September 21, 2018

What We Don’t Learn From The Natural World Around Us

Two appropriate quotes attributed to Mark Twain that might stay in context with the following information are:

“I have been studying the traits and dispositions of the “lower animals” (so-called) and contrasting them with the traits and dispositions of man. I find the results humiliating to me.”

“Each race determines for itself what indecencies are. Nature knows no indecencies; man invents them.”

At my summer camp in Maine, I have a fair amount of wildlife that comes and goes and a lot that comes and doesn’t leave. Some of those that don’t leave present a bit of a problem.

I put out a couple of bird feeders because my wife and I enjoy seeing a variety of birds, some regular visitors and others very occasional. I also understand that this contributes to some of that wildlife that seems to much emulate the welfare recipient that would prefer to get free food than work for their own.

Putting out bird feeders in Maine can also attract really unwanted visitors from the forest. Black bears being one of them. I’ve not had black bears messing with my feeders but I’ve found a few droppings of scat within just a few feet of camp. I bring my feeders in at night.

The animals that present the biggest potential of nuisance are the squirrels. Gray squirrels and red squirrels come and go depending on the level of hunger and bravery. Some have figured out I will chase them off, and others don’t much care what I do. They will be back when they are ready.

It’s the chipmunks and ground squirrels that seem to be taking over. Seemingly they are quite unafraid of people. They are constantly cleaning up under the bird feeders, which I guess could be a good thing, but even as “cute” as some may think these creatures to be, they are a rodent and when winter time comes I don’t want them getting so comfortable they decide to winter in my camp or associated outbuildings.

As minor as that might seem to some, I value my property and if you’ve never had the pleasure of experiencing the damage and destruction squirrels and chipmunks can do to your house, it may not be all that minor.

There are “created indecencies” that present more of a problem than there should be. To many, they would tell me to take down my bird feeders. I know that but it will not cure completely the problem. Others might offer that I move out of the forest where my camp is and let the animals be. The lame adage being, “They were here first and I’m encroaching on them.”

Hogwash! What sat on the land New York City sits on before it became a concrete jungle? Give it rest already.

Going along with those “created indecencies,” even if I suggest “getting rid of” the chipmunks, ground, red, and gray squirrels, I would probably be threatened with my life and warned of jail sentences.

So, I try to find some sort of mediocre sharing of time and space and hope for the best when it comes to sharing my quarters with them. But there are limits to what I will put up with.

But there is a lesson to be learned here if only people would pay attention. But they don’t. Yes, there is much disappointment when comparing the “traits and dispositions” of the rodents around my camp with the animals that walk on two legs and are supposed to have the larger brains and intellect to rightfully put into place the pecking order from the man on down.

Unfortunately, this present coagulation of mislead members of society, have created their own ideas of what constitutes and indecency. Therefore, they demand that I must acquiesce to animals because they are of equal or greater importance in their existence and to hell with my property and/or my health.

Whether the human race ever fully understood the concept of the role of the man and the role of the animals, is debatable. For certain they have failed at this present time. But nature has it figured out.

While debating what I should do about the overabundance of rodents taking over my property, mostly out of fear of retribution from the animal lovers (of which they are more overabundant than the squirrels) a very natural thing happened.

I noticed one day that the chipmunks and squirrels were essentially gone – a least from immediately around my camp and buildings. What happened to them I did not know. Until…

A few days later as I came around the corner of my pump house, sunning himself in the corner of the building and the deck was a big ole garter snake looking quite fat and happy.

He jumped me at first, as you might imagine, but then I approached the snake a bit closer and began to make a pact with him. I said, “I’ll make a deal with you. I won’t bother you from being around my camp so long as you keep up the good work and keep those rodents out of here.”

The snake hung around for most the rest of the summer and then disappeared, probably eating himself out of house and home.

I have an open invitation I’ve extended to the snake as I am in need of him again.

This is all very simple.

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More Nonsensical Nonsense About Man’s “Impoverish”ing Wildlife

As nauseating as it is, we hear it all the time – how man is destroying everything and how man is disrupting the balance of nature… which doesn’t exist. Most often mixed in with the rant about how man treats animals we hear, although most often implied, that man should just go away. That, of course, can only be defined as man must die in order to save the animals and our ecosystems.

Last time I checked the Earth is inhabited with a variety of plant and animal life, and while many often want to see man disappear, none are willing to step forward and be the first to do what they have deemed in their tiny minds as the only right thing to do to “Save the Planet.”

In addition, we can also read really stupid things. Here’s an example. This author evidently believes that it is wrong to “manage” game species for surplus harvest. He writes, “A typical response of utilitarians to environmental harm is to call for better management.  So, for example, wildlife agencies manage game species and their habitat so that more of the desired species are available for “harvest.”  In Maine, we manage coyote (that is encourage hunting coyotes) because of the belief that coyotes reduce the number of deer for hunters.”

