Monthly Archives: May 2016

Scientists put bees on the menu


A study proposes eating pollinators as a sustainable protein source


By John R. Platt

from takepart


The next great food crop for small farmers could be…bees?


That’s right, bees. Those little black-and-yellow insects could be a valuable, nutritious, and sustainable food source, according to a new paper published in the Journal of Asia-Pacific Entomology. The study found that bees at all stages of their lives are high in protein, while bee larvae and pupae also contain high levels of fatty acids, carbohydrates, and amino acids. Larvae and pupae also lack wings and exoskeletons, making them easier to prepare.


The paper concludes that harvesting bees not only would provide a sustainable food source but also could create new income streams for beekeepers, who already sell honey, royal jelly, and other bee products. The bees could be sold whole or ground into powder to be added to other foods, especially during times when bees were not pollinating or producing honey. This, the researchers wrote, would turn bees into a year-round cash crop instead of one that could only generate profit during certain times.


All of this might seem a bit unusual to Western taste buds, but bees are a dietary staple in many parts of the world, including Korea, where the study originated.


The study also ties into a growing trend toward eating crickets and other insects as valuable and sustainable sources of protein and nutrients. Insects, many researchers have said, could provide more food at a lower carbon cost than beef or other meats. A 2013 report from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization includes bees among a long list of edible insects—including moths, beetles, and stinkbugs—that could be important for meeting the world’s need for food and food security. That report didn’t mention edible bees, but it placed high value on honey and other hive products.


How does the idea of edible bees fit into a world where bee populations have become increasingly threatened? Beekeepers in the United States lost 44 percent of their hives over the past year, according to a study released this week by the Bee Informed Partnership. Well, this study focused on a widespread bee species called the Italian honeybee (Apis mellifera ligustica), which probably isn’t at risk. “I’m most concerned about our non-Apis pollinators, in terms of extinction risk,” said Sarina Jepsen, director of endangered species for the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. “I don’t think that there is any indication that the honeybee is likely to go extinct, although commercial beekeepers have seen dramatic colony losses in the past couple of decades.”


Still not convinced? The website Girl Meets Bug, which is devoted to edible insects, notes that bee larvae “taste much like mushroomy bacon” and that roasted adult bees can be ground “into nutritious flour.” Author Daniella Martin’s recipe page notes that she primarily eats drone larvae, which have no role in pollination. Interestingly enough, she adds a few drops of honey to her bee larvae recipe, bringing the whole idea full circle.

Record landowner demand for CRP Met with extraordinarily low acceptance rate

Secretary Vilsack suggests Congress look at larger CRP in 2018 Farm Bill


U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that 800,000 acres will be enrolled through three different components of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Of particular note, USDA’s CRP general sign-up completed at the end of February generated more than 1.8 million acres in offers, but was only able to accept 23 percent of the 26,000 landowner applications because of the program’s 24 million acre cap. As a result, Secretary Vilsack commented on the need for a larger CRP cap to meet landowner demand and natural resource benefits.


In addition to the general CRP sign-up, Secretary Vilsack also reported 4,600 additional offers were made for 1 million acres in the new CRP Grasslands program. Only 100,000 acres were accepted for a meager 10 percent acceptance rate. Finally, an additional 330,000 acres were enrolled through continuous CRP sign-ups, which is in addition to last year’s record-setting 860,000 continuous acres enrolled.


Vilsack later commented to AgriPulse on Thursday, “When Congress begins to deliberate the 2018 farm bill, they’re going to be faced I think with a demand to rethink the cap on CRP,” Vilsack said. “The deliberation should not begin with ‘You have to save an artificial dollar amount,’ but it should really look at what the demand and need is.”


“While we have 800,000 acres of good news today, the larger message is one of missed opportunity,” stated Dave Nomsen, Pheasants Forever’s vice president of governmental affairs. “We had landowners come out in droves to voluntarily make a commitment to wildlife, water, and soil. Instead, America’s most successful conservation program – one with a 30-year track record of wildlife and natural resource benefits – was neutered by a 24 million acre cap.”


“As we look toward the 2018 Farm Bill, we will be delivering Secretary Vilsack’s message of a strengthened CRP to Congress. America’s farmers, ranchers, conservationists, and hunters not only need a stronger Conservation Reserve Program, they want a stronger CRP, and the latest sign-up results demonstrate that fact,” added Jim Inglis, Pheasants Forever’s director of governmental affairs.


