Love the Pretty Ones

26 06 2015

A few months ago we had the opportunity to educate and meet hundreds of people at the Arcade Trade Fair. This event is always a great chance to make new contacts and talk to people in our own neighborhood about the wonders of nature.

This year at the trade fair I was standing at our display with a red tailed hawk on my arm next to another Naturalist with a barred owl on their arm. We were both busy talking to the guests at the Fair about our respective birds, enjoying teaching about their roles in the environment. Suddenly a comment came from the well dressed, seemingly intelligent older gentleman that made me take a step back. As he and his wife were delighted to be so close to the beautiful owl, the gentleman turned to me, looked at Orion and said “The only mistake they made when they protected these owls is that they also protected those guys” pointing to the hawk.

A bit astonsihed at the comment, I had to ask where such a negative comment came from. “One of them eagles took out one of my calfs last year. If it was legal I would have shot the #%&*@ thing!” Wow! What a self centered, misinformed comment. But not the first time I had run across a person with such lack of knowledge. That is why we are here. To get the truth out.

Could an eagle take down a large calf? A golden eagle probably could, but a bald eagle which is what we have in our area, probably can’t. The eagle probably found the dead calf on the ground that was probably killed by some other means and saw a free meal. This rancher never did see who killed the calf, he just assumed it was the one eating it. In that logic we could say that the snails and the beetles were the ones who attacked and killed it.

We see this mentality quite often when wildlife “interferes” with our lives. If a groundhog is digging holes in our yard, it must be an enemy because he is targeting our pristine lawn. If the deer is eating our garden plants it must be targeting us alone.

What everyone needs to realize is that we share this world with a wide variety of species. Our habits are interfering with their lives just as much as they are interfering with ours. We all need to learn to share this planet with everyone and everything. Whether they are a beautiful owl or a lowly star nosed mole, they all have just as much right to be here as we do.

Lets all try harder to share our planet better. Take care of nature and learn to love in unison with it.

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Animalia

26 06 2015

I recently spent the day at a local school teaching the students about the fascinating world of owls. As I explained to a first grade class how owls eyes are different than most animals, including ours, a small voice in the front row blurted out the “we are not animals!” A bit thrown back by the sudden interruption I explained that we are a species of animal. “No… we’re humans” was the response. To avoid a long debate, I continued the program.

Shortly after, during a third grade presentation I was interrupted with the same comment. Trying to explain how we are mammals just like our dogs, cats or coyotes and that we fit into the kingdom of Animalia or animals, which contain the mammals, birds, reptiles and all the other animals, I was still not convincing enough for the young gentleman that insisted that we could not be like other animals.

After the long day of programs, I reflected back on these two disturbing comments. Is it our education system, parenting or society in general that has separated us from the natural world to such a point that we can’t see ourselves as related to the other animals.

Although we consider ourselves to have a higher intelligence than the other animals, when we delve into the world of biology we are very similar in structure. We are animals.
One of the focuses we have at Wild Spirit is to teach about the natural world around us. To instill a love for nature. We try to build a bond between the natural world and us. A bond that will hopefully strengthen to a point where we will feel like we are part of nature, which we are.
This separation from the natural world is like a disease that is spreading rapidly amongst our children and ourselves. This disease is serious and could be life threatening for our planet.

So how do we cure this separation? It’s as easy as getting out and communing with nature. Not just going for a hike in the woods, but understanding the woods. Listen to the trees as they sway in the breeze. Understand the connection of all the elements in the woods and then understand that we are part of that connection.

Once you have rebuilt your own connection with nature, take a friend, a child or a loved one into nature and help them to connect with it. Once we have all rebuilt the connection with the natural world, we may start to respect and take care of our fragile planet.

Let’s remember that we are like the rest of the animals.