Posts tagged with "Colorado"

Danish artist hides enormous trolls made of recycled wood in forests worldwide

December 7, 2022

Far out in Western Australia, the tranquil wetland forests are about to shake with the footsteps of giants. That’s because a Danish artist has built a community of giant trolls out of recycled natural material for an exhibit that weaves Aboriginal tradition, modern eco-consciousness, pure childhood creative expression, and joy together, reports the Good News Network.

 

Thomas Dambo is the mastermind behind Giants of Mandurah, a cultural tourism attraction set in the Mandurah region of Western Australia about an hour south of Perth. The giant trolls, named Little Lui, Vivi Cirklestone, Seba, and Santi Ikto, are all made of recycled wood, just like the dozens of other giants that Dambo has built in forests around the world. 

 

Their limbs are made of pallet wood, their bodies and other more detailed features are chopped up cast away furniture. Together they tell the creation story of the Bindjareb Noongar people, and the waterways and wetlands of their home region.

“I grew up surrounded by fairytales and stories, and the troll is an important part of Danish folklore,” Dambo told The Guardian.

 

“For me, trolls represent the voice of nature. Sometimes they can be gentle and quiet. Other times they can be really violent and brutal, and that’s how nature is. If you’re not careful, nature will knock your whole house over.”

 

“Why build in a warehouse if you can build here? It’s the best office in the world,” he said. “And coming from Denmark, the nature here is so different, it’s almost a bit trippy and unreal, like being in a fairytale.”

 

Stemming from a childhood spent obsessively building things in the yard, amongst his theater seamstress mother and blacksmith father, Dambo’s adult creations can be found in China, Wyoming, Colorado, Maine, Copenhagen, Chile, and beyond.

But it was the beautiful natural scenery of Mandurah that drew him in particular to this spot.

 

“Mandurah is a city renowned across Australia for its natural beauty, making it the perfect home for Thomas Dambo’s celebrated artworks,” said Mayor Rhys Williams, adding, “Thomas’ unique approach to promoting the protection of the natural world fits beautifully with our Mandurah story, and we feel very privileged to be part of such a special project.”

 

He’s even fashioned it into a game, called the Rhythm of Raindrops which is a little like the plotline of an Indiana Jones movie, involving searching for clues to the location of a hidden giant.

 

Research contact: @goodnewsnetwork

Coming soon to an American cliff near you: ‘Via Ferrata’ routes

August 23, 2022

“I stood on a rock ledge, terra firma far below, and took in the panorama to my left,” recalls a contributor to The New York Times, Cindy Hirschfeld, noting that, against the horizon sat Fairchild Mountain—reaching just above 13,500 feet—and other peaks in the Mummy Range in Colorado, a series of lofty summits in the northern part of Rocky Mountain National Park.”

She adds of her adventure, “In the foreground was a bright blue sliver of Mary’s Lake. In front of me, a sheer wall of stippled gneiss. But unlike … experienced amateur climbers, I did not need to have precise technique, nor exceptional strength, nor a rack full of climbing gear to reach my elevated perch.

“That’s because I was on the Cloud Ladder via ferrata, which consists of permanent rebar rungs bolted into the rock, bordered by a continuous series of fixed aircraft-grade steel cables to which I remained attached.”

Those rungs made it relatively easy —although still thrilling—to scale the rock face, Hirschfeld informs us.

Indeed, according to the Times, rock climbing has long been popular in Europe, particularly in the Alps, via ferrata routes — “via ferrata” is Italian for “iron way.” The system originated in Italy as a way to move soldiers through the mountains during World War I and was later adopted by intrepid hikers for ascending steeper terrain.

Such routes are becoming more popular in the United States, with new routes being installed on peaks, in gorges and even at high-end outdoors-oriented resorts.

“I wanted people to experience a part of the mountains that you wouldn’t be able to unless you were a climber,” said Harry Kent, the founder and director of Kent Mountain Adventure Center in Estes Park, Colorado, which operates the Cloud Ladder, open since July 2021, on private property a few miles south of the town.

The site is open year-round, weather permitting, for guests 12 and older; guided tours cost from $174 to $330 per person, depending on the number of climbers.