CRP is a voluntary program designed to help farmers, ranchers and landowners protect their environmentally sensitive land. Eligible landowners receive annual rental payments and cost-share assistance to establish long-term, resource conserving covers on eligible farmland throughout the duration of 10 to 15 year contracts. Under CRP, landowners plant grasses and trees, and restore wetlands in watersheds across the country. The plantings prevent soil and nutrients from washing into waterways, reduce soil erosion that may otherwise contribute to poor air and water quality, and provide valuable habitat for wildlife. Vegetative cover established on the acreage accepted into the CRP will reduce nutrient and sediment runoff in our nation’s rivers and streams.



May 14                        4TH Annual Grassland Heritage Foundation Plant Sale Lawrence 785-840-8104

May 15-16      Geary County Fish & Game Assoc. ATA registered shoot 785-238-8727

June 3-12        Nebraska Wildflower Week Nebraska Native Plant Society

June 4             Spring Wildflower Tour Maxwell Wildlife Refuge [email protected]

June 5-10        KWF 28th Outdoor Adventure Camp kids 10-12 Call Theresa Berger 785-658-5159

June 11           Spring Wildflower Tour Maxwell Wildlife Refuge [email protected]

June 11           17th Annual Cowley Co. Wildflower Tour Winfield [email protected]

June 11           Women on Target event Geary County Fish & Game Assoc. Shirley Allen 785-375-7305

June 11           Prairie Field Day Mine Creek Battlefield Linn Co. Tami Neal [email protected]

June 16-18      National Wildlife Federation 80th Annual Meeting Estes Park, CO

June 18           FOK Cleanup Float Johnson Co. Register at [email protected]

June 18           Prairie Pollinators: Wildflowers and Butterflies Chase Co. [email protected]

June 25           FOK River Cleanup below Springhill Suites Register at [email protected]

July 16                        Float the Kansas River Manhattan CVB Register w/Marcia Rozell 785.776.8829

July 16                        FOK Little Apple Paddle Event Register with Marcia Rozell 785.776.8829

July 30                        FOK Let’s Paddle the Kaw event Register with Marcia Rozell 785.776.8829

Aug 2-4           KGLC Mid  & Shortgrass Range School Scott County Registration

Aug 6              FOK Water Matters Day More info from Marcia Rozell 785.776.8829

Aug 16-18       KGLC Tallgrass Range School Camp Wood Registration

Aug 27                        FOK Let’s Paddle the Kaw event Register with Marcia Rozell 785.776.8829

Sept 10                        FOK Let’s Paddle the Kaw event Register with Marcia Rozell 785.776.8829

Sept 24                        FOK Great Kaw Adventure Race Register with Marcia Rozell 785.776.8829

Oct 7-8                        FOK Fundraiser event Astronomy & Wine Register w/Marcia Rozell 785.776.8829

Oct 8               FOK Let’s Paddle the Kaw event Register with Marcia Rozell 785.776.8829

Oct 29             FOK Little Apple Glow Paddle Register with Marcia Rozell 785.776.8829



For a more up-to-date calendar go to


Steele House nominated to National Register


At its meeting on Saturday, April 30, the Kansas Historic Sites Board of Review voted to nominate the Steele House at Lake Scott State Park to the National Register of Historic Places. This action sends the nomination to the National Park Service for their consideration and final action. It also adds the home to the state’s Register of Kansas Historic Places.

The Steele House was built ca. 1894 by Herbert and Eliza Steele on the west bank of Ladder Creek in what later became Lake Scott State Park. They were among the earliest Euro-American settlers in the county. The seven-room, two-level limestone house was built into the side of a hill so the lower level is partly recessed into the hill. The nomination also includes a crude limestone spring house built by the Steeles over a still-active spring and a decorative pond and bench built with help from the Civilian Conservation Corps ca. 1934 after the Steeles had passed away.

Lake Scott State Park is located in Ladder Creek Canyon about 13 miles north of Scott City in Scott County. Before Euro-American settlement, the canyon was home to several Central Plains Native American groups, dating to proto historic and early historic times. El Cuartelejo, the remains of the northeastern-most pueblo in the U.S., are located a short distance north of the Steele House. The El Cuartelejo Archaeological District National Historic Landmark established in 1964 – a concentration of remnants from these cultural groups – surrounds the Steele House and was made possible by the Steeles’ willingness to have their land investigated by archeologists beginning in the late 1890s.

The Steeles were aware their picturesque property was an ideal setting for a park. In 1928, they sold 640 acres of their land to the Kansas Forestry, Fish and Game Commission – a forerunner of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) with the stipulation they be allowed to live in their home until their passing. In May 1930, the Commission completed a dam across Ladder Creek and created the 100-acre Lake McBride which later was renamed to Lake Scott.

