Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Possibilities Through Partnerships


 Carolina Parakeets (JJ Audubon)

On Saturday I attended the Florida Audubon Academy in
Gainesville Florida and was delighted to deliver a keynote address in the
morning.  There were about 100 Auduboners
from around the state present.  I wasn't
sure what to expect as I was speaking with heart, emotion, and a deep faith in nature
interconnection.  My underlying hope in
this presentation was to share with these people my hope for conservation work
in the midst of heartache and overwhelming challenges, and environmental and species
loss.  My hope, or at least my opening to
possibility, comes from the tremendous untapped potential of relationships in
multispecies communities.  I believe that
humans evolved to both save and savor one another and our world, as well as to
compete and to collaborate.  In facing
who we are, we can then use social intelligence to navigate difficult
relationships and grow our intrapersonal and interpersonal skills.  Just because it is hard, does not mean that there
won't come a time when  birds will fly
free as we too  sense the liberating joy
of loving one another.  I ended the
presentation with my answer to the question, "what are we for?" I
said that for me it is an urgent sense that we must love another or die.

In many ways I was "preaching to the choir." Yes I
knew these folks loved birds and probably faced sadness and despair in their
work.  What I didn't know was how close
they were to the passion of their work that comes from their intense love of
this world, and how close they were to their feelings of both joy and loss.  They expressed to me after the presentation how
much they wished to reenage with renewed vigor, despite the challenges.  In hearing of their work, and their
willingness to risk failure and frustration, I came away strengthened and
reaffirmed that we need to think alike to love alike. The force of this love
may help us partner with one another in unknown, creative ways that may yet be
the saving of this beloved planet.  Thank
you Florida Audubon for the depth of your commitment, and to Jacqui Sulek and Joyce King for inviting me and hosting the conference along with Alachua Audubon,  Marion Audubon, Four Rivers Audubon, and Santa Fe Audubon.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Regrets and Egrets


 Snowy Egret, Paine's Prairie March 22, 2010


If only

the solitary hunter

If only I had struck quicker

                If only
the fish had not turned

only the humans had not destroyed this prairie

My children might be here in the thousands

and food for an abundance I have only heard about

If only the many humans who watch me hunt

this path into the rising waters

 move quicker, turn from desire, and
rebuild this water world

and loved in a abundance 

you have not just heard about

fathom when you look at me

If only you would see me

If only

Monday, March 15, 2010

For Birds, For People, For Life, Forever



The world has moved on. 
From my rehabilitation days over 20 years ago, I see a greater shift
towards the interconnecting health of human and nonhuman.  We need to take care of ourselves so we can
take care of animals.  Here are some examples
of what is going on regarding this topic at the National Wildlife
Rehabilitiation Association Annual Symposium.


One person was toting a bag from the Royal Society
of Bird Preservation that said, "For birds, for people, forever."
when I asked her about this saying she said that you cannot separate the well
being of bird from a person. "Without birds, human souls would die."


Jennifer Convoy of PAWS (Progressive Animal Welfare
Society) said in the opening remarks, "No one is right, but we may be all
right together."  She went on to say
that though we like animals, we need to work well with people because this
increases our ability to give good quality care to animals.


Wendy Fox, the President of NWRA had a seminar
during the symposium about conflict between people working in
rehabilitation.  She said that human
relationships are the biggest problem rehabbers have. If we could get along
better, than we could take better care of the animals.


We are one world and we share one health.  Amen.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Rehabilitating Beauty


Today I travel to the National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association Annual Symposium in Bellevue, Washington.  It has been a long time since I have worked in avian rehabilitation.  As an avian veterinarian I have always taken in wild birds, or referred them to others.  Somewhere along the line I lost hope in this work as it seemed a band-aid type of approach when the world was suffering such degradation and extinction.  Charitable acts to return injured, young, or ill birds to the wild seemed like a drop in the bucket compared to what outdoor cats, pesticides, habitat destruction, hunting, and poaching did to bird populations the world over.  I strove for changes and the healing of the human heart that could impact social systems so that we could would not just consider the needs of all beings, but act from a biocentric, and not a human centric ethic.  I also wasn’t sure that taking care of individual birds was always n their best interest, given the stress and pain of captive management with many species. 

Indeed it is a complex world. The web of suffering cannot be eliminated, nor can the interweaving of beauty that happens in multispecies encounters.  I no longer feel that I have the answers to how we might live in beauty and have it eternally fly over us.  I journey then to this symposium, knowing that I share with others of my own species a respect, wonder, and care of the beauty around me, though we each make take different paths.  On all these paths, however, there is beauty before us.  We walk in beauty.  We work in beauty. We rehabilitate in beauty.