For years, scientists have been tracking ice in western Hudson Bay, Canada - when the ice forms in fall, when it starts to break up in the spring and its thickness - in order to determine how climate change is affecting the health of the Hudson Bay ecosystem, including polar bears.
Polar bears need the sea ice of the Hudson Bay to successfully hunt ringed seals through the winter. They rely on stored fat to last them through the summer. Climate change has already led to the ice forming later in the fall, by several weeks, over the last 3 decades and breaking up earlier in the spring. This shortened feeding season has resulted in skinnier bears, fewer cubs born per bear, and lower survival for the young. It also leads to more bear-human interactions, as hungry bears wander closer to towns and garbage dumps searching for food. In other words, bad news for bears and people.
Now, scientists are studying ice conditions a little closer to home to assess how climate change is affecting a different, and increasingly endangered, species - the backyard hockey (shinny) player. Based on past data and models of the future, scientists are warning that climate change will lead to fewer outdoor skating days in Canada. In fact, in some areas of the country, scientists warn that there will be no more backyard rinks at all.
Rinkwatch.org, an innovative project led by scientists at Wilfred Laurier University, asks outdoor rink enthusiasts from all over the world to record the location of their rink and all the days that the rink is skate-able. Knowing only about what’s happening to your rink in your backyard tells you little more than what the recent weather has been like. But that information collected over several years, and added to information about thousands of other rinks across North America – well, that gives us some insight to wider trends like climate change.
In January, NHL Green announced the launch of Hat Tricks for Trees™, an initiative assisting The Nature Conservancy’s effort to save Brazil’s Atlantic Forest. The National Hockey League Foundation is donating 50 trees for every hat trick scored throughout the 2012-13 regular season and NHL Playoffs.
On February 16, John Tavares tallied his fourth career hat trick, the tenth hat trick scored in the NHL this season. To date, the League has now pledged to plant 500 trees as part of the initiative.
Let’s take a look back at the players who notched the first ten hat tricks this season:
Thomas Vanek (Buffalo Sabres) - Vanek began the NHL season on a torrid pace and is currently the League-leader with 25 points in 15 games played. On Thursday, January 31st, Vanek recorded his second five-point game when he had a hat trick and added a pair of assists, in a 7-4 Sabres win in Boston.
Henrik Zetterberg (Detroit Red Wings) - Detroit's new captain owns a five-point game this season as well -- he had a hat trick and two assists in the Red Wings' 5-3 victory against St. Louis in early February. On a team in transition, Zetterberg has raised his game.
Chris Kunitz (Pittsburgh Penguins) – Penguin’s Chris Kunitz broke from a scoring drought in early February when he clinched the third hat trick in his career and a 6-3 victory over the Washington Capitals. “You know what to expect,” said Captain Sidney Crosby of Kunitz. “(Kunitz) works hard, gets to a lot of loose pucks and creates a lot of pressure on other teams. Nobody likes to deal with him in front of the net.”
Eric Staal (Carolina Hurricanes) - Staal and teammate Jeff Skinner scored 9 seconds apart during a four-goal second period for the Hurricanes, a game which they went on to win 6-3 over the Sabres. Staal restored Carolina's two-goal lead in the third period by firing the puck past Jhonas Enroth. He polished off his 13th career hat trick with an empty-netter with 1:28 left in the contest.
Marian Gaborik (New York Rangers) - Gaborik, who moved to the left wing this season to accommodate new teammate Rick Nash, is a pure goal scorer with hands that goaltender Henrik Lundqvist said are some of the best in the League around the goal crease. He put them on display twice against the Bruins in late January, finessing the puck into the net for three important goals. Gaborik finished off a hat trick with a breakaway goal 26 seconds into overtime to give the Rangers their first win of the season.
Matt Read (Philadelphia Flyers) - Matt Read notched his first career hat trick in late January — and he thought it came pretty easily. Read helped his Philadelphia Flyers beat the Florida Panthers 7-1. "It's pretty special getting your first hat trick," Read said. "I'm the beneficiary of playing with two good guys (Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds). It's pretty easy when you're playing with two good players. Just be at the right spot at the right time -- and just do the little things right -- and good things are going to happen."
