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Superfund Success Story: Toxic Site Now Welcomes Walkers

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A wood-treating process for telephone poles that caused soil and groundwater contamination prompted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to designate 47 acres in Bellingham, Washington, as a Superfund site in 1997. The cleanup, including removal of 28,000 tons of contaminated soil to a repository, reestablishment of a natural stream and restoring wetlands, is now complete, with walking and bicycling paths, newly planted native trees and wetland shrubs, and returning birdlife. The Oeser Company, which cooperated with the cleanup, has operated at the site since 1943 and continues to do so.
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Global Brief: Natural Thinking Spending Time in Nature Increases Cognitive Performance
More of our time is spent indoors than ever before. One of the ways by which nature may improve cognitive function (i.e. the acquisition of and goal-oriented use of knowledge) is by improving memory formation and recall, specifically that of short-term or working memory, and goal-oriented or directed attention; the kind that requires focused effort. By comparing and contrasting 13 studies, a team of researchers has shed light on this complex interaction in research published in Frontiers in Psychology. The studies used the backwards digit span task, which requires participants to invert a series of numbers and repeat them back. All demonstrated significantly improved cognition in nature as compared to urban environments. The benefits of studies like this are two-fold: not only are we learning more about how the brain interacts with its environment, but also how to leverage this interaction to lead healthier, more productive and happier lives.
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