Deer hunters. Bass anglers. Bird watchers. While all these folks have dissimilar hobbies, they do share something in common: conservation.
Nature is interconnected in ways that people may not realize. And efforts to help one species may benefit many. For example, ongoing efforts to prevent the hemlock woolly adelgid, a fluid-sucking insect, from decimating the state’s hemlocks not only helps the trees, it also helps the migrating warblers feeding among the branches or the fish in nearby streams that depend on the shade to keep the water cool. Improving your farm’s habitat not only provides a better place for deer, it gives small animals and birds critical areas to nest and live.
Unfortunately, outdoor enthusiasts have broken into groups with narrow special interests in the past few decades. We now have clubs solely concerned with one species, whether it’s elk, waterfowl, trout, bass, or something else.
We’re losing the natural interconnections in a state with the motto of United We Stand, Divided We Fall.
Now there’s an effort to bring all these interests together to provide a stronger voice for conservation in the state. It’s called the Kentucky Conservation Coalition, an effort headed by the nonprofit Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Foundation with the support of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.
“These are critical times in our state for fish and wildlife, when you consider the amount of land being lost to development every day,” explains Foundation President Jon Woodall.
Acting with one voice on conservation can also help preserve wild places and outdoor activities for today’s youth, and for future generations.
Joining the coalition is simple: go to Kentucky Fish and Wildlifeï¿½s Web site at www.fw.ky.gov, click the Kentucky Conservation Coalition icon on the main page, then sign up for the group’s e-newsletter. There are no membership dues and anyone concerned about conservation can join. You don’t have to be a member of any club or organization.
The coalition’s primary mission is to provide its members the current information they need to make informed decisions and take action, if necessary. “Essentially, there are many issues that affect Kentucky Fish and Wildlife, hunters, anglers, boaters, and others,” Woodall says. “The coalition is an avenue to inform people about issues of importance to them, so they can be involved.”
Conservationists can have a strong voice in government by standing united. “If you’re interested in being informed on issues in Kentucky that affect conservation,” Woodall says, “you need to be a member of this group.”
Buy a nature plate when you register your car or truck. There are three new designs featuring Cumberland Falls, a hummingbird, or a dragonfly. One hundred percent of your $10 fee helps buy and preserve natural areas, and is considered a tax-deductible donation to the Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund. For more information, go online to www.dnr.ky.gov/heritageland/natureplate.