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SustainAbility Newsletter

University of Alaska Fairbanks Awarded $4.6M for Geothermal Study

Geothermal Power Station

ISC supporter University of Alaska Fairbanks UAF recently received a $4.6 million grant that will help the University researchers study geothermal exploration techniques.

The Department of Energy grant will aid researchers at UAF’s Alaska Center for Energy and Power.

They will use remote sensing to identify potential geothermal resources throughout Alaska and determine their potential.
The grant requires a $1 million match. The university will seek matching funds through the state Renewable Energy Fund. 

The remote-sensing technique is being used for volcano research. Data obtained will be verified through traditional, ground-based geophysical surveys and drilling.
 
Pilgrim Hot Springs near Nome will serve as a testing site. 


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References and Sources used in this issue of SustainAbility Newsletter Include:

Audubon Lifestyles
www.audubonlifestyles.com
 
The International Sustainability Council
www.thesustainabilitycouncil.org 

General Motors
www.gm.com

Toyota
www.toyota.com

Fisker Automotive
www.fiskerautomotive.com

Golfpreserves
www.golfcourseproject.com 

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing Partnership
www.cmhp.org

Chesapeake Bay Foundation
www.cbf.org 

University of Alaska Fairbanks
www.uaf.edu 

Taylor Properties Group
www.taylorpropertiesgrp.com  

Urbana University
www.urbana.edu 

The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA)
www.gcsaa.org 

American Society of Golf Course Architects
www.asgca.org

The United States Golf Association (USGA)
www.usga.org

SustainAbility Newsletter Archive Article (random)

Critter of the Season - Big Cypress Fox Squirrel

Fox Squirrel

The Big Cypress Fox Squirrel is a species in decline through much of its former range.  While this critter is dwindling in numbers, it is commonly seen on golf courses, particularly in Southwest, Florida.  Some of the healthiest populations of the squirrel are to be found on the fairways and habitats of the links in Lee and Collier Counties, Florida.

The scientific name of the Big Cypress Fox Squirrel is Sciurus niger avicennia. The genus name Sciurus is from the Greek words skia (shadow) and oura (tail), a reference to the bushy tail which casts a shadow on the squirrel. The Latin species name niger (black) refers to the black color phase which is common in this species.
  
Common name
Fox squirrels may have earned their name from their gray and red fur coat that resemble that of a gray fox, from their comparatively large size and thick bushy tail, and/or from peculiar way of running along the ground which gives the appearance of a small fox.
  
Lifespan
Fox squirrels live from four to seven years of age on average in natural conditions. One individual lived to 18 years of age in captivity.
   
Home range
Ranges vary from 8-32 acres depending on habitat conditions. Fox squirrels have large overlapping home ranges and are non-territorial.
  
Geographic Range
Fox squirrels are found throughout most of Florida except in the Keys. There are three subspecies of fox squirrels in Florida. The Big Cypress Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger avicennia, is found from the Caloosahatchee River in Lee county south and then east to the southern part of Dade county. Sherman's Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger shermani is found throughout most of the peninsula. The Carolina Fox Squirrel is found in the panhandle and northwards.
    
Contrary to two common names sometimes given to the Big Cypress Fox Squirrel -- Mangrove Fox Squirrel and Everglades Fox Squirrel -- it is not common in either mangrove or Everglades habitats. It is most common in open pinelands, live oak forests, and stands of bigger bald cypress.
Fox squirrels are found throughout the eastern and central United States, south into northern Mexico, and north into Canada. They have been introduced into urban areas in western North America as well.
  
Status
Big Cypress Fox Squirrel: threatened species
Sherman's Fox Squirrel: species of special concern
   
Habitat
Fox squirrels spend more time on the ground than gray squirrels and are slower moving. They forage for acorns, nuts, fruits, insects, mushrooms, buds and tubers, so they require habitats with an open understory. These include open pine flatwoods, sandhills, mixed pine-hardwood areas and rangeland interspersed with trees. In Florida, the fox squirrel may also be found in cypress stands and occasionally mangrove swamps.
Further north, fox squirrels are found in a diverse array of deciduous and mixed forest. Areas with a good variety of tree species are preferred due to variability in mast production.
   
Physical Characteristics
Fox squirrels weigh from one to three pounds, and exhibit color variations which range from a buff color to gray, and in some instances black. The under parts are usually lighter, and typical specimens have white noses with black faces and feet. They are noted for their long, bushy tails and for their strong hind legs which allows them to leap easily from place to place.
    
Fox squirrels have both a summer and winter coat, and therefore molt twice each year. The spring molt begins in March and may last for weeks, left, whereas the autumn molt begins in September. But the tail only molts once each year during the summer.
   
Fox squirrels have four sets of whiskers located above and below the eyes, on the underside of the head in front of the throat, and on the nose. Whiskers, also known as vibrissae, are touch receptors that provide the animal with information about its immediate surroundings.
   
Fox squirrels have very good eyesight even in dim light, and a wide field of vision. They also have a well developed sense of smell and hearing.
The skull of the fox squirrel has 20 teeth (gray squirrels have 22 teeth). Squirrels have upper and lower incisor teeth followed by a gap called a diastema. The diastema is where the canine teeth would normally be found in carnivorous animals such as cats or dogs, or omnivorous animals such as monkeys. Behind the diastema are the cheek or grinding teeth which consist of premolars and molars.
   
As with other rodent species, the incisors continuously grow to compensate for the enormous amount of wear that comes from a herbivorous diet.
Young squirrels have milk teeth which are replaced by permanent teeth when they are between six and twelve months old.
  
Fox squirrels are highly adapted for climbing trees and fatal falls are rare. Adaptations for climbing include sharp recurved claws, well developed extensors of digits and flexors of forearms, and abdominal musculature.
 
Tails are used for balance when running and leaping between trees, and held over the back of a resting animal.
    


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CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE ENTIRE NEWSLETTER IN PDF FORMAT
References and Sources used in this issue of SustainAbility Newsletter Include:
Audubon Lifestyles
www.audubonlifestyles.org 
  
The International Sustainability Council
www.thesustainabilitycouncil.org 

Toyota
www.toyota.com

Ford Motors
www.ford.com

Girl Scouts of America
www.girlscouts.org

Austin Ranch
www.austinranch.com

Turf Feeding Systems
www.turffeeding.com

The University of Michigan
www.umich.edu

The Dodson Group
www.thedodsongrp.com      

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A Coalition for Good - Spreading the Seeds of Sustainability

ISC-Audubon is a coalition of non-profit organizations and initiatives that include The International Sustainability Council (ISC), Audubon Lifestyles, Audubon Outdoors, Planit Green, Broadcast Audubon, and the Audubon Network for Sustainability. 

Funds generated through memberships and donations are used to provide fruit & vegetable seeds, wildflower seed mix, and wildlife feed & birdseed to urban and suburban communities around the world. These seeds are used by communities to establish fruit and vegetable gardens, bird and wildlife sanctuaries, and for the beautification of urban and suburban landscapes by creating flower and native plant gardens.

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