Investing in OUR Planet, 2022
Investing In OUR Planet, 2022
by Larry Weishuhn
Want to help better all things in our world? Get involved, invest a bit of yourself!
During a recent after-dinner discussion following an address to the “Hamburgers and Fries Thursday Night Book Club” a sharply dressed, attractive, fire-red haired lady asked, “You’ve talked about what sportsmen and women can do on the properties they manage to improve the habitat for game and non-game animals. Great information, but I live in a city. We have a modest house and yard. Is there anything I can do to make things better for wildlife?”
“Yes, most definitely! If you own any soil, even if simply an outside flower pot, or, as you mentioned have a front and back yard, you can help support wildlife. Plant flowers that produce pollen or nectar that can be utilized by bees and butterflies. Seeds for such are available at most any plant and garden stores.”
I continued, “My wife and I live inside the city limits. Thankfully, our home is not that far from a small creek. Thankfully the developer left trees and brush along the banks of the stream, habitat for critters that swim, crawl, walk or fly.”
“We plant annuals and perennials, which produce flowers to be “visited” by honey bees and other pollinators, as well as food in terms of seeds for birds. We plant herbs which caterpillars love including milkweed preferred by those which turn into Monarch butterflies. Know too, honey bees will travel over a mile in search of food sources, blooms rich in nectar and pollen.”
I continued to tell the assembled group some of the things I do on my property whenever I am there scouting, photographing, hunting, looking for shed antlers or simply taking a walk. Whenever and wherever possible, I collect seeds from hard and soft mass producing trees; including apple, pear, peach, plum, persimmon and various acorns, pecans and bois-d-arc ( also known as horse apples), as well as sunflowers, bee balm and native flowers. When on my property I carry those seeds in zip-lock bags along with a sharp stick. With the sharp stick, I poke a hole in the ground, drop in a seed or two, and continue doing so until I am out of seeds. Some seeds, particularly those from those with both male and female plants, such as persimmons, I plant at least three seeds usually only about two feet or so apart. These plantings increase variety in terms of food and cover for a great variety of wildlife.
During winter, I fertilize mass producing trees (like oaks or persimmon) and browse species such as Smilax or green briar. I dig a shallow trench along the tree’s drip-line, the outermost limbs, then sprinkle an all-purpose fertilizer like 13-13-13 in the trench. Not only does this provide additional nutrients to the tree, but other ground vegetation living there. Fertilizer increases the health of tree, but also helps in mass production. With acorns, fertilizer makes acorns “sweeter” (meaning lower levels of tannic acid). Where I have green briar, I simply scatter fertilizer around the perimeter of the plant. Smilax is a preferred deer browse wherever it exists, but also provided food for a great variety of other game and non-game animals. More ground vegetation too cuts down on soil erosion.
From a somewhat selfish perspective, fertilized trees, Smilax and other native browse create a natural food plot. Deer and other wildlife have the innate ability find the most nutritious plants and food.
Along with learning all one can about nature and the relationship we as humans have with wildlife and wildlife habitat, we too learn as long as we have hunting we will have healthy wildlife populations (both consumptive and non-consumptive) and healthy habitat.
We do not need to try to save the world with each of our efforts, however use as a means of investing in our world. It is the little things we do, remembering anyone who has soil can do something beneficial not only for wildlife but also the world we live in.
Part of the small things we can do, as mentioned, is to have a better understanding of wildlife and humans. With that said, remember, essentially all life on earth exists because of the death of other organisms, directly and indirectly. We can also buy and use products that are packaged in biodegradable containers, as opposed to those which are made of plastic. We can when “out in the country,” whether hunting, fishing or camping, make certain we properly take care of any garbage we “create.”
We can greatly help wildlife and habitat by insisting science, rather than emotion, dictates wildlife policies. That means voting against emotion filled referendums and regulations.
If we have children in school, attend their classes to learn what their teachers are saying and teaching in regard to wildlife and habitat. If there is an opportunity, volunteer to lead an educational activity about wildlife, habitat, and conservation.
With the recent events of the last few years, supply chain demands, like food scarcity, taught people food is not produced in, nor does it “come” from grocery stores. Our past two generations have not grown up in a relationship with “the land”. As a whole, they did not learn about planting seeds and growing vegetables and grain, nor milking a cow for milk, or producing livestock and fowl for meat. With shortages in grocery stores many are now planting gardens, buying fishing and hunting licenses so they can harvest their own wild fish, fowl and meat. Doing these are great fun, rewarding and truly invest in our world.
It is extremely important we support to such organizations as DSC and help fund conservation efforts of the DSC Foundation. But, we need to do more. There are many ways to invest in a future healthy world, and, we can have fun doing so. Some of the most important things we can do is to learn all we can about wildlife and habitat and introduce more adults and children to hunting, fishing and the outdoors. Men, women and children who hunt and fish are the true wildlife conservationists. If this includes you, be proud of all you have done in the past, but we have only just begun!