Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Jack Miner ... Father of Conservation

He became the founder of
The  Jack Miner Migratory Bird Foundation
(a waterfowl refuge system by creating a sanctuary
for them in 1904).

It is located in Kingsville, Ontario (30 minutes east from Windsor and Detroit) near the north shore of Lake Erie.  Five years later, he pioneered the bonding of migratory waterfowl.  The recovering data was instrumental in the establishment of the Migratory Bird Treaty in1916 between United States and no such government  bonding programs had yet been in existence. The Foundation is a charitable organization that operates solely on grants and the generosity of private and corporate donations.  In 1904, he created a pond on his farm with 7 clipped tame Canada Geese ~ hoping to attract wild geese.  It took 4 years of effort before the wild geese finally began to settle at Miner's sanctuary.  In 1911, geese and ducks were arriving in large numbers and Miner increased the size of his pond in 1913 ~ the entire homestead had become a bird sanctuary.  The Provincial Government of Ontario provided funding for Miner's project, allowing him to add evergreen trees and shrubs and to dig more ponds and surround them with sheltering groves.

Of Interest:  From the Lake Erie piers of Kingsville and Leamington, car ferries leave frequently for the cruise to Pelee Island (the largest in the lake)...a serene setting where time seems to move at a slow pace.  It is home to Pelee Island Winery ~ Canada's largest estate-owned winery with approximately 600 acres of vineyards. You've heard said, “It's worth the drive to Acton” (for leathers) I advise you that, “It's worth the trip to Pelee Island.”  How wonderful it was, a couple years ago, to cross the placid, almost glass-like waters of Lake Erie to this quiet island!  Enjoy the lake views...the rural countryside...the peaceful atmosphere and the friendliness of its inhabitants. Cap off this scenic drive with a visit to the winery's boutique...and a lunch menu to enjoy with a glass of Pelee Island Wine.

                   Point Pelee National Park resounds with migratory songbirds in the spring, hums with cicadas in the summer, flutters with Monarch butterflies in the fall and is a peaceful place of reflection in the winter.  A half-mile of marsh boardwalk puts you in the heart of wildlife...a true paradise for thousands of bird-watchers yearly.

                       Point Pelee, Ontario, is the southernmost  part of mainland Canada...which runs parallel to northern California in United States.  Just last summer, a local bicyclist rode from this Point to the northernmost point in Canada's Arctic...notably quite a physical challenge!

Blowing In
(a story about Clovis the Goose who gets blown off track...
 written by Esther Meerschaut, Harrow, Ontario
and published in the recent  “Our Canada” magazine issue)

Once upon a time towards the end of April, Clovis the Canada Goose was flying over Lake Erie and into Ontario.  He was eager to return to the pond where he had started life the previous year.

Next year, he would seek a mate, but this summer he would soak up the sun, float leisurely on the water  and eat whenever and whatever he wanted.

Today, the wind was so strong that he and the other Canada Geese had trouble staying together in their “V” formation.  Then a violent gust of wind blew Clovis out of formation  and tossed him about like a leaf.  No matter how hard he flapped his wings, he couldn't get back.  Then, just as suddenly, he was out of the strong wind.  He was once  more in control of his wings.

But, he was alone! He could not see his friends, nor could he see the pond.

Clovis realized he was heading directly towards a large, two-storey, red brick building. Below him, beside a busy highway, were cages containing wild turkeys.  Behind those was a pond, but not the one he wanted.  Ducks and Canada Geese were strolling along the shore, swimming, eating and dozing in the grass.

“Where am I?” Clovis asked the nearest goose.  “This looks like heaven.”

“Not quite,” said the other goose, “but close to it. You're in Kingsville, Ontario.  This is the Jack Miner Migratory Bird Sanctuary where we are safe and protected.  Here we have everything we need...water, friends and the freedom to come and go as we like.”

Clovis decided that he didn't need to look for that other pond.  He would stay right here.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Written by Richard Bach, it is a fable (in novella form) about a seagull learning about “life and flight” and a homily about self protection.  First published in 1970,  over a million copies were in print. The book received the top of the New York Times Best Seller list where it remained for 38 weeks.

The book tells the story of a seagull who is bored with the daily squabbles over food.  Seized by a passion for flight, he pushes  himself, learning everything he can about flying...until his unwillingness to conform within the flock, resulted in his expulsion.  An outcast, he continued to learn, becoming increasingly pleased with his ability as he leads an idyllic life.

One day, Jonathan is met by 2 gulls who take him to a “higher plane” of that there is no heaven, but a better world found through perfection of  knowledge, where he meets other gulls who love to fly.

And the story goes on! 
I strongly advise that every parent and child
should read this amazing and enlightening! a Great Teacher

If we listen...Nature talks to us every day and every night.
The earth and sea and sky speak about their colours and actions.
The everlasting hills and trees with waving branches speak.
Buds and flowers speak of their beauty and scent.
Numerous lovely birds speak as they sing happy songs.

The Mourning Doves, about which I have extensively written,
teach lessons about human parenting, about the dedication and
not only protection, but the rearing of their young to adulthood.

Animals, insects and marine life teach us many lessons...if we observe.

He who studies most deeply
into the mysteries of nature
will realize most fully
his own ignorance and weaknesses.
He will realize that there are
depths and heights which he cannot reach,
secrets which he cannot penetrate,
vast fields of truth lying before him unentered.
He will be ready to say with Newton,
“I seem to have been like a child on the shore
finding pebbles and shells while the great ocean of truth
lay undiscovered before me.”
(Author unknown)

Nature protects and nurtures its diverse creations to a profound sense of intelligence that we are just beginning to appreciate.  Consider this:  Branches stripped of foliage during winter, are encased with snow or frost or ice for added protection.  Nature is the Ultimate Teacher…of how to overcome obstacles and woes…and how to appreciate the environment around us.

Pearl of Wisdom

When a flower grows wild, it can always survive/
Wild flowers don’t care where they grow.
(Dolly Parton)

Crafted by Merle Baird-Kerr … March 24, 2013
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