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eNewsletter July 2015

Summer Vacation (?), Siggraph & More...

Quail Hollow Bird Gingerbread

"Quail Hollow", the home of the Songbird ReMix author, gets a bird motif make-over

My summer vacation is usually spent doing a repair/construction project on our property.  I guess it is really a vacation from computer work, rather than a real vacation.  This year, I decided it was time to repair all the dry-rotted gingerbread and decking on our wrap-around front porch.  In taking on the project, I decided to go eco and use Trek (a composite material made of wood and plastics) instead of replacing the damaged areas in wood.  The Trek was fairly easy to work with and once painted should blend back in to the existing porch.  In replacement of the gingerbread areas, I decided to redesign the corbels and brackets with bird motifs.  In the left picture, there's a dove (left) and male quail (right).  In the right picture, the bracket has a female and male quail with a heart between them which I call "Quail Love".  The white, unfinished posts are new in a composite material too.  Ugh!  Now, I have to paint the gingerbread in the 7 colors our house has-- that should take the rest of the summer.  lol

I decided to repair the front porch in preparation for house guests we're expecting in early August for Siggraph (a world-wide digital artist's convention, this year held in Los Angeles).  Next month's newsletter should have some photos of our guests (Nerd3D and his wife, Chris Creek, Paul Lessard and maybe Ryverthorn).

I am working a little on my next Songbird ReMix project (the Asian Bird sets).  I have a few on the Shorebirds done.  I will probably break off from that project in August in order to start developing the models I need for my October release "Frogmouths, Nightjars and Goatsuckers".  I also have some work to do for the Hivewire3D horse once Hivewire3D gets key morphs in place.

Real Birds: Good and Bad News for Birds

by Audubon and NWF

The sponsors of legislation aimed at weakening the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) appear to have backed off their destructive course. The change of heart followed a vigorous, hard-hitting campaign by Audubon’s Washington, DC office and a barrage of more than 59,230 messages you and other Audubon members sent protesting the proposal. It’s a dramatic turn of events and a stunning victory, that couldn’t have been done without action by birders everywhere.

But the bad news is, many on Capitol Hill are still waging war on birds and bird conservation. Extremists have introduced a multitude of provisions to cripple keystone conservation laws. Among their targets are the Endangered Species Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.

And under the guise of “budget austerity,” critical conservation programs like the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the National Wildlife Refuge System are being decimated. These efforts pose the greatest threat in decades to America's commitment to birds and habitat.  See More.

These dim-witted Congressman and Senators do not see the financial benefits birds provide, they only see the dollars their campaign contributors stuff in their pockets.  So it's up to us to remind them that...

  • US Wildlife watchers spent $38.4 billion in 2001-- resulting in a $95.8 billion contribution to the nation’s economy and producing more than one million jobs. Birdwatchers spent $32 billion in 2001 that in turn generated $85 billion in economic benefits, produced $13 billion in tax revenues and 863,406 jobs (USFWS 2001).

  • US Birders spend $3.1 billion on food for birds and other wildlife; $733 million on bird houses and feeders; $2.6 billion on cameras and associated photographic equipment; $507 million on binoculars and spotting scopes. (USFWS 2001).

  • For many states within the US, and countries around the world, wildlife tourism is their top economic producer. Damaging environmental protections will damage economies.

  • The combined value of 17 different ecosystem services that birds provide - such as pollination and water catchment - is estimated between $16- 54 trillion per year worldwide, which is around twice the entire world's Gross National Product. Without birds-- the taxpayers will have to pay for what birds provide for free.

BP Oil Spill Revisited

I find it hard to believe this, but BP has finally paid for the environmental damage they caused in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. For the last 5 years they've run advertising claiming "everything was better" but at the same time were fighting in court not be pay a cent of their fines.

The $18.7 billion settlement agreement between BP, the U.S. Justice Department and the five Gulf states is the largest environmental penalty in history—a huge win for wildlife. It finally ends the long legal ordeal that left restoration in limbo for five years while wildlife continued to suffer.

Five years and two months after the devastating Deepwater Horizon disaster, restoration projects now have $12.6 billion of the settlement tied to environmental penalties that can help wildlife and the ecosystems in the Gulf recover. Now with the settlement in hand, it is essential that the RESTORE Council and the Gulf States begin the urgent task of restoration. See More.

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