Michael Cammalleri (Calgary Flames) - Still seeking his first goal of the season, Michael Cammalleri felt he was rounding into form before suffering a slightly torn hip flexor that forced him out of the Calgary Flames' lineup for three games. He didn't hesitate to make up for lost time. Coming back off the injury, Cammalleri had a hat trick – including the 200th goal of his career – as part of a four-point night as the Flames earned a 7-4 victory against the Dallas Stars on February 13.
The Buffalo Sabres, through the Blue & Gold Make Green Initiative, are dedicated to protecting and preserving the environment of Western New York and Southern Ontario.
The organization is committed to developing initiatives and educational opportunities in the community, throughout the season, to help reduce the Sabres environmental footprint. The Blue & Gold Make Green Initiative encourages members of the Sabres front office, as well as players and fans, to actively participate in making the community a cleaner, safer and healthier place.
In 2006, a volunteer organization called Re-Tree WNY was established to re-forest every public area destroyed by the devastating October storm. Still in pursuit of this goal in 2012, the Sabres joined the campaign to raise funds for the purchase of trees to be planted along the city’s streets and parks.
The Sabres, in partnership with Re-Tree Western New York, have helped raise over $500,000 to reforest Buffalo and surrounding communities. These trees help to conserve and reduce energy use, reducing local carbon dioxide levels, improving air quality and mitigating storm water runoff. Re-Tree WNY has planted a total of nearly 25,000 of their 30,000 tree goal.
The partnership was a natural fit for the organization, who each season hosts a spring clean-up event along Buffalo’s waterfront, removing trash, litter and heavy debris from Western New York shorelines, waterfront parks and wetlands.
Off the ice, Niedermayer brings that same spirit and winning record as a World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Freshwater Ambassador, especially in his role as spokesperson for Canadians for the Great Bear, championing one of the richest and most spectacular ecosystems in the world.
NHL Green today announces the launch of Hat Tricks for Trees™, an initiative assisting The Nature Conservancy’s effort to save Brazil’s Atlantic Forest. The National Hockey League Foundation, through NHL Green’s Hat Tricks for Trees™, will donate 50 trees for every hat trick scored throughout the 2012-13 regular season and NHL Playoffs.
All contributions will support TNC’s Plant a Billion Trees campaign, a major restoration initiative launched by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in 2008 to restore Brazil's Atlantic Forest. The campaign aims to restore one million acres of land by helping plant one billion trees by 2015. The effort has the potential to remove four million tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere every year.
According to TNC, “tropical forests are the lungs of the Earth, storing enormous amounts of carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen in a never-ending cycle of life. The Atlantic Forest – one of the biggest tropical forests in the world – helps stabilize the global climate and fight global warming.” Warming temperatures threaten the existence of the frozen pond where, over the years, many men and women of all skill levels learned to play hockey. The League is committed to preserving the conditions that fostered the game and protecting this rich tradition for the next generation.
In line with this mission, the NHL actively pursues more environmentally responsible measures of forest-product sourcing, is developing more robust post-consumer recycling practices, is promoting responsible forest management and is providing funds to aid in forest restoration.
At home, in 2012, NHL Green introduced a legacy tree project in Pittsburgh for the NHL Draft. In cooperation with the Pittsburgh Penguins and local non-profit Tree Pittsburgh, the League planted mature trees up the block from the CONSOL Energy Center, along the perimeter of the Hill House Association, an institution providing an array of health, welfare, recreation and other community programs. The tree-lined streets, parks and hillsides of Pittsburgh are not only a point of community pride, but they also offer substantial benefits to residents -- helping to conserve and reduce energy use, reducing local carbon dioxide levels, improving air quality and mitigating storm water runoff.
Through NHL Green’s Hat Tricks for Trees™, the League will continue to support initiatives – both local and global – that aim to restore both urban and tropical forests.
