Friday, May 10, 2024

Bobbie Foust, still reporting at 90, wins Al Smith Award for public service through community journalism in Kentucky

Bobbie Foust
Bobbie Foust, for decades a fixture in West Kentucky journalism, is the winner of the 2024 Al Smith Award for public service through community journalism by a Kentuckian, presented by the Institute for Rural Journalism at the University of Kentucky and the Bluegrass Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

Foust has edited three newspapers in the region and reported for others, and though she just turned 90, she is still covering city council meetings according to her decades-old approach: “Be honest, be accurate; be open with people, be kind when I can, but perform the journalistic function: report the facts and let the results fall where they may.”

In semi-retirement Foust is also writing historical articles about the region, and continuing her community service. In 2018, she served as the news-media liaison and adviser for a group of Marshall County High School students who sought gun-control measures after a mass shooting at the school in the pro-gun county. One of the parents, Gloria Hollifield, said in an award nomination, “She has the tenacity and the courage to stand for what is right, regardless of the backlash she undoubtedly faced.”

While Foust was not acting as a journalist in that role, she was using her journalism experience and skills to perform a public service, said Al Cross, director emeritus of the rural-journalism institute and secretary of the SPJ chapter. “In community journalism, journalists are by definition members of the community they serve, sometimes in ways other than journalism,” he said. “Bobbie has made clear since supposedly retiring eight years ago that she will continue to help her neighbors with journalism and other community service.”

Foust retired from the Herald-Ledger in Eddyville in January 2016, but has continued to write for The Paducah Sun and The Lake News in Calvert City, and cover the Calvert City council for the Benton Tribune-Courier, which she edited twice. She also edited the Marshall County Messenger and was editor of the Eddyville paper in her first stint there.

She has interviewed Bill Clinton, Jesse Jackson and Billy Graham; covered executions at the Kentucky State Penitentiary; and has long followed the evolution and devolution of Land Between the Lakes, the recreation area created on 170,000 acres that the Tennessee Valley Authority took from people living between Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley. As TVA prepared to give up the LBL to the Forest Service, and Foust tried to hold officials’ feet to the fire, TVA Board Chair “Craven [Crowell] got to where he wouldn’t talk to me,” Foust recalled, adding that in her career, “That has been the continuing story that I feel like may have benefited the citizenry.”

Foust began her career at Calvert City’s first newspaper, the Valley Sun, in 1961. The newspaper closed the next year, but Foust said she freelanced as she dealt with “four little curtain-climbers” that she brought into the world from 1956 to 1959. In 1968 she joined The Calvert News and then its parent paper, the Benton Tribune-Democrat, and then its successor, the Tribune Courier. She joined the startup Marshall County Messenger as editor in 1977 and returned to the Tribune Courier in 1979, becoming editor in 1980.

Foust made the Tribune Courier a National Blue Ribbon Newspaper, an award given by the National Newspaper Foundation, and won many awards from the Kentucky Press Association, including Freedom of Information, Community Service, news and sports reporting, and photography. But she fell out with the paper’s owner, Walt Dear, and went to work with her friend Frances Baccus at the Eddyville paper, where she was editor. When it sold three and a half years later, she joined The Paducah Sun, the regional daily, and stayed seven years, until she turned 65.

She and her husband Ray Foust traveled widely, but she also helped with special projects at the Sun, and in 2001 Editor Jim Paxton made her editor of the Tribune Courier, which his family media company had purchased. She left 20 months later when her husband suffered a terminal illness, but after his death again she joined the Herald Ledger, by then also a Paxton paper, as a reporter. Even after she left the job in 2016, she kept doing journalism “because I love it,” she says. “I will probably write something the day that I die. . . . I’m curious about what’s going on; I love interaction with people.”

Institute for Rural Journalism Director Benjy Hamm said, “Few journalists in Kentucky history can match the longevity and level of service that Bobbie Foust has provided as a reporter and editor to numerous communities in the commonwealth since 1961. She exhibits many of the qualities of Al Smith – including a lifetime of service – and is a worthy recipient of the award named for him.”

Bluegrass SPJ President Casey Parker-Bell of KET, a fellow native of the Jackson Purchase, said, “Bobbie Foust’s story exemplifies the type of journalism that Kentucky needs. She has the tenacity and courage all journalists should strive for, and is deserving of this year’s Al Smith Award.”

