Eric Freedman

Cemeteries Can Serve as Lifeboats That Protect Biodiversity

our white-tailed deer graze atop a rise, oblivious to Jay P Lee and GW Palen, and other folks named Stowell and Whitehead and Slayton and Potter interred there. It’s afternoon – an uncommon feeding time for deer that usually prefer dawn and dusk – on a fall day at Mount Hope Cemetery in Lansing, Michigan. The deer browse amongst the graves, apparently unperturbed by the writer, photographer, and ecologist walking at the foot of their hill, discussing varieties of lichen on tombstones, the food value of nonnative honeysuckle for wildlife, and the evils of invasive buckthorn.

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This Wildlife Refuge Used to Be One of America’s Most Polluted Nuclear Sites - but Is It Safe Now?

On arrival, Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge is, frankly, uninviting. A bevy of heavy trucks heading to and from the adjacent aggregates mining site churn up clouds of dust as they pass the multi-padlocked refuge gate. A faded sign with the US Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) logo announces “AREA BEYOND THIS SIGN CLOSED. All public entry prohibited.” Just outside the refuge entrance, RVs are crowded into a storage area at the edge of an underground natural gas pipeline. Six white wind turbines tower incongruously nearby.

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