Tri-Colored Heron, Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, Sebastian, Florida
Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge
Teddy Roosevelt is known for many things, so beloved by Americans that his face is one of the four Presidents on Mt. Rushmore. He was the youngest President, he was a great sportsman and he was also a very concerned and gifted conservationist.
On 14 March 1903, President Roosevelt established the first National Wildlife Refuge, a place for preserving special species or species at risk and the habitat they require to live. That first Refuge was the Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, which is located in Sebastian, Florida directly across the Indian River from our home here. We can look out in the mornings and watch the pelicans and other waterfowl flying up and down the river as they start their day, and all day we see the activity a healthy eco-system has.
Pelican Island protects much more than its namesake pelicans, though. The image in this blog is of a Tri-Colored Heron, one of the myriad of wading species that calls this area home. As well, there are ducks and geese in the thousands, and many marsh and swamp dwelling small land birds as well. Norma and I walked the Refuge loop trail earlier this week and saw several species of butterflies, dragonflies and other insects, as well as dozens of species of flowers and trees.
Teddy Roosevelt was a visionary. He looked forward and saw that this was something special, and that it needed to be preserved. The current US administration lacks this vision, and in fact, has stripped more protection than it has given; most recently undoing a very wise move to protect sage grouse out west, which now, thanks to the stupidity of removing the protection, will be threatened again.
The price of protecting the planet and the organisms we co-inhabit this fragile rock with is that occasionally we have to look beyond our own desires, and realize that it’s up to us as the chief users of resources to protect those who are impacted by our doings. To not do so is to ignore the consequences and is immoral.
Tomorrow, I’ll go to the annual Pelican Island Wildlife Refuge event – a local festival held in Sebastian which raises both funds for and awareness of Pelican Island and its importance. As President Roosevelt said: "We have fallen heirs to the most glorious heritage a people ever received, and each one must do his part if we wish to show that the nation is worthy of its good fortune."
May all who dwell upon this earth remember those wise words.