Bird Conservation Groups Win Fight Against Great Lakes Wind Project: Camp Perry Turbine Would Have Set Dangerous Precedent

Washington, D.C., June 29, 2017   American Bird Conservancy (Michael Hutchins, Director of ABC) and Black Swamp Bird Observatory (Kimberly Kaufman, Executive Director of BSBO) have won their campaign to stop a planned wind turbine in a major bird migration corridor close to the shores of Lake Erie. In response to a lawsuit by ABC and BSBO, the Ohio Air National Guard (ANG) has announced that it has not approved or authorized plans to install a large turbine at its Camp Perry facility in Ottawa County, Ohio, and that it has no plans to do so. As a result, ABC and BSBO filed a motion today in U.S. District Court to dismiss the lawsuit.

The Camp Perry site would have been the first wind energy development on public land in this ecologically sensitive area. “ABC is delighted that the Ohio Air National Guard has finally decided not to develop a large wind turbine at Camp Perry in one of the world’s largest concentrations of migratory birds and bats,” said Dr. Michael Hutchins, Director of ABC’s Bird-Smart Wind Energy Campaign. “This reaffirms the Department of Defense’s record on wildlife conservation, and sends a message to other wind energy developers who have their eyes on the Great Lakes.”

Today’s resolution of the lawsuit represents the successful outcome of a long battle to protect the area’s birds and bats. In October 2016, ABC and BSBO announced their intention to sue the ANG over violations of the Endangered Species Act and other federal laws in the course of planning the Camp Perry turbine. ABC and BSBO also threatened to sue the ANG over the proposed turbine in 2014. The two groups stand ready to take legal action again if the ANG were ever to decide to move forward with the project in the future.

Located less than a mile from Lake Erie, the Camp Perry turbine would have presented an extremely high risk to migrating songbirds, including the federally Endangered Kirtland’s Warbler. Other birds likely to be harmed by such projects include migrating songbirds, Bald Eagles, and other raptors, and waterfowl.

“We are relieved that after a five-year battle to convince them to do so, the ANG made the decision to protect the integrity of this Globally Important Bird Area by halting construction of the Camp Perry wind turbine project,” said Kimberly Kaufman, Executive Director of BSBO. “It is our hope that this decision will send a strong message to others looking to develop wind energy in this area. I’d also like to express our sincere gratitude to all those who supported BSBO and ABC in this effort.”

The victory sets an especially important precedent because many other wind energy projects are currently being planned around the Great Lakes, which could threaten the future of millions of migratory birds and bats. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has recommended that no turbines be built within 3 miles of the Great Lakes shoreline. Based on FWS’s advanced radar studies showing vast numbers of birds and bats migrating through this area and flying within the rotor-swept area of wind turbines, ABC recently sent a letter to FWS suggesting that this setback be expanded to at least five miles.

“Camp Perry is a cautionary tale about how location does matter,” Hutchins said. “Rules must be followed, and similar projects should not threaten federally protected bird and bat species.”

ABC and BSBO were represented in the lawsuit by the Washington, D.C. based public-interest law firm of Meyer Glitzenstein & Eubanks and William Sheehan, ABC’s General Counsel.

American Bird Conservancy’s work on this program is supported by the Leon Levy Foundation.

American Bird Conservancy is the Western Hemisphere’s bird conservation specialist—the only organization with a single and steadfast commitment to achieving conservation results for native birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. With a focus on efficiency and working in partnership, we take on the toughest problems facing birds today, innovating and building on sound science to halt extinctions, protect habitats, eliminate threats, and build capacity for bird conservation.

Black Swamp Bird Observatory is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit whose mission is to inspire the appreciation, enjoyment, and conservation of birds and their habitats through research, education, and outreach.

Afghan Street Artists Strive To Beautify Kabul

Guest Writer: Jennifer Glasse / Source Al Jazeera

His plan is to make Kabul the graffiti capital of the world, one mural at a time. It won’t be an easy task; there are kilometres of blast walls in the Afghan capital, symbols of the perilous security here.

Artist Kabir Mokamel and a group of supporters have started the project with their own money.