The award is named for the late Albert P. Smith Jr., who was the driving force for creation of the Institute for Rural Journalism, headed its advisory board and was its chair emeritus until his death in 2021. He published newspapers in Western Kentucky and Middle Tennessee, was founding producer and host of KET’s “Comment on Kentucky,” and federal co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission. He was the first winner of the award, in 2011.

Foust will be honored at the Al Smith Awards Dinner Oct. 10 at the Embassy Suites Lexington on Newtown Pike, near Interstate 64/75. She will be joined by Eric Meyer, editor-publisher of the Marion County Record in Kansas, the 2024 winner of the Institute’s national Tom and Pat Gish Award for courage, tenacity and integrity in rural journalism, along with winners of chapter scholarships. The guest speaker will be Campbell Robertson, who covers Kentucky and other states for The New York Times. For updates see

Besides Smith, previous winners of the Smith Award, and their affiliations at the time, are:
2012: Jennifer P. Brown, Kentucky New Era; and Max Heath, Landmark Community Newspapers
2013: John Nelson, Danville Advocate-Messenger
2014: Bill Bishop and Julie Ardery, The Daily Yonder
2015: Carl West, The State Journal, Frankfort
2016: Sharon Burton, Adair County Community Voice and The Farmer’s Pride
2017: Ryan Craig, Todd County Standard, and the late Larry Craig, Green River Republican
2018: Stevie Lowery, The Lebanon Enterprise
2019: David Thompson, Kentucky Press Association
2020: Becky Barnes, The Cynthiana Democrat
2021: WKMS News, Murray State University
2022: Chris and Allison Evans, The Crittenden Press, Marion
2023: Ben Gish and Sam Adams, The Mountain Eagle, Whitesburg

Eric Meyer and Marion County Record, Kansas paper raided by police chief it was investigating, win Tom and Pat Gish Award for courage, integrity and tenacity in rural journalism

Eric Meyer with his weekly newspaper
Eric Meyer and the staff of the Marion County Record in Marion, Kansas, are the winners of the 2024 Tom and Pat Gish Award for courage, integrity and tenacity in rural journalism, presented by the Institute for Rural Journalism at the University of Kentucky.

Meyer and his weekly newspaper have become a touchstone for freedom of the press since August 2023, when local police raided his office and his home and confiscated computers, reporters’ notes and cell phones, ostensibly investigating charges of identity theft and illegal use of a computer. It didn’t take long for some motives to be apparent: city officials’ desire to punish the newspaper for its investigation of the police chief’s questionable employment background and its reporting on the mayor’s alleged ethics violations and other activities. A few weeks later, the chief was suspended, and three days later, he resigned.

Five days after the raid, the county attorney withdrew the warrants signed by a local judge, saying they were “legally insufficient,” and the confiscated items were returned. But in the meantime, Meyer’s 98-year-old mother, Joan Meyer, collapsed and died after telling journalists that she was upset and stressed by the raid of her home and the paper where she had worked for 50 years. She said, “These are Hitler tactics, and something has to be done.”

The raid, perhaps unprecedented, sparked international outrage at a time when local newspapers are struggling. Eric Meyer said soon after the raid, “If we don’t fight back, and we don’t win in fighting back, it’s going to silence everybody.” Since then, he and his staff have continued to show the courage, tenacity and integrity often required to deliver good journalism in rural areas. The Record “is uncommonly aggressive for its size,” The New York Times reported. “Meyer said that the newspaper, which has seven employees, has stoked the ire of some local leaders for its vigorous reporting on Marion County officials.”

That profile fits those of other Gish Award winners, including the first winners and the award’s namesakes: Tom and Pat Gish, who published The Mountain Eagle in Whitesburg, Kentucky, for more than 50 years. Their son and successor, Ben Gish, is on the award selection committee. He said of Meyer, “Given today’s political climate, what happened to him in Kansas almost certainly will happen at some other small-town paper when another unfit person wins that county's sheriff’s race.”

Meyer’s family bought the Marion County Record in 1998 to keep it from being sold to a chain. His father, Editor Bill Meyer, had worked there since 1948, and won the Eugene Cervi Award of the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors in 2002. Eric Meyer returned to his hometown to run the paper during the Covid-19 pandemic after working as a reporter for the Milwaukee Journal and teaching journalism at the University of Illinois.

"Eric Meyer and other journalists at the Marion County Record covered their community with courage, tenacity and integrity long before a shocking police raid brought them international attention,” said Benjy Hamm, director of the Institute for Rural Journalism. “But the raid and its aftermath revealed to a much larger audience that the Marion County Record could not be intimidated, denied or defeated in its pursuit of the truth."

