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October 09 2013

TERRA 821: Glass Half Full

Glass Half Full is the story of three Montana organizations that recycle glass. A city official, a passionate self-starter, and a dedicated craftsman take us through the possibilities that glass recycling have for a community. Produced by Abby Kent

September 13 2013

TERRA 819: Pride

Pride looks into the cultural relationship between residents of Gujarat, India and the last remaining population of Asiatic Lions in the world. With fewer than 50 lions living in the wild at the turn of the 20th century, rural communities started working with the government to create a haven for this top predator and are successfully securing this animal's place in the ecosystem. Produced by Roshan Patel
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March 15 2013

TERRA 806: Winter Range

Winter Range is a documentary film that explores the consequences of rising levels of the livestock disease Brucellosis in elk in the Greater Yellowstone Area. New elk behavior patterns, often attributed to pressure from wolves and hunters, has brought them within critical proximity to cattle consequently making brucellosis a constant threat to the livelihoods of Montana livestock producers. Winter Range features a Montana rancher who reveals the measures, or lack their of, that she has to take to protect her cattle from infected elk and brucellosis. At the heart of the problem is a conflict between people and wildlife and at the heart of this film is a story about the complexity of managing the “political disease.”

February 01 2013

TERRA 803: WildFIRE PIRE: A World On Fire

WildFIRE PIRE is a National Science Foundation five-year project that is an international partnership coordinated by the Montana Institute on Ecosystems and Montana State University that focuses on the causes and consequences of fire in the past, present, and future. Scientists from research universities and agencies in the United States, Tasmania, and New Zealand have combined efforts to compare how past fire occurrences have influenced climate change and what these patterns can tell us about the future. With the primary areas of study in the Yellowstone Ecosystem, Australia’s Tasmanian conservation areas, New Zealand’s forests, and Patagonia’s wild places, the project is exploring how wildfires, which are often devastating, are related to climate change.

January 18 2013

TERRA 802: Restoring an Icon

The story has been told again and again: In little more than a decade during the late 1800s, hunters all but wiped out one of the continent’s most iconic animals, the American bison. They killed the animals by the tens of thousands for their hides, meat and simply for the thrill of the hunt. By the beginning of the 20th century, a species of huge ecological and cultural value had vanished from the prairie, surviving only in small, captive herds and a remnant population in Yellowstone National Park. In the late 1800s, two Montana ranchers, Michel Pablo and Charles Allard, spent more than 20 years assembling one of the largest collections of purebred bison on the continent. In 1907, after the U.S. government declined to buy the herd, Pablo made a deal with the Canadian government and shipped most of his bison northward to Elk Island National Park. Now, the ancestors of these bison are returning to their ancestral home in northern Montana. The American Prairie Foundation is working on restoring a vast amount of prairie to its natural state. This film follows the process of moving these bison and the challenges encountered along the way.

December 07 2012

TERRA 723: TRUST Oregon

TRUST Oregon features Kelsey Cascadia Rose Juliana, a 16-year-old from Eugene, who is passionate about preserving this beautiful Earth. Kelsey's identity is directly tied to the various elements of Oregon's biodiversity. She was born in a 1-room cabin in Fall Creek amidst the old-growth trees of the Cascades. She was named after Kelsey Creek - a crystal-clear river that flows out of an ancient forest grove, and Rose signifies the wild rose that grew abundantly near the cabin where she was born. Kelsey knows that she is not old enough to vote, but she has also learned that she can raise her voice by speaking out. Although it shouldn't be the responsibility of her generation to take on the burden of learning how to adapt in the face of global climate change, Kelsey knows that Mother Earth does not have the time to wait for politicians to debate about whether climate change will affect our future.

November 19 2012

TERRA 722: Life, Land, and Justice in Uganda

John Muyiisa is 49 years old and has been farming for 34 years and lives in Kasenyi village. His small farm is just yards from the lakefront and had been surrounded by dense forest. Over time he had cultivated a coffee and fruit plantation of 40 acres on common land. With this he has been able to raise a family of 9 children. The company arrived and told him that the land was now theirs and he would have to vacate. Within days, bulldozers turned up and flattened the ancient forest and with it his coffee plantation. They offered him one million shillings and one acre of land, later changed to no money but three acres... but he refused. He wanted to take them to court and approached the local police who referred him to the resident district commission who said they would look into the case. Since then, no one has been to visit the site as they are too busy in meetings and other priorities. He now has just two acres of land left to make a living, just below the vast slope of the soon to be palm plantation and all it's chemical run off. He continues to fight for the right to his land but with little money and against a government approved multi million-dollar corporation, there is little hope.

