This year’s Earth Day has a theme of “Protect our Species.” The theme calls for us to be aware of the many forms of life that contribute to a healthy environment. In the words of Rachel Carson, “Nothing in nature exists alone.” As such, we are called to protect endangered species and appreciate the value of all species.
In that spirit, the Sustainability Committee at Pare is pleased to share our 8th Annual Earth Day Photo Contest. Please enjoy the photos submitted by Pare’s staff below, and vote using the poll located at the top of this post. The winner of the 2019 Earth Day Photo Contest will receive a Gift Card to B-Good. Voting will close on Wednesday, May 8th and the winner will be announced in the next blog post.
PHOTO 1 – Lunch Buddy
On a pretty summer day, this young bunny deemed it safe enough to come out for lunch as I was enjoying mine. While it is hard to distinguish between the Eastern and New England cottontails, I am hopeful that this little rabbit is part of the efforts to restore the species. Learn more at https://newenglandcottontail.org.
PHOTO 2 – Wild Turkey
By the nineteenth century, the species of eastern wild turkey which had been plentiful prior to the arrival of the first colonists in the seventeenth century was virtually non-existent due to hunting and destruction of habitat for agriculture. In the 1980s the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management reintroduced wild turkeys. Their population has since flourished. While some view wild turkeys as a nuisance, their presence is a symbol of a thriving ecosystem and reminds us that we share a common home.
PHOTO 3 – Grizzly Bear
The largest predator in the western plains and still a protected species, the grizzly’s recovery from near extinction in the lower 48 has made its presence in ranching areas ubiquitous. Contrary to most paradigms, grizzly bears do not account for a large percentage of cattle deaths. In ranching areas such as Tom Miner Basin, cattle deaths attributed to actual grizzly attack are few. Most grizzly bear encounters with cattle are bears coming upon cattle winter weather deaths or sickened animals. Attacks on humans are rare too, and are usually the result of hunters and grizzlies happening upon each other purely by accident and scaring each other, especially during elk bow hunting season in the fall. And grizzly bears are not the most dangerous animal in the western plain states, by far. In fact, more people are killed by moose, than all other predatory animals (grizzly bears, black bears, coyotes, wolves, mountain lions) combined.
PHOTO 4 – Sandy Can’t Read
Photo taken after Superstorm Sandy at Misquamicut Beach. Notice the sign in the location of a former dune that reads “Please Help Protect the Dune Area Please Keep Off”
It’s a reminder that we need to do more to Protect All Species.
PHOTO 5 – Flowering Cherry Tree
Flowering trees are beautiful to look at in the springtime, but also provide a necessary function in our food chain. Flowering trees like the cherry tree (pictured) provide a much needed food source for bees and other pollinators after a long winter. In turn, those pollinators provide a service to the human species by pollinating many of the fruits and vegetables we eat in the summer and fall. If you enjoy your summer and fall harvests, plant a tree that flowers in the spring.
PHOTO 6 – Condor over the Grand Canyon
It is easy to lose track of a giant condor when faced with the enormity of nature’s beauty. But never forget that the beauty of nature comes alive through the species that call it home.
PHOTO 7 – Honeybee
Providing an estimated $20 billion to U.S. crop production, honeybees are an indispensable asset to our food production economy, bio-diversity, and way of life. Keep this in mind when self-performing or contracting pest/weed control services to make sure that you are using bee friendly products.
PHOTO 8 – Backyard Lake View
This lake provides not only a beautiful backyard view, but an incredibly diverse ecosystem for species including beavers, ducks, herons, and pickerel. Ecosystems with a large number of species tend to be more resilient to climate change, so protecting them protects us too!
PHOTO 9 – Butterfly Walk
It is estimated that Monarch butterfly populations have declined 90% in the last 20 years, largely due to development and agricultural practices that are wiping out Milkweed, their only source of food. A friend had an abundance of milkweed in her yard and gave me several bags of seeds. On a windy fall day, two tots and I went on a “butterfly walk” to set the seeds free at our favorite park. We kept the last bag to start a backyard butterfly garden of our own, and hope to pay it forward one day.
PHOTO 10 – Bridge of Flowers
This is the Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls, MA. In 1929, this old trolley bridge was converted into a public garden with many species of flowers and trees that bloom from early spring to late fall. These flowers support bees and pollinators who need nectar and pollen all season long.
PHOTO 11 – Spotted Turtle
The Spotted Turtle (Clemmys guttata) was once listed as a “Species of Special Concern” and today remains a species of greatest conservation need in Massachusetts. Protecting wetlands, upland corridors between wetlands, and potential nesting areas will be vital to the continued existence of one of the state’s most charming reptiles.
PHOTO 12 – Sunset
Sunset a few evenings ago. PHOTO 13 –
Hardy Blackstonian turtles
Hardy Blackstonian turtles. Conditioned to survive in Blackstone stone river. Adaptation or the effects of water quality improvements? Either way more work is required to save these creatures.