“Our first goal is to contribute something to beautify Kabul,” he explains. “Plus, Kabul has all of these blast walls, and they look extremely ugly.

“Psychologically, when I come into Kabul I feel under siege. So we’re painting some strategic pieces of art in order to educate the public.

“When you put a picture on a wall, the wall disappears and you are in a new space, that’s very important for me.”

The first piece Mokamel and the volunteers painted is a giant pair of women’s eyes, brown, piercing.

"I’m watching you. Corruption is not hidden from God or the people’s eyes."  

“I’m watching you. Corruption is not hidden from God or the people’s eyes.”

The message, against a bright yellow background, reads: “I’m watching you. Corruption is not hidden from God or the people’s eyes.”

 Another piece features Afghans toting hearts in a wheelbarrow, and a heart with a band aid across it. “It’s about healing the wounds of the country,” Mokamel explains.

We arrive as Mokamel is starting a new series “Heroes of my City,” to celebrate everyday people as heroes. When we first get there, the mural doesn’t look like much – a few bits of colour on the white wall. “It’s a complicated piece, it has 32 colours, the anti-corruption one had only nine,” the artist says.To make the outline of the piece, the painting of three street sweepers has been projected on the wall and drawn in pencil. Mokamel, his volunteers and anyone who would like to participate may help paint it.

Children who usually beg among the busy Pashtunistan square traffic come over to see what’s happening.   Soon, painter Maryam Kohi is talking to a young boy then hands him a paintbrush. She has worked on several of the murals, despite recent car bombs that have many Afghans concerned about security.  Mokamel and his volunteers worked several hours in mornings and evenings, but security concerns halted painting for several days

‘Ordinary heroes’

“All people are living in fear so with this Art, we can change the look of the city, and give a message of peace to the people and a message of acceptance of each other,” Kohi says.

Mohammad Nabi, an old man who was walking by, paints text about ordinary heroes, alongside a policeman who has also accepted a paint brush from Mokamel.

This is what the artist wants, to bring people together.

“They are just passers-by, they’re curious about what we are doing. Sometimes they have a bit of apprehension and we just invite them to come and paint,” Mokamel says.

“They always say they have never painted in their life, we say, just try it, and then they do and some come back the next day.”

Accidental painter Nabi says his few minutes at the wall have made him feel patriotic, that he’s helped do something to make the city clean, to show that he loves Afghans and Afghanistan.

“People get messages through these paintings, and godwilling everyone, our children become educated and understand these things,” Nabi says.

“Even people who have no education can understand the message when they see this.”

That’s another of Mokamel’s goals with his paintings, to create what he calls visual literacy.  Many Afghans cannot read or write. He wants to use art to simplify the many complications of Afghan life.

“For me the metaphor is we have a lot of problems in Afghanistan very complex problems, being it economical, being it social, or political,” he says.

“What we want to do is to show them through these simple paintings, block colors, is that you can actually break down these complex things into elements, and then you can pull them apart and put them together to make something new.”

His painting of street sweepers is complex, with many tiny areas for the 32 colours. It takes him and his volunteers longer than he thought it would to complete – about two weeks.  They worked several hours in mornings and evenings, but security concerns halted painting for several days after car bombs and other attacks had the people of Kabul on edge.  The street sweeper painting is the first in the series honouring ordinary Afghans.

Mokamel and his volunteers worked several hours in mornings and evenings, but security concerns halted painting for several days

Mokamel and his volunteers worked several hours in mornings and evenings, but security concerns halted painting for several days

“We want to shift the paradigm of heroism in Afghanistan,” Mokamel says. “It has always been heroes with guns or with swords, you know?

“So we want to celebrate the people that we see every day who are working on the street.”

Other murals will be of boys and girls going to school, and an old man on a bicycle, a hero for not adding to Kabul’s pollution and traffic.

Afghan contributions only

Mokamel does not want any international or government aid money. He would like to complete this project with money donated by regular Afghans. That way it’s their project, he says.  International money hasn’t been well allocated. “For example, a lot of money was spent on anti-corruption campaigns, more than $700m,” he says. “But you see corruption is actually increasing, not decreasing. There should be initiative from the people and for the people to start combating these things.”

