Tag Archives: environment

Benjamin Shrader Receives 2013 International Young Eco Hero Award

actionfornature_ecoheroI am so excited to share with you the great news that I was named a 2013 International Young Eco-Hero by Action For Nature!

Action For Nature is an international non-profit organization that encourages young people to take personal action to better their environments and to foster love and respect for nature.  Their Young Eco-Hero Award program honors the work of kids and teens between the ages of 8 and 16 who have done creative environmental projects.

I was so surprised when I received notice that I had been named a 2013 Young Eco-Hero because this is an international award given to a small group of kids and teens from around the world.

Many thanks to Action for Nature for recognizing the work I do in Central Texas and across the country to help educate kids of all ages about invasive species and to protect and preserve our native species. I am so honored and humbled.

Visit the Action for Nature site to learn more about this great organization and also about what kids are doing everywhere to protect our natural world.

Your friend,
Ben

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Filed under Action for Nature, Eco-Hero, Environmental, Invasive Species

Commander Ben Celebrates Earth Day at St. Edward’s University

Commander Ben joins St Edward's Earth Week celebrations

Commander Ben joins St Edward’s Earth Week celebrations

I’ve had an exciting last few weeks that I look forward to talking with you about, but I first want to catch up on some of the great events that I had a chance to be part of in April.

Last year, I was invited to St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, to give a talk about Commander Ben and the Invasive Hunter Academy as part of St. Edward’s 2012 Earth Day events. I had a great time and was honored to be invited to bring the Invasive Hunter Academy back on Monday, April 22, to St. Edward’s 2013 Earth Day celebrations.

Commander Ben and the Invasive Hunter Academy at St. Edward's University

Commander Ben and the Invasive Hunter Academy at St. Edward’s University

It was a beautiful sunny day and turnout for the event was great. Along with my Invasive Hunter Academy display and poster board about my invasive species nemesis, the Giant Reed (Arundo donax), there were lots of great people there with all sorts of Earth Day activities and information. I enjoyed visiting all the tables and meeting some very interesting folks.

Some of the groups I had a chance to speak with on Earth Day included:

Agana Rainwater at St. Edward's Earth Week celebrations

Agana Rainwater at St. Edward’s Earth Week celebrations

Car2Go at St. Edward's Earth Week celebrations

Car2Go at St. Edward’s Earth Week celebrations

Johnson's Backyard Garden at St. Edward's Earth Week celebrations

Johnson’s Backyard Garden at St. Edward’s Earth Week celebrations

Sustainable Food Center at St. Edward's Earth Week celebrations

Sustainable Food Center at St. Edward’s Earth Week celebrations

I want to thank all the people at St. Edward’s for another great Earth Day celebration, and a special thank you to Mr. Mitch Robinson, Education and Land Management Coordinator for Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve, and Ms. Cristina Bordin, Special Assistant to the President and Sustainability Coordinator for St. Edward’s University, who invited me to be a part of this great event.

Commander Ben and Mitch Robinson at St. Edward's Earth Week celebrations

Commander Ben and Mitch Robinson at St. Edward’s Earth Week celebrations

I’ll have more posts coming up about my other April adventures. Talk with you again soon! 🙂

Your friend,
Ben

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Filed under Agana rainwater, Arundo donax, Car2Go, Christina Bordin, Earth Day, Giant Reed, Invasive Hunter, Invasive Hunter Academy, Invasive Species, Johnson's Backyard Garden, Mitch Robinson, St Edward's University, Sustainable Food Center, Uncategorized, Wild Basin Preserve, Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve

Invasive Hunter Academy Returns to St. Edward’s University for Earth Day

Join the Invasive Hunter Academy and be one of the few. The proud. The fighting naturalists!

Join the Invasive Hunter Academy and be one of the few. The proud. The fighting naturalists!

I had a lot of great experiences the last few weeks and have a number of blog posts to get caught up on, but I wanted to tell you that I’m bringing the Invasive Hunter Academy to St. Edward’s University for Earth Day on Monday, April 22, as part of the university’s Earth Week 2013 program. I even created a new logo for the event, which is at the top of this post and is also on the St. Edward’s Earth Week 2013 web page. Hope you like the logo!

I was at St. Edward’s University last year, and I had a great time speaking to students, faculty, and members of the community about my fight against invasive species and how I developed the Commander Ben blog, videos, and the Invasive Hunter Academy.

