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Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

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This category includes articles that apply to social good in general and may include policy, practice and other stories relevant to everyone.

Trump Budget Would Devastate America’s Most Important Conservation and Recreation Program

Press Release – WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Trump Administration’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget released today proposes to gut funding for America’s irreplaceable natural resources, specifically targeting America’s most important conservation and outdoor recreation program, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Conservation leaders from the LWCF Coalition reacted to the President’s reckless budget proposal, which jeopardizes our national parks and puts all of America’s public lands at risk.

“The Administration’s extreme proposal to wipe out the Land and Water Conservation Fund – funding that protects our national parks and other public lands – is completely out of step with the wishes and desires of the American people,” said Tom Cors, Director of Government Relations for Lands at The Nature Conservancy and a spokesman for the LWCF Coalition. “The conservation of our national parks and outdoor heritage has always been an area of bipartisan agreement and overwhelming public support. Our public lands are a defining aspect of our national character – providing access for people to hunt, fish, hike, camp, experience the incomparable beauty of the United States, and participate in our robust outdoor recreation economy. This harmful budget proposal will pull the rug out from under landowners and communities alike, cancelling vital public access and conservation projects. Conservationists and outdoor enthusiasts across the country must speak out and oppose this attack on America’s public lands.”

The Administration’s proposed cuts to LWCF would virtually eliminate funding to protect national parks, Civil War battlefields, and other national lands, and would frustrate efforts to secure public access for sportsmen and recreationists. For more than 50 years, these programs have delivered on-the-ground conservation achievements to every state in the union and have provided particularly necessary benefits to rural America and the small communities that depend upon the hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation economy for economic development.

Recent LWCF funding has secured vital protections and access for Grand Teton and Rocky Mountain National Parks, Gettysburg National Military Park, and other iconic American places. Critical now-or-never needs remain all across the country, including key sites along the Appalachian Trail, Redwood National Park in California, and Montana’s Lolo National Forest.

“Cuts of this magnitude to LWCF would do real, irreversible damage to the national parks and public lands that Americans care so deeply about and depend on for close-to-home outdoor recreation,” Cors continued. “Moreover, LWCF is not funded by taxpayer dollars but from fees collected from offshore oil and gas extraction. These cuts would siphon off dedicated conservation dollars for unrelated spending, breaking a 50-year-old promise to the American people that the royalties generated from offshore oil and gas drilling are reinvested into protecting our National Parks, providing hunting and fishing access, trails and open spaces.”

“LWCF cuts would hit rural America, sportsmen, anglers and the outdoor recreation economy especially hard. LWCF leverages four dollars in private capital for every conservation dollar invested. Hunting, fishing, outdoor recreation, conservation and historic preservation activities support 9.4 million jobs and contribute more than a trillion dollars annually to the U.S. economy.”

It is important to remember that Presidential Budget submissions are only proposals. The LWCF Coalition will continue to work with lawmakers in Congress who understand the importance of continuing to reinvest royalties from offshore energy development into lasting natural infrastructure: our land, outdoor recreation economy, access to hunting and angling opportunities, water resources, and the history and culture of our great nation. The Administration’s equally damaging proposal for Fiscal Year 2018 was soundly rejected by Congress, with both the House and Senate bills recommending far higher funding levels for LWCF.

LWCF is overwhelmingly popular with the American people and has maintained broad bipartisan support over its half century history of successful, locally-driven conservation. Majorities in the House and Senate support legislation to permanently reauthorize the program. In September of 2015, Congress temporarily allowed the program’s authorization to expire. After a massive outcry, it was reauthorized for three additional years at the end of 2015. The clock is now ticking down again, and champions from both sides of the aisle have vowed not to let LWCF expire.


