Environmental Preservation in a Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary, Part 2

The author's original MOTHER EARTH NEWS article about environmental preservation and the backyard wildlife sanctuary concept created an unexpected problem.

| September/October 1978

  • The Brooks Bird Club was swamped with responses to the first article about environmental preservation and backyard wildlife sanctuaries.

If you read Environmental Preservation in a Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary, you know about the worthy work being done by the Brooks Bird Club in Wheeling, West Virginia. And if you didn't read that article, you should know that the good folks at the organization have come up with one of the slickest and easiest ways imaginable for turning your property (farm, woodlot, even back yard) into a backyard wildlife sanctuary. In short:

Thanks to the work of the Brooks Bird Club, all you have to do to register any piece of land as a wildlife sanctuary is sign a pledge that you'll manage the property—no matter how big or small (the tiniest so far is a 30 X 100-foot lot in New York City and the largest encompasses 2,200 acres in Virginia)—in a manner that protects and improves its natural flora and fauna.

That's it. And the signing of the statement in no way compromises your ownership or personal rights to your land. All —I repeat—all it does is put you on record as being a concerned property owner who is dedicated to the preservation of your land's native flora and fauna.

That simple act (the signing of the pledge), however, can have a great deal of value to you. Because it registers your property with the 45-year-old, non-profit, internationally active Brooks Bird Club and entitles you to assistance with any environmental preservation problems or questions you may have. (Typical queried that the sponsoring organization has answered: How can I improve my land's habitat for squirrels and rabbits? What trees should we plant to provide food and shelter for birds?)

In addition, for a very small fee (the only expense you'll incur in the whole program), you'll be furnished with as many attractive metal signs as you want stating that your property is a registered wildlife sanctuary. Just send $1.25 for each placard plus $1.00 postage for one, $1.25 for two, and $1.75 for three to five signs (please allow six to eight weeks for delivery).

At no time will you receive a dun for registration fees, hidden costs of any kind, reports to fill out, legal commitments of any nature, or any other obligation to do anything. This is an entirely voluntary, do-it-yourself environmental program. You're always completely free to oversee and manage your personal sanctuary in the way that you think best. And if, for any reason, you ever decide you want out of the whole operation ... no problem. Simply take down your signs. It's that easy.

As I mentioned in my first article, I've had my small acreage registered for about three and a half years now, and I've enjoyed every minute of it. During that time I've improved the place's habitat for small mammals by building a couple of large brush piles and planting native food plants. I've also improved the property for me (and me for it!) by cultivating native wildflowers and becoming far more aware of the wildlife around me.

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