Environment

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With the motto “move grass – grow food,” the Blitz is a 15-day, volunteer-driven event.  Organizers expect to create more than 400 raised beds this month.

The Victory Garden Initiative, or VGI, created the program seven years ago, during which approximately 2,200 "above ground" gardens have been constructed across the Milwaukee area.

Warm weather has finally arrived in the Northeast. And along a wild stretch of New York state's Hudson River in the Adirondack Mountains, a section has been opened to paddlers for the first time in decades.

New landmark conservation deals in New York state have protected vast swaths of wilderness. Those deals have also opened waterways that had been closed to the public for more than a century.

Late last year, an angler caught a smallmouth bass in the Susquehanna River near Duncannon, Pa. That fish, officials from the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission said this week, had a malignant tumor. It's the first time this type of tumor has been found on a smallmouth bass in the river, the agency says.

Cancerous growths and tumors on fish are "very, very infrequent," John Arway, the agency's executive director, said in an interview.

"These cancers can be initiated by contaminants," he said.

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A few years ago, The Park People spearheaded a “passport” to entice people to explore the Oak Leaf Trail. It covers more than 100 miles of diverse terrain. At first, the passport highlighted 14 park stops. This year, it includes 26 and a full-size map.

Cheri Briscoe is a hardcore volunteer. She’s advocated for the Oak Leaf Trail even before it acquired the name.

"I love biking and so I decided that’s what I want to focus on in my later life," she says.

Copyright 2015 Colorado Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.cpr.org.

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In the 19th century, before Americans fully settled the West, some called it the Great American Desert. It wasn't considered fertile enough to develop.

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The first genetically modified crop wasn't made by a megacorporation. Or a college scientist trying to design a more durable tomato. Nope. Nature did it — at least 8,000 years ago.

Well, actually bacteria in the soil were the engineers. And the microbe's handiwork is present in sweet potatoes all around the world today.

Cathie Pare adores water-wise gardens. She works for Santa Barbara's water conservation program, and today, she's inspecting a yard that was recently converted from grass to drought-friendly plants.

"There's a little manzanitas in here — the little baby ones," Pare says. "Those are so cute!"

The owners will get reimbursed for half the cost of materials, thanks to a city rebate program that since last July has doled out $190,000.

Pare and a team of two others also visit homes for water checkups to help homeowners program their sprinklers or improve irrigation.

A shower is my favorite part of the day. It helps me face school in the morning, or relax in the evening. Even so, I know that with California's four-year drought, long showers are a luxury that we can't really afford anymore. So I decided to time myself to see how long I was taking.

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