The Conserve Wildlife Foundation is having its annual awards event today in Stockton, from 2-5pm. My group, the Sustainable Jazz Ensemble, will be performing as part of the event. Information about the three women receiving awards for their work to preserve New Jersey's threatened wildlife can be found at http://www.conservewildlifenj.org/getinvolved/women/.
One of the women, Jackie Kashmer, has been doing heroic work to save bats, which are being devastated by White Nose Syndrome. The fungus, which was recently determined to have been introduced some years back from Europe, disturbs the bats' hibernation, causing them to run out of stored energy before spring arrives.
Jackie's 16 hour days devoted to helping bats survive the winter, detailed in a conservewildlifenj.org blogpost, are an example of the extraordinary amount of work and devotion required to counteract to any extent the destructive impact of imported organisms.
By coincidence, the NY Times article reporting on the fungus's European origins was accompanied by an article on the reintroduction of the American chestnut in Appalachia. It has taken many decades for breeding programs to develop native chestnut trees resistant to the Asian fungus that began wiping out the American chestnut tree more than a century ago. These are the sorts of quiet, awe-inspiring efforts that seldom make it into the news, but make all the difference in what sort of world we'll have in the future.