Simply stated, this is a reasonable approach to utilizing a valuable resource rather than letting it go to waste. Science does show us that within a robust population of, let’s say deer, a percentage of those animals will suffer and die simply because there are too many of them. Is this somehow better than harvesting a percentage to fulfill the wants and needs of people?

Although we could argue this point until the moon turns blue, a point I wanted to make is that while this author finds it wrong to manipulate animal and game populations for the benefit of all, including hunting, he evidently sees no problem with manipulating feral and domestic cat populations for the benefit of “saving” song birds. “As I pointed out in an early blog…, feral cats and cats whose owners let them roam outside kill hundreds of millions, maybe a billion, song birds each year.  Why is it that we get to choose that a species we domesticated is more important than wild birds?”

The fact is, people are never going to take it upon themselves to either leave their cats, and all their other pets indoors. Therefore, the only other course of action to “save song birds” is to kill cats. While the author questions whether manipulating the number of coyotes that kill deer, that are used as a food source, is an ethical thing to do, evidently the feral and domestic cats don’t share the same rights of existence as the coyote. In addition, I guess it just depends on one’s selfish desires of how they want to take advantage of wildlife.

No matter how you view the use of our God-given resources, I wonder, if ever, people will one day realize and admit that man is on this earth and that it belongs to them…even if for a short time? We simply cannot approach wildlife management with any formula that does not include the existence of man.

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New Study Shows Americans’ Deep Appreciation for Nature, Barriers to Connection

Press Release from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:

*Editor’s Note* – If you believe the propaganda that follows, isn’t this just further proof that those who have the most influence in the decision-making process of fish and wildlife agencies, etc. are those who don’t, can’t and won’t enjoy any of it but somehow feel entitled to have and control, if only in their minds. No matter how many magic wands you wave, you will not change this mind set.

Contact with nature is an important part of growing up and linking Americans to one another; competing priorities and other factors impede getting outdoors.

The findings from an unprecedented national study of Americans’ relationship to nature reveal an alarming disconnection, but also widespread opportunities for reconnecting. The results are prompting nature conservation, environmental education, and outdoor recreation leaders to rethink how they work to connect people with nature.

The Nature of Americans National Report: Disconnection and Recommendations for Reconnection reveals important insights from a study of nearly 12,000 adults, 8 to 12 year old children, and parents, and provides actionable recommendations to open the outdoors for all.

Americans encounter a number of society-wide forces disconnecting them from nature. Americans face competing priorities for their time, attention, and money. They live in places that often have more concrete than green space. It is increasingly normal to spend little time outside.

  • More than half of adults report spending five hours or less in nature each week, and most are satisfied with this minimal amount of time. Many parents and older adults lament that children today are growing up with limited opportunities to experience nature.
  • Parents say their 8 to 12 year old children spend three times as many hours with computers and TVs each week as they do playing outside.

Despite these challenges, there is opportunity. Americans of all backgrounds recognize that nature helps them grow healthy, be happy, and enjoy family and friends. Adults and children enjoy their time in nature. They feel affection for nature, are attracted to its beauty, appreciate its resources, and value its role in intellectual and spiritual development.

  • Over three-quarters of adults rate contact with nature as very or extremely important for their physical health and emotional outlook.
  • One-quarter of parents surveyed say contact with nature has improved their child’s weight, attention span, energy, anxiety, asthma or other health outcomes.
  • Three-quarters of adults support increasing the number of programs for Americans to enjoy nature, the outdoors, and wildlife. More than one-half think programs for Americans to enjoy nature and wildlife are underfunded.
  • Seven out of 10 children surveyed would rather explore woods and trees than play on neat-looking grass. Eight out of 10 like activities such as climbing trees and camping.

Restoring Americans’ connection to nature requires overcoming the gap between interest and action.

The Nature of Americans National Report details recommendations for restoring Americans’ connection to nature, including:

  • Pay close attention to—and respond to—adults’ existing concerns about younger generations’ disconnection from nature.
  • For adults and children, promote nature not only as a place for experiences, but also as a place for involvement and care.
  • Assure adults and children that time in nature can be (and even ought to be) social.
  • Support mentorship that extends beyond the parent–child relationship.
  • Carefully consider how different sectors promote what “good” connection with nature is or ought to be.
  • Deepen local experiences in nature near home.
  • For children and adults, use geographically local or familiar activities as a bridge to geographically distant or unfamiliar activities.
  • Provide socially safe and satisfying places outdoors, especially for urban and minority adults and children.
  • Promote experiences in nature that match Americans’ multidimensional values of nature.
  • For adults, promote conservation efforts as a way to improve their overall community and quality of life.
  • Join parents, children, and adults alike in recognizing that expenditures on children’s engagement with nature are fundamentally important investments.
  • Build partnerships among professionals in healthcare, education, urban planning, conservation, community development, and other sectors.