Mokamel hopes the project will get even bigger.  He plans to invite international graffiti artists to Kabul to paint their works.  If they don’t want to come because of security or other reasons, then he will ask them to donate their designs for his volunteers to paint.  He knows it’s an ambitious project, but he hopes it will help change the way the world sees Afghanistan.

“It’s time for Afghanistan and for the world to contribute something else other than weapons and war,” Mokamel says.  “We have been through war for the past 36 years, it’s really time to give art and artists a chance.”

Al Jazeera / blog    Photo Credits to Al Jazeera

Marin IJ –Why Save World Draw? About Birdie Girl

MARIN INDEPENDENT JOURNAL
Marin Snapshot: “Fairfax Artist Finds Calling As Foster Mom for Hummingbirds”
by Jennifer Upshaw
POSTED: 05 / 01 / 2010

Above Photo/Jeff Vendsel   A pair of hummingbirds fed by artist and conservationist Brenda Sherburn, Director of www.saveworlddraw.org through WildCare fosters cares hummingbirds.

Artist and conservationist Brenda Sherburn of Fairfax, who has cared for infant hummingbirds for more than a decade, says one of the biggest challenges is feeding the tiny birds. ‘They digest their food very quickly…. They re so little you can t feed them a lot,’ she says.  Artist and conservationist Brenda Sherburn’s life is always humming.

Sherburn, who has lived in the Fairfax hills for 14 years, has spent nearly a decade serving as a foster mother to baby hummingbirds scooped up by the San Rafael-based animal rehabilitation organization WildCare. A sculptor and sketch artist with a particular fascination for winged creatures, Sherburn will teach a class this May at Riley Street Art Store in San Rafael on “Birds As an Inspiration for Art,” a course for kids age 8 and older.  She is director of www.saveworlddraw.org, an organization that creates art to help fill wishes for conservation.

Q: How did you get into fostering hummingbirds?

A: I was working in Belize in 2001 and I helped build an educational center for wildlife with the Belize Audubon Society … when I came back 9/11 hit.  It just hit me; I felt I needed to volunteer and be doing something to try to make the world a better place.

Q: How many hummingbirds do you foster at any given time?

A: I think six would be the maximum that I’ve had at a time.  When I have really tiny ones like in an incubator, you know, just a couple, that is very time consuming because you are attached to the incubator and 20-minute feedings until they get big enough to be outside. Then it’s not too bad because you can take them outside in a little basket and it’s really easy to feed them and they move along until we release them.

Q: What is the biggest challenge in fostering hummingbirds?

A: Not to overfeed them and to really make sure your timer is on. Twenty minutes go – you just get into a pace.

Q: Why is timing important?

A: They digest their food very quickly and in the wild the mother bird is constantly feeding them and they’re so little you can’t feed them a lot. They are growing constantly and their little bill will just kind of grow out and get longer and longer and they start doing the little tongue thing. It’s really a miracle.

Q: What attracts you to these particular birds?

A: It really clicked when I was in Belize. I saw hundreds of birds everywhere and other wildlife. When I came back I just realized that our wildlife is really in jeopardy. We need to take time to do what we can to preserve it.  As far as getting onto the hummingbird team, it was just timing.  They needed somebody and at that point I was ready.  I must add, it also works great with my art because it’s inspirational,  it’s magical – it just makes me observe the world in a better way.

Contact Jennifer Upshaw via e-mail at jupshaw@marinij.com
Comments:
Tahir Khan Arzani

Jan 19, 2015
This is excellent Brenda, you are doing great inspirational work. You have inspired many people around the world.

Brenda SaveWorldDraw

Jan 19, 2015
You’re sweet, Tahir.  This article is actually part of my bio series I’m putting together for my website.  When I think back on all those baby hummingbirds I raised, I am not sure how I ever did it.  Blessings come to us in unexpected ways.  Thank you.

You are welcome Brenda, you deserve much more recognition then this. It is good to know that you are putting together your biography for your website. You should also do it for your book.