Through his other business, Via Ferrata Works, Kent and his team are also building the country’s first urban via ferrata at Quarry Trails Metro Park in Columbus, Ohio, in an abandoned limestone quarry. The route, on a 150-foot-high cliff face, is expected to open this fall. Access will be free.

The high-alpine Cloud Ladder has a different type of superlative: With some 600 feet of sustained upward climbing for most of its length, it’s billed as the steepest via ferrata in the United States.

“If I’d been a first-timer,” Hirschfeld says, “I would have opted for the adjacent and easier Peregrine Arete. But having previously ascended other via ferratas, I was game for a challenge—which I found on the second of two heart-pumping suspension bridges, where I hovered on a tightrope-style cable that spanned 45 feet across a 200-foot chasm. I won’t pretend that I didn’t think twice before heading across it, even though I was secured to two other cables at shoulder height.”

As on all via ferratas, in addition to a helmet, Hirschfeld wore a waist harness with a bungee-style lanyard holding two large carabiners (known as lobster claws) and an energy-absorbing device that would lessen the impact in the unlikely event that she fell. (She didn’t.)

As for the carabiners, you clip them onto the cables and leave them attached, sliding them along as you climb, except when you arrive at one of the many anchor bolts along the route. There, you unclip one carabiner, clip it in again after the anchor, and then unclip and clip the second one. “Never double unclip,” her guide, Nick Golden, had cautioned.

Although climbing a via ferrata may look like a daredevil outing, it’s more attainable than you might think. The challenges tilt toward psychological rather than physical. “We regularly see people getting past self-imposed boundaries,” said Sean Kristl, the general manager of the guide service Alpenglow Expeditions, which provides via ferrata tours in Olympic Valley, California.

Once people get on one via ferrata, they start looking up where others are because it is so accessible and fun,” opines Gannon Nawojczyk, the manager of Southeast Mountain Guides, which operates a route in Kentucky’s Red River Gorge. Visitors vary in fitness level, age, and experience. “People are starting to realize that this is for anybody, so our clientele is becoming more mixed,” he added. The company experienced a 190% surge in via ferrata guests between 2018 and 2021, in spite of closing for two months in 2020, according to Nawojczyk.

Not surprisingly, there’s an art to designing a good via ferrata, and that includes incorporating natural rock along with the artificial aids. “Our crew is mostly made up of mountain guides, so we have a good sense of what guests can tolerate in terms of exposure and steepness,” said Mike Friedman, the managing partner of Utah-based Adventure Partners, which has designed via ferratas at ski areas like Colorado’s Arapahoe Basin and Jackson Hole in Wyoming, as well as at the Amangiri resort in Utah and Arizona’s Castle Hot Springs.

Research contact: @nytimes

Oregon ends residency rule for medically assisted suicide

March 30, 2022

Oregon will no longer require people to be residents of the state in order  to use its law allowing terminally ill people to receive lethal medication for a medically assisted suicide, after a lawsuit challenged the requirement as unconstitutional, reports ABC News affiliate KATU.

In a settlement filed in U.S. District Court in Portland on March 28, the Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon Medical Board agreed to stop enforcing the residency requirement and to ask the legislature to remove it from the law.

Advocates said they would use the settlement to press the eight other states and Washington, D.C., with medically assisted suicide laws to drop their residency requirements, as well.

“This requirement was both discriminatory and profoundly unfair to dying patients at the most critical time of their life,” said Kevin Diaz, an attorney with Compassion & Choices, the national advocacy group that sued over Oregon’s requirement.

Laura Echevarria, a spokeswoman for National Right to Life, which opposes such laws, warned that without a residency requirement, Oregon risked becoming the nation’s “assisted suicide tourism capital.”

But Diaz said that was unlikely, given safeguards in the law, such as waiting periods; that it is extremely difficult for terminally ill people to make extended trips to another state; and that many people want to die in the presence of loved ones near home—not across the country.

“There’s no tourism going on,” Diaz said.

Compassion & Choices sued on behalf of Dr. Nicholas Gideonse, a Portland family practice physician and associate professor of family medicine at Oregon Health and Science University. A longtime supporter of medical aid-in-dying laws, Gideonse had been unable to write terminal prescriptions for patients who live just across the Columbia River in Washington State.

