Here are some of the things that can happen to special wild places in our own neighbourhoods:
- Trees, shrubs, and small plants are damaged through vandalism.
- Litter destroys the view and poses threats to animals that may choke on it or become tangled in it.
- Plants and small animals can be trampled when bikes, all-terrain vehicles, and snow machines are used near wild areas or off designated trails.
- Creeks are buried, straightened or ditched, and riverbanks may be hardened with concrete because of housing development.
- Remaining natural areas can be replaced with lawns, malls, and other development.
Officially protected areas such as parks and wildlife reserves are also threatened by:
- Global climate change.
- Air and water pollution.
- Overuse by increasing numbers of people looking for a “wild” experience.
Students don’t have to wait until their special wild places are threatened to take action. Students can:
- Adopt a “leave no trace” attitude to natural areas.
- Create proposals for wild places on school grounds. Projects can be as simple as fencing off a “no-mow” zone or as complex as replanting native grasses, shrubs, and trees to restore wildlife habitat.
- Make others aware of the values of and threats to special places by organizing a festival at any time.
- Pick up litter on the school grounds or a local park to keep a special space special.
- Help to protect local wildlife threatened by human actions. Students can, for example, erect “turtle crossing” signs near wetlands each spring, or build and install nesting boxes for birds and bats.
- Investigate local pesticide use and policies, and campaign for laws that reflect sensible use.
- Learn how local parks are maintained and campaign for wild places in appropriate areas.
- Develop a personal code of ethics that is environment- friendly and helps them consume less, pollute less, and live less in conflict with wild places.
- Limit air pollution by walking and riding a bicycle more, and driving less.
- Reduce, re-use, and recycle.
- Investigate issues and write letters supporting parks and protected areas, from local to international.
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