September 14 2012

TERRA 717: Whiteout

Whiteout explores the mystery behind the White Nose Syndrome epidemic. Since 2006, over six million bats have been infected and died from the disease. Though it is still a mystery that befuddles many scientists, it is increasingly evident that these incredible creatures are quickly disappearing from the night sky at rates never before witnessed. We follow the filmmaker as she sets out to understand the vital importance of a healthy bat population and how our fate and that of the bats are more closely related than we may think.

July 31 2012


The environmental non-profit sector has always had a difficult time securing financial support, often relying on the generosity of volunteerism. However, the recent economic downturn has put this sector in an even more dire situation, and the young workers are feeling the pressure. Follow filmmaker Taylor Johnson as he covers the streets, forests, and beaches of Oregon to hear the stories from those who give so much for so little in the name of environmental stewardship. In DisSOLVE, experience the trials and tribulations of the Portland environmental non-profit sector like never before... from their point of view!

June 22 2012

TERRA 711: Rarity to Recovery

During the summer of 2002, Kevin Collins spotted a humble little snake on Great Bird Island, Antigua. Initially, he thought little of the encounter. Years later, however, he discovered that this creature, known as the Antiguan racer, is one of the scarcest serpents in the world. Curious to learn more, he revisits Antigua and interviews several experts whose tireless efforts are catapulting the Antiguan racer from rarity to recovery.

May 28 2012

Lynette Wallworth: the alien world of coral reefs

The Australian artist reflects on her underwater film, Coral: Rekindling Venus, which premieres to coincide with a rare astronomical event

Timing is always important in art but it is nothing less than crucial when your project is tied to an event so rare that it will happen next month – and then not again for 105 years.

The Australian artist Lynette Wallworth is in that position. She spoke of her hugely ambitious film work that has been five years in the making and will be premiered next month as part of the London 2012 festival, the culmination of the Cultural Olympiad. "It is a call to action," she said. "A harking back to a possibility."

It is inspired by a rare astronomical event, Venus's transit of the sun, when that planet passes directly between the sun and Earth. The transits come in pairs, few and far between – 2004, 5-6 June this year and then not again until 2117 and 2125. The previous pair was in 1874 and 1882 and before that 1761 and 1769.

It is the 18th-century transits that have particularly fascinated Wallworth because they led to what was perhaps the first example of worldwide scientific co-operation.

One of the big challenges of the age was to work out how big the solar system was and how much distance was there between Earth and the sun. One man occupied with the question was English astronomer Edmund Halley who speculated that observing the transit from extreme parts of the globe would help scientists come close to the calculation.

"He also knew he wouldn't live to see it," said Wallworth. "That was the part of the story that, in the beginning, hooked me in."

Halley wrote a letter to the Royal Observatory, the astronomers of the future, "begging them that when the time came they would go in ships around the world to observe this event".

And they did. It has a resonance today because it was not a problem that could be solved in one place; observers had to be all over the planet – around 120 in 1761 (French, British, Danish, Swedish, German, Italian, Portuguese) and an even more in 1769. It was the reason Captain Cook was in Tahiti.

Some remarkable things happened. The French allowed British ships safe passage, even though the two countries had recently been at war and were far from friends. "It was an undertaking that was for the benefit of all humanity," said Wallworth. "An attempt by countries to act globally for a scientific problem. It was amazing … beautiful, sort of mind boggling. There are so many moments that caught me as an artist."

That inspired her to make a "call to action" film showing the extraordinary, almost alien beauty of coral reefs – one barometer of climate change. "Coral is the canary in the coalmine of the ocean," the artist said. "They can handle very little temperature change. It is impossible for us to imagine a sky without stars but we have to be able to contemplate an ocean without coral and they are extraordinary communities."

Wallworth commissioned filming by underwater cinematographers, including the Emmy award-winning Australian David Hannan who shot around three-quarters of it. The film is strange and beautiful to look at and will be even more incredible for viewers as it will be shown at planetariums across the world.

"People will think they are in space, think they are moving through stars," said Wallworth.