Meyer will receive the Gish Award Oct. 10 in Lexington, Ky., at the annual Al Smith Awards Dinner of the Institute for Rural Journalism. The keynote speaker will be Campbell Robertson, who covers Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia for The New York Times and is based in its Washington Bureau. For updates see

Other Gish Award winners have been the Ezzell family of The Canadian Record in the Texas panhandle; Jim Prince and Stanley Dearman, current and late publishers of The Neshoba Democrat in Philadelphia, Miss.; Samantha Swindler of The Oregonian for her work at The Times-Tribune in Corbin, Ky., and Jacksonville Daily Progress in Texas; Stanley Nelson and the Concordia Sentinel in Ferriday, La.; Jonathan and Susan Austin of the Yancey County News in North Carolina; the late Landon Wills of the McLean County News in Kentucky; the Trapp family of the Rio Grande Sun in northern New Mexico; Ivan Foley of the Platte County Landmark in northwestern Missouri; the Cullen family of the Storm Lake Times-Pilot in northwest Iowa; and Les Zaitz of the Malheur Enterprise in eastern Oregon. In 2019, the award went to three reporters whose outstanding careers revealed much about the coal industry in Central Appalachia: Howard Berkes of NPR; Ken Ward Jr., then with the Charleston Gazette-Mail; and his mentor at the Gazette, the late Paul Nyden. In 2020 the award went to the late Tim Crews of the Sacramento Valley Mirror; in 2021 to the Thompson-High family of The News Reporter and the Border Belt Independent in Whiteville, N.C.; in 2022 to Ellen Kreth and the Madison County Record of Huntsville, Ark.; and in 2023 to Craig Garnett of the Uvalde Leader-News in Texas.

Spring migration is active along Mississippi River Flyway; 40% of waterfowl and shorebirds in North America use it

Hundreds of migratory bufflehead ducks on Green Bay, WI.
(Adobe Stock photo)
If you're a bird, spring break travel is in full swing along the Mississippi River Flyway. "Spring migration is underway. . . making the river and its floodplain a hotspot for waterfowl and soon-to-arrive songbirds," reports Madeline Heim of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "The Mississippi plays a critical role guiding these birds across the country and providing them habitat to rest." Below is a short primer on the flyway and the highlights of what birds can be spotted during their spring tour.

What is the Mississippi River Flyway?

The Mississippi Flyway is a migratory route along the Mississippi, Missouri and lower Ohio rivers "that birds take each spring and fall to make their way between their breeding grounds in Canada and their winter homes in the Gulf of Mexico, Central and South America," Heim explains. "More than 325 bird species will travel along the flyaway including sparrows, warblers, owls, ducks, plovers, cranes, chickadees and many more. . . . It's estimated that roughly 40 percent of waterfowl and shorebirds in North America use the flyway."

When and where will the flocks be traveling?
Tens of thousands of waterfowl began heading north in April. "Songbirds start to arrive in early to mid-May, sometimes in groups so large they can be tracked on weather radar," Heim reports. "The best time to catch them is in the early morning, from sunrise until about 10 a.m., when they're moving around and actively feeding."

Why is the Mississippi so popular during migration?
For a traveling bird, the Mississippi River is their map. "In the middle of the country, there's no better visual marker than the Mississippi," Heim writes. "It also comes with an added bonus: reliable habitat to stop and rest in. . . . There's water and a ribbon of forest alongside it in many places that make it an attractive place to rest and refuel."

Has climate change, habitat loss or light pollution affected migratory birds?
Yes, all three have had an impact on migratory birds. Warming temperatures have caused some birds to leave their migratory spots and head north too soon. "As winters and springs warm up, data shows birds are arriving a little sooner than they were historically," Heim explains. "The danger is that the weather could fluctuate, and a spring cold snap could kill off tree buds and insects that the birds need to eat, eventually causing them to die."

The "Radically Rural" conference is slated for Sept. 25-26; interested rural journalists can apply to attend for free

The community development conference, "Radically Rural," is offering rural journalists an opportunity to attend the 2024 summit in Keene, New Hampshire, Sept. 25-26, free of charge. The funding covers registration, travel, lodging and meals for the summit.

To apply to be a sponsored journalist, submit this brief application. The application deadline is Friday, May 24 at 11:59 p.m. E.T. The Knight Foundation alongside the Lenfest Institute for Journalism is underwriting these spots.