There are lots of great activities going on at St. Edward’s this week and next week too, so be sure to check out the festivities:

Many thanks to Mr. Mitch Robinson, Education and Land Management Coordinator for Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve, and Ms. Cristina Bordin, Special Assistant to the President and Sustainability Coordinator for St. Edward’s University, for inviting me to be part of their Earth Day 2013 celebrations.

Hope to see you there!

Your friend,
Ben

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Filed under Christina Bordin, Earth Day, Invasive Hunter, Invasive Hunter Academy, Invasive Species, Mitch Robinson, St Edward's University, Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve

How Does Lifestyle Affect Your Cancer Risk?

What kind of life choices may reduce your risk for cancer or other illnesses? What are you eating? How much do you exercise? How do you interact with your environment? The American Cancer Society’s Cancer Prevention Study – 3 (CPS-3) studies the impact of the environment on individuals through their genes.

Dr. Mark Clanton talks about CPS-3, and how the study is accepting participants to help understand how people’s decisions and their environment affects their DNA. The study is expect to last about 20-30 years, starting with an initial visit for measurements, a blood sample for DNA, and follow up questionnaires.

Many people may inherit genes that may make them susceptible to illness, but Dr. Clanton talks about how these genes are not turned on unless they are influenced by something in their environment, including their body weight, exercise, diet, and illnesses over time.

This is the second part in my interview series with Dr. Clanton, who is the chief medical officer of the High Plains Division of the American Cancer Society and who was the deputy director of the United States National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Clanton’s talk, “The War on Cancer: 41 Years after Nixon’s Declaration“, was part of the awesome Hot Science – Cool Talks series, presented by the UT Austin Environmental Science Institute.

Your friend,
Ben

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Filed under American Cancer Society, Body weight, Cancer, Cancer Prevention Study, CPS-3, Diet, DNA, Dr. Mark Clanton, Environmental Science Institute, Exercise, Genes, Hot Science - Cool Talks, University of Texas, UT Austin, War on Cancer

Last Call at the Oasis: Interview series with Dr. Jay Famiglietti

I had a great opportunity to talk with Dr. Jay Famiglietti about the water concerns that we face across the United States, about his work with the GRACE satellite mission, and about the 2012 film featuring him, Last Call at the Oasis. (It’s coming out tomorrow, November 6, 2012, on DVD and BlueRay!)

Dr. Famiglietti visited UT Austin on October 26, 2012, to give his “Last Call at the Oasis: Will There be Enough Water for the 21st Century?” talk as part of the awesome Hot Science – Cool Talks series, presented by the UT Austin Environmental Science Institute. Dr. Famiglietti is a Professor of Hydrology with the Earth System Sciences Department at the University of California – Irvine.

I published my video interview with Dr. Famiglietti in five parts with cool graphics from NASA and the United States Geological Survey (USGS). Click on the videos below to learn more about our water crisis that we face and ways that we, especially kids, can conserve water.

(1) Why the GRACE satellite mission is so cool

The GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) satellites launched in March 2002. Learn about the valuable data these twin satellites provide along with insight that hydrologic modeling brings with Dr. Famiglietti.

(2) Dramatic Water Depletion in California and the United States

California’s Central Valley and the High Plains Aquifer in the central United States show high rates of water depletion. Dr. Jay Famiglietti talks about these areas of concern and ways that we could improve measuring our water supply.

(3) Quest for More Freshwater

If we found a way to have unlimited fresh water, would there be a population boom?What technological breakthrough do we need to transform sea water to fresh water easily and affordably? Learn about the water, energy, and food nexus with Dr. Famiglietti.

(4) What Can Kids Do to Save Water?

Saving water begins with becoming aware of your water use. Learn about Dr. Famiglietti’s easy tips to help kids save water. You’ll find that saving energy also helps save water too.

(5) Last Call at the Oasis with Dr. Jay Famiglietti

Dr. Famiglietti talks about the declining snowfall on the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the DVD and BlueRay release of his “Last Call at the Oasis” movie. You’ll also be surprised to learn about his favorite water sport.

My injured hand from taekwondo sparring has slowed me down 😦 , but I’m almost done with my post about the great time that I had during the Dr. Famiglietti’s Hot Science – Cool Talks event and the prelecture fun! 🙂

Thanks for the great interview, Dr. Famiglietti, and my wonderful thanks too to Dr. Jay Banner, Director of the UT Austin Environmental Science Institute (ESI); and Mr. Geoff Hensgen, ESI Outreach Coordinator, for the time to talk with Dr. Famiglietti!

