by Dorian Martin 07/07/2020
Students Must Take the Lead in Conservation. Everybody should care about wildlife conservation. This is no longer an area that is only the domain of ecology and environmental studies students. It is possible to save endangered wildlife and to restore their habitats.
The only problem is that the window for taking action is shrinking. This is an all hands on deck situation, and students are going to lead the way. Why? Because this is a global social issue, and that’s something that college and university students are pros at. So, what can you do to tackle the issue of wildlife and habitat conservation? Keep reading to learn more.
Learn About the Issues That Impact Your Area.
When people think about wildlife conservation, it often conjures up images of coral reefs, wide open ocean, jungles, and mountains. They envision endangered predators, marine mammals, and other majestic creatures. While all of these need attention, there’s more to conservation than this.
Look where you live. Which invasive species are a threat to your local ecosystem? How are your local waterways? Remember that it’s creeks and streams, even storm sewers that feed into rivers and lakes, and eventually into the ocean. Which plants and animals are threatened?
Now, take it a step further. Who are the biggest polluters where you live? What organizations are working hard to make a difference
Bottom Line: You are most empowered to make an impact in your local area. Study the conservation issues there first.
Support Green Spaces and Other Natural Areas
Green spaces are areas of urban land that are undeveloped, and accessible to the public. These are community gardens, urban restoration projects, parks, sanctuaries, even cemeteries. Green spaces improve the quality of life in urban areas, make spaces more beautiful, and are a place for local flora and fauna to thrive.
Natural areas include forests, state and national parks, wildlife preserves, natural restoration areas, bird sanctuaries, recreation areas, and other areas that are either undisturbed or maintained in as natural a state as possible. These areas are often protected in an effort to protect wildlife on land and in the water.
Here’s something to keep in mind. Only a small percentage of the land in the United States is publicly owned. This means that these are the only areas that state, local, and federal agencies have full ability to protect. These are the areas that house natural features, contain rivers and streams, and are home to plants and animals.
Bottom Line: You can help these areas by volunteering to keep them safe and pristine, and supporting efforts to protect them.
College students spend a lot of money on consumer goods. Unfortunately, not all of that spending aligns with the values of wildlife conservation. This is another area where studying the impacts of lifestyle choices on wildlife is absolutely key.
Products marketed to students are often cheap and disposable. That seems budget friendly at first, but this just leads to more items in the landfill. So, put your research skills to work, and find the best ways to make your purchasing decisions the best for animals and their habitats.
Finally, get involved on campus. Does your school have an on-campus resale shape? Can you swap items with other students through a Facebook group or message board? What about on-campus recycling drives or swap-meets.
Bottom Line: You are part of one of the most powerful consumer groups there is. Your money has power! Use it to make a difference.
Participate in Wildlife Education Programs
Do you know how to plant a garden that attracts bees or monarch butterflies? What about building a shelter for the same pollinators? Which foods should you be eating to have the most environmental impact where you live? If you feel as if you’re lacking in knowledge when it comes to animals, their habitats, and how to help them, don’t worry.
There are likely to be plenty of free or low cost education programs near you at local zoos, wildlife rehab programs, state parks, refuges, even your local library. In some places, local farmers` markets offer classes on local horticulture. Look for classes on:
You might even consider taking on a few elective classes relating to conservation or environmental studies. Who knows if you haven’t chosen a major, you might be motivated to pick one that’s related to ecology. In addition to learning more about wildlife conservation, your participation has other benefits. When you take part in wildlife education programs, you help keep these programs going. Keep in mind that these programs are funded according to the interest that people show in them. Plus, any small fee you pay to take part helps as well.
Bottom Line: You can learn so much about local wildlife with only an investment of your time. Later, you can even volunteer your time to help educate younger kids about these important topics.
Get Educated About Your Local Water Waterways
Almost everyone leaves near waterways of some sort. Rivers, streams, creeks, lakes, ponds, ephemeral ponds, and underwater sources of water are all part of your local water system. When these waterways are kept clean, local plants, fish, and wildlife populations tend to be much healthier. This includes humans as well.
Do you ever wonder where the water comes from when you turn on your tap? Have you ever viewed a water quality report from your local water company? What about the fish, plant life, and animals that live in or around your waterways?
If you take a bit of time to learn about the waterways in your area, you’ll gain new appreciation for it. You’ll also learn how the health of even the smallest streams and creeks impacts your local ecosystem.
Bottom Line: Education is a key component to keeping waterways clean and protected.
Take Part in a Bioblitz
A bioblitz is a combination research project, volunteer opportunity, and learning event. It involves citizens, like you, finding and identifying as many plant and animal species in an area as you can.
You can search online for bioblitzes in your area, or you can use an app like iNaturalist. Another search term to try is ‘Citizen Science’. You’ll get lots of great search results for opportunities to help with important data collection efforts. This is especially cool as you can take a picture of a plant or animal, and upload it. A research scientist will then help you identify it.
If there are no bioblitzes that you can find nearby, check with your school. Your biology, ecology, or life sciences department may have some opportunities for you. In many instances, they have field research projects going on, and they frequently need volunteers to help.
Is your employer looking for a service project? Diana Adjadi is a writer for BestWritingAdvisor. She also organizes her teams’ annual community service efforts. She says, “We spend at least one day a year participating in an Earth Day bioblitz. It’s great fun spending time outdoors, and someone on the team always makes at least one exciting discovery.”
Bottom Line: You can help with important research. All you need is a smartphone and a bit of time.
Ocean Blue Project is a Community Environment Nonprofit Movement Saving The Oceans and always looking for groups wanting to make a difference.
More than a quarter of high school and college students volunteer their time. In fact, many schools require community service hours in order to graduate. Of course, volunteering is also a great way to get to know other people and make a meaningful contribution locally.
Of course, it can be a challenge to find a volunteer opportunity that’s fun and meaningful. Why not get some friends together to clean up a local beach or other waterways?
Ocean Blue Project can help! There’s just a simple form to fill out. Later, you can share the results of your cleanup on your social media pages with the hashtag @oceanblueproject. You can also upload your pictures directly to the Ocean Blue page.
Not anywhere near an ocean? No worries! You can still organize a clean-up at a local river, lake, or stream. These projects have been completed all over the world by students, families, and coworkers. Remember that volunteering is always a great team-building activity.
Author Bio: Dorian Martin is an experienced writer and editor. He contributes regularly as a freelancer at academic writing services providing students with dissertation writing help of a supreme quality. Dorian writes on a variety of topics including small business development, entrepreneurship, and technology. His hobbies include hiking and parasailing.