It’s about the Conversation
Lately I’ve written some columns on the topic of time management, regarding how we can plan our activities to lessen our negative impact upon wildlife.
Readers have responded, and I wish to share snippets of our conversations.
A beef farmer whose family homesteaded here in the early 1800s called to chat. As a beef farmer, he wanted to express how much he cares for his property near Shawville – and wanted me to know that most farmers dearly love the land and work hard to protect it. Yes, thank you for your timely reminder.
For instance, with respect to grassland bird species, I have written about how grazing animals which are wandering about on pastureland destroy habitat for grassland species such as the Bobolinks and Meadowlarks. Indeed, I have heard beef farmers say they miss the “little birds” they remember from their youth, and “in the 30 years of living here on my farm, I’ve seen fewer and fewer Bobolinks and Meadowlarks.”
Not entirely so, this farmer of many years’ experience informed me.
He tells me that in early spring, his calves are born and kept in pastures near to his house. This is done primarily so he can keep a watchful eye over them. As the calves grow, they are pastured out on land further away, where he says the movement of the livestock allows these grassland birds like the Bobolinks to raise their young successfully.
It was rewarding for me to hear this farmer of many, many years’ experience chat so passionately about what he does to help preserve habitat for wildlife on his land. He is not alone, by any means, and I’m proud of our Pontiac farmers for this.
A reader from Mansfield wrote to express how she’s been creating bird-friendly habitats on her half-acre of land for the past ten years.
She wanted to emphasize that although her acreage is small, she (like all of us) can indeed make a wildlife-friendly oasis, and thereby make a positive, worthwhile difference. By giving the birds shelter, food, nesting habitat and other elements of safety, she’s allowing them to breed, rest, and re-energize before their flight south or, for our local resident species, prepare for the onslaught of winter.
Corporate leadership: Quebec Hydro
A young man from Quebec Hydro drove up our lane on June 10. He asked if it would be okay to cut down the shrubs and trees below the hydro line, on our property. My husband Eric chatted with him (me being on the phone with the beef farmer). We have several apple trees we want to preserve, so he told us how to identify anything we want the crews to leave standing, and these would be left alone.
Of course, Eric expressed concern about teams of workers felling trees at this nesting time of the year.
This young man reassured us Quebec Hydro is scheduled to clear the trees and shrubs only in the autumn and cited concerns regarding wildlife as the reason.
Now, this is encouraging, pro-wildlife news.
Recognition: Thank you
I wish to thank everyone who writes to the editor of this paper – or to me – about environmental issues; such personal action demonstrates you care. I wish to thank, also, everyone who is determined to act responsibly and positively, for wildlife.
I also wish to salute those in the agricultural sector who love and respect habitats for wildlife.
We won’t always agree, you and I. That’s impossible. However, that’s not what’s fundamentally important to me as your Our Environment columnist.
What is important? Respectful conversation.
Katharine Fletcher is a freelance writer, author, and visual artist. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org and view her art at facebook.com/KatharineFletcherArtist/