Herbert Steele passed away in September 1929, having never seen the lake and park he helped create. Eliza Steele died in July 1930, one month after the park opened. Today, the house is a museum operated by volunteers.

Lake Scott State Park is a featured location along the Western Vistas Historic Byway. The National Register nomination application can be found online at More information about the park is located at Information about the Western Vistas Historic Byway is at

Biologists take tissue samples to evaluate bass stocking program


Fisheries biologists at the Meade Fish Hatchery have been fooling Mother Nature to get largemouth bass to spawn earlier than normal. By controlling water temperature and photo-period (day length), along with other biological factors, hatchery staff are able to create an environment where largemouth bass spawn up to two months earlier than they would in the wild. The fry produced have a huge advantage over naturally-spawned bass because they are large enough to feed on small fish through the spring and summer. By fall, these larger bass are more likely to survive their first winter in a Kansas lake.

So far, early-spawn bass have been stocked into select Kansas reservoirs where bass are popular with anglers but natural reproduction and normal stocking practices aren’t maintaining good bass populations. To evaluate the success of the early-spawn program, fisheries staff have conducted creel surveys to determine if catch rates have improved. In addition, DNA testing of adult bass caught in these lakes will tell biologists what percentage of the bass population is made up of early-spawn fish.

A unique quality of the early-spawn program is that genetic records kept on the brood fish allow each bass produced to be traced back to the hatchery. KDWPT biologists are working with bass tournament organizers to obtain samples from bass brought to tournament weigh-ins at select lakes. Recently, staff worked with the East Kansas Bassmasters club during a tournament on Hillsdale Reservoir where early-spawn bass have been stocked since 2012. Fingernail-sized clippings from the upper caudal fin were collected from fish at the weigh-in before the bass were released. The tissue samples will be tested to determine if they came from fish produced at the Meade Fish Hatchery.

In the past five years, more than 10 million largemouth bass have been produced and stocked through the early-spawn procedure. The evaluation efforts will help biologists determine the program’s effectiveness in bolstering bass populations, as well as what changes should be made to improve stocking success.

Gina McCarthy: NWF Conservationist of the Year


The National Wildlife Federation to Honor Administrator McCarthy and Four Others with National Conservation Achievement Awards


By Miles Grant


As part of its 80th anniversary celebrations, the National Wildlife Federation will recognize five notable individuals for their outstanding contributions to wildlife conservation at the Conservation Achievement Awards.


“These individuals have all made remarkable efforts towards our shared goal of protecting America’s natural heritage,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “It is dedicated people like these who will help us maintain healthy wildlife populations in the future. We are particularly honored to recognize Gina McCarthy as the ‘Conservationist of the Year’ for her tireless efforts over the past three decades to protect America’s air, water and wildlife.”


A luncheon event was held April 14th in the same historic room the organization was founded, the Grand Ballroom at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC. The following three individuals were honored:


Gina McCarthy – Conservationist of the Year: Gina McCarthy has served as the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency since July 2013 and she has been a leading advocate for common-sense strategies to protect public health and the environment. During her tenure, McCarthy has taken the President’s call to act on the climate and made it one of her top priorities for the EPA, most notably through the Clean Power Plan and the Clean Water Rule. She also spearheads the agency’s commitment to addressing environmental justice concerns and to making a visible difference in communities. Over her 30-year career, she has worked at both the state and local levels on policies regarding economic growth, energy, transportation and the environment. For example, McCarthy oversaw the development of the first mercury and air toxics standards which delivered huge protections to wildlife like the bald eagle, as well as public health benefits for many Americans.


Lowell E. Baier – Jay N. “Ding” Darling Conservation Award: Lowell Baier is an attorney, entrepreneur, conservationist, historian, and author. Baier’s passion for the outdoors began on his family’s Indiana farm and Montana ranch. After co-founding Wild Sheep Foundation and being active in the Boone and Crocket Club, Baier led President George H.W. Bush’s wildlife conservation agenda, and he has advised all three successive administrations on wildlife issues. Baier has led the creation of natural resources and wildlife conservation Ph.D. programs at five universities. He led a national campaign to raise $6 million to purchase the last remaining piece of privately held land that was Theodore Roosevelt’s historic Elkhorn Ranch, adjacent to Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Baier recently authored Inside the Equal Access to Justice Act: Environmental Litigation and the Crippling Battle over America’s Lands, Endangered Species, and Their Critical Habitat and he is at work on Voices from the Wilderness: A Biography, which celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. Baier presently serves on the President’s Leadership Council of the National Wildlife Federation and works with a number of other conservation groups.


