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Golf Course Soon to Be Restored to Wildlife Habitat

Need proof that golf courses can be closed and restored to wildlife habitat? The Trust for Public Land just did it at the Ocean Meadows Golf Course in Goleta, CA.

40 years after wetlands were destroyed to create Ocean Meadows Golf Course, the wetlands are being restored. Under the leadership of the Trust for Public Land and many supporters, the golf course in Santa Barbara County will soon return to its unique natural habitat.

The restored wetland will provide habitat for wildlife; recreational opportunities for adults and children; and educational programs for students in the surrounding area.


The soon-to-be-restored Ocean Meadows Golf Course.

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Tailgaters Make a Big Bang at Sharp Park Golf Course

In May, tailgaters from Save the Frogs! and Wild Equity Institute made a big impact drumming for frogs at Sharp Park Golf Course while golfers held an anti-endangered species event at the golf course clubhouse.

Protesters occupying Sharp Park(ing lot) prevailed in numbers. While drumbeats echoed throughout the golf course, the key message did too: In order to protect endangered species, Sharp Park Golf Course must be closed and transformed into a new national park. See pictures from the successful turnout.

Interested in organizing your own event for the frogs? Click here for tips from Save the Frogs! on how to make it happen.


Michael Starkey of Save the Frogs! leads the tailgate drumming.

Tailgaters for Endangered Species Outshine Golf Bailout Supporters

On May 19 over 35 tailgaters for endangered species converged on Sharp Park Golf Course’s parking lot to protest an outrageous ‘celebration’ of the endangered species-killing, money losing Sharp Park Golf Course. With their message of drumming for frogs and occupying Sharp Park(ing lot), the tailgaters ate good food, played some interesting beats, and enjoyed good company, all while explaining to the media and the public why Sharp Park Golf Course should be closed and the land transformed into a new national park everyone can enjoy.

Below are a few photos of the event. Thanks to Save the Frogs! for organizing!






May 19: Sunflower Hike and Tailgate for Frogs!

The Wild Equity Institute is excited about two events this Saturday, May 19, and we hope you are too!

In the morning we’ll be offering a special trip to view the San Mateo Woolly Sunflower on normally inaccessible San Francisco Public Utilities Commission watershed lands. In the afternoon we’ll be joining Save the Frogs! at a tailgate celebration for endangered species in Sharp Park Golf Course’s parking lot! Join us for both— let us know if you’d like to carpool. Details below:

  • Tailgate & Drum for Endangered Species, Occupy Sharp Park(ing lot)!—Saturday, May 19, 4:30 p.m. — Join Save the Frogs! at Sharp Park Golf Course’s parking lot to tailgate and drum for endangered species and help occupy Sharp Park(ing lot)! That’s right: Save the Frogs! is occupying Sharp Park Golf Course’s parking lot, and we will all eat, drink, be merry, and express our love for endangered species and better public parks—*loudly and clearly so everyone knows that killing endangered species to play a game is wrong.* Bring food and drink to share if you like, and all your friends who stand with the “underfrog”! RSVP today using the Save the Frogs! Google Document or at the Tailgate’s Facebook page. If you can get there early to help organize or want to carpool, contact us and we’ll get you started. Get driving and transit directions to Sharp Park Golf Course here.

Dr. Douglas Bevington Joins Wild Equity Institute's Board of Directors

We are excited to announce that Dr. Douglas Bevington has joined the Wild Equity Institute’s Board of Directors. He is replacing Stan Kaufman, who served on our Board since 2009 and developed wildequity.org.


Dr. Douglas Bevington

Dr. Bevington is the Forest Program Director for Environment Now, a grantmaking foundation in California. He has a PhD in sociology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he taught courses on social movement studies. He is the author of The Rebirth of Environmentalism: Grassroots Activism from the Spotted Owl to the Polar Bear (Island Press, 2009), which explores how grassroots forest and wildlife protection groups have made a big impact on federal environmental policies in the U.S. over the past twenty years. He also serves on the board of directors of the Fund for Wild Nature, which helps provide resources to bold and effective grassroots groups: such as WEI!

