Thursday, August 29, 2019

Phillip Elden: Who Let The Bugs Out?

Phillip Elden
If insects bug you, it may be time to look at them in a different light. According to conservationist Phillip Elden, bugs big and small are an important part of Oregon’s ecosystem. Without them, many of the natural habitats in the state would not exist.

Phillip Elden explains that insects do more than just buzz around our heads at inconvenient times. Many of them served to pollinate the flora of the landscape that supports other creatures. Further, and just as important, bees, wasps, and other pollinators ensure a successful harvest each year. Honey, silk, beeswax, and many other products are also a product of bugs and their hard work.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Phillip Elden | Microplastics and Their Impact on The Ocean’s Inhabitants

Phillip Elden
What are microplastics, and how are they affecting the environment? Phillip Elden answers this question and more in the following brief QA.

Q: What are microplastics?

Phillip Elden: This is the name given to the tiny shards of plastic that slough off larger pieces as bottles, bags, and other plastics degrade over time. Each year, the volume of microplastics increases. Today, estimates put more than 51 trillion particles in our oceans.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Phillip Elden: What’s in a Lake?

Phillip Elden
Lakes are important natural feature, says conservationist Phillip Elden. They are crucial to fish and wildlife and provide habitats for each. Lakes work in conjunction with other bodies of water to help control flooding and, if you’ve ever looked at an Oregon lake at sunset, you know that lakes are a place of inspiration and beauty.

A changing feature

According to Phillip Elden, lakes are not permanent. Over time, often hundreds of thousands of years, lakes fill in with sediment. They become shallow and eventually cease to exist. During this phase-out process, a fading lake may be a marshy, boggy area, but will return to solid land. Human interference, however, can significantly expedite the process, and it is not unheard of for a lake to disappear within just a generation.

Biological diversity

A lake is an ecosystem in and of itself and is made up of a number of physical, biological, and chemical processes. Phillip Elden explains that these determine the types of organism that survive and thrive in and around the body of water.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Phillip Elden Answers Questions on Endangered Species

Phillip Elden
What characteristics define an endangered species? Phillip Elden answers that question and more in the following brief Q & A.

Q: What is the Endangered Species Act?

Phillip Elden: The Endangered Species Act was established in 1973 and serves to protect endangered animals as well as their habitats. The law mandates that conservation programs be created when a population is deemed critical. Further, it allows for governing bodies to acquire land or aquatic habitats for the purposes of protecting and increasing the populations of threatened species.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Phillip Elden on Underground Animals

Phillip Elden
Much focus has been put on conserving lakes, rivers, forests, and mountains.But Phillip Elden says these efforts must also extend underground. Keep reading as the Oregon-based conservation specialist digs deep for animals that live underground.


The earthworm is perhaps the best known ground-dwelling creature in existence. Although there are numerous species of earthworm, they all live primarily underground in moist soil with plenty of decaying vegetation. Earthworms are best found in the shade of forest canopy, especially in warm climates, says Phillip Elden. However, they are also in abundance near freshwater sources and can live their entire life underground.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Phillip Elden | Zoos that Made a Difference

Phillip Elden
People often mistakenly believe that these exist solely to make a profit. Conservationist Phillip Elden says nothing could be further from the truth and that zoos make more than money...they make a difference in the lives of the animals they showcase.

The most prolific way zoos impact animal species is by saving endangered breeds from extinction. At the Phoenix Zoo, for example, the Arabian Oryx, a once hunted and extinct creature, was revitalized thanks to captive-bred animals and tireless efforts put forth by zoo staff and global conservationist. Today, there are more than 1000 this captivating creature, which was upgraded from extinct to endangered and then to threatened, which is an impressive feat for an animal thought lost forever.

Phillip Elden also uses the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago as a shining example of how zoos protect species. Around 40 years ago, there were only 13 Puerto Rican parrots known to exist. These avian beauties, which are particularly vulnerable during hurricane season, were on the rise with nearly 50 wild parrots in 1989. A devastating hurricane wiped out more than half the population when Lincoln Park Zoo stepped in. Now there are more than 260 Puerto Rican parrots – more than five dozen of which are out of captivity.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Phillip Elden on the Opossum

The opossum, or colloquially, ‘possum, is a small mammal native to North America, explains Phillip Elden. However, it made its arrival in the Pacific Northwest and specifically Oregon sometime in the early 20th century. Its introduction to the area was most likely the result of people keeping the animals as pets and inadvertently releasing them into the wild.

The opossum is an adaptable creature and can make use of many types of resources. They can eat virtually anything and have very little problem disturbing a garden or trash can, says Phillip Elden. Unfortunately, they are often considered a nuisance by homeowners who may be intimidated by this creature’s reputation for self-defense.

Phillip Elden explains that as adaptable as the opossum is, it has numerous predators to fear. This includes owls, bobcats, and coyotes. The opossum’s first line of defense is its ability to play dead. It does this by lying stiffen and motionless and excreting a foul-smelling substance from their anal glands, which tells potential predators that their dinner has gone bad. This is where the term “playing possum” comes from.