This 7th annual event is about learning and connecting with rural journalists from across the country, sharing ideas and fostering collaborations to serve communities better and support the sustainability of news organizations. The Radically Rural team is developing conference tracks and will announce them soon.

For more information, contact Jack Rooney at or Emily Lytle, Radically Rural's Community Journalism co-track leader, at

Many Americans have had enough of high food prices. Restaurants and food manufacturers report slow sales.

Some consumers have given up their iced lattes to
save cash. (Adobe Stock photo)
Americans are exasperated by grocery prices that have remained high despite U.S. inflation numbers trending down. Besides shopping sales and driving from store to store for deals, many citizens are ditching more brand names and drive-up habits to save money. "Some consumers are hitting their limits," report Heather Haddon and Jesse Newman of The Wall Street Journal. "Restaurant chains and some food manufacturers are reporting sliding sales or slowing growth that they attribute to consumers' inability— or refusal — to pay prices that are in some cases a third higher than pre-pandemic times."

Starbucks, McDonald's, Wendy's and Nabisco are a few corporations that reported or are predicting sliding U.S. sales. "Coffee drinkers are leaving Starbucks's loyalty program. Chips Ahoy cookies are lingering longer on grocery-store shelves. Fewer customers are ordering at fast-food drive-throughs and kiosks," Haddon and Newman write. "U.S. fast-food traffic declined 3.5% in the first three months of this year compared with the same period in 2023, according to market-research firm Revenue Management Solutions."

Historically, American shoppers have resigned themselves to higher food and staple prices, and some grocery store executives say that today's consumers will eventually make a similar adjustment. But that's not happening for restaurants. "McDonald’s and other restaurant chains have warned for months that consumers are reining in spending, particularly low-income diners," the Journal reports. "But the depth of their recent pullback still caught some U.S. restaurant executives by surprise, they said last week."

In response to the consumer rebellion, companies are offering deals, sales and snack sizes to increase foot traffic. "McDonald’s and Starbucks plan to launch more promotions and communicate them more clearly to consumers. Mondelez [Nabisco parent company] said it would offer pricing specials and smaller pack sizes, and Kraft Heinz is rolling out new mac & cheese products," Haddon and Newman add. For the first time in its history, Starbucks "will open up deals limited to its app to customers who aren’t loyalty members."

To read how some Americans use creative ways to tamp down their grocery bills, click here.

Tuesday, May 07, 2024

CDC wants to research avian bird flu on dairy farms, but many state officials and farmers don't want their help

Dairy farmers want to avoid being labeled an 'avian flu
hotspot.' (Adobe Stock photo)
Dairy farmers don't want Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers on their farms even if they're tracking down avian flu. While the dairy industry's opposition to CDC intervention makes it harder for investigators to understand how long and far H5N1 has traveled within dairy herds and work to contain it, farmers and some agriculture officials are claiming federal government overreach, report Meredith Lee Hill, David Lim and Marcia Brown of Politico.

Texas is one state where CDC investigators have not been invited to research because its health department can't find any farms to host them. Politico reports, "The resistance of dairy farmers is emblematic of the trust gap between key agriculture players in red and blue states and federal health officials — one that public health experts fear could hamper the nation's ability to head off the virus' threat to humans."

When the federal government suggested deploying research teams onto dairy farms, state agricultural leaders deflected the need for in-person CDC visits. Hill, Lim and Brown explain, "Democratic, as well as Republican, state officials shared those reservations, including that state and local health officials should continue to lead the response on the ground. Some have also pressed for the Department of Agriculture and its animal health experts to have more say in the process."

Dairies don't want CDC researchers poking around because they don't want to be "identified as a virus hotspot," and they don't want their workers, who are often undocumented, to be scrutinized. Politico reports, "Given that reality, state agriculture officials have specifically pushed for any interviews with farmworkers to be voluntary and conducted off the farms at a different site."

While the CDC is working to find a middle ground where it can work directly with dairy farmers, some states are working on their own measurement tools. Politico reports: "Idaho is one of several states working on a shortened version of the CDC's lengthy questionnaire, with the goal of developing a uniform survey that can be administered nationally, said the state's epidemiologist, Dr. Christine Hahn."

