It is spring, and it is Hoo Havens busy time of year. The calls are coming in on a regular basis about injured wildlife and orphaned babies. Just as a reminder, Mother Earth belongs to all of us, and we are supposed to be good caretakers. Some of us do very well, but many fall short. Throughout the year, Hoo provides many educational programs, and I am pleased to say most of the kids get it. I can only hope they can teach their parents what they have learned.
We must all be respectful of our natural resources and remember they are for everyone. Trees, especially, are important as they provide homes to animals and birds, give us much-needed shade, fresh fruits and nuts, and oxygen to breathe. Trees help farmers stop erosion if they leave them along fencerows. Trees enable hawks and owls to enforce rodent control for those crops. People often ask why hawks are feeding at their birdfeeders. First, we have selfishly bulldozed large areas of trees and replaced their hunting fields and forests with buildings, homes and roads. They are simply trying to survive in an urbanized environment.
We must remember the 10 percent rule. If we take land for a project, we must give 10 percent back to nature. That is, leave those huge trees and work around them, put in ponds and prairies and replenish all the wildlife homes you are taking away. Beautify shopping areas so you not only put back, you also increase profits as people shop longer and enjoy the atmosphere. We need to find ways to recycle those ghost town malls, empty storefronts, restaurants, etc. Building new sites and moving out is not the answer. Progress is neither good nor bad, however, it should have check and balances. The Earth does not belong to the few who wish to eat up all land in their way to profit.
Finally, when our natural resources are gone, we cannot make more. Remember, everything comes with a price. Housing developments, shopping malls, etc., cost us dearly. Lets learn like the children to reuse, reduce and recycle old box stores, professional buildings, homes and malls instead of creating more. In so doing, we will preserve the natural environment and allow the wildlife to survive in a more natural habitat.
Karen M. Herdklotz, RN/WLR, is co-founder of Hoo Haven Wildlife Rehabilitation & Education Center.
From the June 14-20, 2006, issue