Almost trance-inducing music has come from artists including Antony and the Johnsons and the Australian Aboriginal singer Gurrumul.

Wallworth said the film is "a harking back to a possibility. Is there a way to think forward, like Halley did, in terms of imagining what we might need to do? Is there a possibility of acting in unison?"

The film will initially be shown at planetariums in 25 cities across the world but Wallworth hopes it will have a life beyond that. She said: "I'm hoping it will build a new audience and that is part of what makes it exciting."

• Lynette Wallworth's Coral: Rekindling Venus will launch on 6 June and be shown at the Royal Observatory planetarium in Greenwich, London from 7 June-6 July and the Birmingham planetarium at various dates in June. © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

Coral: Rekindling Venus – video

Australian artist Lynette Wallworth's remarkable film depicting the almost alien world of coral reefs

April 28 2012

TERRA 707: TRUST Arizona

In this episode of the TRUST Series, meet Jaime Lynn Butler, an 11-year-old Navajo artist, who recognizes the extreme difficulty this administration faces dealing with the current political climate crisis. On January 24, 2012, during the State of the Union address, President Obama recognized that, “The differences in this chamber may be too deep right now to pass a comprehensive plan to fight climate change.” However, Jaime also recognizes the guaranteed consequences of climate change if America fails to do more than what is politically feasible. According to leading climate scientists, the Earth is in “imminent peril.” Should we fail to make a massive assault on CO2 pollution, the entire life-support system of our civilization and our species will begin to unravel. Because Jaime knows that human-induced climate change is a matter of carbon math, not carbon politics, Jaime is not only writing to President Obama and asking for assistance, she is also sharing her story with others so that we can visualize the urgent and unstoppable nature of human-induced climate change.

January 21 2012

TERRA 620: TRUST Series #2

TRUST is a 10-part series about a perfect trifecta. The Public Trust Doctrine is a legal doctrine enshrined in the laws of every civilized government and holds governments accountable to protect the resources we share in common and depend on for our very survival. The principle of inter-generational justice is enshrined in international human rights law ? simply put, it means that the adults can't have a party on the planet and leave it a mess for the kids. Combine the Public Trust Doctrine with the principles of intergenerational justice and passionate youth, who are fighting for their future in the courts and on the streets, and we have the perfect trifecta. Why? Because youth across the country are bringing legal actions - based on trust - against the federal and state governments, so we will open our eyes and protect our atmosphere and our futures with smart strategies rooted in science. In Part 2 of the TRUST Series, meet Nelson Kanuk, a 17-year old who learned how climate change was affecting his community and felt he could best help by sharing his story. In this 8-minute film, Nelson explains that the main problem facing the northern parts of the world is that winter is coming later and later. This results in increased erosion due to permafrost melt, increased flooding due to warmer temperatures, and intensified storms because the sea ice forms later in the season and is unable to provide a natural barrier for our coastal communities. This, in turn, leads in the loss of homes, communities, cultures, and a way of life. Go to to learn more about the campaign.

November 09 2011

Amazon: an exhibition in aid of Sky Rainforest Rescue - in pictures

Award-winning photographers Sebastião Salgado and Per-Anders Pettersson are taking part in Amazon, an exhibition to highlight the scale of deforestation in north-west Brazil

September 28 2011

TERRA 612: Peak to Peak

Researcher Jack Hogg has studied bighorn sheep for over 30 years. In that time, he has come to know the species like few other people ever will. Follow Jack on a delightful journey watch baby bighorn lambs at play, as he discusses what a changing climate might mean for the animals.

August 29 2011

TERRA 610: Spoil

SPOIL follows the International League of Conservation Photographers and the Gitga'at first nation people of British Columbia in their search for the illusive spirit bear. Their mission is to create images of this rare bear and the ecosystem that it relies on before a proposed oil pipeline from the Alberta tar sands threatens to SPOIL it. The spirit bear, globally rarer than the panda, only lives on the north coast of British Columbia and gives and inspiring look at the interconnectedness of this coastal ecosystem existing in symbiosis with the indigenous communities there for thousands of years. By following three world renown photographers and the relationships they build with indigenous guides throughout a 10 day photo expedition, viewers experience stunning imagery of the biodiversity that exists when a wild land meets a wild ocean.

