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Greetings to my fellow master naturalists,
I hope everyone is ready for fall. Although the thermometer isn't always cooperating, the plants are really amazing! The hummingbirds have feasted on all the nectar in sight. I've seen lots of Monarch butterflies coming through. And, best of all, we have a dynamite class of Master Naturalists-in-Training.
The enthusiasm and drive of this class has reinvigorated me to work harder. Just like the explosion of some plants this fall, they are motivating just to watch. It reminds me of why we got involved in the Master Naturalist Program in the first place. For me, it was the opportunity (and incentive) to work towards the improvement in our local environment. Through interaction with our class, I realize the importance of education in protecting our precious environment. So, how can we each (and individually) educate the public? Here are some things all of us can do:
- Get a Horned Toad license plate. The extra charge is $25 per year, with the money going to the Texas Parks and Wildlife division where Michelle Haggerty and John Davis work. It is a very public indication of your interest in wildlife. And, it supports our Master Naturalist program.
- Use native plants in your yard and become certified by Texas Parks and Wildlife and the National Wildlife Federation. Putting a sign in your yard for all the neighbors to see advertises the advantages of using native plants.
- Tell friends and neighbors about the benefits to using native plants, recycling, composting, going organic, etc. All these areas are beneficial to the environment and we can teach by example.
- Encourage organizations to which you belong (churches, schools, YMCA, Boy/Girl Scouts, garden clubs) to establish a Wildscape. Show them how it will reduce costs (water, fertilizer, mowing, etc), improve looks (there's nothing like having flowers blooming all summer) and invites wildlife into our lives (butterflies, birds and lizards will come). This, in turn, can be used to teach children about wildlife.
- Recycle. There's no stronger message than to have your one small kitchen trash bag on the curb while all your neighbors have 3-4 large bags. This provides an opportunity to talk about recycling. In many of our cities, curbside recycling provides a painless way to get the message across.
- Bring a friend to our next workday. (You may have to bribe them with an offer of a free lunch.) Seeing environmental protection in action is sometimes the only thing needed to educate someone.
I'm sure there are many more examples. We need to think of opportunities in our own lives. If each of were able to "convert" one person for the benefit of nature, the world would be a better place. I like that thought.