While Washington has such a law, providers can be difficult to find in the southwestern part of the state, where many hospital beds are in religiously affiliated health care facilities that prohibit it. Requiring his patients to find other doctors to provide assistance in ending their own lives can compound their suffering, Gideonse said.

“Any restriction on medical aid in dying that doesn’t serve a specific medical purpose is difficult,” Gideonse said Monday. “In no other way is my practice restricted to Oregon residents, whether that’s delivering babies in the past or other care that I provide.”

The lawsuit argued that the residency requirement violated the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause, which gives Congress the right to regulate interstate commerce, and the Privileges and Immunities Clause, which forbids states from discriminating against citizens from other states in favor of its own citizens.

The Oregon Health Authority and the medical board declined to comment on why they settled the case. The state attorney general’s office did not immediately respond to an interview request.

Enacted in 1997, Oregon’s first-in-the-nation law allows terminally ill people deemed to have less than six months to live to end their lives by voluntarily taking lethal medications prescribed by a physician for that purpose.

Patients must make two verbal requests to their doctor for the medication, at least 15 days apart, as well as a written request signed in the presence of two witnesses.

The attending physician and a consulting physician must confirm the patient’s diagnosis and prognosis and determine whether the patient is capable of making health care decisions; if either doctor believes the patient to be suffering from depression or another mental disorder, they can refer the patient for a psychological exam.

Some 2,159 people have died after ingesting terminal drugs under the law since it took effect, according to data published last month by the Oregon Health Authority.

California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico, Vermont, Washington State, and Washington, D.C., have approved similar laws, all with residency requirements. Montana’s Supreme Court has ruled that state law does not prohibit medical aid in dying.

Research contact: @ABC

Creepy crawlies: If you live here, prepare to see thousands of tarantulas

August 6, 2021

Catching an unexpected glimpse of a daddy longlegs spider in your home can make even folks who’d barely call themselves arachnophobes jump. A wolf spider sighting outdoors can frighten even the most intrepid explorers. And encountering a hairy tarantula can cause virtually anyone to freeze up.

Unfortunately for folks of one particular area of the United States, there’s about to be an influx of not just a few or a few hundred, but thousands of tarantulas in the very near future, Best Life reports.

Starting in August, Colorado—particularly the southeastern part of the state—will see a sudden uptick in its tarantula population.

The sudden influx of thousands of tarantulas, which typically begins between late August and September, according to the Colorado State University College of Agricultural Sciences (via The Gazette), is part of the arachnids’ annual migration.

For the Aphonopelma vogelae tarantula, more frequently found in the southwestern portions of the state, migration peaks in October.

But take heart: While seeing thousands of tarantulas descend on your area may be disconcerting, their presence is typically short-lived.

According to the Colorado State University College of Agricultural Sciences, following their migration, the tarantulas are active for a short period of time, but “all normally perish within a couple of months.”

And you won’t be the only one watching where you walk and sit. The Colorado-based tarantula migration isn’t the only major shift in habitats these furry arachnids may be making this year, however.

According to Christopher Vitek, PhD, an associate professor of biology at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley during their mating season between March and October, tarantulas frequently emerge from their usual habitats in states including Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah.

While tarantulas are unlikely to do harm to most humans, it’s wise to give them a wide berth if you encounter one in the wild.

“Their venom is of no medical significance, and contrary to popular belief, nobody has ever died from such a bite; most people compare the bite to that of a bee sting and experience no lasting ill-effects other than mild to moderate pain and slight swelling at the site of the bite,” Brent Hendrixson, PhD, chair of biology at Millsaps College, recently told Best Life.

Hendrixson says that if you do find a tarantula somewhere it shouldn’t be—inside your home, for example—and don’t feel comfortable picking it up, gently coax it into a jar with a soft-ended object like a paintbrush and remove it from the premises.

Research contact: @bestlife

Pedal pushers: New gravel bike race to change the face of cycling in the mountains of Colorado

February 19, 2021

There is no denying that gravel bike racing is exploding nationwide. And nowhere is that more evident than on the dirt roads and mountains surrounding Colorado’s Front Range, a steep mountain range that reaches down deep into central Colorado from southern Wyoming, .

In the cycling world, gravel is seen as the “everyman’s discipline.” Gravel is a safer, more communal, and less Lycra-clad scene than road riding. This appeals to a broader range of people as a more approachable way to get into cycling and group riding. This more relaxed environment is what drew the founders of Dead Man Gravel to the sport from a professional trail running background, and what they seek to expand on.

