Californias Monarch butterfly population hits ‘potentially catastrophic’ low in 2018

January 11, 2019 by  
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California’s Monarch butterfly population hit a record low in 2018 after dropping a whopping 86 percent from the previous year. According to the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, the total population has declined 97 percent since the 1980s, but this latest one year drop is “potentially catastrophic.” In the western part of the United States, monarchs migrate to California for the winter, traveling from Idaho and Utah. In 2017, the traditional California coastal sites like Pismo Beach, Big Sur and Pacific Grove hosted about 148,000 monarchs, but in 2018, volunteers counted approximately 20,500. Compare that population to the 1980s, says one of the study’s researchers Cheryl Schultz, an associate professor at Washington State University Vancouver. At that time, an estimated 10 million monarchs spent their winter in California. According to experts, butterflies are incredibly significant to the state because they quickly respond to ecological changes and warn us about the health of an ecosystem . Plus, they pollinate flowers. According to biologist Emma Pelton, if nothing is done to preserve the western monarchs and their habitat, monarch butterflies could be facing extinction. They require milkweed for breeding and migration, but in recent years pesticide use and urban development have caused the acreage of milkweed to decline. Unusually harsh weather has also threatened the monarch’s existence. Between 2011 and 2017, California has experienced one of the worst droughts on record, and this has caused ecological devastation among forested towns and fishing communities because hundreds of millions of trees have died. Not to mention, the recent deadly wildfires  that have devastated the golden state. However, the declining monarch population can be reversed if citizens and governments act now. Pelton says that gardeners can plant milkweed and towns can help by planting new trees to help monarch butterfiles 20 years from now have a new place to winter. “We don’t think it is too late to act,” Pelton said. “But everyone needs to step up their effort.” Via New York Times Image via OLID56

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Californias Monarch butterfly population hits ‘potentially catastrophic’ low in 2018

This striking art studio was inspired by the movement of butterfly wings

January 5, 2018 by  
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New York-based firm Valerie Schweitzer Architects has created a funky backyard art studio inspired by the movement of butterfly wings. The 350-square-foot Butterfly Studio comprises multiple volumes that fit together at various angles. The studio is clad in a mix of stucco and reclaimed teak , interrupted by a series of long, narrow windows, giving the project a warm yet industrial character. The compact studio is a beautiful composition of glass, wood and steel. The angled volumes that make up the structure are topped with an expansive skylight of thermally-insulated glass. Allowing the optimal amount of natural light to enter the studio, the skylight all but eliminates the need for artificial lighting, even for an artist. Strategically placed windows provide cross ventilation that captures the breeze off nearby Long Island Sound. A sealed poured concrete flooring contains radiant heat piping, which also adds to the design’s energy efficiency. Related: Prefabricated garden retreat snaps together in less than a week The multi-faceted design was created to provide a strong sense of privacy for anyone working on the studio interior , but without being overly isolated. The windows provide light and a sense of openness on the interior, resulting in an optimal space for artistic production. + Valerie Schweitzer Architects Via v2com Newswire Photography by Tom Leighton

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This striking art studio was inspired by the movement of butterfly wings

