Chipper the Dog Sets a High Bar for Recycling

MARY JO DILONARDO | MNN |

Not long after Katie Pollak adopted Chipper in Mesa, Arizona, the puppy showed an interest in bettering the environment. Actually, he just liked playing with plastic bottles when he found them on walks.

“He was always eager to pick them up!” Pollack tells MNN. “Because of his interest, I began encouraging and rewarding his ability to pick up and carry water bottles. I would celebrate and give him treats each time he would offer to pick up a bottle. Then it stuck, and became our thing!”

Chipper the recycling dog with backpack of trash

Quinci joins Chipper on all his adventures. (Photo: Katie Pollak)

Now 8 years old, Chipper has developed a passion for the outdoors and for picking up trash. He, Pollak and her other pup, Quinci, are often found in nature.

“We go out a few times a week. Sometimes we go out with the intention of cleaning up an area,” she says. “Other times we’re just out for a hike or paddle, but always carrying bags with us to clean up any trash we come across.”

If the trash is in the water, Chipper will swim out to get it. (Photo: Katie Pollak)

Pollak and her dogs often meet up with friends to do organized cleanups in the area.

Chipper has become a bit of a celebrity for his recycling efforts. He’s well known in the community, and more than 31,000 people follow Pollak on Instagram to keep track of his adventures. The pair recently even made an appearance on the “Today” show.

Sometimes Chipper finds other interesting castoffs. (Photo: Katie Pollak)

Chipper doesn’t limit himself to plastic bottles. He picks up whatever trash he finds, including cans, discarded clothes and the occasional old shoe.

Chipper has helped Pollak spread the word about protecting the environment. (Photo: Katie Pollak)

Pollak says Chipper’s interest has sparked her own.

“I am very passionate about the environment and wildlife. I believe it is our responsibility to protect it, to keep it safe and preserved for future generations,” she says. “I love that Chipper has inspired me, to put even more of a focus on this issue. We do our best to spread the word and encourage others to at least take notice of the problem, so we can all work together to overcome it.”

Chipper swims back with a bottle he found. (Photo: Katie Pollak)

Chipper — who Pollak describes as “a mixed breed with a pure heart” — always has his buddy Quinci along for moral support.

The recycling pup seems to enjoy the spotlight.

“Chipper is handling fame much better than I am!” Pollak says. “He loves the attention that comes with it.”

Chipper always does his part to contribute to community cleanups, bringing his contributions to the pile. (Photo: Katie Pollak)

Mary Jo DiLonardo writes about everything from health to parenting — and anything that helps explain why her dog does what he does.


SurvivaGuard -100% of Every Single Essential Vitamin Plus NutriPrep for More Energy, Greater Endurance, and  Enhanced Mental Clarity. Be Ready for Any Adventure. Learn more>

The U.S. Was Just Ranked the Best Country in the World for Wildlife Travel — Here Are the Top Spots to Visit

TALIA AVAKIAN 

SEPTEMBER 15, 2018 –

Tour company True Luxury Travel has created a Global Wildlife Index to rank the best countries for wildlife tourism based on factors including wildlife biodiversity, conservation efforts, and the prevalence of national parks.

The index ranked the United States as number one, thanks to the country’s impressive system of national parks (60 in total) as well as the number of natural history museums (more than 750). For travelers looking to get closer to nature, there’s no shortage of options around the U.S.

The country’s first national park, Yellowstone, is home to rare wildlife like gray wolves, black bears, and grizzly bears. At South Dakota’s Badlands National Park, bison are known to roam right around the campgrounds, at Montana’s Glacier National Park, visitors will find a large population of white mountain goats; and at Death Valley National Park, the mesquite trees of the park’s Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes hide a variety of wildlife.

Southern Florida is the only U.S. destination where you’ll find both crocodiles and alligators in the wild. Everglades National Park has both — as well as manatees, more than 300 bird species, and more than 700 plant species.

In Alaska’s Denali National Park, visitors can observe caribou in the wild; in Florida, beachgoers can see loggerhead sea turtles come to nest; and in San Diego, the sea lions in La Jolla always draw a crowd.

The Megafauna Conservation Index also ranked the U.S. as first in the world for its conservation efforts. The index measures countries based on the proportion of land occupied by mega-fauna species, the proportion of the range of the species strictly protected in each country, and the amount of money spent on conservation. 

Travel & Leisure article

Who says animals don’t have a sense of humor?

JACQUELINE GULLEDGE 

September 17, 2018, 12:46 p.m. – Mother Nature Network:

From a smiling shark to an elephant playing in the dirt and a whole bunch of bears dancing the tango, this year’s Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards finalists are sure to put a smile on your face.

These 41 IMAGES were selected out of thousands of submissions from around the world. While the photos are whimsical, the competition also has a serious message. The photography contest maintains a partnership with Born Free Foundation, an international nonprofit organization that is “working tirelessly to ensure that all wild animals, whether living in captivity or in the wild, are treated with compassion and respect. We work across the world to preserve and protect wildlife in its natural habitat — finding Compassionate Conservation solutions so that humans and wildlife can co-exist peacefully.”

For the first time, the competition has opened up one category, the Affinity Photo People’s Choice Award, for a public vote. Anyone can vote online for their favorite.

On Nov. 15, one of the images listed here will be announced as the grand prize winner, and all of these photographs will be published in The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards Vol. 2 book to be released in October.