August 01 2011

Quaking giants

Taking pictures of ancient trees allows us to share and document their connection to our past – and preserve their place in our future

Send your photos of ancient trees to our Flickr group

In the small Dorset village of Tolpuddle there is a sycamore tree on a patch of green, just a short stroll from a pub. This gnarled old tree is a key player in a compelling story. It is here that a group of agricultural labourers met to discuss demands for better pay, in effect creating the first ever trade union. The rest is history. Already more than 150 years old when the labourers met under this tree in the 1830s, it's still going strong with loving help.

Ancient trees with rich tales can be found across the UK. They are the silent witnesses to the story of these isles that we live on.

But how do we know what an ancient tree is? An ancient tree is one which is very old in comparison with other trees of the same species. There is no strict definition as to what age a tree must be to be considered ancient, but a 600-year-old oak tree or 300-year-old beech tree would qualify. Yew trees can live for several thousand years and oak and sweet chestnut for 1,000 years or more.

From the symbolic and much-loved oak to the majestic beech, trees connect us to our past and will be here for future generations to enjoy. They have provided us with shelter and played a key part in powering the expanding military and fuelling the industrial revolution.

They have played a key part in our history. It was under a yew tree at Runnymede in Berkshire that the Magna Carta was signed. A flower of Kent apple tree in the grounds of Woolsthorpe Manor in Lincolnshire proved decisive in Sir Isaac Newton's theory of gravity.

In many ways they are taken for granted. Unlike our built heritage with its listings status and preservation orders, ancient trees have no such protection. They remain potentially vulnerable to damage and neglect.

The National Trust is currently carrying out an audit of all its ancient trees, thought to number around 40,000 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. This data will then be fed into the Ancient Tree Hunt which will provide us with, for the first time ever, a clear picture of where these titans of nature can be found.

This island really is a superpower when it comes to its ancient trees. We escaped the ravages of conflict that blighted mainland Europe in the 20th century and many of our older trees have survived the race to modernise. It's hard to imagine our countryside without these wise old trees.

Stand next to any ancient tree and you get that sense of wonder at the sights and sounds it will have witnessed down the generations. They provide a sense of reassurance, majesty and power. These trees have been the centre of communities down the ages as places to gather and their loss is something that affects everyone.

Capturing these wonders of the natural world on camera has endless possibilities. Their location and prominence in the landscape can create moody and atmospheric pictures. Whether they are in a church yard, one of many in parkland or isolated in a farmer's field. Close–up shots will find a deeper meaning in their bark and the creatures, such as beetles and woodpeckers that call them home or the fungi and lichen that cling to their trunks and branches.

It's also worth thinking of taking pictures of ancient trees in the same way as portraiture photography. They all have their own unique characteristics and can create wonderful and iconic images.

There is something really special about ancient trees which captivates and intrigues us. Taking photographs of these figures in the landscape allows us to share and document what they mean to society.

Send your photos of ancient trees to our Flickr group

Brian Muelaner is the National Trust's ancient tree adviser. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2011 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

June 11 2011

Conserving a medieval manuscript | State Library of Victoria - Australia

When the Library decided to restore a 15th-century book, the process was documented. Follow the conservation treatment undertaken on the 15th-century English manuscript

"Pilgrimage of the life of man, and pilgrimage of the soul"

for the exhibition The medieval imagination.

Read the transcript

Textual description – Pilgrim's progress Video

This Pilgrim's progress video is presented on a black background with floral detail reflecting a medieval illustrative motif around the edges of the screen. Images and captions describe the conservation process of one of the Library's medieval manuscripts.

Frame 1

The Library’s conservation section undertook major conservation treatment of the 15th-century English manuscript Pilgrimage of the life of man, and Pilgrimage of the soul for the exhibition The medieval imagination.

Frame 2

Extensive damage to the vellum leaves and brittle glue on the folds of the spine made it very difficult to handle and display without causing further damage to this precious item, so after much research and discussion it was decided to treat and rebind the manuscript.

Frame 3

Image of manuscript being disbound from damaged 17th-century binding. The disbound sections showed a thick layer of animal glue on vellum folds.

Frame 4

The vellum leaves on left have been cleaned and repaired.

Frame 5

Extensive research into the repair method of the vellum leaves was undertaken by senior conservator Jane Hinwood. A team of five conservators spent weeks repairing the vellum pages in preparation for rebinding.

