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Daily Archives: April 15, 2015

Volunteers sought for Kansas state parks clean-up days

 

If you’re looking to gain volunteer service hours, want to give back to your community, or are just needing a good excuse to spend productive time outside, consider volunteering for one of the “Keep It Clean Kansas” events. Hosted by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT), and Westar Energy, the one-day events will consist of volunteers collecting trash and recyclable materials at one of five Kansas state parks from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. in recognition of Earth Day.

The five state parks chosen for 2015 include: Cedar Bluff, El Dorado, Elk City, Lovewell, and Perry.

Volunteers are asked to preregister at www.kdheks.gov/waste/earthday.html. Trash sacks and gloves will be provided on location. Apart from the satisfaction of doing a good deed, volunteers can also enjoy a complimentary lunch and take home a commemorative event t-shirt.

For more information, or to register, visit www.kdheks.gov/waste/earthday.html.

Free entrance at Kansas state parks April 25

 

If you’re looking to gain volunteer service hours, want to give back to your community, or are just needing a good excuse to spend productive time outside, consider volunteering for one of the “Keep It Clean Kansas” events. Hosted by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT), and Westar Energy, the one-day events will consist of volunteers collecting trash and recyclable materials at one of five Kansas state parks from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. in recognition of Earth Day.

The five state parks chosen for 2015 include: Cedar Bluff, El Dorado, Elk City, Lovewell, and Perry.

Volunteers are asked to preregister at www.kdheks.gov/waste/earthday.html. Trash sacks and gloves will be provided on location. Apart from the satisfaction of doing a good deed, volunteers can also enjoy a complimentary lunch and take home a commemorative event t-shirt.

For more information, or to register, visit www.kdheks.gov/waste/earthday.html.

Young wildlife rarely need “Saving”

Leave Wild Babies Wild!

 

You’re mowing your lawn when you notice something moving in the grass. You stop the mower and peer over to find it’s a nest of young rabbits, and the mother is nowhere in sight. Fear sets in that they may not make it through the night and you begin to devise a plan to “rescue” them. It’s a mistake that many well-intentioned people make, and unfortunately, it usually results in the premature death of the wildlife being “saved.”

The notion that a young animal found in the wild will die if not given care is wrong. In most cases, the mother is typically feeding nearby, keeping a distant eye on her offspring. Not only are most young found in the wild not abandoned, picking them up is against the law. The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment have regulations against such activity that can result in a fine up to $1,000 or more. In addition to legal repercussions, wild animals can pose a number of health risks, including diseases such as distemper, rabies, Lyme disease, roundworms, tapeworms, mites, and tularemia.

Additionally, if a “rescued” animal were to bite someone, it must be put to death and tested for diseases. Even if they don’t bite, the young usually fail to survive in captivity because most people are not equipped to handle wild animals, especially as they mature. On the off chance the animal does survive in captivity, it typically loses instincts that allow it to survive in the wild.

It is important to remember that although young wildlife may be cute, they belong in the wild. Wild animals cannot legally be inoculated by veterinarians, and few people really know how to care for them.

If you should see a young animal in the wild this spring or summer, observe at a distance and consider yourself lucky. But remember, just because they appear alone, that doesn’t mean they are abandoned.

If you really want to help, leave young in the wild where they were born and belong. 

If you find an injured animal, a list of licensed rehabilitators can be found at www.ksoutdoors.com, by clicking “Services/Rehabilitation.”

 

Special interest groups are trying to seize your public lands

 

America’s national forests, wildlife refuges, parks, and public lands are part of our national identity. That our public lands should be open to everyone to experience and enjoy is one of our nation’s proudest and most sacred traditions.

But this powerful American idea—defended by generations of bipartisan leaders—is under attack. In 11 western states (Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Montana, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming), a coalition of special interest groups is lobbying state governments to seize America’s public lands so they can be privatized or auctioned for drilling, mining, and logging.

More recently, the idea of state take-over of our national lands has spread to Congress. In late March, the Senate approved a budget amendment (S.A. 838) that would facilitate the transfer or sale of national forests, wilderness areas and wildlife refuges to states. Also, a budget resolution in the House of Representatives (p. 119) expresses support for this idea: “The budget resolution supports reducing the Federal estate, and giving States and localities more control over the resources within their boundaries. This will lead to increased resource production and allow States and localities to take advantage of the benefits of increased economic activity.”

