Ask Jack: Contribute to Conservation This New Year

By Beacon Staff

This is the time of year for reflection … sit back a moment and think about the past year – and for a change, what it was like for wildlife. You’ve undoubtedly heard the phrase, “Think globally, act locally.” Well, is there anything you can do to assist the little critters that call your backyard “home?”

My family is very interested in animals and conservation, but we feel that we’re such a small fish in a very large ocean – in terms of what we can do to help. Any suggestions?

A lot of people feel the same way, but there really is a lot you can do. Get involved in some conservation projects and encourage others to follow your lead. Little by little, we can all make a difference.

Here’s a start – ever heard of “Backyard Habitats?” Transform your outdoor space into a beautiful natural area that will attract and nurture local wildlife. Plant native wildflowers, shrubs and trees, and sit back and watch as butterflies, toads, songbirds and a host of other creatures move in. Certain plant species are attractive to particular animals, and doing the research is half the fun. While you’re outside rolling up your sleeves, try to be eco-friendly. Try to use natural fertilizers and other applications without chemicals. Composting can improve soil, water and air quality. Now, once you’ve begun to establish a “wild” area near your home, encourage your neighbors to do the same. Pretty soon, wildlife will have new places to visit, and the overall habitat will become stronger.

With my television series, we travel a lot – so I try to “Think globally, and act globally” also. What animals, worldwide, are suffering more so than a year ago? What researchers and conservation organizations are in need of help? One of my favorite organizations is “Partners in Conservation” based at the Columbus Zoo. I’ve visited Rwanda to see their work first-hand, and it is exceptional. This organization contributes to the local men that track the mountain gorillas on a daily basis. It also has created alternative lifestyles for many families that formerly used forest resources for food and firewood. As well, it has instituted programs that help the children of the genocide in the early 90’s. Find out more at www.colszoo.org/partners_in_conservation/PartnersInConservation.aspx

So whether your goal is to turn your backyard into an attractive space that invites wildlife, or contributing to the conservation of the endangered mountain gorilla, make it a priority.

With the turn of the New Year and in the age of “Green,” contributing to the quality of our Earth is really important – make it a New Year tradition!

Remember to e-mail me your questions at [email protected].

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