DeJONGHE: Nature gives us a gift

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Conservationist: a person who advocates or acts for the protection and preservation of the environment and wildlife.

Environmentalist: a person who is concerned with or advocates the protection of the environment; a person who considers environment, as opposed to heredity, has the primary influence on the development of a person or group; a person who is interested in or studies the environment and who tries to protect it from being damaged by human activities.

Like many of us, I guess I may be a little bit of both. I care but would not call myself an advocate. I would not be considered an activist. I have not studied or worked to protect the environment from damage we humans do.

I believe humans should live in harmony with nature and the environment. I do not know how to do that on a global, national or even provincial scale so I will leave that to much smarter people, the real environmentalists and conservationists. I try to be kind to nature and do what I can to protect it in my own little corner of the universe.


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Wildlife is safe in my yard as evidenced by the number of bunnies, the visits of opossum and raccoons. I leave them alone and they leave me alone. I do make sure to not leave anything out that will attract them so they quickly move on. I will admit I get a little more cold-blooded if an unwanted creature gets into my house. I am not pleasant to the domesticated animals that use my porch furniture as a bedroom and my yard as the ensuite. My stomping and yelling goes ignored but I know it’s not the fault of the critters.

Although I have used it on noxious species, I severely limit the use of weed killer and any other hazardous chemicals. My lawn and gardens go without watering as a preservation measure but new plantings do get a drink for a couple days.

I try to plant flowers that are helpful to birds, insects, bees and butterflies. Over the past few years I have managed to establish a small but lovely crop of milkweeds to support the Monarch caterpillars. Much to the chagrin of some in the neighbourhood, I leave the dandelion for the bees as long as I can.

I was delighted to read Angela Lassam’s article, Dandelions don’t deserve such a poor reputation, in the May 20 edition of the Norfolk and Tillsonburg News. I love the greens in a salad, have never tried the wine but will try some tea. I did not realize the root was edible, too, and had no idea they had such medicinal qualities. Excellent article, Angela.

As kids we would hold a dandelion under our chin to see if we liked butter. We would gleefully run, spin and blow to release the fluff into the air. I think dandelions are the most exquisite gift nature has given us. The true beauty of dandelions is found in the precious, little bouquets picked by tiny, loving hands, given with delight, which filled the hearts of mothers and grandmothers everywhere with joy and gratitude.

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