Tag Archives: wildlife

Grand Canyon - AZ Business Magazine Mar/Apr 2011

Judge Upholds Mining Ban Near Canyon

U.S. District Judge David Campbell late yesterday denied a uranium industry motion to overturn the Obama administration’s ban on new uranium mining on 1 million acres near the Grand Canyon. The ban was adopted January 2012 to protect the Grand Canyon’s watersheds. The withdrawal prohibits new mining claims and development on old claims that lack “valid existing rights” to mine.

“It’s a great day for the Grand Canyon, and for rivers, wildlife, and communities across the West,” said Ted Zukoski of Earthjustice, one the attorneys representing conservation groups and the Havasupai tribe in the case. “The uranium industry was hoping to cripple the Interior Department’s ability to temporarily protect lands from destructive mining. Today’s opinion upholds the Interior Department’s authority to take such protective measures.”

The National Mining Association, Nuclear Energy Institute, Northwest Mining Association and others last year filed four lawsuits challenging the withdrawal and the underlying federal authority to enact any withdrawals larger than 5,000 acres. The Havasupai tribe and conservation groups intervened to uphold both.

“Today’s decision upheld the government’s important role in preventing private profiteers from poisoning public lands under the authority of an antiquated mining law,” said Grand Canyon Trust’s Roger Clark. “We look forward to the court’s upholding of other federal responsibilities to protect the Grand Canyon.”

Judge Campbell denied industry’s motion to overturn the withdrawal and the underlying federal authority to enact withdrawals larger than 5,000 acres. The industry groups had claimed that the presence of an unconstitutional legislative veto in the subsection that contains the Interior Secretary’s authority to withdraw land parcels larger than 5,000 acres means that the Interior Secretary had no authority at all to withdraw such lands. The judge ruled — as the government, Havasupai tribe and conservation groups had argued — that the unconstitutional veto provision could be “severed” from the law without affecting the Grand Canyon’s watershed withdrawal or the Interior Department’s general authority to protect such lands.

“Today’s ruling protects not only the Grand Canyon’s watershed, but millions of acres of other public land that have been withdrawn to protect natural values from destructive mining,” said Taylor McKinnon with the Center for Biological Diversity. “By upholding the federal withdrawal authority, today’s ruling is good news for public lands, water and wildlife.”

If successful, the uranium industry’s argument would have eliminated the Interior Secretary’s authority to protect large tracts of public lands from mining. Over the last five years, the secretary has used his authority to “withdraw” areas greater than 5,000 acres for up to 20 years to protect lands all across the West. Examples include nearly a half-million acres within national wildlife refuges; habitat for desert tortoises and pronghorns as well as archeological treasures in Nevada; habitat protecting the largest wintering Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep herd in North America (on Wyoming’s Whiskey Mountain); recreational areas in Washington and Wyoming; forests in Oregon; and special features like the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.

“Currently, there are limited tools to protect sensitive public lands and wildlife from harmful uranium mining — this is one of them,” said Sandy Bahr, director of the Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon Chapter. “Today’s decision will mean the Grand Canyon watershed and other withdrawn lands throughout the West will continue to be protected from new mining claims.”

The court’s decision does not end the four industry lawsuits challenging the Grand Canyon mineral withdrawal decision. Industry can still raise arguments that Interior Secretary Salazar failed to properly consider environmental and economic impacts of the withdrawal. Those issues are likely to be briefed this spring.

Phoenix Airport Museum, Art Gone Wild

Phoenix Airport Museum Celebrates Phoenix Zoo's 50th Anniversary With "Art Gone Wild"

Phoenix Airport Museum, Art Gone WildSky Harbor International Airport is embracing its inner animal by celebrating the Phoenix Zoo’s 50th anniversary with an “Art Gone Wild” exhibit.

The Phoenix Airport Museum’s exhibit features more than 20 ceramic and bronze wildlife sculptures by Heidi Uotila, and more than 70 animal pictures created by local children, says Jeri Walker, a Phoenix Airport Museum information specialist.Phoenix Airport Museum, Art Gone Wild

Uotila’s collection showcases sculptures of zebras, gazelles, tigers, lions and giraffes among other animals.

Phoenix Airport Museum, Art Gone WildHeidi Uotila is nationally syndicated wildlife sculptor, now a high school ceramics teacher, and lent the Phoenix Airport Museum sculptures she had at home.

Uotila says after she has decided what animals she wants to sculpt, she travels to see them in person and studies their movements

“People are pretty easy to do because you can get them to sit and pose for you,” Uotila says. “Animals are much more challenging because they don’t stand still.”

In recent years, Uotila has moved away from working with bronze sculptures due to the cost of bronze, and says she’s found working with clay to be challenging but rewarding.

Each art piece is accompanied by text that includes educational facts about the animals on display — as well as other facts about the animals and their relatives at the Phoenix Zoo.

The exhibit, located at terminal four on level three in Sky Harbor International Airport, runs until March 2013. Visiting the Phoenix Airport Museum is free, and it’s open 24 hours a day. With more than 600 pieces of artwork and 35 exhibitions, Phoenix Airport Museum is one of the largest in the country.

If You Go: “Art Gone Wild” at the Phoenix Airport Museum

 
Sky Harbor International Airport
3400 Sky Harbor Blvd.,
Phoenix, AZ 85034
(602) 273-2105

Phoenix Zoo Giraffe

The Phoenix Zoo: Getting Wild

Voted as one of the top five zoos for kids in the country, the Phoenix Zoo is home to some of the world’s most distinct animals.

Visitors do more than just stroll the zoo; they ride (camels and trains), pedal boats, encounter and pet animals, rock climb, bike and so much more.  The zoo also offers an exceptionally varied menu for when visitors’ stomachs growl in hunger after a day of these activities.

With 2.5 miles of walking trails and nearly 125 acres of land, the Phoenix Zoo is home to more than 1,300 animals, including more than 200 endangered species.

The Phoenix Zoo has four major themed trails: tropics, Arizona, Children’s and Africa’s — each with an experience worth remembering.

The lives of the animals are not framed behind cages and exhibits; in fact, visitors can experience the wildlife with no barriers in-between. Visitors may interact with the monkeys in the “Monkey Village,” encounter giraffes and pet stingrays.  Other activities include camel rides and a visit to the petting zoo, a trip to the farm without ever having to leave the zoo.

When reality hits hard for the kids and the animals become too real, there is also the Endangered Species that will take them for a ride on authentic, hand-crafted animals.

Families can also enjoy a wide variety of seasonal activities like Breakfast with the Animals and Wild Art Classes, where kids have a meal with some of their favorite animals or are inspired by them to create their own ornaments, masquerade masks or even sun catchers.

The Phoenix Zoo is perfect for a casual day out in the wild for kids, families and animal-lovers of all ages or a pleasant, yet wild, night during the zoo’s tent-camping experience. The night camp is a full night-in-the-wild experience with a fresh dinner off the grill, a night hike, close-up animal encounters and a camp fire. Campers also wake up to a breakfast with the animals and a private safari tour.

Since 1962, the Phoenix Zoo provides locals and travelers from all across the world an experience of the wild and a glimpse of an animal-loving traveler, bringing to the state some of the world’s most threatened, yet distinct, animals.

For more information about the Phoenix Zoo, visit phoenixzoo.org.