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Program 1716

1. Biodiversity—Migratory Songbirds
2. Gator Alley at Newport Aquarium
3. Urban Beekeeping
4. Dave Does It!—Commonwealth Cleanup Week
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Season 17 Menu

Powell County

For more information:
Red River Gorge
Natural Bridge State Resort Park
Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission
Bird Species Information from Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Resources
Why Band Birds? from the U.S. Geological Survey

Producer: Brandon Wickey
Audio Post: Brent Abshear


Biodiversity—Migratory Songbirds

Dave Shuffett literally has a bird in the hand for Earth Day 2012 as he helps net and band songbirds in the Red River Gorge and Natural Bridge State Resort Park in Powell County.

Many populations of migratory songbirds are in decline because of habitat loss, and bird banding data is used to discover migration patterns and survival rates. Biologists track individual birds with numbered bands around their legs.

Natural Bridge is sort of a mini rainforest in terms of its biodiversity. With help from the biologists at the Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission, we netted several neotropical species of birds such as hooded warblers, Louisiana waterthrushes, and red-eyed vireos.

The ecosystem of the Daniel Boone National Forest supports more than 100 species of birds, including the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. Kentuckians can mark the coming of spring by the sight of the numerous songbirds that make their warm-weather homes in the Bluegrass. Purple martins, barn swallows, and Eastern kingbirds return from winters in South America. Indigo buntings—which migrate at night by the stars—winter in southern Florida and northern South America.

Many songbirds fly much farther and fast than you might imagine. The Smithsonian's Migratory Bird Center says songbirds typically fly 10-30 miles per hour, and barn swallows fly 90 miles a day when migrating. Some songbirds live longer than you might expect—the Bird Banding Center says individuals of some species to live 10 to 20 years or more in the wild.




Campbell County

For more information:
Newport Aquarium

Producer: John Schroering
Audio: Noel Depp


Gator Alley at Newport Aquarium

He's baaack: Mighty Mike, a 14-foot-long, 800-pound alligator, has returned to the Newport Aquarium.

Mike made an appearance last year and this year he's joined in the Gator Alley exhibit by a collection of crocodiles that represents almost half of all croc species in the world.

The American alligator has been on earth for 150 million years, scientists say, dating back to the time of the dinosaurs. They avoided extinction then and preservation efforts have kept them alive and thriving today in their native freshwater habitats in the Southeast—to the point that controlled hunts are allowed in some states.

Mighty Mike tours the country promoting conservation. The American alligator is still listed as a threatened species because of its resemblance to the American crocodile, which is endangered. How do you tell the difference between the two? According to the National Zoo, the large fourth tooth in the lower jaw of an alligator fits into a socket in the upper jaw and is not visible when the mouth is closed.




Jefferson County

For more information:
Kentuckiana Beekeepers Association

Producer: Matt Grimm
Audio: Roger Tremaine, Brent Abshear
Audio Post: Brent Abshear


Urban Beekeeping

In our next segment we turn from birds and gators to honeybees to find out what the buzz is all about. Urban beekeeping is a growing trend, and Louisville has allowed beekeeping in the city since 2009.

Ted and Lorie Jacobs of Louisville show off the inside of one of their hives and explain how beekeeping isn't just for the country farmer anymore. Bees can co-exist with humans—in Louisville, the hives must be kept 10 feet from the side and rear property lines.

The local club, the Kentuckiana Beekeepers Association, has over 70 members. Dave Shuffett joins one of the club meetings for a "honey extraction party." The honeycombs are removed from the hives and the wax is sliced off. The honeycomb is placed in an extractor, which spins the honeycomb, making the honey flow out.

Hobby beekeeping has taken on a new sense of purpose since the rise of Colony Collapse Disorder in 2006, when beekeepers began reporting the disappearance of adult bees from their hives. Some say city bees have a wider variety of flowers from which to gather pollen, and the honey tastes like no other.




Kentucky

For more information:
Commonwealth Cleanup Week, Kentucky Division of Waste Management

Producer/Editor: Brandon Wickey
Videographers: John Schroering, Brandon Wickey
Audio: Roger Tremaine
Audio Post: Brent Abshear


Dave Does It!—Commonwealth Cleanup Week

For this "Dave Does It!" challenge, we join Kentucky volunteers in Rabbit Hash and in Covington for Commonwealth Cleanup Week.

The 14th annual Commonwealth Cleanup Week is managed by the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection's Division of Waste Management. The event promotes trash cleanup throughout the state, from fields to creeks and roadways. It kicks off the Great American Cleanup, the annual spring cleanup blitz sponsored by Keep America Beautiful.

At the Rabbit Hash Litter Cleanup in Boone County, volunteers picked up litter off the banks of the Ohio River and Lower River Road. Dave also met the canine mayor of Rabbit Hash, Lucy, or "Lu Lu."

In nearby Kenton County, volunteers with Covington Parks and Recreation hacked away at the tough branches of Japanese honeysuckle and built trails. Invasive plants like Japanese honeysuckle quickly choke out more desirable native growth, and removing them is an ongoing battle. Environmentalists say trails encourage walking and thus reduce pollution from cars.





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