Both the Senate amendment and the House resolution speak to a broader agenda in this Congress to suppress Americans’ rights to access and enjoy the lands that belong to all of us—whether we live in Maine, Montana, or Mississippi.

This radical notion of locking up public lands—including forest lands and Bureau of Land Management lands where Americans love to hike, camp, hunt and fish—would reduce the freedom to access these lands for all of us, including our children and grandchildren. Ultimately, this effort could sacrifice our most treasured parks, wilderness, and national monuments, we may find ‘no trespassing’ signs and barricades instead of open trails and scenic views.

 

Sign the petition: Keep public lands in public hands.

 

The costs of public land seizures

  • Loss of recreational access to all Americans: Once lands are seized by states, they may be sold off to private interests to develop for oil and gas, mining or other development. Americans from all states could lose the ability to hike, camp, fish or hunt in some of their favorite wild places.
  • Potential development of prized wildlands: To pay the costs of upkeep, fighting wildfires and balancing their budgets, state governments would have to raise taxes or sell off iconic national treasures to the highest bidder—meaning they become privatized and access to these once-shared lands will no longer exist.
  • Burdens for state taxpayers: Forcing Western states to bear the costs of managing America’s national forests, parks, and public lands would place an extreme financial burden on Western taxpayers.
  • Potential damage to other state programs: Critical services like K-12 education or law enforcement would suffer cutbacks to help pay for the new fiscal burden of managing millions of acres of public lands on state coffers.

We’ve seen this idea before, in the “sagebrush rebellions” of the 1970s and 1980s. It was a bad idea then and it’s still a bad idea today.  Proponents of public lands seizures are conveniently silent on how they would pay for the costs of managing these national treasures, but the impacts of these proposals are clear and devastating for every American household.

The value of public lands to all Americans

At The Wilderness Society, we know that the American people reject these proposals. They are appalled by these types of attacks on nationally-treasured lands.

Americans overwhelmingly recognize the value of our shared parks, forests, and wild spaces for recreation, wildlife habitat, scenic wonder, hunting and fishing opportunities, the clean water they provide to millions of households, and for their economic importance to nearby gateway communities.

Quality of life is directly connected to access to public lands in the West. During the last four decades western non-metro counties with more than 30 percent protected public land increased jobs four times faster than non-metro counties with no protected public lands.

These lands are your lands

A September 2014 poll found that 72 percent of voters said they consider public lands to be “American places that belong to everyone in our country” vs. places that belong more to residents of the states where those lands are found. A similar poll conducted in February by Colorado College found similar results: by more than 2:1, voters in 6 of the interior western states agree that public lands belong to all Americans, not just residents of a particular state.

We want you to be informed, whether you live in Alaska or Arkansas, Wisconsin or Wyoming. You own these lands. They have been set aside for you and your family—to experience freedom, find respite in nature, learn about our history, and pass these wonders on to future generations of Americans. Let’s not allow short-sighted special interests steal that legacy from all of us, or from our children and grandchildren.

The 21st Annual Earth Day is April 22, 2015 !

By Ted Beringer

Sacramento Earth Day Logo by Dana Gray

 

      The founding of Earth Day is attributed to Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson.  In 1963 he convinced President John F. Kennedy to tour the country speaking about environmental issues. There slowly ensued widespread grassroots support that ignited in 1969 & 1970 culminating with the birth of Earth Day that began as a teach-in about environmental issues on April 22, 1970.

A month earlier peace activist John McConnell had proposed that a day be set aside to honor the Earth on the vernal equinox (March 21st) 1970. The United Nations sanctioned that proposal.

The Earth Day flag created by John McConnell

It is widely believed that grass roots support for the first Earth Day gave impetus to subsequent landmark legislation including the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act & the Endangered Species Act. It may surprise some that Gaylord Nelson was also a small business advocate. But his love of nature is how many will remember him. Although Earth Day, 2015, is April 22nd, various communities may celebrate it on slightly different days.

To learn more about activities on Earth Day in Kansas, Missouri and our Nation’s Capital, visit the following links:

Earth Day Network:

http://www.earthday.org/2015

Earth Day Celebration at Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead, April 18th:

http://www.opkansas.org/events/earth-day-2/

Earth Day at the Missouri State Capitol, April 24th:

http://dnr.mo.gov/earthday/

Earth Day Concert on the National Mall

http://wtop.com/entertainment/2015/04/stars-align-for-earth-day-concert-on-national-mall/slide/1/