Welcome Doug, we look forward to working with you as we build a healthy and sustainable global community for all!

Wild Equity Meets the Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal covered the Wild Equity Institute in a new article about the money-losing, endangered species-killing Sharp Park Golf Course.

Titled Big Wedge Over Sharp Park’s Future, the article describes how Sharp Park is run-down and in ill repair, and the opportunities to transform it into a better public park everyone can enjoy.

Check out the article yourself today, then add your comments here at wildequity.org or at the Wall Street Journal’s website.

Sharp Park Gives Golf a Bad Name


Flyer courtesy of Save the Frogs! and Golfers Against Sharp Park ("GASP").
Download a copy of this flyer and give it to golfers you know and love.

May 19: Tailgate & Drum for Frogs, Occupy Sharp Park(ing lot)!

Join Us May 19, 4:30pm, Sharp Park Golf Course:
Tailgate & Drum for Frogs, Occupy Sharp Park(ing lot)!

Golf purists have announced they’ll celebrate the endangered species-killing, money-losing Sharp Park Golf Course with a $150 golf tournament on May 19th.

That’s right: they intend to celebrate a golf course that robs resources from San Francisco’s neighborhood parks and has brought two endangered species to the brink of localized extinction.

If that’s the most absurd celebration you’ve ever heard of, you aren’t alone: and that’s why we want you to join Save the Frogs! on May 19 at 4:30 p.m. at Sharp Park Golf Course’s parking lot for a fun, free tailgate for endangered species. Save the Frogs! will have food and drink, drums to play, and outdoor education activities for you and your family to enjoy at the nearby Mori Point National Park: which will one day expand to include Sharp Park, creating a more accessible and sustainable public park that everyone can enjoy!


A San Francisco garter snake killed by golf course mowers; California red-legged frog egg mass killed by golf course wetland draining.

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Wild Equity Ties Antioch and SF Communities, Conservation Struggles Together

The Wild Equity Institute and the Wilderness Arts & Literacy Collaborative ("WALC") at Downtown High School recently completed another successful Endangered Species Big Semester by helping students explore the Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge, learn how environmental justice victories in San Francisco are linked to a fossil fuel power plant construction boom in Antioch, and take action to help the Refuge’s endangered species recover.


WALC students remove invasive weeds at the Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge.
Invasive weed growth is exacerbated by pollution from power plants that ring the Dunes.

Successful environmental justice campaigns in San Francisco led to the closure of two power plants in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill and Bayview-Hunters Point communities since 2006. In part to recoup the power lost when these power plants closed, the California Energy Commission approved five power plants, all ringing the Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge. The concentration of power plants in this location threatens community health and three endangered species found at the Refuge. The Wild Equity Institute is bringing environmental justice advocates and grassroots conservation organizations together to challenge this massive power plant expansion.

On WALC’s third and final trip of the Endangered Species Big Semester, students connected our successful struggles for conservation and environmental justice in San Francisco with the new fossil fuel power plants in Antioch, observed endangered species threatened by this proposal, and then took action to help these species recover.

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5/5, High Noon: Join Us for "Turbulent Blue" at Crissy Field

Join the Center for Biological Diversity, San Francisco Bay Chapter of the Sierra Club, Wild Equity Institute, Pacific Institute and others as we “connect the dots” between global warming, sea-level rise, and the impacts on communities, animals and plants in a dramatic, interactive human wave at San Francisco’s restored tidal marsh Crissy Field, in the Presidio under the iconic Golden Gate Bridge.

RSVP at 350.org. Get transit directions and precise location information here.