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Guardian Launches The Upside, a New Series Supported by the Skoll Foundation

Press Release – Today The Guardian announces the launch of a new series The Upside, which will focus on innovations – and the people behind them – that offer new approaches to solving the most pressing problems of the world today. The series is made possible by funding from the Skoll Foundation via theguardian.org, a nonprofit set up by The Scott Trust to support quality independent journalism around some of the most pressing issues of our time.

The six-month editorially independent series will use a mixture of reportage, investigation, video, pictures, interviews and first hand accounts to celebrate and amplify ‘solutions focused’ stories on subjects including climate and clean energy, healthcare, women and girls, community leadership and science and technology. The series launches with a focus on Finland’s extraordinary success story.

In addition, the Skoll Foundation will be working with The Guardian’s branded content studio, Guardian Labs, to produce a separate series focused on the work of social entrepreneurs driving systems change. That series is timed to coincide with Skoll’s signature annual event, the Skoll World Forum in Oxford (April 10-13).

Rachel White, EVP philanthropic and strategic partnerships, Guardian News & Media said:

“Behind the headlines there are often remarkable people, visionaries and movements who are trying to find innovative answers to the problems posed by today’s world, but all too often these stories remain untold.

“With support from the Skoll Foundation, we’re pleased to be able to tell these stories as a continued part of The Guardian’s commitment to reporting not only on the pressing issues in the world today, but also the innovators who are providing solutions.”

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/gnm-press-office/2018/feb/12/guardian-launches-the-upside-a-new-series-supported-by-the-skoll-foundation


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Ideology is Not Main Factor That Pushes Children to Join Terrorist Groups

Press Release – NEW YORK, 12 FEBRUARY 2018 – Counter-terror efforts based on widely-held assumptions about the ideological motivations of children and youth recruited into extremist groups are unlikely to be effective, and could backfire, concludes new research released today by the United Nations University (UNU), a UN think-tank.

“’In many cases, ideology does not appear predominately responsible for driving children into armed groups, even those that are labeled ‘violent extremist’,” says Dr Siobhan O’Neil, lead editor of “Cradled by Conflict: Child Involvement with Armed Groups in Contemporary Conflict,” a new volume based on original field research on three conflict case studies. “Evidence from the conflicts in Syria and Iraq, Mali, and Nigeria suggests that even in cases where ideology plays a role in a child’s trajectory towards an armed group, it is usually one of a number of motivating or facilitating factors.” O’Neil, the Project Lead for the ‘Children and Extreme Violence’ project, suggests that ideology is often intertwined with other important factors like community and identity. “Armed groups like Boko Haram have intertwined their ideologies with a rejection of the State to recruit those who have experienced state oppression and violence into their ranks.”

Cradled by Conflict points to other factors present in conflict areas, such as physical safety and food security, family and peer networks, financial incentives, coercion, and the allure of armed groups, which provide a ready-made community, identity, and status for young people.

Photo: UN Photo / Tobin Jones

“The international community maintains outdated and unrealistic understandings of how armed groups recruit children and maintain their involvement, as well as of how children leave armed groups and their prospects for reintegration in unstable contexts,” continues O’Neil. “These findings have significant implications for policies and programmes aimed at addressing child recruitment, use and exit from armed groups. Misinterpretations of the problem at hand can result in poorly suited programmatic responses and/or lead to children feeling stigmatized and resentful.”

“We have a responsibility to better tailor our policy and programmatic interventions to prevent child recruitment and use by armed groups. Children are our greatest resource. The international community can do more to harness their positive motivations and engage them as partners on the path to peace.“

Cradled by Conflict is the culmination of a two-year research project led by UN University (UNU), in collaboration with UNICEF, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), and the governments of Luxembourg and Switzerland.

The volume and other pieces of original research are available for download at https://unu.edu/children-and-extreme-violence.