The number of children who have lost a parent to drug overdose or firearms climbs; overdose loss is up 345%

Nearly 100,000 children lost parents to a drug overdose
or gun violence in 2020. (Adobe Stock photo)
Over the past 20 years, the number of U.S. children who have faced a parent's death from drug overdose or firearms has increased at an alarming pace. These children are left to grapple with a loss that impacts how they thrive or don't thrive throughout their developmental years and into adulthood.

"Nearly 100,000 children lost parents to a drug overdose or gun violence in 2020 alone – almost three times more than in 1999," reports Deidre McPhillips of CNN. "Overall, more than 1 million children have lost a parent to a fatal drug overdose or gun violence over the past two decades, according to the study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The increase in the number of parent-age deaths from drug overdose is staggering. McPhillips writes, "About 72,800 children lost a parent to a drug overdose in 2020, up 345% from the 16,000 children affected in 1999, according to the study."

The percentage increase in gun-related deaths is not as high as that for drug overdoses, but it's still startling. "There was a 39% increase in children who lost a parent to gun violence – from 18,000 in 1999 to 25,000 in 2020," McPhillips reports. By comparison, the number of children who lost parents due to other causes increased 24% between 1999 and 2020.

"Other research has shown that losing a parent can have negative effects on a child's health, education and livelihood – in both the short and long term," McPhillips adds.

Deaths due to drugs, guns or crime are not as acceptable for children and adults to discuss. Robin Gurwitch, a psychologist and professor at the Duke University School of Medicine, told McPhillips: "When it can't be talked about openly and freely, it makes it harder for children to get the support they need. For children who hold those things inside, the risk of it leaking out into everything from severe behavior challenges to bereavement disorders to other types of mental health challenges – anxiety, depression or their own substance abuse – goes way up."

Millions of children have lost their health care coverage; 'procedural' or 'red tape' problems are to blame

Babies and children are missing needed check-ups
because of coverage loss. (Adobe Stock photo)

Government red tape has caused millions of children to lose their health care coverage. Joyce Frieden of MedPage Today reports, "A total of 4.16 million fewer children were enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP at the end of last year compared with the month before each state began its Medicaid and CHIP 'unwinding' process, a report from Georgetown University's Center for Children and Families found.

While some families most likely moved to different coverage, many did not. Joan Alker, the center's executive director, told Frieden, "Federal researchers estimate that three-quarters of children who will or have lost Medicaid during the unwinding will remain eligible for Medicaid but are losing coverage for procedural or 'red tape' reasons. Nationwide, a shockingly high 70% of people losing Medicaid are doing so for procedural reasons."

Some states dropped more children enrollees than others. "Texas, Florida, Georgia, and California saw the largest numeric declines in Medicaid/CHIP child enrollment," Frieden writes. "[That reduction] accounts for half of the total national decline, the researchers said. . . . Eight states -- Montana, Idaho, South Dakota, Arkansas, New Hampshire, Utah, Alaska, and Colorado -- disenrolled so many children in 2023 that they had fewer children enrolled at the end of the year than prior to the pandemic in early 2020."

Coverage loss has become a daily barrier to care in pediatrician offices. Kimberly Avila Edwards, a pediatrician from Texas, told Frieden, "Parents are checking in for their child's appointment, only to learn that their child is no longer covered due to a paperwork issue. These situations are all avoidable, but they are now the daily reality in pediatric offices across the country."

Alker told Frieden, "States should make efforts to reach out to families with trusted community partners and resources to re-enroll eligible children, and consider systems reforms to make the process go more smoothly."

To help address coverage loss, Edwards is "advising parents whose children have been disenrolled to 'Please be proactive -- if you receive a notice, act quickly and respond in the time frame provided,'" Frieden reports. "'Secondly, [we're] asking them to seek assistance from community health centers or patient advocates and contact their local Medicaid agency.'"

Food and Drug Administration considering product 'warning labels' to help Americans make healthier choices

Food sold in some Latin countries features bold
warning labels. (Adobe Stock photo)

To help Americans improve their diets, the Food and Drug Administration is "considering requiring food manufacturers to put new labels on the front of packages," report Andrea Petersen and Jesse Newman of The Wall Street Journal. "The labels might flag certain health risks, such as high levels of salt, sugar or saturated fat."

With the alarming rise in diabetes and cardiovascular disease in the United States, the FDA is exploring distinctive labeling on the front and back of packaging to help Americans make better nutritional choices. "One label idea the FDA has tested uses red, yellow and green to convey whether products are high, medium or low in added sugar, sodium and saturated fat," the Journal reports. "Other potential labels that the FDA has shared state how much of those substances a product contains per serving."