Wear blue and bring a pair of blue jeans, a blue T-shirt or blue sheet. The wave of blue we’ll create together will dramatically illustrate sea-level rise, as well as the more frequent and severe storms, storm surges and erosion that we can expect at places like Crissy Field — unless we can start slowing climate change now. We’ll even be filmed!

The event will also feature impact “dots” — “dot” being our word for an informative poster — which will represent impacts and solutions. The “impact dots” will share facts about climate impacts on people and other species here in the Bay, including threats posed by sea-level rise, erosion and ocean acidification. Our “action/solution dots” will identify actions that can help us avoid these impacts — cutting carbon in our atmosphere by stopping the Keystone XL pipeline and Arctic drilling plans, enforcing the Clean Air Act, and restoring Sharp Park.

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Judge Cites Evidence Sharp Park Golf Course Is Harming Endangered Frogs

April 26, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contacts:

Brent Plater, Wild Equity Institute, (415) 572-6989
Jeff Miller, Center for Biological Diversity, (415) 669-7357
Arthur Feinstein, Sierra Club, (415) 680-0643

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Tax Season Blues? Donate to the Wild Equity Institute Today!

What would your rather do: give your money to the government, or to the causes you care most about? With tax deadlines fast approaching, we suspect many of you might choose the latter!

Fortunately the Wild Equity Institute makes it easy for you to contribute to our work, and get a tax break while you are at it. All while building a better world for people and the plants and animals that accompany us on Earth!

Make a generous contribution to the Wild Equity Institute today and get a head-start on next year’s tax deductions. We promise we won’t spend a dime of your hard-earned money on foreign wars, corn syrup subsides, or bridges to nowhere—a promise you know the other guys can’t keep! There are many ways you can contribute:

Become a Member of the Wild Equity Institute.

  • Become a member now with a credit card or a PayPal account:
  • Download a membership form and mail it to: Wild Equity Institute PO Box 191695 San Francisco, CA 94119

Become a Monthly Donor.

The best way to sustain our organization is to become a monthly donor. Monthly donations allow us to spend less time fundraising and more time building a healthy and sustainable community for all.

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New Infographic Tells Sharp Park Story

Stalwart Wild Equity Institute member Eric Mixon created this new infographic to cut through the hype and tell the true story of the money-losing, endangered species-killing Sharp Park Golf Course. Download a high-resolution copy and share it with everyone you know—and even those you don’t!

Wild Equity, Mission Beacon & WALC Tackle Big Year

In 2012, the Wild Equity Institute is partnering with Downtown High School’s Wilderness, Arts, & Literacy Collaborative and the Mission Beacon Center at Everett Middle School to help at-risk youth discover the connections between the plights facing their communities and the plight of our local endangered species.


WALC’s Catherine Salvin helps students with their field journals
during an Endangered Semester trip to Mori Point.


Wild Equity Institute Executive Director Brent Plater helps Mission Beacon
students find Western Snowy Plovers at Ocean Beach.

The joint project is called “Endangered Semester,” an off-shoot of the Wild Equity Institute’s signature education project, the Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year. Generously supported by Audubon/Toyota TogetherGreen, the California Wildlands Grassroots Fund of the Tides Foundation, and Patagonia SF, the project provides students from these schools with opportunities to see and help save endangered species in the field, while earning prizes for learning how to communicate with public officials, make sustainable and healthy lifestyle choices, and take ownership of their local green spaces and parks.

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Mission Blues Flying Now; Log a Sighting & Win a Prize!

Informal reports from several locations suggest that the Mission Blue Butterfly is flying in the GGNRA right now. That means it’s the right time for Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year participants to score points in the year-long competition to see and save the park’s endangered species.

To give you an extra incentive, the Wild Equity Institute is offering a $25 Sports Basement gift certificate to the first person who logs a GGNP sighting of the Mission Blue on our website!


Mission Blue Butterfly, © Margo Bors.

