The Notre Dame Coalition for Human Dignity formed this semester with the goal of fostering communication among clubs working on issues of human dignity, as well as raising awareness of the work these clubs do on campus. Freshman organizer Matt Caponigro said the coalition derives its strength from the cohesion and spirit of cooperation shared among its member groups. “We thought that maybe if we started a dialogue with each other that we could help each other to move forward on some of these human dignity issues, to be more effective and reach out to more people,” he said. Caponigro said the Notre Dame Coalition for Human Dignity was founded as a passionate answer to a heartfelt request from Father Jenkins. “The coalition is our response to Father Jenkins’ call to make this university a healing, unifying and enlightening force in a world that’s deeply in need,” he said. “That has been our rallying call.” Caponigro said the coalition is inspired and driven by Notre Dame’s special status as a university focused on social concerns issues. “We at [Notre Dame] have a unique calling, especially among other universities, to do some real good for our brothers and sisters to start serious dialogue about human dignity issues,” he said. Caponigro said the coalition hopes to become a powerful advocate for human dignity by bringing together a diverse spectrum of clubs and individuals from across campus. “We want to build a coalition that bridges the gap between students, administrators and faculty members so that we can be truly effective in restoring human dignity to all people,” he said. The coalition has already grown to include organizations such as Right to Life and the Black Student Association, and hopes to further expand as it becomes better organized, Caponigro said. He said the coalition is empowered by its diverse membership, but this diversity can complicate its ability to make unified decisions. “The coalition revolves around partnership, sitting down at the table and talking about what we’ve been working on,” he said, “But it’s tricky, because there are a lot of different people at the table.” In the future, the coalition hopes to host a signature event before the end of the year to raise awareness and encourage student participation in the fight for human dignity, Carponigro said. “We’re hoping to do something like a concert on South Quad that brings everybody together, that shows our classmates and the rest of the Notre Dame community that we really do care about human dignity issues,” he said. Caponigro said he is excited for the coalition to forge closer bonds with Notre Dame as it matures and expands as an organization. “We’re looking forward to developing stronger relationships with the administration and with our peers so that we can really work together as a unified front,” he said.
Bat fungus that causes White-nose Syndrome detected for first time in California The tragic event is a reminder that the New River has swift currents, deep holes, and a rocky bottom. Water levels can change by the day. Life jackets should be worn in the water at all times, even while on a boat. The National Park Service reminds the public that most drownings in the New River involve people who didn’t plan on being in the water and that even experienced swimmers can become disoriented or incapacitated during an accident on the river. Search crews find body of swimmer missing in New River Gorge National River The fungus that causes the deadly bat disease White-nose Syndrome (WNS) has been detected at low levels for the first time in California. The fungus was detected in samples collected from bats on private land in Plumas County, California and is the first indication that WNS has finally arrived in the state. The U.S. Forest Service has launched a program in Pisgah National Forest aimed at educating the public about the importance of macroinvertebrates and other aquatic wildlife. The first of its kind, four-woman ranger program works in teams seven days a week, visiting the most popular areas in Pisgah to provide education and outreach to kids and their parents, too. In the first four weeks of the program, the rangers collected 800 pounds of garbage, dismantled rock dams and rock sculptures, and interacted with over 800 people. The fungus was first detected in New York in 2006 and has since spread to 33 states and seven Canadian provinces. It has killed over 6 million bats in North America by waking the bats during hibernation, forcing them to use energy reserves needed to survive the winter. Until spring of 2016, the westernmost occurrence of the fungus was in Nebraska. That spring, however, the WNS was detected in Washington State. Because bats produce just one offspring per year, it can take some populations decades to recover from the devastating disease. One of the program’s most important jobs is educating the public about the Eastern Hellbender. The large aquatic salamander lives in streams and rivers in Western North Carolina and is considered a species of special concern in the state. The Hellbender lives under large, flat rocks and feeds on aquatic insects. The public is asked not to move rocks as it disruptions the Eastern Hellbender and the macroinvertebrates that live on the rocks in the water. U.S. Forest Service deploys “River Rangers” to protect fragile wildlife The body of a 16-year-old boy who was swimming near the McCreery River Access Point of New River Gorge National River in West Virginia was found on the afternoon of Friday, July 5. National Park Service rangers and trained search and rescue divers and personnel began searching for the boy shortly after he became caught in the swift-moving current around 7am on July 5. His body was located 200 yards downstream from where he was last seen, submerged 14 feet below the water.
A full list of dates and pricing can be found here. Partneirng with WSKG Public Radio, the program will teach those between the ages of 6-10 about the many creatures and furry friends scattered throughout the zoo. The zoo is now offering ‘Zoo School featuring Wild Kratts,’ an educational program influenced by the PBS program ‘Wild Kratts.’ “It’s nice to be able to offer more opportunities for kids to come in, learn a little bit about the animals and offer them something when they normally wouldn’t have a lot going on in the area,” Grippen said. Grippen also told 12 News the zoo received a grant which allowed for the program to pay for five students for Horace Mann Elementary School to take part in the winter program. The program will also run on the holidays of Martin Luther King Jr. Day (January 20) and Presidents’ Day (February 17). The program will run every Saturday from January 4 till February 22, with options for a full-day or half-day session. BINGHAMTON (WBNG) – The Binghamton Zoo at Ross Park has officially opened it’s doors for a winter session, and there’s now an educational opportunity for kids. On Saturday, dozens of children in the program toured the zoo, feeding goats and engaging with animals. Education manager at the zoo Melissa Grippen told 12 News it’s nice to offer something new to children during what many consider the off-season for the zoo.