The core premise of these recommendations is that connection to nature is not a dispensable amenity but, rather, is essential to the health, economic prosperity, quality of life, and social well-being of all Americans.

The Nature of Americans is led by DJ Case & Associates. It builds on the late Dr. Stephen R. Kellert’s research on the importance of contact with nature to human well-being. This unique public–private collaborative is sponsored by the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Disney Conservation Fund, Morrison Family Foundation, Wildlife Management Institute, and Yale University.

More information and reports are available at NatureofAmericans.org.

Following are quotes from collaborators:

“This study will be of great importance to us as we look for ways to best engage Americans of all backgrounds in nature, wildlife conservation and their public lands. It’s our job not only to help friends and families connect their passion for the outdoors with their great National Wildlife Refuge System heritage, but also to ensure that this unparalleled American legacy of public lands stewardship for the benefit of all continues long into the future.”

Jim Kurth, Acting Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
“Americans clearly care about nature and recognize its benefits for their health and wellbeing. Yet alarmingly, The Nature of Americans research findings show it is becoming normal to stay indoors. Our challenge is to work together to reverse that trend and ensure that more of us experience the natural world. These results will help fish and wildlife agencies across the nation encourage more Americans to get outdoors and enjoy fish and wildlife resources.”

Nick Wiley, President, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
“We are proud to have helped support The Nature of Americans study, which reinforces the importance of developing compelling content and experiences that connect people to the magic of nature. It is so critical that we all work together to help the next generation live happier and healthier lives – while inspiring them to care for the environment.”

Kevin Callahan, Vice President, Corporate Citizenship, The Walt Disney Company
“The Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida is a proud partner in this ground-breaking research. Floridians clearly shared how important their connection to nature is, and how vital it is to continue efforts to instill in our children a love and respect for the out of doors. The results of this remarkable project will have lasting effects for generations to come.”

Richard “Dick” Corbett, Chairman, Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida
“The vitality of our state’s efforts to conserve our wild things and wild places depends on the connection Texans have with the natural world around them. For us to be successful engaging our diverse and burgeoning communities, it is imperative that we understand how people from all ages, backgrounds, and geographies view nature and how they choose to experience the outdoors. The Nature of Americans study helps answer these fundamental questions, giving us much-needed insight about how best to tailor future outreach, programs, and services to meet people where they really are, not where we assume they are.”

Carter Smith, Executive Director, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
“The results and recommendations of this unprecedented study chart a clear path towards happier, healthier lives. Parents and organizations must make outside activities a priority in their lives. Whether at a national park, wildlife refuge, state or neighborhood park, or in the backyard, Americans must connect to nature to fully develop socially and physically.”

Steve Williams, President, Wildlife Management Institute
“We live in a world more and more disconnected from nature, but the growing question—and perhaps the one of most concern—is why. This groundbreaking research delves into the depths of this disconnect with nature to give conservation organizations a glimpse of the hard work that needs to happen to keep conservation relevant in the 21st century. This is a call to action and we must act!”

Sara Parker Pauley, Director, Missouri Department of Conservation
“I’m proud that during my tenure as U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service director, we provided major financial support for this incredibly important research. Now, as president and CEO of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, I’m heartened to see that zoos and aquariums rank among the favorite, most popular, and most memorable nature activities of parents and children, but especially children. Because America is increasingly urban, it is clear that zoos, aquariums, and nature and science centers will become increasingly important opportunities for people to connect to and enjoy the benefits of nature. AZA’s 232 accredited members are ready to run toward this opportunity.”

Dan Ashe, President and CEO, Association of Zoos and Aquariums
“This study illuminates what many of us have known to be true for years — that we enjoy and benefit from our time outdoors, but don’t get outside nearly enough; that access to, and comfort in, nature is divided along racial lines; and that we develop a love for nature when we are able to experience it regularly and socially. Now — armed with data affirming these statements — I am hopeful that we will all take more seriously the importance of connecting children and adults with the natural world. We look forward to supporting the creative and thoughtful programming that this data demands of us.”

Lois Morrison, Executive Director, Harold H. and Adeline S. Morrison Family Foundation
“As one of the foremost non-profit conservation organizations focused on protecting and restoring habitat, Ducks Unlimited is very interested in the results of this important study of Americans and nature. We have long recognized the benefits of the natural world to people and our society, and this outstanding study not only reinforces how important it is, but also informs Ducks Unlimited about how to design our work to help contribute to Americans living healthier and happier lives.”