The Mission Blue is a small, quarter-sized butterfly. Males are characterized by dark-bordered, silver blue to violet blue upper wings, while females have brown upper-wings with blue traces. The species flies from March until mid-June, but an adult Mission Blue Butterfly only lives for 6-10 days, so the time for observing any one individual is short. It uses one of three species of perennial lupines as a host plant: the silver lupine (Lupinus albifrons) the Lindley varied lupine (L. variicolor) and the summer lupine (L. formosus). Sometimes the butterfly makes it easy to spot: the species has the unique behavior of actually sitting on its lupine host for a while.

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New Study Adds Urgency to Eliminating Nitrogen Emissions in Antioch

A recent, well-publicized study suggests that cost-effective methods for eradicating invasive weeds may harm the Lange’s metalmark butterfly, adding urgency to the Wild Equity Institute’s efforts to eliminate the underlying cause of weed growth in the species’ habitat: nitrogen deposition from power plants in the vicinity of the species’ last stand at the Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge.

Effects of Herbicides on Behr’s Metalmark Butterfly, a Surrogate Species for the Endangered Butterfly, Lange’s Metalmark, published in the journal Environmental Pollution by two Washington State University entomologists and a US Fish and WIldlife Service scientist, assessed the effects on butterfly larvae of three herbicides — chemicals that are intended only to impact plants. They studied a near relative of the Lange’s metalmark butterfly. The authors applied the herbicides directly onto butterfly larvae and recorded survivorship. They found that the chemicals reduced by 1/4 to 1/3 the number of larvae surviving to pupal stage — and thus the number of healthy adults.


Nitrogen emissions from facilities like the Gateway Generating Station, above, may spell the end for three endangered species
(L-R): the Antioch Dunes evening primrose, the Lange’s metalmark butterfly, and the Contra Costa wallflower.

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Will the GGNRA Learn Pet Management Lessons from SoCal?

In a rapid response to poor pet management, the Rancho Palos Verde city council closed its pilot off-leash dog beach a mere two months after it was created.

The beach, illegally used for off-leash dog walking despite city ordinances prohibiting dogs on beaches and golf courses, was opened in February to accommodate demands for free off-leash dog access. Unsurprisingly, the lack of restrictions unleashed a massive influx of dogs from all over Los Angeles county, where there are only two other beaches that allow dogs. “Frankly,” said Councilwoman Susan Brooks, “it was like Woodstock for dogs. This is not the space, not the place.”

Mayor Steve Wolowitz supported the decision to close the park and “cited an ‘intimidation factor’ presented by some animals, possible dangerous encounters between dogs and children, and the responsibility of the city to step in when ‘interests of a limited group conflict with the public at large.’”

The contested beach lies below the Ocean Trails Ecological Reserve, a spectacular area very similar to San Francisco’s Fort Funston in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The beach continues past the Trump National Golf Course.

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Partnership with Patagonia SF Makes a World of Difference

The Wild Equity Institute works with dozens of partners, but one of our most beneficent is Patagonia’s San Francisco store. Over the past year the store gave us several grants for our work, and its customers elected us their Voice Your Choice Grand Prize winner in 2011.



Clockwise from top left: Wild Equity Institute volunteers Mark Russell and Erica Ely used Patagonia gear to find endangered species in need of protection; Roxy Ramirez used her Patagonia gear helping us organize support for our campaigns; Zindy won a Patagonia Jacket through the Endangered Species Big Year; and Natasha Dunn helped us convince the Board of Supervisors to restore Sharp Park.

Their support has also helped our volunteers in a variety of ways. Patagonia’s product donations have helped our volunteers stay warm and dry, indoors and out, as we’ve campaigned for a healthy and sustainable world for people and the plants and animals that accompany us on Earth. We can’t thank the Patagonia store enough for all their support, but we hope these photos of our wonderful volunteers in their amazing Patagonia gear are a good start!

If you are interested in supporting our work, you can contribute online in a variety of ways. You can become a member, give a gift membership, obtain matching grants from your employer, volunteer, donate office items or other products, and even go solar with Sungevity while supporting our work. Thanks for all you do!

