Be sure to check up on www.feathersawry.wordpress.com for all things bird-related! I tend to get more political on this page so a nice reprieve waits for you over there. Aside from my fun new kayaking/birdwatching video, I've also recently posted a review of the Project Puffin story, a book I highly recommend. Click here or the book image below to check out the review!
Here's a short video of my kayak jaunt to a lovely acoustic melody. Along the trip I came across a busy pileated woodpecker, shy turtles, fish swirling beneath me, various waterbirds, a fledgling red-bellied woodpecker and a boisterous carolina wren. I recently bought this kayak to take on a different perspective of my Floridian stomping grounds, now splashing grounds? I call my vessel Dipper, as in the American Dipper of the west which swims deftly through the currents of rivers that splash between towering conifers. This is a much different landscape with tropical proclivities. I love my Dipper and truly urge my fellow birdwatchers to take to the water when they have the opportunity, as it brings you not only a whole different point of view, but also somehow puts you more naturally into their habitat to where they take less notice of you, as you'll see with the pileated with whom I joyously shared part of the morning with.
On Trump's 100th day, people across the country gathered in support of climate action. The People's Climate Movement in DC was joined by sister marches across the country. I attended the event here in Sarasota, Florida hosted by the Sarasota Climate Justice Coalition:
Sarasota Stands for Climate Justice!
Speakers at the rally included:
Sierra Club Manatee and Sarasota Counties
Stand Up Fight Back SRQ
All of Us Sarasota
Citizens' Climate Lobby Sarasota-Bradenton
Upon joining the Wild Lens, Inc. team, I've already completely immersed myself into the various issues and campaigns that this wildlife conservation-focused filmmaking group has taken on over the years. Our recent and and main emphasis is on the severely endangered vaquita, a tiny porpoise found in the northern section of the Gulf of California. Wild Lens has a website devoted to raising awareness about the plight of this 5-foot marine mammal and is screening a documentary about the porpoise in Mexico and the United States.
In addition to all the hard work surrounding vaquita efforts, we at Wild Lens have been preparing for something that is particularly pertinent imperiled species as well as to the times and our future. That is, the March for Science, which fell, very appropriately, on Earth Day: April 22, 2017. (image below links to the WildLens blog post)
In addition to the blog post above in preparation for this historic march, we also interviewed Rosalyn Lapier on our Eyes on Conservation podcast. Rosalyn is an environmental historian, ethnobotanist, and indigenous writer who has been involved with the development of the March for Science since its inception and is on the march steering committee. By covering the march from a variety of perspectives, Wild Lens' goal was to get a fuller idea of what this event is supposed to mean and what it hopes to accomplish, across the board.
To continue on that thread, five Wild Lens correspondents, me among them, hit the streets and covered marches all across the nation.
As many of our listeners are likely aware, we engaged in an experiment this past weekend and sent five EOC correspondents out to cover five different March for Science events all across the US. Today’s episode is the end result of that experiment!
The episode starts off in Washington, D.C. – the main event this past Saturday, Earth Day 2017. The Washington, D.C. march was attended by tens of thousands of people, and featured a number of prominent speakers. Although many scientific issues were raised, a common theme throughout the day was climate change. Speakers addressed the need for politicians to recognize the scientific consensus regarding our role in causing this crisis, as well as the role of science in finding ways to mitigate the impacts of climate change.
I was able to march the streets of what basically feels like home to me, Washington, DC. I've spent a good deal of time in this city, writing for Defenders of Wildlife, working in restaurants downtown, marching for women and immigration, cycling and walking everywhere, and even discovering more pockets of wildlife than you'd expect and, over that time, the nature girl within me grew to love this busy concrete jungle. I was proud to represent my love and respect for science on my very own stomping grounds, surrounded by thousands and thousands of like-minded individuals.
And boy did we get wet. But I didn't even witness a single dampened spirit. The passion kept us warm (except my poor mom, whose "rain jacket" acted more like a sponge, but damn did she cheer just as loud!) and we stood, surrounded my masses of scientists and science advocates under the towering Washington Monument that faded in and out of the misty rain. Speaker after speaker, representing every aspect of science, showered us with strength, determination and hope. And the reigning theme was this: ditch the jargon, make science approachable and understandable, read everything, ask questions, think critically about the information you're being given, share what you've learned, invite others to question the information you give them, encourage kids to embrace science, pursue truth, lend your time and energy to scientific causes, call your congressmen, and VOTE!