Dale Hall, CEO, Ducks Unlimited
“The extraordinarily insightful Nature of Americans study illuminates both the longing for and barriers to the natural world, and offers new documentation that will help those who connect children, families and communities to the natural world. For example, the insight that nature experience is so often an intensely social activity, a reminder of a sometimes forgotten key to connecting children to nature. Congratulations to the late Steve Kellert and DJ Case for such fine work.”

Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods and chairman emeritus of the Children & Nature Network

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Reducing bison population key to saving Yellowstone’s Northern Range

*Editor’s Note* – Gee, I thought Nature balanced itself out? Somebody must be wrong and then again, maybe not. Is there any such thing anymore of approaching “sustainability” as what benefits man, or is it now all about what benefits everything but man? According to ignorant-of-history environmentalists, bison, elk, deer, moose, lions, bears and representatives of Black Lives Matter roamed the West in numbers too big to ignore. Evidently, when convenient, these Nirvanic populations of wild animals didn’t eat nor did they “overgraze” the Northern Range of what would become America’s idealistic zoo. DON’T GO LOOK! at what historically took place back then. There’s more money and emotional clap-trap fun to make shit up.

Wolf lovers, all of whom are ignorant environmentalists, say that wolves kill, thin, chase away – whatever is a convenient narrative – elk and provide a Disneyesque landscape of regenerated vegetation where all animals of the forest can gather and sing Kumbaya. And for god’s sake, let’s not forget that wolves change the paths of streams, cured polio…and, and, and…if there were enough wolves, and now bison, we could toss Trump out of the White House before he gets in there. All adds up to the same amount of nonsense.

According to the environmentalist, man should be removed from the equation of our fake “ecosystems.” Well, until it fits one of their convenient narratives – say some place like Isle Royale, where environmentalists don’t want humans going on that island, keeping it a “wilderness”…with the exception, of course, of the environmentalists who want it as their private sex-with-animals, playground, in which mentally deficient animal perverts like the head of the Humane Society of the United States says, it changed him forever. KUMBAYA! KUMBAYA! KUMBAYA!

So, which will it be? Are we going to rid the landscape of those over-grazers or let the predator animals create the same kind of landscape environmentalists want for their fellow man…of which they, somehow, magically think they are exempt from. I’ve never quite figured that out.

Man could just step away from wildlife management but nobody would like the outcome, unless you’re a bear or wolf, until such time as you must eat your own family to survive.

Why not solve the so-perceived wildlife management problems by striking a sensible (nobody in this world, any longer knows what that means) man-created “balance” that first, is in the best interest to sustain a population of men, and secondly, is beneficial to wild animals by doing reasonably, responsible things for the animal and not things detrimental to man’s rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of sovereignty (happiness).

I didn’t think so!

There is no end to the madness. I always thought that environmentalists want their cake and eat it too. It has taken a few years, but now I get it. They are too stupid to even recognize a cake. They just want.

“George Wuerthner’s recent (Dec. 20) guest column “Save Yellowstone bison from slaughter,” complaining about population control of Yellowstone National Park bison, fails to recognize one of the most significant conservation issues in the West – overgrazing of Yellowstone’s magnificent Northern Range. Severe, prolonged overgrazing of the Northern Range in Yellowstone National Park by elk since the 1920s and now by bison has, and is still, significantly degrading the land. Bison conservation and recovery of free-ranging populations are very important, but no single species’ needs outweigh the obligation to protect the land (soil-water-vegetation), the basic units of conservation for all life on our planet.”<<<Read More>>>

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USFWS Seeks Information on Human Value of Nature, Wildlife, Environment

Abstract: Nature and the outdoors have always been an important 
part of the fabric of American life. However, there are major questions 
about the present and future role of nature and the outdoors in our 
increasingly diverse, technologically oriented, and rapidly changing 
society. For our programs to remain relevant to American life today and 
tomorrow, we must be aware of public sentiment toward the part nature 
plays in the quality of our lifestyles.
    It is for these reasons that we plan to use a quantitative survey 
to collect information on the attitudes that the public maintains 
towards the natural environment; the effects of contact with nature on 
participants' health and quality of life; the extent of contact with 
nature and obstacles to greater contact with nature; general knowledge 
of nature and wildlife; concerns toward selected environmental issues; 
and socio-demographic variables. Results will help improve the design 
and delivery of new or existing programs aimed at engaging the public 
in nature-related activities (e.g., outreach and educational 
programming at national wildlife refuges and national fish hatcheries).<<<Read More>>>
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What’s All The Buzz About?

BeeThistle

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The War on Humans

Please somebody reassure me that the world has not gone completely insane!

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Be My Little Baby Bumble Bee

Except it’s not a bumble bee.

ThistleBee

Milt Inman Photo

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Big Daddy

BigGator

Milt Inman Photo

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Great Blue Heron Winter Plumage

BlueHeronWinterPlumage

Milt Inman Photo

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