Now, a new race called Dead Man Gravel—scheduled to debut on Saturday, July 31, in Nederland, a town outside of Boulder, Colorado—is adding to that excitement by bringing a true gravel challenge to western Boulder County. In a press release, the organizers are calling it “one of the highest and most challenging gravel races in the country.”

The event will have three course distances, to appeal to every type of rider. For true Type 2 fun, there is the Tungsten Course at 66 miles. Then there is the speedier, more road-friendly 41-mile Gold Course; and the beginner-friendly Silver Course that is a great intro to gravel racing with about 50/50 tarmac to gravel. All courses start in the eclectic mountain hamlet of downtown Nederland. Sitting above 8,000 feet at the base of the Indian Peaks Wilderness, it is an ideal launching point for any endurance event.

The event is designed to be inclusive—welcoming womxn, BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and differently abled athletes. That is why Dead Man Gravel is partnering with organizations like Ride for Racial Justice and Sharktooth Cycling. These two non-profits are doing incredible work in bringing new, and typically disadvantaged, athletes into the sport by helping to increase awareness and reduce barriers to entry.

Indeed, Dead Man Gravel’s board of advisors is actively working to decrease barriers and increase access to all riders—including providing early and discounted registration for womxn and BIPOC athletes and providing equal prize money and representation on the starting line. Dead Man Gravel is also partnering with Ride for Racial Justice to give several athletes of color a spot on the starting line, personalized coaching, and basic gear.

“I’m so excited to be able to share all that Nederland and the Peak to Peak area has to offer, especially when it comes to having fun riding bikes on our amazing network of gravel roads,” said Gavin Coombs, founder of Dead Man Gravel. “This is going to be a fantastic event that hopefully helps continue to move the needle for increasing diversity and inclusivity in cycling, and giving people another much needed summer gravel race event outside of Boulder.”

Coming out of the gate in partnership with Dead Man Gravel is Cutaway USA, a premium cycling clothing company based out of Charlottesville, Virginia. Inspired by their location in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Cutaway clothing is known for design, color, innovation, craftsmanship, and attention to detail. Cutaway USA is an outdoor industry leader in cycling kit design for cyclists, triathletes, and runners. Cutaway’s custom program is further known for its customer service, flexibility to meet a team’s specific needs, and ability to provide unique services such as an online team store to streamline the ordering process.

“We’re excited to work with Dead Man Gravel as they represent two things we hold dear at Cutaway USA: a desire to explore, and to share that exploration with as many people as possible,” said Cutaway founder Phillip Robb. “We look forward to partnering with one of the new challenging gravel races that showcases the best that their hometown has to offer. Rooted in east coast exploration and gravel riding, Cutaway is excited to see the continued growth of gravel across the US and especially excited to partner with such a unique event in Colorado.”

Additional sponsors and partners for Dead Man Gravel in year one include: Carbo Rocket and Eldora Mountain Resort at a Silver Level sponsorship; Megan Hottman Law Office, Kim Hullet Real Estate Broker Associate at Porch Light Realty, and Knotted Root Brewing at a Bronze Level; Pure Power Botanicals, Weller CBD and Panaracer Tires at a Community Level; and Elevation Outdoors is the event’s official Media Partner.

Research contact: EINPresswire

Sweetgreen will pilot a drive-in restaurant as part of suburban push

December 17, 2020

These are the “salad days” for the restaurant chain Sweetgreen, which has been been offering contact-free delivery and pickup at its 91 restaurants throughout the pandemic, CNBC reports..

Now, Chief Concept Officer Nic Jammet says that the business pivot that the company has taken since the virus took hold in the USA earlier this year has accelerated its decision to pilot test a new type of eatery—slated to open next winter in Highlands Ranch, Colorado next winter. At the test site, customers will be encouraged to order on-site using dedicated parking spaces with intercom boxes connected to the chain’s app; and to pick up their food from drive-thru lanes.

As Sweettgreen expands from urban settings into suburban America, it joins the flood of restaurant companies that have unveiled new designs inspired by the coronavirus pandemic. Fast-food chains like Yum Brands’ Taco Bell and Restaurant Brands International’s Burger King have focused their new designs on making delivery and digital orders even more convenient.