Street artist paints huge lifelike murals of butterflies

November 2, 2017 by  
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Graffiti artist Mantra is livening up cities with magnificent nature murals . The France-based self-taught painter adorns the sides of buildings and walls with huge murals, and butterflies are a common motif in his work — which has brightened up spaces in France, Spain, Colombia, and Austria. Nature , butterflies, and books often take center stage in Mantra’s lifelike artwork . He’s painted several butterfly murals where the insects appear as three-dimensional mounted specimens surrounded by frames as might be seen in a museum. Other murals feature women with butterfly tattoos, holding butterflies, or wearing blouses with a butterfly print. Related: Provocative street art installation shows baby peering over US-Mexico border wall La Reina del Rio (lost tape) #Bogotá Nov 2015 Drone : @kozmo_films Music : @roccaeloriginal – Con la Luna Album Bogotá/Paris Illustrated from a picture of @juliatrotti Model : @kristinasrzich Gracias a mis hermanos @ospeninkcrew @dexsink y @oxmesoleuno . #freehand #graffiti #spraycanart #noprojector #nojoke A post shared by Mantra (@mantrarea) on Sep 25, 2017 at 12:39pm PDT Butterflies aren’t the only creatures Mantra brings to life. He’s painted a snake, a bird, a grasshopper, an owl, and a cat. He often paints women outside in nature, but one striking mural features a woman reading among dozens of books on shelves. What appear to be stingrays and an owl keep her company in the piece entitled “Curiosity feeds Imagination.” Earlier this year, Street Art United States spoke with Mantra , who’s been creating street art since 2008. They reported he doesn’t use a projector or grid, but sketches out his work freehand. Mantra said he spent as much time as he could outside as a kid, and that frogs, owls, foxes, and reptiles were his superheros. He said he found “a sense of belonging, and a way of self-expression” in graffiti. Mantra also gave advice for aspiring artists in the interview, saying, “Remind yourself that you are here, alive, and all the small lessons hiding in small things surrounding us feed our imagination.” Find more of Mantra’s work on Facebook or Instagram . His art can also be glimpsed in Argentina, Ecuador, Peru, and Seattle. + Mantra Via Street Art United States and TreeHugger Images via Mantra on Facebook

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Street artist paints huge lifelike murals of butterflies

Black butterfly wings provide inspiration for superior solar cells

October 23, 2017 by  
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Researchers took cues from butterflies to design thin film solar cells that can better absorb light. The rose butterfly, common to India, has soft black wings that help keep the insect warm with the sun’s heat. Mimicking the design of the butterfly’s wings, the scientists created a solar cell that The Verge reports can gather light twice as efficiently. California Institute of Technology and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology researchers went to nature for inspiration for improved solar power technology. They scrutinized butterfly wings under an electron microscope and discovered the wings’ scales were pockmarked with holes, which are under one millionth of a meter wide, according to The Verge. These holes not only allowed the wings to be lighter, but scattered light so the butterfly can absorb more heat. Related: Bio-inspired wind turbines with flexible blades are 35% more efficient The holes are random in shape, size, and distribution, according to Radwanul Siddique, lead author of a study recently published online in the journal Science Advances . Computer models helped the scientists realize the shape wasn’t important for absorbing light, but position and order did matter. The scientists utilized hydrogenated amorphous silicon sheets, according to Phys.org, to create similar structures. A top layer had small holes that could scatter light, allowing it to hit the silicon base. This design collected around twice as much light as others. They were able to create their solar cells with a five- to 10-minute process. Thin film solar cells could be more efficient than traditional solar panels , according to Phys.org, if they could operate for longer time periods. This new research could move thin film solar technology forward: The Verge reports solar panels with the butterfly wing- inspired design could allow the panels to produce more power during the day. Via The Verge and Phys.org Images via Wikimedia Commons and Radwanul H. Siddique, KIT/CalTech

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Black butterfly wings provide inspiration for superior solar cells

Herzog & de Meuron are upcycling a historic gasometer into a stunning residential tower

October 23, 2017 by  
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A former industrial area in Stockholm is on its way to a stunning makeover. Several old gasometers in Hjorthagen are being  repurposed into a vibrant new residential area called Gasklockan at the hands of several talented designers. For one tower, Swiss architects, Herzog & de Meuron will convert the old brick building into a soaring residential tower, while Piet Oudolf and LOLA Architects  will create a lush green space that snakes through the development. Besides being a local landmark, the late 19th century buildings have quite a bit of historical value to the city, representing 100 years of gasworks in the area. Accordingly, the master plan for renovating the area focuses on integrating the beloved gasometers into the newly revamped residential area. Related: INTERVIEW: Walking the High Line with its garden designer Piet Oudolf The team behind Herzog & de Meuron will be converting the tallest gasometer into a 330-feet-high residential tower with 45 floors while the smallest gas holder will be turned into an art gallery (konsthall) for exhibitions. The remaining buildings will be rearranged to coexist with several new social areas around the complex, including a sculpture park, cafes and restaurants, as well as plenty of green space . Not only will the development count on amazing architecture, but will boast an equally stunning landscaping design . Led by renowned architect Piet Oudolf and LOLA Landscape Architects, the landscape design will focus on providing ample green space and a central plaza for residents and visitors to come together. According to the project description, the landscaping scheme will focus on creating a sustainable , natural environment that will enhance the climate around the complex and be accessible throughout the year, in every season. At the heart of the project will be an expansive meadow garden with a 300-feet long sun bench. Several walking paths will wrap around the meadow and snake between the buildings, creating a seamless connection between nature and the manmade. + Herzog & de Meuron + Piet Oudolf + LOLA Architects

