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Creating a new green space model for tomorrow’s cities

When you think of urban planning and design, the U.S. Forest Service likely isn't the first federal agency that comes to mind. But with upwards of 70 percent of the world's population projected to live in cities by 2050, the Forest Service is not only paying attention to urban ecosystems, they're hoping to help shape urban design and planning around them.

Beavers take a chunk out of nitrogen in Northeast rivers

Beavers, once valued for their fur, may soon have more appreciation in the Northeastern United States. There they are helping prevent harmful levels of nitrogen from reaching the area's vulnerable estuaries. By creating ponds that slow down the movement of water, they aid in removing nitrogen from the water.

Opossums are the saviors of humans against lyme disease — don’t make them roadkill

Many people don't give a lot of thought to some of the forest animals that may be crossing a road or trying to scurry out of the way as a car comes speeding around a corner. Well, there may be a lot more thought given to opossums, now that they have been connected to being the saviors of human beings against Lyme disease.

The growing global battle against blood-sucking ticks

Diseases spread by ticks are on the rise around the world, spurred by a combination of factors, including shifting climates and population sprawl into rural areas. Reported cases of Lyme, the most common US tick-borne illness, have nearly tripled in the country since 1992.

Ecologists embrace their urban side

Urban ecologists attribute the swell of interest in their discipline to multiple factors, including the realization that human actions are warming the planet, that people are migrating to cities in increasing numbers and evidence that the study of urban ecosystems provides important and practical insights.

Can you trust Wikipedia for science facts?

If you type anything scientific into Google, the chances are that Wikipedia will be prominently placed in the search results. The fact that other encyclopedias don't get a look in is a sign of just how popular the site is, with crowd-sourced wisdom trusted ahead of the knowledge of select specialists.

What Wikipedia edits can tell us about the politicization of science

Long before our current politicized battles over the science of climate change, vaccines and evolution, there was an older generation of political science fights — over the health effects of smoking and the environmental costs of acid rain and the depletion of the Earth's ozone layer, to name a few.

Hudson Valley Youth make ink out of rocks at Cary Eco-science Camp

For the last two weeks of July, young people from around the Hudson Valley were able to make their own inks and tints and paint with them in an eco-science camp at the Cary Institute. 

Hudson River’s underwater vegetation still recovering from hurricanes

Water celery has been noticeably absent for the past several years. In summer 2012, it became apparent that something was amiss. The plant was not found in spots where it previously had been prolific.

Two numbers: Humans have burned up half the world’s biomass

By now the lesson is clear: Burning coal and petroleum produces carbon dioxide, the heat-trapping gas that contributes to the warming of our globe. That alone is enough reason to believe fossil fuels are not a sustainable basis for society long-term.

How one local man's immunity to ticks could save us all

Rick Ostfeld is a disease ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook. For decades, he has studied ticks and tick-borne diseases, primarily in the forests and fields of the mid-Hudson Valley.

CDC report: Lyme disease is spreading to new territories

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that Lyme disease has substantially expanded over the past few decades, with 17 states in the Northeast and upper Midwest now considered at high risk.

19 Teachers + Forest Ecosystem Functions = 100s of student engagement opportunities

What happens when nineteen teachers have the opportunity to study how forest ecosystems function? You get the potential to engage hundreds of students in thinking about forests as dynamic, exciting systems that shape the quality of the world we live in, from cleaning water and cooling the environment to preserving biodiversity.

This new map shows your risk of catching Lyme disease

If you live in the northeastern United States, Lyme disease and its lesser-known brethren, including erlichiosis, anaplasmosis, babesiosis and the rest—is hard to escape.

Lyme disease is spreading faster than ever and humans are partly to blame

Avril Lavigne is the latest celebrity to reveal being felled by Lyme disease. After months of withering fatigue, the Canadian singer-songwriter was finally diagnosed with the tick-borne illness.

Saving wildlife might be good for your health

Preserving habitats and encouraging biodiversity does wonders for plant and animal life, giving them room to thrive without human interference. In recent years some scientists have wondered if biodiversity might also help humans, protecting us from infectious diseases that spread from nonhuman animals to people

Q&A with Kathleen Weathers

Cary's Kathie Weathers is interviewed by the Environmental Monitor and answers questions about the Global Lakes Ecological Observatory Network.

GLEON: Ten years of linking lakes and people

In October 2005, five scientists were marooned on a mountain near Yuan Yang Lake in Taiwan. Dead-set on installing a new batch of water quality sensors, the group had ignored an incoming typhoon that washed out the only road behind them, knocking chunks of pavement the size of a garage down the cypress-covered slopes.

Use wild opossums to rid your property of ticks

Opossums are North America's only native marsupials. An opossum vaguely resembles a cross between a housecat and a giant rat, and while they're tolerated as a relative newcomer to Maine's wilderness — migrating into the state within the last half century or so — they're not especially cherished.

Researchers unraveling secrets of Ebola talk at UGA

Ecologists shared ideas and research about the Ebola virus at a meeting in Athens, Georgia. Cary's Barbara Han talked about methods scientists are developing that would identify likely wildlife carriers of filoviruses, a kind of virus related to rabies virus which includes Ebola, Marburg virus and some other deadly species.

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Could a computer predict the next pandemic?

Using a computer to predict an infectious disease outbreak before it starts may sound like a bit of Philip K. Dick sci-fi, but scientists are coming close. In a new study, researchers have used machine learning—teaching computers to recognize patterns in large data sets—to make accurate forecasts about which animals might harbor dangerous viruses, bacteria, and fungi. 

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Of mice and mouse clicks

Between 1346 and 1353 the Black Death killed over a third of Europe's population. It took 150 years for the continent to recover. The disease was so devastating that it changed the social order, as a scarcity of labour led to higher wages for the survivors, hastening the demise of feudalism.

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Harsh northeast winter no hindrance to hungry ticks

Think you're safe from ticks because the harsh winter froze them or because you haven't been trekking through the woods? Think again.

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Be careful; ticks could be arriving earlier this spring

Data Cary's Rick Ostfeld and his team have collected since the 1990s reveals a marked change in the behavior of black-legged ticks -- they are arriving on the scene earlier than ever in the spring. They're also showing up farther to the north, and at higher elevations, than they have in the past.

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Give opossums a break

Serving as inadvertent innkeepers for opossums may turn out to be good for your health. Scientists at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, New York, have learned that opossums act like little vacuum cleaners when it comes to ticks, including those that can spread debilitating Lyme disease to humans and other animals.

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