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High Water Festival Brings Back Esteemed Earned Ticket Program To Reward Fans For Giving Back To The Community

Music festival gives fans the opportunity to obtain tickets through community service; additional announcements include the return of Low Tide Social and the full schedule of performances

Press Release – (NORTH CHARLESTON, SC; February 9, 2018)—With core values founded in fostering community, High Water Festival announces today the return of its successful Earned Ticket Program, which provided more than 3,000 service hours in 2017 for the festival’s three Charleston, SC-based charity partners: Charleston Waterkeeper, The Green Heart Project, and Water Mission.

The program, designed to give back in a meaningful way to the greater Charleston community, presents opportunities for those interested in attending High Water to complete a set number of community service hours—specifically for one of the festival’s charitable partners—as an alternate way to earn a ticket to the event weekend, Saturday and Sunday, April 21-22 at Riverfront Park in North Charleston.

Charleston Waterkeeper says, “The earned ticket program is fantastic! We reached a whole new audience of volunteers, members, and supporters. As part of the program, we held 24 volunteer events. They included cleanups of two of Charleston’s most polluted tidal creeks: New Market and Filbin Creek. We removed 101 tires during those cleanups alone. We held several stewardship education events reaching hundreds of local adults and children with our message of stewardship. We also held an oyster reef bagging event with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. Volunteers made more than 400 bags of oyster shell that were later used to build new oyster reefs in several tidal creeks.”

The Earned Ticket Program is now live on the High Water Festival website. Interested parties may sign up for volunteer opportunities with Charleston Waterkeeper, The Green Heart Project, or Water Mission. Each person is eligible for only one ticket (regardless of volunteer hours), which must be performed completely with one nonprofit. A limited number of opportunities are available, and tickets will be distributed upon completion of hours or at the discretion of each organization.

More information on required hours, shift availability, and other details are available online.

Additional High Water Festival Announcements

The festival also just recently announced the return of the popular Low Tide Social, which serves as a preamble to the weekend’s activities with a night of music celebrating some of Charleston’s finest musicians on Friday, April 20. Garage Cuban Band will kick off the night, followed by a performance from The Shrimp Records Family Band, who will pay tribute to Tom Petty with a set of covers featuring a rotating cast of special guest vocalists. Guest bartenders Genevieve Mashburn of The Getaway, Andrew King of FIG, and Lane Becker of The Dewberry will serve custom cocktails specially crafted for Low Tide Social, plus bourbon from Four Roses. Dinner will be a Lowcountry boil from The Smoking Pot, with fresh oysters from Seaborn Oyster Company available for purchase. Tickets to the event are available as an add-on during the festival purchasing experience.

In addition to bringing back popular programming from its inaugural year, the highly anticipated festival features another two-day lineup of rock ‘n’ roll and Americana music from 20 different artists; an interactive full schedule is available online.

Saturday:

  • Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit
  • Jeff Tweedy
  • Brandi Carlile
  • Old 97’s
  • St. Paul and The Broken Bones
  • Shrimp Records Family Band
  • M. WARD
  • Ian Felice
  • Nicole Atkins
  • Weaves

Sunday:

  • Band of Horses
  • Susto
  • Shovels & Rope
  • Hamilton Leithauser
  • Shakey Graves
  • The Wild Reeds
  • Tank and The Bangas
  • Joshua Hedley
  • Valerie June
  • T. Hardy Morris

Very few passes remain for High Water 2018, including a short supply of Pass the Peas and Low Tide Social tickets. Visit www.highwaterfest.com to purchase tickets or for more information.


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Paige Hathaway to Receive Rising Star Award at USITT 2018

Press Release – SYRACUSE, NY (February 9, 2018) Freelance Scenic Designer Paige Hathaway will receive USITT’s 2018 Rising Star Award.

The Rising Star Award, established by LiveDesign/LDI in 2005 is given annually to a young professional in the first four years of their career after completing their highest academic degree.

The award recognizes excellence and artistic achievement in scenic, lighting, sound, projection design, and a convergence of these design disciplines.