Martha Darling – National Conservation Achievement Award: Over the past two decades, Martha Darling has picked up where her relative and National Wildlife Federation founder Ding Darling left off: Building power and clout for the National Wildlife Federation. Now part of the President’s Leadership Council comprised of the NWF’s most generous donors and ardent supporters  Martha also helped resurrect the National Wildlife Federation Action Fund; bringing her political passions to the national advocacy scene. Through her leadership, the NWF Action Fund has provided vital support to wildlife champions on Capitol Hill, worked with NWF’s state affiliates on ballot measures, and continues to grow its grassroots efforts.


At a reception that night at the Stewart R. Mott House, the National Wildlife Federation honored two congressional partners with National Conservation Achievement Awards for their work with NWF over the past year. Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) was recognized for his leadership advancing reforms to the Toxic Substances Control Act and for protecting, defending and securing funding for public lands. Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) was recognized for his leadership championing legislation to protect the Boulder-White Clouds, which resulted in the federal protection of more than 275,000 acres of prime hunting, fishing and wildlife habitat in Idaho.


The organization will announce additional Conservation Achievement Award winners at the National Wildlife Federation’s 80th Annual Meeting in June in Estes Park, CO.

Don’t let Congress stall united public land management


By Steve Williams

Reno Gazette-Journal


Managing hundreds of millions of acres of public land owned by every American is no small task. People have competing interests and every American, whether they work for the oil and gas industry, raise livestock, hike, hunt, or simply enjoy open spaces has a say in how that land is managed.


In 1976, Congress adopted the Federal Land Policy and Management Act to provide guidance to the Bureau of Land Management for use of public lands. That law directs the BLM to provide for “multiple use,” defined as “The management of the public lands and their various resource values so that they are utilized in the combinations that will best meet the present and future needs of the American people.” FLPMA does not mandate that every use be accommodated on every acre; rather, it calls for balancing public demands and providing for a mix of land uses – including active development, passive use and protection. That rule has served America well for over 40 years.

Meyer warns against sales of public lands


Rick Olivo

Ashland Daily Press


The head of the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation warned Wednesday that there is an increasingly strong movement in the United States to sell off federal lands such as National Wildlife Refuges, National Forests, Bureau of Land Management lands and National Monuments.


According to WWF Executive Director George Meyer, while here has long been pressure from oil, gas and mining interests to wrest away control of federal lands, especially in the West, in the last few years, this effort has gained substantial support, becoming an issue in the presidential election campaign.


Meyer said the campaign has the support of the chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee and has even resulted in a current proposal to sell off the fourth most popular national wildlife refuge, Vieques, an unspoiled gem of sea and shoreland created from a former U.S. Navy Base and established in 2002. Located in Puerto Rico, a number of Congressional Republicans have advocated selling off the refuge for commercial development and using the proceeds to help pay off Puerto Rico’s $70 billion in debt.


Meyer also said, in a related matter, that House Committee on Natural Resources chairman Rob Bishop, a Utah Republican, has refused to allow a vote on renewal of the popular Land and Water Conservation Fund. The fund uses royalties from offshore oil and gas drilling to protect public lands and to promote outdoor recreation.


Meyer said the two issues should be of deep concern to Wisconsin residents who have drawn great benefits from both public lands and the Land and Water Conservation fund.


Meyer noted that the WWF was made up of 195 groups of sportsmen and women in the state, and is a part of the National Wildlife Federation.


“We are supporting them on this issue, but our citizens have a major interest on this issue,” he said.


Meyer recalled the “Sagebrush Rebellion” of the 1970s as one chapter of the effort to obtain control of federal lands, and said the presidential election has given the push to remove the lands from federal control and into private hands.


“Ted Cruz has put out an ad in Nevada very specifically saying he would sell off the federal lands,” Meyer. “His aides qualified that saying he would sell off all lands except for national parks and military reservations, but that leaves the refuges, monuments, forests to be sold off.”


He noted that when votes to sell off public lands have taken place in Congress, both Republican U.S. Senator Ron Johnson and fellow Republican Seventh District Congressman Sean Duffy have voted in favor of the proposals.


“We are facing a very serious situation,” he said. “We are trying to get the word out to sportsmen and others, because this is bigger than sportsmen.”


Meyer said the federal lands are an important legacy for all of the citizens of the United States.


“The sale of federal lands in the West or in Puerto Rico would be a terrible precedent for the future potential sale of federal lands in Wisconsin,” Meyer said. “Hundreds of thousands of Wisconsin citizens and visiting tourists use federal lands in Wisconsin every year. Federal lands are a major component of Wisconsin’s economically important tourist industry.”