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Herzog & de Meuron are upcycling a historic gasometer into a stunning residential tower

Curvaceous green landscape near Edinburgh Castle will hide buildings underneath

August 2, 2017 by  
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Scotland’s historic Edinburgh Castle may date back to the 12th century, but the landscape next door is getting a modern refresh. American architecture firm wHY and Edinburgh office GRAS just won the Ross Pavilion International Design Competition with their designs for a curvaceous green landscape with buildings hidden underneath. The winning design, called Butterfly, beat out proposals by six other teams including the likes of BIG , Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter, and Sou Fujimoto Architects. Located on the West Princes Street Gardens site, the £25 million Ross Pavilion will be integrated within a rolling terrain that the jury commended for its sensitivity to the landscape history as well as for increasing the green space within the Gardens. The design embeds the pavilions , which will comprise a visitor center and cafe, underneath an undulating landscape to keep Edinburgh Castle the focal point. The pavilion will replace an existing garden bandstand and host key events in Edinburgh’s calendar. Related: Zaha Hadid Architects unveil plans for spectacular Eco Park in England “They demonstrated an impressive collaboration which respects and enhances the historical context and backdrop of the castle and the city, whilst creating new heritage and increasing the green space within the gardens,” said jury chair Norman Springford. “All of which were key aspects for us all and respected the importance of the space within a world heritage site.” A sunken outdoor amphitheater sits between the green-roofed buildings and is accessible via a ramped pathway. Construction on the Ross Pavilion and West Princes Street Garden is expected to begin in 2018. + wHY Architects Via ArchDaily Images by wHY Architects

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Curvaceous green landscape near Edinburgh Castle will hide buildings underneath

Hello Wood Unveils Epic Butterfly House Pavilion for the Budapest Spring Festival

April 30, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of Hello Wood Unveils Epic Butterfly House Pavilion for the Budapest Spring Festival Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: art installation , Budapest architects , Budapest art installations , Budapest Spring Festival , butterfly shelter , butterfly-shaped installation , hello wood , temporary art installation , temporary installation , wood architecture , wooden installation

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Hello Wood Unveils Epic Butterfly House Pavilion for the Budapest Spring Festival

Tiny Wooden Pods by Cannatà & Fernandes Pop Up in Portugal

April 30, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of Tiny Wooden Pods by Cannatà & Fernandes Pop Up in Portugal Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “energy efficiency” , Architecture , Cannatà & Fernandes , eco-tourism , energy efficient units , green holidays , green pod homes , green pods , pod homes , portugal , Prefab Housing , prefab pods , prefabricated wooden pods , renewable energy , self-sufficient , tiny homes , wooden pods

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Tiny Wooden Pods by Cannatà & Fernandes Pop Up in Portugal

Beauty is Skin Deep in Linden Gledhill’s Gorgeous Photographs of Butterfly Wings

March 27, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of Beauty is Skin Deep in Linden Gledhill’s Gorgeous Photographs of Butterfly Wings Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: butterfly wings , eco design , green design , Linden Gledhill , macro photographs of butterflies , macro photography , magnified butterfly wings , microscopic , moth wings , Photography , sustainable design        

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Monarch Butterfly Numbers Drop To Lowest Recorded Level

January 30, 2014 by  
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Scientists say the number of Monarch butterflies wintering in Mexico is now at the lowest level ever  since records began in 1993. In their recorded peak in 1995, the butterflies covered more than 44.5 acres of fir and pine forests. This year, researchers were only able to find butterflies across 1.65 acres of land — a mere 56% of last year’s numbers . After three years in steep decline, it’s becoming obvious that this is a long-term trend and not merely a temporary or seasonal dip. Read the rest of Monarch Butterfly Numbers Drop To Lowest Recorded Level Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: extreme weather , gmo corn , GMO crops , gmo soy , heat waves , mexico , Monarch Butterflies , monarch migration , Monsanto , roundup ready crops , united states        

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