Frame 6

While it was unbound it was possible to carry out a scientific analysis of the pigments and inks.

Frame 7

Deborah Lau, analytical conservation scientist from the CSIRO, undertook non-destructive x-ray fluorescence analysis and azurite, vermillion and tin-lead yellow were positively identified in the text and illuminations.

Frame 8

Image of equipment used in the analysis.

Frame 9

In-depth research into English medieval binding and discussion with conservation colleagues from the UK fed into the decisions about how to rebind the manuscript.

Frame 10

Book conservator Ian Cox sewed together the repaired sections of the manuscript on a sewing frame.

Frame 11

Image of the completed sewn textblock with endbands.

Frame 12

Then, boards were prepared and attached to the textblock.

Frame 13

Once the boards are attached, the manuscript is ready for covering.

Frame 14

The next step is attaching an alum tawed leather cover. Damp goat skin is tied up with linen thread in a finishing press to form pronounced raised bands.

Frame 15

To finish the covering, the manuscript's alum tawed goat skin, adhered to boards, is trimmed. The textblock is wrapped in wax paper for protection. Archival materials were used in the binding which will protect this precious collection item for the future.

Frame 16

The manuscript was successfully rebound using a non-adhesive binding style and covered with white alum tawed goat skin, sympathetic in appearance with a 15th-century English medieval manuscript.

Frame 17

Image of the re-bound manuscript open on a workbench.

Frame 18

Book conservator Ian Cox holds the completed manuscript at a workbench in the conservation laboratory.

June 09 2011

Battle for City's Broadgate site hots up

William Hill giving odds that Jeremy Hunt will not save 'historic' 1980s complex from demolition for new UBS headquarters

Expectations have increased that furious lobbying from the City is likely to prevent the listing of the 1980s-built complex in Broadgate that has become a tug of war between financiers and conservationists.

For the first time bookmaker William Hill has opened a book on a building listing and is giving 4-7 that culture secretary Jeremy Hunt will not save the complex.

English Heritage last week recommended that the entire 1980s development, designed by architect Peter Foggo, be given statutory protection at Grade II* level, dealing a major blow to British Land's plans to tear down 4 and 6 Broadgate to make way for a new "groundscraper" building that would house a £340m headquarters for Swiss bank UBS.

Although the law states that the listing decision should be made on the basis of architectural and historic factors alone, Hunt is under pressure from the City of London corporation to ignore his official adviser and choose not to list it.

The City argues that the new scheme is vital to maintain confidence in it as a banking centre. Hunt's decision on Broadgate is due in about two months' time, after submissions from British Land, the local authority and other interested parties.

A spokesman for William Hill said this was the first time it had offered odds in a listing case. "We believe this decision will be as difficult to call as a photofinish but English Heritage needs to upset the odds to come out on top."

The City of London Corporation had approved British Land's 700,000 sq ft scheme, and building was to start this summer, with UBS planning to move in by 2014. The corporation's policy chairman, Stuart Fraser, is due to meet communities secretary Eric Pickles next week to lobby for the UBS building. He said: "The Broadgate buildings aren't worth preserving or listing. They aren't of great architectural merit. Listing Broadgate will send out the wrong message. UBS would probably give up. Eric Pickles is very keen on bureaucracy not getting in the way of economic development."

Catherine Croft, director of heritage group The Twentieth Century Society, which is campaigning in favour of listing, expressed surprise at the odds. "I think it is fairly extraordinary because it suggests that William Hill thinks factors other than the accepted criteria [for listing] may affect the minister's decision," she told weekly trade paper Building Design.

"City boys do like gambling of course but Hunt needs to make his decision on the basis of architectural and historic interest. It would be very wrong for him to be affected by any other factor."

Croft added that she believed there were many other locations in the City suitable for the proposed UBS building, which has been designed by one of the architects responsible for the Gherkin, Ken Shuttleworth of Make Architects.

The planned building, at 5 Broadgate, would boast four trading floors each capable of holding 750 traders and has been described by Shuttleworth as an "engine of finance" with a design resembling an immense machine-tooled block of aluminium.

A spokesman for Hunt's Department of Culture, Media and Sport, noted that it was responsible for regulating both heritage and gambling. "It is always good to see two areas of DCMS come together but, as we always say when it comes to gambling, don't bet more than you can afford to lose," he said. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2011 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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