Wonder What it's Like Working with Wild Equity?

Winning campaigns and building a movement isn’t always easy. But we can make it rewarding. At the Wild Equity Institute, we strive to make our internships and campaigns vigorous and inspiring. But don’t take our word for it: you can hear what some of our past interns and students have to say about working with the Wild Equity Institute’s Executive Director Brent Plater in this short, super sweet video. Then apply for your internship right away!

As Taxpayer Golf Bailout Continues, More Politicians Side With Restoring Sharp Park

Last year the Wild Equity Institute helped pass legislation to restore Sharp Park, only to see it vetoed by the Mayor. But the veto only made the campaign stronger as evidence continues to mount against the money losing, endangered species-killing golf course.

Indeed, in her first vote after being appointed to the Board of Supervisors by the Mayor, Supervisor Christina Olague sided with a majority of the Board to overturn the Mayor’s veto, solidifying our majority at the Board.

And conservation organizations from around the country have rallied to our cause, from the National Wildlife Federation to Change.org, petitioning the Mayor to reverse his veto. We were enjoying a sample of the eloquent responses from our supporters when Save the Frogs! announced it would make restoring Sharp Park the centerpiece of Save the Frogs Day 2012!

And this was before Sharp Park closed another fiscal year in the red draining over $126,000 from declining recreation budgets, and was caught killing California red-legged frogs—again—this winter.

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March 17, 10am: Search for Twain's Frog and the Beautiful Serpent

The Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year is off to a rapid start, with students and members of the public competing to see and save our local endangered species. This weekend we’ll search and help save two of the most imperiled species of all: the San Francisco garter snake and the California red-legged frog. Join us for a great hike in a gorgeous place and guaranteed wildlife sightings!

  • Twain’s Frog and the Beautiful Serpent—Saturday, March 17, 2012 10:00 am to 12:00 pm: Join Brent Plater of the Wild Equity Institute to search for two of the most imperiled vertebrate species on the San Francisco peninsula: the California red-legged frog and the San Francisco garter snake. This will be a leisurely walk to enjoy the restoration work being conducted at Mori Point and to learn about the bold steps being taken to save both species from the brink of extinction. RSVP required: please use this website to RSVP. Meet at the Mori Point Entrance Gate, at the intersection of Bradford Way and Mori Point Road, Pacifica, CA, 94044. Rain or Shine. Part of the Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year, a competitive event to help endangered species recover.

Sharp Park Golf Course Caught Killing Endangered Frogs, Tampering With Evidence

March 5, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contacts:

Brent Plater, Wild Equity Institute, (415) 572-6989
Jeff Miller, Center for Biological Diversity, (415) 669-7357
Arthur Feinstein, Sierra Club, (415) 680-0643

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Feb. 25, Noon: Life's a Beach: Searching for Western Snowy Plovers

The GGNP Endangered Species Big Year is in full swing, and we’re helping you compete this weekend by leading a trip to see and help save the diminutive Western Snowy Plover at Ocean Beach! Come join us as we search for these little guys and learn how we can all take part in the species’ recovery. See you outside!

Saturday, February 25, 2012, 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm: Join Brent Plater of the Wild Equity Institute as we take a leisurely walk from the San Francisco Zoo to Ocean Beach searching for the threatened snowy plovers. Once we reach Ocean Beach we’ll head north observing wildlife and searching for these cryptic birds. RSVP required: please use this website to RSVP. Meet at the San Francisco Zoo Parking Lot Entrance on Sloat Blvd., near the Great Highway, San Francisco 94132. Bring a lunch. Free. Rain Cancels. Part of the Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year, a competitive event to help endangered species recover.

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The Wild Equity Institute Partners with the San Francisco Green Film Festival

The Wild Equity Institute is a partner of the 2nd annual San Francisco Green Film Festival, which runs March 1-7, 2012. This year’s Green Film Festival includes premieres of 40 international films focused on the environment, sustainability and other green issues, as well as many filmmakers and panel discussions.