Closely related to this issue, Meyers said, was Congressman Bishop’s intransigence in refusing to allow the Land and Water Conservation Reauthorization Bill to come to a vote.


He noted that through another mechanism, the act has been reauthorized for three years.


“The senate has permanently reauthorized it, and now it’s got to go to the House of Representatives,” Meyer said. “That is where Congressman Duffy could really help out to get permanent reauthorization.”


Meyer noted that Duffy has not come forward with a position on the bill, and he urged Wisconsin residents to contact Duffy’s office, asking for his support.


“Senators (Ron) Johnson and (Tammy) Baldwin ultimately voted for it, and Congressman Duffy needs some encouragement,” he said.


Meyer emphasized that the Conservation Fund was not paid for by taxpayer dollars but by oil and gas royalty revenues.


“The principle of this is that U.S. citizens are selling off federal resources and the royalties form these sales are being plowed back into natural resources accessible to the public,” he said.


The payback to Wisconsin has been huge, Meyer said.


“Over the last five decades, Wisconsin has received $212 million that has been used for hundreds of state and local parks; and projects such as the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, the Ice Age and North Country National Scenic Trails, the St. Croix National Scenic River and the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.


Funds from the Conservation Fund have also been used to support the Wisconsin Forest Legacy program that buys land from Wisconsin industrial forests seeking to sell their properties, as well as obtaining conservation and public access easements on more lands when they are transferred to other private companies.


“Wisconsin has received $21,500,000 for this purpose,” Meyer said. “It results in continued public land for recreational use, continued sustainable forestry practices and keeping these lands as working forests.”


Meyer called Wisconsin’s public lands vital to the state’s economy


“The U.S. Census Bureau reports that annually 2.9 million people participate in hunting, fishing, trapping, wildlife watching and other recreational pursuits in the states, contributing $3.9 million to the state economy,” he said.


Meyer said that resolutions in support of retaining federal lands has passed at the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation’s annual meeting on April 8-9, while a resolution opposing the sale of federal public lands was easily adopted at the Dane County Conservation Congress’s April 11 annual meeting.


“It will pass the state meeting in a couple of weeks overwhelmingly,” Meyer predicted.

Pass It On – Outdoor Mentors recognizes Steve Williams for his service on Board of Directors


Pass It On – Outdoor Mentors announced today that Steve Williams has stepped down from their Board of Directors.  Williams played a critical role in creating the organization in 1999 while serving as Secretary of the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks by creating a partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters.  He continued to serve the organization by joining the board of directors in 2006 when it spun off as an independent non-profit organization. Williams, a former Director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service has been president of the Wildlife Management Institute since 2005.


According to Mike Christensen, Executive Director of Pass it On, it was Williams’ vision and passion that enables the organization to become established. “Mr. Williams was the first person we reached out to, asking him to serve on our board,” stated Christensen. “He has been there with us since the beginning and we are appreciative of all that Steve has brought to the table, helping us grow to the organization we are today.”


“It has been a privilege serving on the Pass It On – Outdoor Mentors board of directors,” stated Williams. ”Mike’s leadership and commitment to youth is unparalleled and the program deserves someone who can commit more time.  I am proud of our accomplishments and look forward to a great future for Pass It On.”


Ryan Bronson, chairman of the board of directors for Pass It On – Outdoor Mentors also praised Williams decade of service.  “Steve’s participation with this mentoring organization has been an inspiration to me and I will miss his steady hand and sage advice,” Bronson said.  “Our board of volunteers truly appreciate his contributions.”


Pass It On – Outdoor Mentors partners with state fish and wildlife agencies, conservation organizations and youth organizations to give at-risk children outdoor opportunities they would not have had otherwise.  “Too many children today never get the chance to experience the great outdoors we all know and love.  When you hear a youngster say they’ve never seen a cow or been on a dirt road, you know we have to step up our efforts to get these children outdoors,” stated Christensen.


About Pass It On – Outdoor Mentors Pass It On – Outdoor Mentors is a Wichita, Kansas-based national organization dedicated to providing children with mentors who will share with them the experiences of traditional outdoor activities. The heart of the group’s mission is to give children opportunities to connect with nature that they more than likely won’t have without a mentor showing them the way. Partnering with organizations with like-minded conservation and youth participation efforts like Big Brothers Big Sisters, Pheasants Forever, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Delta Waterfowl, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the National Wild Turkey Federation, among others, volunteers with a passion for the outdoors can give a child the chance to go fish, hunt, or simply spend time in the fields with a caring adult. For more information about Pass It On – Outdoor Mentors, please visit