Hathaway is a freelance Scenic Designer based in the Washington, DC area. She has recently designed A Chorus Line at The Muny in St. Louis; Familiar at Woolly Mammoth; The Book of Will and Or, at Round House Theatre; A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Philadelphia’s Arden Theatre; The Gulf at Signature Theatre; Everything is Illuminated, Another Way Home, and The How and the Why at Theater J; The Pillowman, Dry Land, and What Every Girl Should Know at Forum Theatre; and A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead at the Folger Theatre. Upcoming designs include John at Signature Theatre, Becoming Dr. Ruth and the world-premiere of Trayf at Theater J, Every Brilliant Thing at Olney Theatre Center, and Jerome Robbins’ Broadway at the Muny in St. Louis. She received her MFA in Scenic Design from the University of Maryland and her BFA in Scenic Design from the University of Oklahoma.

Paige Hathaway

“I am so grateful to receive this award that has honored so many incredible artists,” Hathaway said. “I feel truly humbled to be in such good company.”

Hathaway was recently nominated for two Helen Hayes Awards for scenic design of Me… Jane at the Kennedy Center and Or, at Round House Theatre.

“Paige’s designs are inventive, whimsical, and quite stunning,” said Theater J Artistic Director Adam Immerwahr in a recommendation letter. “Her sense of line and form is superb, and her ability to make artful splendor out of quotidian objects is truly a marvel.”

Hathaway will be honored at the 58th Annual Conference & Stage Expo in Fort Lauderdale, March 14-17, 2018. The Annual Conference provides technical sessions, workshops, and discussions on topics from architecture, costume design & technology, engineering, rigging safety, lighting design & technology, stage management, scenic design & technology, sound design & technology, and technical production.

USITT, the United States Institute for Theatre Technology, is a national non-profit association for the live entertainment production industry. It provides hands-on learning, mentorship, and networking opportunities for emerging and working professionals in the backstage arts. Its Annual Conference and Stage Expo is the only complete production event in North America, featuring over 250 training sessions and 280 exhibitors of the latest tools and resources for creating live entertainment. More information is available at usitt.org.


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YWCA USA: Stop Allowing Abuse

Press Release – Statement by YWCA USA CEO, Alejandra Y. Castillo

“Domestic violence continues to be an epidemic impacting one in four women in the United States. One of the primary reasons domestic violence continues at this pace is because abusers face little to no accountability for their actions. Often, they are protected by other people in power, like White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and his colleagues.”

“While Mr. Kelly may feign shock over this news, I know firsthand the rigorous vetting process potential White House staff go through – no stone is left unturned. This case is yet another example of powerful men denigrating women’s experiences in order to protect and promote one another. This is a further indictment of the values of this White House, especially as it relates to victims of gender-based violence.”

“With an estimated 1,600 women killed by men each year, we cannot afford to tolerate abuse, the men who perpetrate it or those who protect them. At YWCA we help over 530,000 women and their families in gender-based violence programming each year. Programs like ours are critically important for survivors, but so are the actions of decision makers, community members, and bystanders. Each person has a role to play in ending domestic violence, and we can start with accountability in one of the most powerful offices in our country – the White House.”

About YWCA USA

YWCA USA is on a mission to eliminate racism, empower women, stand up for social justice, help families, and strengthen communities. We are one of the oldest and largest women’s organizations in the nation, serving over 2 million women, girls, and their families.

YWCA has been at the forefront of the most pressing social movements for more than 150 years — from voting rights to civil rights, from affordable housing to pay equity, from violence prevention to health care reform. Today, we combine programming and advocacy in order to generate institutional change in three key areas: racial justice and civil rights, empowerment and economic advancement of women and girls, and health and safety of women and girls. Learn more: www.ywca.org.