WEI is honored to co-present the film Green Fire by local filmmakers Ann and Steven Dunsky, who also created the film Butterflies and Bulldozers. Green Fire looks into the life of Aldo Leopold, one of our greatest and influential conservation heroes.

“The first full-length documentary film ever made about legendary environmentalist Aldo Leopold, Green Fire highlights Leopold’s extraordinary career, tracing how he shaped and influenced the modern environmental movement. Leopold remains relevant today, inspiring projects all over the country that connect people and land.” http://www.greenfiremovie.com/

Aldo Leopold’s vision of humanity’s relationship with wilderness and his work in conservation has influenced many and connects with WEI’s mission to unite the grassroot conservation and environmental justice movements in campaigns that build a healthy and sustainable global community for people and the plants and animals that accompany us on Earth.

Join the Wild Equity Institute for Green Fire, showing March 5, 2012 at 5:30pm, and many other wonderful films at the San Francisco Green Film Festival. Also, check out the festival’s new Action Steps resources. The festival is located at the San Francisco Film Society Cinema, 1746 Post Street, San Francisco, CA 94115. See you there!

Make Your Tax-Deductible Contribution to WEI Today!

2011 was an inauspicious year for the Bay Area’s environmental and justice movements. Park and community service budgets were slashed, and environmentally destructive developments were green-lighted by public officials around San Francisco Bay.

But I know we can reverse this trend if you join the Wild Equity Institute today. On the ground, in the courts, and at City Hall, the Wild Equity Institute succeeded against great odds in 2011. Over 70 different media outlets recognized our efforts this year; Audubon and Toyota gave me one of five prestigious TogetherGreen environmental fellowships in California; and the Sierra Club’s Arthur Feinstein observed that our turnout for the restore Sharp Park campaign was “one of the largest the environmental community has ever generated in San Francisco.”


Supervisor John Avalos Helped Us Convince
the Board of Supervisors to Restore Sharp Park

We’ve built an effective organization. But we’re not here to build an organization: we’re building a powerful movement that scales-up to the massive environmental threats we face. A movement that creates a healthy and sustainable global community for people and the plants and animals that accompany us on Earth.

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Urban National Parks Go International

A Huffington Post article by Dr. David Suzuki indicates that Canada is jumping on the Golden Gate National Parks bandwagon by creating the country’s first national park in an urban area.

The announcement follows a report that recommended national park status for the area outside of Toronto to protect its important recreational and biological values—right next door to Canada’s largest metropolis.

Canada’s act is a reminder that the GGNP was ahead of its time in bestowing national park status on urban areas with incredible biological and recreational resources. It is also notice that our work isn’t over—national parks can still be developed and created right here in the Bay Area near our urban core. And in many ways, it is these areas that deserve national parks the most—they are the most accessible to the most people and often protect lands that are in the most need of a little TLC.

Huzzah for Canada! And long live the Golden Gate National Parks!

12/22 SF Chronicle Features Brent Plater and the Big Year

Click either page for a .pdf download:

Mayor Lee Rejects Sharp National Park, Pushes Back-room Golf Development Deal

December 20, 2011

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:

Brent Plater, Wild Equity Institute, (415) 572-6989
Kerry Kriger, Save the Frogs, (831) 600-5442
Arthur Feinstein, Sierra Club, (415) 680-0643

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Lawsuit Launched Challenging Massive Power Plant Expansion in Northern California

December 20, 2011

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contacts:

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Federal Agency Rejects San Francisco's Sharp Park Plans

December 16, 2011

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contacts:

Brent Plater, Wild Equity Institute, (415) 572-6989
Arthur Feinstein, Sierra Club, 415-680-0643
Neal Desai, National Parks Conservation Association, (510) 368-0845

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