Your friend,
Ben

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Filed under California Central Valley, Desalinization, Dr. Jay Famiglietti, drought, Environmental Science Institute, ESI, freshwater, Geoff Hensgen, GRACE, Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment, High Plains Aquifer, Hot Science - Cool Talks, Hydrologic modeling, Jay Banner, Last Call at the Oasis, NASA, Sierra Nevada Mountains, Tae Kwon Do, Taekwondo, Texas Drought, United States Geological Survey, University of Texas, USGS, UT Austin, water, water conservation, water hydrology

My First Day at SXSW Eco with Foodies and Filmmakers

Commander Ben at SXSW Eco 2012

After checking in at SXSW Eco at the fantastic UT Austin AT&T Conference Center, I headed over to Rm. 103 to attend a talk titled Fighting Food Insecurity with Urban Agriculture in Austin…and guess who I got to meet? Ms. Addie Broyles, a food writer for the Austin American-Statesman!

Food in Austin

Ms. Addie Broyles and Commander Ben at SXSW Eco

It was neat to get to meet her because I have heard my Mom (the foodie in the family 🙂 ) talk a lot about her. Even though my blog isn’t about food, Ms. Broyles said she was looking forward to checking it out because she too has a budding filmmaker at home…her five year old son! 🙂

Clean energy

Ms. Griffin Gardner and Commander Ben at SXSW Eco

Next I walked over to Rm 204 to attend the Filmmakers Clean Energy Confab. I took my seat in the second row and that’s when someone in the front row turned around and said, “I know you, you’re famous!” It was Ms. Griffin Gardner, UT Austin Media Coordinator, who remembered taking a picture of me at the UT Austin Environmental Science Institute (ESI) Hot Science – Cool Talks event. I’m not sure if I’m really famous, but Ms. Gardner made my day!

Making great films for good

Mr. Steve Vogelpohl and Commander Ben at SXSW Eco

Next, as I headed out to lunch, I ran into Mr. Stephen Vogelpohl who recognized me from the Lights. Camera. Help. Focus on Good Film Festival. Mr. Vogelpohl is with Social Good TV. We talked about future projects we’re both working on, and he encouraged me to continue making great films for good.

Green army on the march

Today is the big day! As I mentioned in my earlier posts, I’ll join Ms. Jessica Strickland, Invasive Species Program Manager at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center; Dr. Damon Waitt, Director Native Plant Information Network; and an elite team from the Wildflower Center and the Green Army to map invasive species as part of the conference events.

Let’s find the Giant Reed (Arundo donax), Elephant Ear (Colocasia esculenta), and all the invasive plants that may be along Waller Creek in Austin, Texas!

I hope to see you there!

Your friend,
Ben

P.S. Tomorrow’s the last day to vote! Please vote for my SXSWedu presentation, “What Invasive Species Taught Me About Dyslexia”. I’ll talk about my great experiences with the Wildflower Center and Learning Ally too. Thanks!

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Filed under Addie Broyles, AT&T Conference Center, Austin, Austin American Statesman, Clean energy, Clean energy, Damon Waitt, Elephant Ear, Environmental, Environmental Science Institute, ESI, Focus on Good, Giant Reed, Green Army, Griffin Gardner, Hot Science - Cool Talks, Jessica Strickland, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Lights Camera Help Annual Nonprofit Film Festival, Lights. Camera. Help., PanelPicker, Social Good TV, Steve Vogelpohl, SXSW, SXSW Eco, SXSWedu, University of Texas, Urban Agriculture, UT Austin, Waller Creek, What Invasive Species Taught Me About Dyslexia, Wildflower Center

My Adventure as an Invasive Hunter at SXSW Eco Begins

I’m looking forward to being part of the SXSW Eco conference today!

I’ll be tweeting on my InvasiveHunter Twitter account and creating blog posts about the conference this week.

Tomorrow, I’ll join Ms. Jessica Strickland, Invasive Species Program Manager at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center; Dr. Damon Waitt, Director Native Plant Information Network; and an elite team from the Wildflower Center and the Green Army to map invasive species as part of the conference events.

Many thanks to SXSW Eco for inviting me and providing me with a complimentary pass to this conference!

Your friend,
Ben

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Filed under Citizen Scientist, Damon Waitt, Green Army, Invaders of Texas, Invasive Species, Jessica Strickland, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, SXSW Eco, Wildflower Center