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FreshGrass Foundation and Whippoorwill Arts Announce Artist Awards

Molly Tuttle, Keith Little Each Receive $25,000 Grant

Press Release – Berkeley, CA, February 9, 2018…Singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalists Molly Tuttle and Keith Little are announced as honorees of the Whippoorwill Arts/FreshGrass Artist Awards celebrating musical accomplishments, extraordinary talent, community spirit and creative souls. Tuttle and Little will each receive a $25,000 unrestricted grant, awarded by the FreshGrass Foundation and made possible by generous donations from Whippoorwill Arts.

Little says, “I’m delighted to receive news of the Whippoorwill Arts/FreshGrass Master Artist Award! It’s a great honor which I accept with gratitude and grace, both on behalf of those pioneers who’ve gone before me and smoothed the way, as well as for those who will soon be taking their first steps on a path to a life of artistry. Being filled with a profound sense of duty and purpose in this rare opportunity for accomplishment, I look forward to sharing my inspirations and hopefully inspire others to find their unique voice and a song to sing.”

Tuttle adds, “Receiving the Whippoorwill Arts/FreshGrass Emerging Artist Award is an unbelievable honor. This award will give me freedom to expand my creativity in new ways and, as I’m gearing up to record my first full-length solo album, will open up so many exciting possibilities for my music. I’d like to send a heartfelt thanks to Whippoorwill Arts and FreshGrass for creating this incredibly generous award to support musicians.”

Honorees were selected by a committee of roots musicians and music industry executives. The awards will be formally presented at a special event co-hosted by Nell Robinsonand Jim Nunally of Whippoorwill Arts and Chris Wadsworth of the FreshGrass Foundation. Presentations will be announced at a later date.

Molly Tuttle and Keith Little are both natives of Northern California. Tuttle won the 2017 International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Award for Guitarist of the Year, becoming the first woman to win the award. Her latest album is titled Rise. She now lives in Nashville. Little lives in the Sierra Foothills where he is known as “the bluegrass voice of gold country.” He has performed on Grammy Award-winning recordings The Grass is Blue and Little Sparrow by Dolly Parton. Along with leading The LittleBand, he operates Slate Mountain Music.

“We at the FreshGrass Foundation are excited to be working with Whippoorwill on these new grants as we share the same vision and mission of supporting both established and emerging roots music musicians, and we are honored to welcome both Molly and Keith into the growing family of FreshGrass grant recipients,” says Chris Wadsworth.

Nell Robinson of Whippoorwill arts adds, “We want to inspire others to support artists directly. Income streams are drying up for musicians, from government grants to the music market, roots musicians are struggling to make ends meet and, at the same time, focus on their craft. We may go back to the days of individuals personally supporting musicians and artists. We need these artists, they heal us, and their music and work help us make sense of our internal worlds. If you love music, respect musicians, let’s find creative ways to nurture their creativity,”

“At the core of almost any great band are great musicians. Looking to the rich history of music and, often, unsung musicians who came from, or who are now rising in, California, we honor Keith and Molly. Not only does California provide the country’s fresh produce and silicon computer chips, but also amazing world-class influential Americana artists,” says Jim Nunally.

ABOUT WHIPPOORWILL ARTS

Whippoorwill Arts was founded to nurture and express our creativity and that of those whom we respect and love from the roots music community. We believe in the power of collaboration and have been inspired to reach out to other organizations and artists to create together, including FreshGrass Foundation for our new Artists Awards. Other projects include Music Home Project, Banjo Boy Coffee, and the Nell & Jim Band which has performed at festivals and venues across the U.S. and Canada.

ABOUT FRESHGRASS FOUNDATION

The FreshGrass Foundation is dedicated to preserving, promoting and creating innovative grassroots music. The foundation publishes No Depression, the quarterly journal of roots music and online hub for roots music fans; awards grants and commissions to emerging and established writers and performers; and produces the annual FreshGrass, an annual festival of bluegrass and roots music in North Adams, Massachusetts.


