Neurological disorder leaves bears in California vulnerable

April 7, 2021 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

The  California Department of Fish and Wildlife  (CDFW) is concerned over increasing incidences of bears with rare neurological disorders showing up in residential areas. This follows an incident where a small black bear showed up at a utility building site last month in Pollock Pines in El Dorado County. The young bear was far too small, covered in ticks and looked weak; it did not exhibit normal bear behaviors, instead taking food and pets from humans. The incident in Pollock Pines was not the first of its kind. In the past 12 months, there have been similar encounters, with three other bears showing signs of neurological abnormalities. The bear found in Pollock Pines was diagnosed and euthanized. Related: While humans are away, Yosemite bears come out to play “Any time a wild animal comes into our care, the best-possible outcome is a release back to the wild,” Munk said. “That’s just not possible for these neurologically impaired bears. The second-best outcome would be a long, healthy life at a reputable zoo or wildlife sanctuary, but any inflammation of the brain is going to be significant for the individual bear and may have long-term consequences.” Diagnoses of the affected bears has revealed that they suffer from a condition known as encephalitis. This condition refers to the inflammation of the brain tissue, usually caused by viral or bacterial infection . Scientists have already discovered five novel viruses that could be related to the encephalitis. However, Munk said that the team has not found the exact cause of the condition in the affected bears. “At this point, we don’t know what causes the encephalitis so we don’t know what, if any, health risks these bears might pose to other animals,” Munk noted. Unfortunately, diagnosed bears that have already undergone treatment are not showing signs of recovery. Munk said that even if the animals are sent to animal sanctuaries, they will become a big burden to the facilities. “The few bears like this we have placed do not seem to fully recover, some requiring significant medical management for the life of the bear, which is a huge burden for these facilities that often operate on tight budgets,” Munk said. + California Department of Fish and Wildlife Images via Kirsten Macintyre and Shelly Blair

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Neurological disorder leaves bears in California vulnerable

Studio Gang transforms coal plant into LEED Silver-targeted student union

April 7, 2021 by  
Filed under Green

Riverfront revitalization and sustainable adaptive reuse combine at the Beloit College Powerhouse, a  Studio Gang -designed student union focused on recreation and wellness. Completed last year, the award-winning Powerhouse project included a complete overhaul of the Blackhawk Generating Station — a collection of historic buildings constructed in the early 20th century along the Rock River — as well as the addition of a new field house. The design pays homage to the architectural heritage of the original structures while introducing modern amenities and energy-efficient technologies, including a radiant panel and slab system that harnesses energy from the Rock River.  Located next to Beloit College’s campus near the city’s downtown area, the 120,000-square-foot Powerhouse houses a fitness center and recreational gym, an eight-lane competition swimming pool, an indoor turf field house and a suspended three-lane, 175-meter running track that loops through all parts of the building and takes in different landscape views. The  student union  also includes a coffee shop, student lounges, club rooms, a conference center, a 164-seat auditorium and a variety of spaces for conversation, collaboration and study. A new pedestrian bridge and publicly accessible elevator connect the hilltop college campus with the Powerhouse and the adjacent riverside paths and parks.  To meet  LEED Silver  standards, the architects installed high-performance insulation into the historic portions of the building and added a radiant panel and slab system that draws energy from river water to power Powerhouse’s heating and cooling. An energy-efficient outdoor-air system ensures the highest air quality and comfort indoors. The new field house is wrapped in a polycarbonate facade that lets diffused light in while providing advanced thermal insulation.  Related: University of Toronto Scarborough learning hub to welcome nature indoors “The design retains architectural features and industrial equipment from the original structures while incorporating new  sustainable  practices and lively gathering spaces that encourage students to mix with each other and the larger Beloit community,” said the architects.  + Studio Gang Images © Tom Harris

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Studio Gang transforms coal plant into LEED Silver-targeted student union

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