Food industry leaders indicated that they might sue the FDA should the labeling proposal become a rule, claiming the requirement "poses a threat to First Amendment rights and that only Congress has the authority to require it," the Journal reports. "Such labels could unfairly convey that certain foods are bad to eat, when in fact a candy bar may not be healthy, but consuming it in moderation isn't a problem, lobbyists said." Food industry proponents also insist the current labeling system is sufficient.

"The FDA says it intends to propose a rule on the labeling this summer."

So far, studies have supported the FDA's labeling idea. The Journal reports, "Scientific studies have generally found that front-of-package nutrition labels lead people to identify and choose healthier foods. More countries now require them on food and beverage containers. Others, including France, the U.K. and Australia, have voluntary programs."

In Chile, warning labels are put on products, and the country has seen dietary changes for consumers. According to Petersen and Newman, "After the warning labels were implemented, food manufacturers changed their products, too — by reducing the amount of sodium or sugar."

Flora & fauna: Pigzilla vs. Jaws; daring emperor penguin chicks; growing baby ginger; what's great about limpkins?

Graphic by Lori Hays, Farm Journal
Most humans have a healthy fear of apex predators, which makes sense, but there's another animal that needs to be on the human "danger" list -- wild pigs. "More humans are killed annually by wild pigs than by sharks, a startling new study reveals. By slice, puncture, hook, and gouge, the global number of fatalities from wild pig attacks is rising by the decade," reports Chris Bennett of Farm Journal. John J. Mayer, lead author of the study and wild pig research pioneer, told Bennett, "It's not sharks, wolves, or bears that kill the most people — it's wild pigs, and the numbers are consistently trending up."

There's no explaining the gifts Mother Nature bestows on some creatures. Consider the adaptability of spiders. They can spin fancy and shockingly strong webs for nabbing prey. Their versatility includes living in barns, cabinets, mailboxes, old shoes and even water. Yes, water. "Some spiders make their homes near or, more rarely, in water: tucking into the base of kelp stalks, spinning watertight cocoons in ponds or lakes, hiding under pebbles at the seaside or along a creek bank," reports Amber Dance for Knowable Magazine. "It's not clear what would induce successful land-dwelling critters to move to watery habitats."
Location of Weddell Sea (Wikipedia)

Emperor penguin chicks were hungry and decided to face a 50-foot plunge. "Filmmakers producing a documentary series called Secrets of the Penguins, which will debut on Earth Day 2025 on National Geographic and Disney+, captured the extraordinarily rare scene by drone in January 2024, in Atka Bay, on the edge of the Weddell Sea in West Antarctica," reports Rene Ebersole of National Geographic. "It's the first video footage of emperor penguin chicks leaping from such high cliff, according to scientists."

Baby ginger fetches a good price.
(Photo by W. Errickson via LF)

You don't need to hail from an Asian country to grow baby ginger. "The continental United States imports most of its ginger from other countries — or from Hawaii — but baby ginger can also be grown in the Mid-Atlantic using high tunnels," reports William Errickson for Lancaster Farming. "Baby ginger is harvested at an immature stage before it develops its tough outer skin. It is usually more tender and can be sold at a premium price compared to mature ginger." Learn how to grow and harvest baby ginger here.

If fighting invasive plant species sounds like farmers' work, think again. Anyone near a forest, prairie or even urban sprawl can do their part by learning about invasive plants and eating them. "Foraging for invasive plants with your family can get kids outside and teach them about protecting the planet," writes Jenny L. Bird of National Geographic. Conservation biologist Joe Roman, who runs Eat the Invaders, told Bird, "It's about getting people outside in nature to learn about the history of the area and the potential damage that invasive species can cause." For four invasive species to look for — and how to entice kids to eat them, click here.

Limpkins learned about Louisiana's apple snails and
moved in. (Photo by Jane Patterson via
If Sandhill Cranes and Northern Flickers had babies, they might sound like this bird, unfortunately, named the "Limpkin." And while limpkins have a "call" more like a horror flick sound effect, they have another gift they are willing to share -- their love of Louisiana's invasive apple snails, reports Tristan Baurick for "The limpkin's first appearance in Louisiana a few years ago was cause for celebration. That's because this gangly, shrieking bird from Florida is the mortal enemy of a foreign snail that's been wreaking havoc in Louisiana's farms and wetlands. . . . The vociferous bird gorges on invasive apple snails, helping wetlands and crawfish farms."