Legless lizards, outdoor classrooms and floods: this week in environmental news

By Sally Zimmerman, MNA Intern

Every Friday, MNA shares recent environmental news stories from around the state and country. Here’s some of what happened this week in environmental and nature news:

A legless lizard. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

A legless lizard. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Legless lizard discovered near LAX (and no, it’s not a snake) (LA Times): A new species of lizard has been discovered in California. It does not have legs, and lives beneath sand dunes. Scientists discovered this legless lizard by spreading wet cardboard throughout California, and coming back months later to see if the lizards were hiding under the cardboard. There are five different legless lizards in California, and scientists are hoping to uncover even more species.

Blandford Nature Center launches program to help schools turn yards into outdoor classrooms (MLive): Blandford Nature Center introduced its new plan to turn outdoor areas into school classrooms. In Grand Rapids, West Side Christian School students experience the change as part of their educational program now involves outdoor science classes. The school is part of the year-long pilot of the program.

Colorado floods: What happens to all that water? (Mother Nature Network): Excess water from the severe flooding in Colorado is now threatening to cause flooding in Nebraska. The South Platte River in Colorado runs into Nebraska, and is carrying the majority of the water from the flood that has not already soaked into the ground. The flooding is expected to be less severe in Nebraska, but the National Weather Service issued flood warnings for southwest Nebraska.

Contaminants may cause birds to sing a different tune (Science Daily): Researchers at Cornell University’s Laboratory of Ornithology have stated that inconsistency in songbird’s songs may be caused by contaminants in the Hudson River. This river is highly polluted as a result of years of electronics manufacturing nearby. The songbirds capture aquatic insects to feed their young. These insects are contaminated, and the birds will continue to eat these throughout their lives.

Tackling environmental issues crucial for Detroit’s success (Great Lakes Echo): The Detroit Environmental Agenda was released this summer and involves plans to improve the environment around Detroit. The agenda involves a two-year plan, as discussed by Guy Williams, president of Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice. This organization encourages Detroit residents to improve their quality of living and improve the environmental health of communities.

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