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Noya Fields Family Funds Renews Its Commitment to Our Children’s Trust

Press Release – NEW YORK, Feb. 9, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — The Noya Fields Family group of charitable funds (www.noyafieldsfamily.org) has renewed its commitment to Our Children’s Trust with its first grant of 2018. The grant is made for general purposes in support of Our Children’s Trust’s global climate recovery campaign, elevating the voice of youth, to favorably impact their futures through advocacy, public education and civic engagement. Last year, the Noya Fields Family made two grants to Our Children’s Trust, one for general support and a second to support campaign related research.

Among other efforts, Our Children’s Trust supports the 21 young people who have brought a landmark federal lawsuit, Juliana v. United States, against the U.S. President and multiple federal agencies. The suit aims to compel the government to develop and carry out a science-based climate recovery plan to reduce fossil-fuel emissions and draw down carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to levels below 350 parts per million by the year 2100. The youth argue that the federal government’s affirmative actions, supporting fossil fuel development and consumption, violate the plaintiffs’ constitutional and public trust rights. The youth have successfully overcome several attempts by the Trump administration’s multiple efforts to thwart their youth case. The group is now awaiting a decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, on whether the case will proceed to trial. Our Children’s Trust is optimistic that the case will be tried later in 2018.

“It has been amazing to follow the progress that the case has made this past year. Watching the perseverance and dedication that the youth plaintiffs have shown has been inspiring and should give us all hope that the next generation is ready to take…,” said Noya Fields Family Fund co-founder Ken Fields. “2017 was a tumultuous year as we all had to come to grips with an administration that is actively dismantling environmental protections, willfully ignoring scientific consensus on climate change and doing its best cozying up to fossil fuel interests. But these young people, and the efforts of Our Children’s Trust give us tremendous hope!”

About Our Children’s Trust:

Our Children’s Trust supports legal actions that are pending and in development in U.S. federal court, in several U.S. state courts, in other nations’ courts, and in administrative rulemaking proceedings before several U.S. state agencies. They also support youth in grassroots advocacy to secure science-based climate recovery planning at the local government level.

About Noya Fields Family Funds:

The Noya Fields Family Group of charitable funds supports by way of direct grants and strategic partnerships a wide range of philanthropic endeavors with a focus on the environment, human civil liberties, education and the arts.


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Verismo Opera Opens 2018 Bring the Family to the Opera in March

Press Release – (Englewood, New Jersey; February 12, 2017) – The New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera, the house opera company of the Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), resumes in March the Bring the Family to the Opera initiative. This well-received program introduces children and the extended family to live, fully staged performances of grand opera, as the composer intended.

On March 8, 9, and 10, the program’s 40% off special ticket rate on $55 and $45 tickets with promotion code (TURANDOT) goes on sale to see Giacomo Puccini’s spectacular work, Turandot. The opera performs on April 22, 2018 at 3:00 p.m. at bergenPAC, located at 30 North Van Brunt Street, in Englewood, New Jersey.

“Verismo Opera’s highly successful Bring the Family to the Opera introduces parents and their children to live opera and classical music. Turandot features principal singers and the Verismo Opera Chorus singing in Italian with English supertitles provided. Youngsters are thrilled to see the cast perform in period costumes on the stage accompanied by a live orchestra. We want children and their families to experience quality, affordable operatic performances,” said opera legend Lucine Amara, Artistic Director of the New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera.

New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera presents Turandot on April 22, 2018 at the Bergen Performing Arts Center. Photo Credit: Courtesy of New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera

Special Ticket Rates

Starting March 8 and continuing through April 22, 2018, special ticket rate offers for senior citizens and children will be on sale to see Turandot. Senior citizens purchasing regular-priced tickets are entitled to a 10 percent discount. The company is offering a reduced rate of $10 on all tickets for children, ages 12 and under. The special rates may not be combined with other offers.

These offers may be purchased only at bergenPAC’s box office, located at 30 North Van Brunt Street, Englewood, New Jersey, and by calling (201) 227-1030 or toll-free at 1-888-PACSHOW.

Special ticket rates are not available online. All special ticket offers must be requested before the purchase.