Throughout the season, we encourage fans to follow us on twitter to receive notifications of when hat tricks are scored. Fans can contribute to the initiative by visiting the NHL Green microsite on nature.org and making a donation.
On Monday, the Boston blueliner (and self-proclaimed tree-hugger) received a message via Twitter from the folks over at the blog “Stanley Cup of Chowder” (@cupofchowdah) offering an environmental incentive for his on-ice performance:
The Plant a Billion Trees campaign is a major restoration initiative launched by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in 2008 to restore Brazil's Atlantic Forest. According to TNC, much of what does remain of the forest is found in small, isolated fragments and is on the brink of extinction due to pressures of urban expansion, agriculture, ranching and illegal logging. The Plant a Billion Trees campaign aims to reforest 2.5 million acres and connect more than 12 million acres in new forest corridors.
Ference responded later in the day, willing to match the pledge of fifty trees per goal, but with a twist. The rugged defenseman, not known for his goal-scoring prowess, has decided to match the goal total of someone with the scoring touch: teammate Tyler Seguin.
This season, the on-ice success of Ference and Seguin will not only help the Bruins compete for their second championship in three years, but will assist in the effort to save Brazil’s Atlantic Forest.
The New York Islanders, through a long-standing partnership with the American Red Cross, remain committed to assisting Long Islanders affected by Superstorm Sandy. After the storm devastated much of the tri-state area, the Islanders put all their resources into fundraising efforts for the American Red Cross Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund to help victims and their local environment.
Superstorm Sandy plowed through the United States at the end of October, forcing families to live without basic necessities and leaving many unsure of what their lives would be like in the near future. In addition, lands throughout New York, New Jersey and the surrounding areas experienced significant damage.
According to environmental advocacy group Riverkeeper, the damage caused by Sandy was "unprecedented." Toxic chemicals spilled into New York's Harbor due to the storm surge, as did contaminants from subways and commercial structures. Because the pollution came from multiple sources, the clean-up has been challenging.
Many residents continue to struggle with restoration efforts of their homes, businesses and communities, especially due to environmental health and safety concerns.
In November, the Islanders held an open-skate fundraiser called “Hockey with a Heart” to support their community in rebuilding. The Islanders and SMG (the arena management company) opened Nassau Coliseum’s doors and invited all area residents to join them for a day on the ice, free of charge. Over 2,000 people attended and many brought monetary donations, in addition to non-perishable food donations. All concession proceeds went directly to those in need.
Through the efforts of fans and members of the community, along with employees of the New York Islanders, SMG and the Coliseum’s concessionaire SAVOR, the Club collected over 5,200 pounds of food, $5,754 dollars and an overwhelming amount of clothing, weighing over 13,000 pounds, filling two 24-foot box trucks.
After the open skate fundraiser, the Islanders organized a unique online auction, where people from around the world came together to bid on special sports memorabilia and entertainment experiences. The “Hockey with a Heart” auction featured items donated by metropolitan area sports teams, organizations and individuals and raised $22,317 in total for storm victims.
Combined, these two major fundraisers collected $28,071 that went directly to the American Red Cross’ Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund to assist those affected by the storm.
To donate to the American Red Cross, visit Redcross.org, call 1-800-RED-CROSS, or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Click here to watch the Red Cross PSA.
In April 2009, Saint Paul RiverCentre officials launched a long-term, multifaceted sustainability initiative with a mission to become a green leader among convention centers in the region. The neighboring Xcel Energy Center, home to the Minnesota Wild, joined the effort soon after when a number of shared resources were realized.
Green practices weren’t new to these facilities; recycling, energy efficiency and water conservation had been priorities for some time. However, officials implemented an ambitious, strategic plan that has encompassed multiple campus-wide initiatives over several years.
The first initiative, titled “50-50 in 2,” was focused on waste reduction across the Saint Paul RiverCentre and Xcel Energy Center campus. The goal of the two-year initiative was to reduce the amount of trash generated at the facilities by 50% while increasing the recycling rate to 50%. To accomplish this goal, 630 recycling receptacles were purchased so that every trash container on every level of each facility would have an accompanying recycling bin. In addition, the facilities made an extensive transition to compostable products and all processes and behind-the-scenes infrastructure were redesigned to make recycling and composting as efficient as possible.
