The dictionary definition of conservation is “the act of conserving; prevention of injury, decay, waste, or loss. Preservation.” An example would be the conservation of wildlife or water conservation and even the conservation of human rights. More importantly to the context of this article, it’s defined as the “official supervision of rivers, forests and other natural resources in order to preserve and protect them through prudent management”. It is a definite misconception to believe that supervision of our natural resources is solely up to paid park rangers and the DEC (the Department of Conservation).
Conservation starts at Home
As inhabitants of this planet, resource conservation is a responsibility we all share. Thinking you wouldn’t know where to start? Here are just a few examples and ideas as to how you can do your part in preserving and protecting the natural beauty right in your own backyard.
Conservation and carry in carry out
When thinking conservation and preservation, think about the alarming amount of how much waste humans generate and subsequently leave behind in our national, state, and local parks as well as our roadsides. We should all make the conscious effort to not only “carry in, carry out” our own garbage, but take a few extra minutes to bag up any litter we observe during hikes, after picnics, or on our way out. The cleaner the area is, the less apt the next person is to litter it up.
How litter affects wildlife
For some reason, when people see an already dirty area, they feel it’s okay to add to it. Do your part to curtail this horrible habit. Leaving garbage behind will not only attract wild animals to areas they don’t belong in, but the decomposition of the soil, nearby water, and plants surrounding the area. Additionally, if you’ve ever seen a skunk or raccoon with a plastic container stuck around his snout, it’s a sad sight, knowing that animal will slowly die of starvation, being unable to eat. The irresponsible way we handle our refuse is one of the top conservation challenges.
Don’t take anything but memories
Another way to aid in the conservation effort is to resist the temptation to pick plants and flowers that seem unique to you. Picking some roadside daisies is one thing, but unknowingly picking an endangered plant or flower is quite another. There are thousands of species all over the country that are in danger of becoming extinct. So think before you pick!
Report illegal dumping
One more problem our parks and recreational areas face is illegal dumping in our rivers, streams, lakes and oceans. Being conscious of what is put in our waterways is only one way of making sure our water stays clean. The other way you can help is by reporting any dumping or contamination you may witness. One call to the DEC can go a long way toward our overall conservation efforts. The definition of conservation is varied, the need for conservation is not.