austin knew was that the bats appeared after the Congress Avenue Bridge was rebuilt in the 1980s. What attracted the bats? The people of Austin had to do a little research.

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