Group Rates

Group discounts are available on $55 and $45 tickets now only with a minimum purchase of 10 tickets. For special group rates only, contact Ms. Hawks at riagrace@hotmail.com. This discount is not available online.

Regularly priced tickets are on sale and may be purchased online at www.bergenpac.org. Tickets may also be purchased in person at bergenPAC’s box office, located at 30 North Van Brunt Street, Englewood, New Jersey, and by calling (201) 227-1030 or toll-free at 1-888-PACSHOW.

The theatre is handicapped accessible. Designated handicapped parking spaces are available. For information about bergenPAC’s Accessibility Services, contact the theatre’s Americans With Disabilities Coordinator at (201) 816-8160, extension 31.

About New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera

For 29 years, the New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera, a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization headquartered in Fort Lee, New Jersey, has been an integral part of the region’s classical music culture. Led by Metropolitan Opera luminary Lucine Amara, Verismo Opera is the Bergen Performing Arts Center’s house opera company. Verismo Opera provides performing opportunities for artists through semi-annual productions and concerts, directs an international vocal competition drawing artists worldwide, and organizes opera workshops and master classes.

For information, visit Verismo Opera’s web site, www.verismopera.org; follow the company on Facebook, http://bit.ly/9JXTP8, or Twitter @NJVerismoOpera; or call (201) 886-0561.


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‘CSI of the Sea’ Whale Stranding Investigators Secure Fresh Funding

ZSL-led UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme remit also expands to include stranded sharks

Press Release – The team of scientists responsible for investigating whale strandings around the UK’s coastline has secured additional Government funding to continue their vital studies for the next three years. In addition to ongoing investigation of stranded whales, dolphins, porpoises, basking sharks and marine turtles, the UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP) will now also expand to encompass research into strandings of other large-bodied shark species, such as the porbeagle (Lamna nasus).

Coordinated by scientists from ZSL (Zoological Society of London) and working alongside partners the Natural History Museum, Scotland’s Rural College, Marine Environmental Monitoring in Wales and the Cornwall Wildlife Trust Marine Strandings Network, the CSIP was launched in 1990 with funding from Defra and the Devolved Governments in Scotland and Wales

Tasked with the post-mortem examination of stranded marine animals around Britain’s coast, the CSIP provides a vital source of data for monitoring the various health threats facing these iconic species – from accidental entanglement in fishing gear (by-catch) and ship-strike, to the insidious effects of persistent organic pollutants like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

CSIP project manager Rob Deaville from ZSL’s Institute of Zoology comments: “Given the challenges facing many publicly-funded projects right now, we’re naturally delighted that Defra and the Devolved Governments continue to recognise the ongoing importance of our work.

“We’re also really excited at the prospect of expanding CSIP’s remit to include additional large-bodied shark species such as the Angelshark (Squatina squatina), as we strive to understand more about the threats facing these iconic marine animals and try to improve their future conservation status. We can’t do this vital work without the public’s help, so we’re calling on them to keep reporting sightings of stranded animals via the CSIP hotline.”

To find out more about the work of the ZSL-led UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme, please visit: http://ukstrandings.org/

CSIP will be live-streaming the post-mortem examination of a harbour porpoise (Phocaena phocaena) via ZSL’s website on Monday 12 March (19:00 GMT). This third instalment of its popular ‘CSI of the Sea’ live events will explore the impacts of by-catch on UK cetacean populations. More details here: www.zsl.org/csiofthesea

ZSL and CSIP will also be hosting a scientific event on Tuesday 10 April at ZSL London Zoo, exploring the issue of cetacean by-catch and how the UK strandings programme helps inform efforts to mitigate the impact of this significant threat. More information here: https://www.zsl.org/science/whats-on/cetacean-by-catch-casting-the-net-for-solutions

The public can report strandings to the CSIP by calling the UK strandings hotline on 0800 6520333


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