I was reminded, in a humorous conversation with family over Thanksgiving, that in relationships there is give and take, and there needs to be compromise.
It got me thinking, the same thing is true in conservation these days.
We all need to compromise for the good of nature, animals, wildlife, pollinators, and even ourselves. Protecting our natural resources will benefit us all.
So, if you happen to be in a relationship, partnership, or business dealing, and one of you is not so “Earth Friendly,” “Tree Hugging,” “Habitat Happy” and is more on the straight and narrow or traditional way of doing things, you understand how difficult it may be to negotiate.
Ideas like a wildlife area, conservation buffer strips, shrubby tall growth areas for birds, wildflower or milkweed plots, wetlands or low area on your property and less frequent mowing may be troublesome.
For the person that likes a manicured lawn, field, pasture or border, these areas just don’t mesh with conservation.
So I have learned just as in life, and in any relationship, no matter how big or small, conservation needs compromise.
From farmers to landowners to city planners, schools and department of transportations, if everyone would just compromise a little bit to do some sort of conservation, it would make a huge difference.
Leave a corner
Let’s take a small backyard or section of land for example. Instead of mowing all of it, leave a corner section, or an edge by the fence, field break, ditch line, etc.
Here is the compromise. That section of tall grass can be a great habitat for small mammals to take cover.
You could even allow milkweed to grow there, and plant some wildflowers for pollinators.
Put a few branches of your old Christmas tree (without decorations) in that pile for more shelter and create a habitat haven.
Birds will love it, along with other small animals throughout the year.
Yes, it may be an eyesore for some, but to others it’s a refuge and delight. So, meet in the middle.
Give up a corner, an edge, a border, a buffer. If you do this near a stream, lake or ditch you will also be protecting water.
Areas with trees, grasses, and thick vegetation, and most importantly roots along the banks hold soil in place along streams, creeks and rivers. They also filter out harmful pollutants before they get to the water; so it is worthwhile to have a buffer or section of grass near a ditch or stream for the sake of water quality.
Now if you’re a bird lover like me, put out a bird feeder.
You could also put up a bat box (they need homes too), bluebird boxes, and any type of shelter.
And of course, everything and everyone always needs water to survive. So, during the freeze of winter, draw in birds without buying expensive seed, try a heated bird bath.
It’s no secret more people live in urban areas than they do out in the country and rural areas.
In fact, cities are home to 62 percent of the U.S. population. That is why it’s just as important to engage citizens and youth about protecting biodiversity and green space.
The compromise in this situation might be on a larger, planning scale — with partners and community stakeholders — but the end result would be greater air and water quality for all.
We learned in elementary school that plants give off oxygen.
Trees and plants (called green space) simply look better, are healthy, absorb more water, take more residual heat, provide homes and habitats for birds and animals, and create more value than a paved lot or an abandoned home or business.
These new green spaces require time, money and planning, but in the end, the compromise pays off with the well-being of citizens and the environment.
Even ODOT and city and county transportation departments can adjust for the sake of conservation.
By not mowing all of the ditches and sections of roads, they will help pollinators by keeping flowers and grasses around.
They will also help their budgets by not using fuel and time mowing those areas. Another win-win for conservation.
The benefits of green space, grasses and trees are improved air quality, water infiltration, and birds and wildlife all living together in the city, striking a balance.
That’s what’s it all about. I hope this holiday season, you consider conservation and its value, even if you have to meet in the middle for your plan, it will be worth it.