Unfortunately, I am probably “singing to the birders” when I say this, but every birder (or nature-lover) should be a conservationist. What exactly is a conservationist?
The official definition states: a person who advocates or promotes conservation, where conservation is the official supervision of rivers, forests, and other natural resources in order to preserve and protect them through prudent management.
I like to look at conservation as a highly positive undertaking to improve the environment. Too many people have a negative approach to our environment – claiming how bad things are and displaying disappointment that things will only get worse. I say phoey to that. We have a wonderful planet full of awesome natural eye candy and it is our duty to preserve and enjoy it.
Each and every person has the means (if they have the desire) to have their own personal natural sanctuary, full of wonderful natural beings. Not only that, but hundreds of organizations worldwide are working to protect and preserve large areas of land that everybody can enjoy. This takes hard work and dedication, but the rewards are fascinating and worthwhile.
Three (3) ways to be a better conservationist:
1. Community: Join a top notch organization: My favorites are the American Birding Association, National Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy, and NCIOS, my local bird club. Each one has a different approach but the end goal is virtually the same.
2. Promotion: Teach a budding naturalist, show a non-birder a bird photo, talk up birds every chance you get – just get the word out that birding is neither geeky nor boring – it is the one true activity that connects you personally to nature on many levels.
3. Donation: Find a worthwhile cause and give them a little bit of extra money. It’s amazing how quickly small amounts add up to something BIG. Don’t have any extra cash laying around, volunteer some time.
Conservation is everyone’s business, but birders have a special insight into just how important it is. We can all do more and that is what Birdfreak is all about.
2 thoughts on “Birder=Conservationist”
Maybe this falls into one of the categories you mention, but I would add voting (for pro-conservation representatives) and activism (letters to the editor, local officials, agencies, etc.). I think that individual citizens can have a much greater impact on the local scene than the national scene, but involvement at either level makes a difference.
These would make great 4th and 5th ways to be a better conservationist. Voting is totally important and I agree that individuals can make huge impacts on their local areas by getting their voices out. Maybe it would be good to combine voting and activism – activoting?
The key to activism is action – the more we get out and become involved, good changes can happen even faster.