Here are links to 4 conservation stories – 2 success stories and 2 cautions – of interest and concern to Wisconsinites. They caught my attention through various email sources and I’m sharing them here at The Badger & the Whooping Crane because I know others will enjoy and appreciate them, just as much, and hopefully pass them on to people that they know will appreciate them, as well.
If you only have time for one of these items today, I hope you’ll scroll down and read the last one!
EcoWatch Names Sustainability Champs
In one of my daily emails from EcoWatch – an online source for environmental news that I’m reading more and more – I found a Wisconsin organic food company named to a listing of “The 10 Most Inspirational Sustainability Initiatives in the U.S.” You’ve probably heard of Organic Valley, or know its food products, but did you know that it’s a farmer-owned cooperative based in LaFarge, a small rural community in the western part of the state?
You may not know that it began in 1988 with a handful of farmers in Wisconsin’s coulee region concerned about the future of the family farm, and today it includes over 1800 farms spread across the continental U.S. And that it quickly grew into “the number one source for organic milk in the nation.” You can learn a lot more about this organic food local success story at Organic Valley’s data rich website. It’s interactive “Find Your Farmer” tool is fun – that alone is worth a web trip.
Seeing “the big picture” with the LightHawk Pilots
I only occasionally get an email from LightHawk, but when it comes, it’s always interesting. LightHawk is an organization of 200 volunteer pilots who make flights in small aircraft in 32 states and 10 countries on behalf of conservation initiatives. Getting an aerial perspective of the land that will be impacted by a conservation issue, they believe, “changes the way we see Earth. We mobilize volunteer pilots, photographers, environmental experts and storytellers to make images, collect data, inform the public, and share their experiences.”
Their work also includes wildlife surveys and wildlife survival flights. At the LightHawk.org website you can access this fascinating Project Map. Zoom in on Wisconsin and you’ll see that they’ve made 8 flights for the International Crane Foundation, 1 for U.S. Fish & Wildlife, and 1 for a FracTracker project in 2012 and 2013.
Wisconsin Is Putting Public Land Up for Sale?
That’s the message Ann Sayers of the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters is sharing with her members. Ten thousand acres of Wisconsin public land “is now being sold off to private interests . . .state leaders voted for the first time ever to require that public lands be sold off.”
The WLCV has a lot of good information about this issue at its website, including it’s page “Protecting Wisconsin’s Land,” and a link to this Wisconsin DNR site that describes criteria the DNR has developed to comply with this provision for the land sale which was included in the 2013-2015 state budget.
Last but Never Least: Dispose of Dangerous Fishing Line
And last, I want to include this cautionary tale from Kathleen Harris the Naturalist at Peninsula State Park. Although it’s last, it may be the most important item here today for everyone who is thinking of dipping a fishing line in the waters of Wisconsin – or anywhere! Kathleen’s story was published in the Peninsula Pulse in Door County in May. It ends happily enough, but if not for her quick identification of the problem, and her assistance in removing tangled, nearly invisible fishing line wound around the feet of a tiny bird, it would have been – most likely – the end of that bird.
Kathleen’s simple message: put your wasted fishing line in the trash. It’s such a little thing, but left undisposed of, it can easily harm and kill innocent little living things.