So having started working for a filmmaking group called Wild Lens, Inc., I've been busy with their primary mission of the moment: raising awareness about a five-foot porpoise that may not even exist anymore.
Wild Lens, Inc. travelled to Mexico in mid-March, to screen a documentary film illustrating the plight of this tiny marine mammal that is only found in the northern Gulf of California. The film portrays the species' situation, that of a harmless yet severely endangered animal getting caught up in nets meant to illegally catch the also-endangered species, a fish call the totoaba bass. Illegal gillnets are used to catch specific sea life and, while the vaquita are not a target species for the Mexican fisherpeople, they're getting captured as by-catch and die as a result.
As of the most recent population census carried out by the International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita, the total remaining vaquita may not even top thirty individuals, which is down 50% from last year and yet, within just the past couple of weeks, three of the precious few left have been found dead. Just before Wild Lens team leaders Sean Bogle and Matthew Podolsky were scheduled to screen the film in Mexico on March 13th, a good deal of unrest took place in El Golfo de Santa Clara, one of the two fishing communities most impacted by the fishing regulations recently put into place to protect the vaquita.
"Frustrated fisherman set fire to government vehicles and marched in the streets in protest of restrictions placed on the corvina fishery, which they rely on the make a living." -VaquitaFilm.org blog
By the time they got to Mexico, they were in for more bad news: The porpoises were turning up dead. A newborn vaquita was found washed up on a beach by the anti-poaching sea-borne force known as Sea Shepherd. Another dead individual was reported to S.S. by locals who saw the adult floating near to where the baby was found. The body was located and confirmed by the anti-poaching organization on the 19th. The bodies of both individuals have been handed over to the Mexican authorities and are awaiting necropsy to determine cause of death and a third vaquita is said to have also been found dead.
Click article below for link:
Nevertheless, despite the discouraging news, Wild Lens could do something about it while they were down there: Spread the word. They held screenings in schools where many of the students have fisher-parents who participate in the illegal totoaba fishing industry. By reaching out to the community where this entire drama is playing out, at least WL was there to send a message of hope for future conservation of the species. If it's too late, at least this gives us a chance to know what a precious thing we are about to lose and perhaps that will have a positive impact on future efforts for conserving all the other species so handily ravaged by man's impact.
Really just using this as an excuse to make a seabird-centric collage of life on Project Puffin's Seal Island..visit my blog for stories about my work with birds!
Pictured: @stacebird, Atlantic Puffin, Great Cormorant, Razorbill, Common & Arctic Tern
Click the screenshot below featuring my latest updated on my bird blog (www.feathersawry.wordpress.com) which is filled with stories about my work with, observations of and love for birds that persists no matter where I am. Trying to keep my politics separate but I'm not guarenteeing anything, seeing as how he's hitting below the belt and it's the environments that not just the birds, but we depend upon so desperately. If we ruin that, we're done. So to get on a happier thread for a break from all this, check out feathers awry for pictures of fuzzy seabird chicks!
First there was the inauguration, which nobody watched, followed closely on its heels by the Women's March, which bore many hints of our concern with not just how we're treating women but also of how we’re treating Mother Earth.
It was an inspiring time and, I think, showed to all of us how much we are of the same mind. If we can bring that with the same tsunami wave that the pink hats did, the Science March could really show ourselves that we're all together in this and we have the same concern for our planet, because, we gotta save the earth if we want to save ourselves. And we can start by joining forces, realizing that we're in this together. And here's a pure, strong example that we can do just that:
And we're doing this not just for ourselves, but for our offspring and their offspring and so on, so they can continue to have the privilege that we've had of carrying on the act of existing in the name of human. Because we don't want to have to leave them to deal with long term effects of mass drought (will we ever make up for all these years of it?), warming temperatures throwing off ecosystems that we depend upon, rising sea levels throwing off our summer plans..and homes..and sea temperatures.
So now it's our turn again, let's show our support and march. Wherever you are there will be a march near you. We all know who reads the "fake" news, so let's send him some more to watch! I'm irate over here, learning every day of what we are losing thanks to the easy sweep of his pen. Protections that will impact wildlife and the environment in the short term and us in the forever after term. Maybe we won't suffer our consequences of our actions, generations to come will until long after we're gone.
Read about the march against the muslim ban in front of Trump Motel
BSc in Biology & Environmental Studies (WWC)
MSc. in Journalism (UOregon)
You can find my published work in Eugene Weekly, Sierra Club and Defenders of Wildlife.