This guy loves the scent of rain in the desert so much he figured out how to bottle it

El Pasoan Kyle Alvarado has captured the sweet smell of the Borderland after a rainstorm in a bottle. His product has “one main purpose and that is aromatherapy“ Alvarado said while at the Onawa Studio, a holistic care and wellness center where students practice the connection of the mind, body and spirit, including aromatherapy. Alvarado studied communication at UT El Paso and is a writer and digital content specialist who previously worked with the El Paso Times and various local media outlets. Drawn to new and creative ideas, Alvarado took a fresh approach to aromatherapy. “Originally I wanted to make rain-scented candles,” Alvarado said.

Penguins chilling in the desert? El Paso zoo creating $3 million home for threatened species

The El Paso Zoo will soon become home to a colony of Magellanic penguins – a species listed as threatened by an international organization – in a new multi-million dollar exhibit as part of the city’s 2012 Quality of Life bond issue. Magellanic penguins, which reside along the coasts of South America and reach as far north as Brazil, are small – about two feet tall – with black and white feathers and banding on their necks. They are commonly found in Argentina, Chile and the Falkland Islands. “The more people learn and read about them, the greater their passion will before wanting to help,” said Rick LoBello, education curation for the El Paso Zoo. “We want people to be emotionally invested and passionate about the animals here.”

A dozen penguins will be part of a South American exhibit, set to open in 2020, officials said.

Federal moves to rein in wild horses raising concerns for the American West

By Dan Ross, FairWarning.org

Wild horses have long been an evocative symbol of the American West. When wild horses and burros were threatened with extinction nearly 50 years ago, Congress rode to the rescue with a law providing broad protections. Horse numbers have soared, however, along with government costs to manage the herds. And the animals increasingly compete with privately owned livestock for food and water on public lands—a conflict worsened by climate change. There is broad agreement that something has to give.

Mexican Gray Wolf slowly making its way back to Texas

Four decades ago, Rick LoBello discovered his life’s passion as he watched several wildlife experts capture an endangered Mexican wolf in South Texas for a preservation project. “When I saw one of the last wild Mexican wolves in 1978 I began my quest to help save the species and to help return it to the wilds of Texas,” said LoBello, educational curator at the El Paso Zoo. At the height of its time, the Mexican Gray Wolf could be seen in abundant numbers. According to the Gray Wolf Conservation, between 250,000 and 500,000 wild wolves lived in harmony with Native Americans. “Not many people know this, but the last Mexican wolf in Texas was actually killed near Big Bend National Park which was near where I lived.”

Disease that is killing bats making its way through Texas, heading west towards Carlsbad Caverns

More than seven million hibernating bats were killed by a disease known as white-nose syndrome in 2006 and the disease shows no sign of abating, threatening Texas bats, officials said. Area bats, which play an important role in our society eating pesky insects and pollinating plants, have not caught the disease. However, bats in Central Texas have shown signs of the disease lately, said Rick LoBello, educational curator at the El Paso Zoo. The disease “travels about 200 miles a year,” said Rod Horrocks, a cave management specialist at Carlsbad Caverns National Park said. It is inevitable area bats will contract the disease in coming years, LoBello said.

El Paso Water works to encourage restaurants to conserve with its seal of approval

El Paso Water has been working on conservation programs for residents for nearly 20 years. Since the start of the initiative in the 1990s, per capita consumption has been reduced by over 20 percent, according to research by the utility. Although EPW said every resident’s conservation effort is important, the companyt is now concentrating conservation efforts on encouraging restaurants and businesses to reduce their water use. “We found that about 15 percent of the water use from the commercial sector comes from hospitality and the food service industry,” Christina Montoya, communications and marketing manager for El Paso Water, said. In May of 2017, Montoya and her team developed the idea to recognize restaurants that have been successful in conservation by deeming them as Certified Water Partners.

China’s tougher recycling laws put squeeze on Borderland’s blue bins

El Pasoans are mixing too much trash with their curbside recycling, so officers from the city’s Environmental Services Department are checking bins to insure residents are in compliance. The crackdown comes as recycling costs have skyrocketed due to contaminated materials. Last year China, which is considered the world’s largest consumer of recyclables, told the World Trade Organization that it no longer will accept any sub-standard solid waste, including soiled popular recyclable items like plastic and paper. The new policy went into effect on Jan. 1 and is having a big impact on U.S. recyclers.

UTEP professor’s new book recounts adventures in the Congo and work on species extinction

With his shaved head and graying goatee and loads of adventures to relate, UTEP professor and geneticist Eli Greenbaum resembles a modern-day Indiana Jones. He has survived two major expeditions to the Congo, several bouts of malaria and been confronted by machine-gun totting tribal villagers. His work over the last 10 years has been focused on researching how to repopulate the decreasing amphibian and reptilian population of the African nation. “There was this one area (of the Congo) where I went to a really remote place and the local tribe thought I had come to drink their blood,” said the 6-foot-tall professor who is in his late 30’s. His experiences in the field are soon to be public knowledge with an about-to-be released book about his work and experiences in the Congo.

Riding through change

By Laura Montelongo

Throughout the past few years downtown El Paso has experienced many transformations as a community. Many people overlook the fact that even though construction is taking over the area, there is a popular biking movement. Taking a turn down the road of Downtown El Paso, we notice the many beneficial things our city has to offer the community is palpable. In September of 2015, Bcycle started their company with a total of 80 bikes and eight stations to place all 80 bikes. The development of bike usage has increased drastically from June 2015 to June of 2016 receiving one thousand participants, and is constantly increasing today.