Renowned trail specialist to teach DFLT volunteers
The art of building sustainable trails

February 25, 2009

Dennis Smith is donating services to build two trails in Jewel of the Creek Preserve. More than two dozen volunteers will learn how to build a trail using hand-constructed tools, such as a McCloud (a hoe with a rake on the other side used for digging and cleaning), regular rakes, and a Pulaski (a hoe with an ax on the other side used for digging and chopping small roots). Volunteers will also learn why soil grading is important, how to build a trail so that water does not erode it, and how to create trails that are both fun to hike and safe.

What: Desert Foothills Land Trust (DFLT) volunteers will learn the art of building sustainable trails from one of the nation's leading trail specialists, Dennis Smith.

When: Saturday afternoon, Feb. 28 (call for details).
Location: The beautiful Jewel of the Creek, a 27-acre preserve with three distinct plant communities; Sonoran Desert Upland, Mesquite Bosque and Riparian. This property holds one of the last perennial streams in Maricopa County.

Why: The new trails will connect to a new trail in the Spur Cross Conservation Area and offer more options to enjoy both the Jewel of the Creek and Spur Cross. The trails run parallel with the creek.

Dennis Smith: With more than 25 years of trail-building experience, Dennis Smith is one of some 75 trail specialists licensed by the Professional Trail Builders Association. He has worked in nine states and considers his work to be both an art and a science. In Arizona alone, he has built four trails for the City of Scottsdale's McDowell Mountain Preserve; worked on trails for the Town of Cave Creek, cities of Mesa, Fountain Hills and Peoria, and Maricopa County. He recently completed road scar rehabilitation for Desert Foothills Land Trust in the Sincuidados community in North Scottsdale. His generous donation of services to teach DFLT volunteers is valued at nearly $5,000.

Food Allergies On The Rise In Millions Of Kids

February 25, 2009

SPM Wire – It seems that every school today is filled with kids who are allergic to the basic foods of childhood – from peanuts to eggs to milk. And while the problem may not be as widespread as it seems, it's only getting worse.

The number of young people who had a food or digestive allergy increased 18 percent between 1997 and 2007, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report found that eight types of food account for 90 percent of all food allergies: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat. Reactions to these foods by an allergic person can range from a tingling sensation around the mouth and lips, to hives and even death, depending on the severity of the reaction.

Children with food allergy are two to four times more likely to have other related conditions such as asthma and other allergies, compared to children without food allergies, the report said.

The findings were published in a new data brief, entitled "Food Allergy Among U.S. Children: Trends in Prevalence and Hospitalizations." The data are from the National Health Interview Survey and the National Hospital Discharge Survey, both conducted by CDC's National Center for Health Statistics.

The researchers made some significant findings:
* Boys and girls had similar rates of food allergy – 3.8 percent for boys and 4.1 percent for girls.
* Approximately 4.7 percent of children younger than five years had a reported food allergy compared to 3.7 percent of children and teens aged five to 17 years.
* Hispanic children had lower rates of reported food allergy (3.1 percent) than non-Hispanic white (4.1 percent) or non-Hispanic black children (four percent.)
* In 2007, 29 percent of children with food allergy also had reported asthma compared to 12 percent of children without food allergy.
* Approximately 27 percent of children with food allergy had reported eczema or skin allergy, compared to eight percent of children without food allergy.
* Over 30 percent of children with food allergy also had reported respiratory allergy, compared with nine percent of children with no food allergy.
* From 2004 to 2006, there were approximately 9,537 hospital discharges per year with a diagnosis related to food allergy among children from birth to 17 years. Hospital discharges with a diagnosis related to food allergy increased significantly over time between 1998-2000 through 2004-2006.

The mechanisms by which a person develops an allergy to specific foods are largely unknown. Food allergy is more prevalent in children than adults. Most affected children will outgrow food allergies say experts, although food allergy can be a lifelong concern.
The full report is available at