But the fast-casual segment, which includes Sweetgreen and Chipotle Mexican Grill, has been influenced by the success of drive-thru lanes. Drive-thru orders grew by 24% across the restaurant industry in October, according to the NPD Group.

Like Sweetgreen, Shake Shack will open its first ever drive-thru lane in 2021, says CNBC. And Chipotle, which has been building its “Chipotlanes” for several years, is planning to add even more drive-thru lanes as same-store sales at those restaurants outpace the rest of its footprint.

Already, says Jammet, “A lot of our customers [… already are adopting this] behavior of using the Sweetgreen app to order ahead and come in ahead to pick it up.”

Research contact: @CNBC

Trump Administration cuts off funding to 13 drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites in five states

June 25, 2020

The Trump Administration is doing its level best to close—or at the very least, slow down—coronavirus testing nationwide by cutting off support to 13 drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites on June 30; and leaving operation and funding of those sites to the states—even as cases spike in several parts of the country, Politico reports.

This is not the first time that the Administration has tried to offload control of the drive-thru sites to the states—but the last effort was suspended in April when governors in the states affected objected strongly.

The 13 sites—in Illinois, Colorado, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Texas—are the last federally run sites out of 41 originally established across the country. Seven sites are in hard-hit Texas, where cases are climbing.

Taking the offensive on Thursday, June 24, Assistant Secretary for Health Brett Giroir told Roll Call that the sites were always meant to be a temporary solution as the country worked to ramp up testing capacity in traditional health care settings.

What he didn’t mention was that, with a looming election challenge, Trump has seen the pandemic as a drag on the economy that he simply wants to go away.

Indeed, in early March, the president transferred responsibility for flattening the line on the coronavirus pandemic to the states—and, specifically, to the governors. He will neither wear a mask nor recommend one; and he has been unwilling to release nearly $14B in Congressional funding for testing and tracing efforts to combat COVID-19. However, he continues to brag that his pandemic effort is the best ever executed.

Already protesters are piling on: Scott Becker, CEO of the Association of Public Health Laboratories, tells Politico that it’s not the right time to shift responsibility for the sites to the states—especially those near emerging hot spots in Texas

“The federally supported testing sites remain critically needed, and in some place like Houston and Harris County, TX and in other hotspots, are needed now more than ever,” Becker said in an email. “This is not the time for the federal government to walk back prior commitments on testing.”

Even Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) is critical of the plan, noting,. “It’s pretty clear to me, and I think it’s clear to all of us, that with the uptick of cases, now is not the time to retreat from our vigilance in testing,” he said. “I believe that they need to extend that federal support in Texas, at least until we get this most recent uptick in cases addressed.”

So what will be the outcome? HHS says there is no going back: Gigroir recommends that the state governors can use CARES Act funding to maintain operations at the current federally supported testing sites.

Research contact: @politico

Rain check: The ClimaCell weather app alerts you to when it will rain in your town, down to the minute

August 14, 2019

Is a cloud about to burst in your immediate vicinity? Now there’s an easy and accurate way to find out.

ClimaCell, a four-year-old weather technology company based in Boston, “is on a mission to map all of the weather data in the world—and to become the “default microweather platform of the emerging technology.”

The firm—founded by a team of former military officers from the Harvard Business School and MIT Sloan—launched its weather app on August 12, offering meteorological notifications for exact locations in more than 50 countries.

It promises “street-by-street, minute-by-minute short-term forecasts, according to a report by The Washington Post.

But how does the company provide such on-target, on-time forecasts?

 ClimaCell has developed a global network of weather data that marries traditional observations of pressure, temperature, precipitation and wind with information drawn from wireless signals, satellites, connected cars, airplanes, street cameras, drones and other electronic sources, the Post reports. Millions of pieces of weather data can be derived from these technologies. It’s what the company describes as the “weather of things” (versus “the Internet of things).

This mix of data is fed into ClimaCell’s forecast models, operated in Boulder, Colorado The company created the NowCast model that gives highly specific, minute-by-minute forecasts out to six hours—as well as a longer-term model, known as CBAM, that produces forecasts out to six days.

