Working for the Future
In many parts of the world, we’re using resources faster than they can be replenished. To stop this, we must start now to manage the planet’s resources so that they can continue to keep us and future generations alive. But how do we do this? The answer is simple: conservation. Conservation is the use of air, land, water, plants, and animals in such a way that we can go on using them for years to come. You could say that conservation means managing the Earth’s resources for sustainable use. And improving wildlife habitat is a step in that direction.
You may not see the result of your actions right away. It’s possible, depending on the project you undertake, that you won’t see the benefits for years. But they are there — if not for you to witness, then for those coming after you. What a world of difference you can make!
Elect an Honorary Biologist
Why not start a tradition of having an honorary wildlife biologist for your community? Of course, you’ll have to find a volunteer for the job. But that shouldn’t be hard, because biologists care so much about the environment. Draw up a list of qualifications and place an ad in your local newspaper. It could say something like this:
Plan a Ceremony
Once you’ve found your honorary biologist, celebrate! Hold a news conference to introduce your expert to politicians, friends, family, and members of your community association. Present your biologist with a certificate of appreciation and invite her or him to give a talk on a wildlife topic pertinent to your community.
Invite the Media
Publicizing your Habitat 2020 project is one of the best ways to promote community involvement. Keep these tips in mind when you want the local media to cover an event:
- Prepare a concise and understandable one-page, double-spaced news release.
- Answer the five Ws in the release: who, what, when, where, and why. (Remember "how" too!)
- At the bottom of the page, provide a contact name and phone number. Indicate when the contact can be reached.
- At least one week prior to your event, deliver the release to the editor of the newspaper and the program directors at the radio and TV stations.
- Follow up by calling the media a few days later to remind them about the event and ask if they will be covering it. If they won't, ask if you can submit a story on tape or in print. If possible, provide the newspaper with a black and white photo with an explanation on the back.
Contact a Cable TV Station
Many communities have their own cable TV stations. These stations are always interested in neighbourhood news, and your project could be just the thing!
Once you've completed the planning stages of your project, invite a cable representative to your class and present your ideas. Ask how the station could publicize your activities. But don't wait until the day before you start your project — after all, TV stations have to plan too!
Write a Nifty Newsletter
You could also publicize your project through a newsletter (or an environmental column in a newspaper). Use existing networks — such as your local newspaper or publications produced by the school, school board, or teachers' federation — to help distribute the newsletter. You could even ask for permission to post it on a community bulletin-board or in local business establishments.
Build a Wildlife Subdivision
If it's possible to build a housing subdivision for humans, why not build one for wildlife? See if your municipality or a local developer will set aside a piece of property. It could be a small corner, a piece of parkland, or a whole lot. Start developing an action plan for the site and get as many communities as possible involved!
Make an Urban Wildlife Plan
Wildlife planning is an essential part of urban planning. If it isn't in your community, maybe you can arrange it! Draw up a list of guidelines for urban planning — maybe with the help of your honorary wildlife biologist — and present it to your local council. You could even adapt the list for homeowners.
Here are some sample guidelines:
- Consult wildlife biologists at all stages of planning and development.
- Enlist expert help to take wildlife inventories and develop any other relevant information on wildlife.
- When selecting plants for landscaping or replacement, choose a mixture of native species with the help of wildlife biologists, horticulturists, and landscape architects.
- Encourage diversity by developing areas around lakes or ponds wherever possible.
- When developing new urban communities or rehabilitating old ones, retain the land form, vegetation, and topsoil in its natural state as much as possible.
- Identify any area in the community that needs special attention.
Join Forces with Other Groups
Your area probably has an amazing number of groups like community associations, nature clubs, agricultural societies, and bird-watching organizations. Here's an idea: why not get everyone together? Find as many groups as you can. Then prepare a presentation on a community wildlife issue and invite a member of each group to attend. Ask each person to bring a one page, double-spaced sheet outlining his or her group's area of expertise, goals, and activities, as well as a contact name, address, and phone number. Ask for permission to reprint the information in a wildlife directory that will be distributed to everyone who participates.
Proclaim National Wildlife Week
Does your municipality declare National Wildlife Week each year? If not, it should! It's a great way to increase community awareness of wildlife. Offer to lend a hand and help organize a few events to celebrate. There are all kinds of things you could do, like arrange a wildlife movie night or invite a wildlife expert to give a talk on a selected topic. You could even organize a whole NWW festival!
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