Thursday, June 28, 2012

Bad Idea, IKEA

You've probably heard of IKEA. You may even have some of their furniture in your home. If so, you might look at it a little differently knowing that its wood could have come from a Russian tree that was quietly unfurling from the soil about the time that the first European set foot on the North American continent. 

Can you say, "Old growth?"

Photo of Russian taiga forest by Anzhi86/ Wikimedia.

It seems that IKEA's subsidiary, Swedwood (recently investigated for foul working conditions in its U.S. production plant in Danville, VA) is now under scrutiny by the Global Forest Coalition for willy-nilly logging practices that have fragmented ancient forests in Russia's Karelia region.

Swedwood is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, which should mean something, but reputed holes in Russian FSC regulation may have allowed Swedewood to clear-cutold-growth forests under the guise of "responsible forestry." 

FYI: Around 60 percent of IKEA's furnishings are made from wood of some form. To produce them, the company logs about 1,400 acres of forest annually.

Personally, I love the idea of reclaimed wood furniture. Every item we buy has a past, but not all of them come with such a high price

Read the official response from IKEA's forest manager.

Dig deeper into the IKEA-Swedwood scandal on Mother Nature Network, The Guardian, and the L.A. Times

Jurassic Park + Sophie's Choice = the Future of Zoos?

Photo by Wer-al Zwowe/Wikimedia
Zoos have become valuable reservoirs of genetic diversity, offering a flickering possibility of survival on the vast and swiftly darkening horizon of extinction.

But the naysayers, always poised to jump in with a good dose of gloom, are probably right in this case: zoos can't save every species on the planet. Not even close. 

Let me put it into perspective: The International Union for Conservation of Nature estimates that nearly one-fourth of all mammals face extinction within about three generations. The forecast is worse for amphibians and birds. 

This ecological crisis is forcing zoos into a role that is far more demanding than the old days when it was all about showcasing animals for public amusement. 

Zoos are now facing tough decisions. In order to step up to the global plate and defend declining species effectively, zookeepers are being asked to make calculated choices, prioritizing the protection and propagation of species that have the best odds of survival in the wild. Did you ever see Sophie's Choice? I didn't, but I know the gist, and it's sad.
At the same time, zoos are exploring frontiers of science that would make Captain Kirk and Michael Crichton proud. Visionaries from around the world gathered at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York for the Symposium on the Future of Zoos earlier this year, scheming up some sci-fi visions of the future that don't exactly jive with the mission of endangered species conservation:

- Cloning … probably not dinosaurs, but a variety of other extinct species are being considered (woolly mammoths are potential cloning candidates since their DNA has been preserved in permafrost)

- Zoos full of robotic animals because robots are "safer and more accessible than their living counterparts"  
Hmmm …

My 5-year-old son would dig the robots, but I'm not feeling the vibe.  

Nevertheless, Paul Waldau, Associate Professor of Anthrozoology at Canisius made a good point: "Lots of zoo work is very attuned to the best of conservation. The leading zoos have been exemplary at trying to get people to pay attention to this, because even if zoos do everything right and the people don't follow, we're in trouble."


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Wild Wednesday Job Post

Stick around. You've reached a vantage point. 

As a former field biologist who has worked her way around the country, I know where to "go for the goods" when it comes to employment opportunities, and I'd love to help you land a job you love. I'll round up new announcements each week, and I'll post 5 findings here every Wednesday. 

Whether you're a newbie technician or a seasoned professional, you're likely to find a lead worth following. 

Photo by Gary Kramer, USFWS


Job Title: Full-time Keeper / Antelope / Water's Edge Exhibit 
Employer: Saint Louis Zoo
Location: Saint Louis, Missouri
Basic Requirements:  
Bachelor’s degree in an animal-related field and previous zoo keeper experience preferred. Must have the physical ability to perform required duties as assigned, including standing for long periods of time, lifting, bending and working in all types of weather conditions. Good keeper safety record required. Diver certification a plus.  
Duration: Permanent
Application Deadline: Open Until Filled

Job Title: Education Coordinator
Employer: Endangered Wolf Center
Location: Eureka, Missouri
Basic Requirements:  
• Four-year degree in education or other similar field
• Minimum 2 years of applied working experience in developing educational programs
• A good knowledge of office practices, administration, and customer service skills
• Able to establish and maintain good working relationships with other departments and external communications
• Able to attend events and other off-site functions
Duration: Permanent
Application Deadline: Open Until Filled

Job Title: Lakeside Classroom Field Teacher
Employer: Bryant Pond 4-H Camp and Learning Center  
Location: Bryant Pond, Maine
Basic Requirements:

  • Degree in environmental science, education, adventure education, or related field
  • Age 21 or older
  • First Aid and CPR training, WFR is preferred
  • Commitment to working long days with participants in a hands-on and high energy setting
  • Experience educating and managing children, grades 4-9 in an outdoor setting as well as the confidence to lead adult groups
  • Experience facilitating teambuilding initiatives, as well as low and high challenge course activities
  • Understanding of basic ecological concepts
  • Ability to work outdoors in all weather conditions while keeping participants safe 
  • Duration: 2 or 6 months
    Application Deadline: Open Until Filled

    Job Title: Senior Wildlife Biologist/Manager
    Employer: POWER Engineers 
    Location: Boise, Idaho 
    Basic Requirements: M.S. degree or higher in wildlife biology or closely related field. • Environmental consulting experience • Excellent verbal, interpersonal and written communication skills • Ability to multi-task in a fast-paced environment • Proficient in navigation using topographic maps and GPS. • Able to travel for up to one week at a time, and be in the field for extended periods of time. • Have solid species specific (for one or more of the following; bird, mammalian, herp) identification skills. • Have species specific scientific collection and survey permits (state and federal ). • Comfortable meeting/working with company executives and federal agency personnel
    Duration: Permanent
    Application Deadline: August 13, 2012           

    Job Title:  Pollinator Program Assistant 
    Employer: Xerces Society
    Location: Portland, Oregon
    Basic Requirements: College Degree (ideally in biology, natural resource management, environmental science, nonprofit administration, etc.) or equivalent experience;
    •Background in nonprofit work (2+ years preferable), or background that provides similar experience;
    •Excellent computer skills, including strong familiarity with the following programs: MS Office Suite (Word, Publisher, PowerPoint, Excel, and Outlook), Adobe Acrobat, and Internet;
    •Preferred experience with Adobe InDesign
    •Excellent written, communications, and time management skills;
    •Experience creating professional looking documents and correspondence;
    •Preferred experience updating WordPress websites and working with Constant Contact email and event marketing;
    •Ideal candidate will be technologically savvy

    Duration: Part-time (20 hours a week) 6 month position
    Application Deadline: July 16, 2012