These models are designed to provide forecasts to help businesses solve problems in which “extra accuracy” is needed, according to CE0 Shimon Elkabetz.

Many of the weather companies operating today, founded in the 1960s and 1970s, just take model forecasts from different governments, blend them, and use statistical techniques to try to make them better. But ClimaCell is creating its forecasts from scratch.

Elkabetz said early results on its accuracy are promising. Compared with government forecasts, “we’ve been able to improve almost every parameter in every time frame,” Elkabetz said.

ClimaCell has also created a software platform that allows its forecasts to be optimized and tuned to customers’ needs. Elkabetz said it can generate forecast output for any weather variable of interest, at any location and at different degrees of specificity.

The forecasts are updated or “refreshed” constantly, which is the “best way” to increase their accuracy, according to Daniel Rothenberg, ClimaCell’s chief scientist. “In our U.S. precipitation NowCast, we refresh [the forecast] end to end in under five minutes,” he told The Washington Post.

By comparison, the U.S. government model used for short-range precipitation prediction, known as the HRRR (high-resolution rapid refresh model) updates hourly.

To date, the company has worked with airlines, energy, and on-demand transportation companies, and even with the New England Patriots. JetBlue, initially a customer, was so impressed by the results that it became an investor.

“We’re trying to become the leading private company in the weather space,” Elkabetz said.

The app is available on the AppStore for iOS devices, and an Android version is to be launched in September. The app is free and does not contain advertisements, but ClimaCell does plan to charge for certain features, such as notifications for precipitation beyond a certain time.

Research contact: @ClimaCell

Hen party: U.S. cities allow residents to raise chickens

July 20, 2018

Talk about “urban chic.” Or should we say “urban chick”? Cities from Ann Arbor, Michigan to Ft. Collins, Colorado, are voting to allow residents to raise backyard poultry, according to a July 19 report by Worldwatch Institute.

It’s a serious issue – it’s no yolk,” Mayor Dave Cieslewicz of Madison, Wisconsin commented when his city reversed its poultry ban in 2004. “Chickens are really bringing us together as a community. For too long, they’ve been cooped up.”

Raising backyard chickens is an extension of an urban farming movement that has gained popularity nationwide. “Fresh is not what you buy at the grocery store. Fresh is when you go into your backyard, put it in your bag, and eat it,” said Carol-Ann Sayle, co-owner of a five-acre farm in Austin, Texas. “Everyone should have their own henhouse in their own backyard.”

In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, raising chickens has been legal since August 30, 2010. Since then Cedar Rapids’ urban chicken ordinance has been used as a model for other municipalities nationwide. The ordinance—which Rebecca Mumaw of the advocacy organization, Citizens for the Legalization of Urban Chickens (or CLUC) helped to draft, provides the following guidelines:

  • Residents are allowed to keep up to six hens (no roosters) on single family dwelling properties;
  • Permits are required for an annual fee of $25;
  • Applicants for permits are required to notify their neighbors of their intent to obtain a permit and to complete an approved two-hour class on raising chickens in an urban setting (cost $10-$12);
  • Chickens must be kept in an enclosed or fenced area and secured from predators at night;
  • Henhouses must provide at least four square feet of space per bird and meet certain design requirements;
  • Chicken enclosures must be kept in the backyard—located at least 10 feet from the property line and 25 feet from neighboring homes;
  • Chickens must be provided with adequate food and water—and kept in a manner to minimize noise, odor, and attraction of pests and predators; and
  • Slaughtering of chickens is not allowed.

Indeed, Mumaw told the local newspaper, the Dispatch Argus, “Raising a limited number of egg-laying hens will allow residents to raise their own food, just as they do in vegetable gardens now.”

“Buying local” also provides an alternative to factory farms that pollute local ecosystems with significant amounts of animal waste – which can at times exceed the waste from a small U.S. city, a government report revealed last month. In the United States alone, industrial livestock production generates 500 million tons of manure every year. The waste also emits potent greenhouse gases—especially methane, which has 23 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide.

Meanwhile, advocates insist that birds raised on a small scale are less likely to carry diseases than factory-farmed poultry, although some public health officials are concerned that backyard chickens could elevate avian flu risks.

The USDA is not yet providing specific figures on the number of chickens being raised in urban environments.

Research contact: worldwatch@worldwatch.org