Copied here(with author's permission) is a letter sent to the US" Birdchat"
which may be relevant to our situation and of general interest, anyway It
was entitled "My birding date with Olivia Newton-John."
>I recently took the Peach and the Kid from Carmel to Pacific Grove along
the famous Seventeen Mile Drive and past the Pebble Beach Golf Club. Our
$7.50 entrance fee helped support the homeowners in that fabulously rich
property. We saw the Lone Cypress, Sea Otters, Harbor Seals, the
cormorants and gulls on Bird Rock, etc.
Tuesday's USA Today talked about the average 750-800 calls/day from
golfers wanting to book $300 tee times at Pebble Beach, and I thought
about all that wasted bird habitat and the amounts of land - BEAUTIFUL
land - we could buy for birding if birders were willing to pay for
birding like golfers are willing to pay for golfing.
Years ago, I remember reading that Olivia Newton-John was a contributor
to the Nature Conservancy, and for the past several years, I've sent
$1000/year to TNC for buying land like the vernal pools in Solano County,
CA, the Virgin River in Utah/Arizona, and so many other properties that
governmental groups can't afford because of political and financial
restraints. The Nature Conservancy bought Arivaipa Creek in Arizona to
protect the Gila River watershed fish from all of the introduced carp,
suckers, bluegill, crappie, and other fish that have destroyed Arizona's
endemic fish. I could go on and on.
Every birder to Southeast Arizona has visited TNC's Sonoita-Patagonia
property. TNC has bought this and hundreds of other properties, holding
them as guardian until governmental and other groups can buy them back as
parks, refuges, and other areas safe for wildlife and native flora.
Every native plant lover, lepidopterist, ornithologist, herpetologist,
and nature lover has spent many enjoyable hours on land originally
purchased by TNC.
Somewhere out there in Birdchat land, somebody knows Olivia Newton-John,
and I hope you fix me up with a date with her (I can probably get the
Peach's approval for this one). But even if I never get that date, I've
seen beauty greater than hers - beauty that is longer lasting, in what my
TNC dollars have saved from the bulldozer. Prisoners Harbor on Santa
Cruz Island in the Channel Islands National Park, the Nature Conservancy
property I visited last weekend, is one such place.
Even if you don't golf Pebble Beach, I encourage you to "golf" your local
area with contributions to a local conservation group that works for
birding habitat where you live. I hope you buy your annual duck stamp to
support the US Fish and Wildlife Service's National Wildlife Refuges. I
hope you buy your Golden Eagle Pass to support your National Parks.
Somebody out there is going to complain that this isn't appropriate
material for Birdchat. That's hokum. Without appropriate bird habitat,
there'll be no Bachman's Warblers or Ivory-billed Woodpeckers or Dusky
Seaside Sparrows, and it'll be a silent spring for your grandchildren. I
realize the chances of birders fully supporting paying for their birding
are poorer than the chances of my date with Olivia, but I'm very
optimistic that I'll get my date with her.
Birding-Aus is on the Web at
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