The two-year timeline of this goal concluded in July of 2011. These facilities not only reached their goals, they far exceeded them. As of March 2012, these facilities reduced trash by 60% (over 1.4 million pounds per year) and increased their annual recycling rate to 54.5%.
Since that time, without setting a new goal, the annual recycling rate has increased to 56% and the total waste stream has fell to just over 50,000 pounds annually. In the first quarter of 2012, the campus recycled a record 45.3 tons of commingle items (cans, bottles, cups & tubs).
Retired NHL All-Star Owen Nolan has announced the transition of his 1,157 acres in Mt. Hamilton Range (California) to organizations devoted to the environmental protection and preservation of lands. This unique partnership protects prime Alameda Creek Watershed habitat from future development through a conservation easement and paves the way for future plans to open up the property to public recreation.
"I'm proud to be part of the effort to expand Joseph D. Grant County Park and help protect clean drinking water and recreational opportunities for future generations," said Owen Nolan, property owner and former San Jose Sharks captain.
"I love the outdoors,” Nolan told the San Jose Mercury News. “It's not just hunting and fishing. It's getting outside," he said. "There's a lot of pressure that comes with being an athlete. Getting outside has always helped me get peace of mind."
“This property acquisition creates the only county park that is more than 10,000 acres in size,” said President George Shirakawa, County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors. “The addition of this landscape to the county’s park system will not only increase opportunities for future trail development but also support 70 miles of wild lands from Pleasanton to the Pacheco Pass and connect it to several thousand acres of Lick Observatory lands on top of Mt. Hamilton by the University of California.”
Located within the southern Alameda Creek Watershed, the property includes approximately five miles of Sulphur and Smith Creeks that drain to Isabel Creek and the Arroyo Hondo, which flows directly into the SFPUC’s Calaveras Reservoir.
“Calaveras Reservoir is our system’s largest Bay Area reservoir and is a crucial source of drinking water to our 2.6 million customers,” said SFPUC General Manager Harlan Kelly, Jr. “By protecting the land and the animals and plants that depend upon it, we also protect the quality of a major Bay Area water supply.”
The Nature Conservancy, through an endowment funded by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), will monitor the conservation easement in perpetuity. Santa Clara County Parks and Recreation Department will own and manage the property as part of Joseph D. Grant County Park.
Read the entire article on The Nature Conservancy’s website, here.
It’s hard to imagine 14,000 pounds of food. To put it into perspective, it’s about the same weight as five cars. That’s how much food has been donated to the Edmonton Food Bank’s Second Helping program since October 2010, when the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation, Oilers, Oil Kings, Dominion Sports Service and Northlands partnered to save and freeze any left over, prepared and unused food from concerts and hockey games as part of the NHL Rock & Wrap It Up Food Recovery Program.
In 2010, the National Hockey League launched the food recovery program to combat waste and fight hunger across North America. All 30 of the League's Member Clubs have committed to pack up all prepared but untouched concession food on game nights for redistribution to local shelters and places of need.
This October, the Oilers continued their program with a gift of over 1,000 pounds of food.
“As fast as it comes in, it goes out,” said Tamisan Bencz-Knight, Manager, Strategic Relations & Partnerships, Edmonton Food Bank. “What’s so nice about (the food) is it’s prepared. You just need to thaw it, warm it and serve it. The quality of the product is amazing and it’s simple and easy program to run.”
The most recent donation from Rexall Place benefited Our House addiction recovery agency which focus their efforts on supporting men working to rebuild their lives.
“When you think that all this food could go to waste rather than being used to benefit other people, it’s clear the program is a win-win for everybody," said Natalie Minckler, Executive Director, Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation. “This program just makes so much sense and the benefits are seen at agencies around Oil Country.”
For each goal scored during the Regular Season, the NHL is restoring 1,000 gallons of water to a critically dewatered river, through Bonneville Environmental Foundation's Water Restoration Certificates.