Yankee Jim’s National Park Toll Road and the Yellowstone Trail.Leaders such as John Audubon and John Muir, especially, believed that natural resources were not being husbanded and that markets were contributing to the problem.The slaughter of millions of bison, the decimation of bird populations, and the harvest of ancient trees led them to conclude that market forces could not be trusted to conserve nature’s bounty and, worse, that those forces would lead to its destruction.This combination of a conservation ethic and scientific management gave birth to modern environmentalism, as premised on the idea that good stewardship requires governmental control of resources.However, some mavericks in the conservation movement were willing to play within the rules of capitalism.Recognizing that incentives matter at least as much as ethics, they tried to harness incentives through private ownership.They bought the conservation movement’s ends, but believed that markets provided a better means to that end.The topography and the prevailing winds in the area make Hawk Mountain an ideal place to observe hawks on their southern migration.Unfortunately, Hawk Mountain once served as a killing field for hawks.Hoards of gunners gathered in the fall on the mountain’s top to kill hundreds and even thousands of hawks in a single day.Their actions were legal in Pennsylvania, where most raptors, including hawks, were considered vermin because they preyed on ’good’ birds.Indeed many state governments and game associations encouraged killing hawks by placing a bounty on them.A few local conservationists voiced concern about the slaughter at Hawk Mountain as early as 1900, but it was not until the late 1920s that sentiment really began to build for the hawks passing by Hawk Mountain.Sutton, then Pennsylvania’s state ornithologist, drew attention to the issue by publishing two articles in a professional journal.Then, in the early 1930s, Richard Plough, an amateur ornithologist, visited Hawk Mountain and began to spread the word about the site to a wider audience of birdwatchers.Plough’s efforts were reinforced by Rosalie Edge, a leading conservationist, birdwatcher, and suffragette who had taken up the cause of protecting nongame species.She assailed the bird protection organizations of that time for not doing enough.Biological Survey, and the state game departments, as being too closely associated with the hunting establishment, sportsmen, and ammunition manufacturers.She maintained that with few exceptions .One Sunday, she asked Richard Plough to meet her at Hawk Mountain.There they met a real estate agent who was selling 1,398 acres on the mountaintop.Lease in hand, she enlisted the services of a young naturalist named Maurice Broun, who moved to Hawk Mountain and became the site’s first warden.Broun arrived on 10 September 1934 and immediately began posting the property and patrolling it to keep hunters out.As far as Broun was concerned, the job was temporary, so he refused to accept a salary that first year.Despite her initial success, Mrs.Edge found that the leading conservation societies remained indifferent to the cause.In 1935, she raised the $3,500 to purchase the 1,398 acres.The association’s mission was to own and manage the Hawk Mountain land.Rosalie Edge and her maverick associates not only had taken the initial steps to protect birds of prey from senseless slaughter, they also secured a place from which birdwatchers can view these magnificent creatures in flight.The popularity of the sanctuary is indicated by the growing numbers of visitors.The Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Association itself has grown from a small, unpopular effort to save hawks and other birds of prey into an internationally known conservation, education, and research organization.The association carries out a raptor recovery program in conjunction with state and federal wildlife officials and provides college students, naturalists, and the general public with a better understanding of the role raptors play in ecosystems.The educational effort covers the whole gamut, from displays and field studies available at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, to courses at local colleges.The association’s annual budget of approximately $300,000 comes from membership dues of the 8,500 members and from private contributions of corporate sponsors and individuals.Hawk Mountain Sanctuary now covers 2,200 acres and receives approximately 70,000 visitors per year.Entrance is free to members, but nonmembers pay $4.00 for adults and $2.00 for children between six and twelve years of age.The history of Hawk Mountain is a classic example of what can be accomplished by a few dedicated individuals using the security of private property to protect species.A Hot Family TraditionFrom one early successful bird rescue we move to another on Avery Island.The island is one of five rising above the bayou country of Louisiana.It has been privately owned for 175 years, mostly by the descendants of the McIlhenny family.Its rich soil sits atop a mountain of salt as deep as Mount Everest is high.In the late nineteenth century, the egret was threatened by hunters who sought the birds’ valuable plumage.The egret rescue effort was spearheaded by Edward Avery McIlhenny, Edmund McIlhenny’s eldest son and a dedicated naturalist.What he found distressed him greatly.The snowy egrets, those exquisite birds that had always nested by the thousands in the Louisiana swamps surrounding Avery Island, were all but gone, killed by hunters for their special feathers, the aigrettes used to adorn ladies’ hats and hairdos.McIlhenny was determined to rescue the snowy egret.He succeeded in raising these birds and released them that fall to migrate south across the Gulf of Mexico.The following spring, six egrets returned to form the nucleus egret colony that ornithologists credit with saving the bird from extinction.The colony grew rapidly and today numbers in the tens of thousands.It was an outstanding achievement by a dedicated conservationist, but it wasn’t his only conservation achievement on the island.He banded 189,289 snowy egrets so he could track their migratory routes and developed his land into a sanctuary for many other wildlife species.This is an area lush with azaleas, irises, and camellias that bloom in early spring of each year.In this garden, McIlhenny planted Chinese and Japanese wisteria, hedges of Oriental holly and 64 varieties of bamboo.Lotus and pappus from the Nile were imported for small pools, and McIlhenny achieved a design of color and symmetry that has made the gardens as famous as the scarlet peppers of the Tabasco sauce industry.The developer, Humble Oil, cooperated fully with the demands made by the family that they carry out their work in a manner that preserved the wildlife and natural beauty of the island.For example, all pipelines are buried so that the usual equipment surrounding an oilfield is hardly visible.Oil production is declining now, and the McIlhenny family plans to turn the oil production field into another wildlife sanctuarya fitting conclusion to years of sensitive development.McIlhenny’s beautiful Jungle Gardens as well as watch thousands of snowy egrets at Bird City.The gate receipts profit the wildlife and enable the family to accommodate the tourists.Not so widely appreciated is Leopold’s appreciation for the power of market forces.Importantly, Leopold recognized the important role of the individual landowner.Leopold began practicing what he preached when he acquired an abandoned farm in Sauk County, Wisconsin, that ultimately served as inspiration for the ideas articulated in A Sand County Almanac.In 1937, Leopold purchased the farm to serve as a retreat from his duties as the country’s first professor of wildlife management at the University of Wisconsin and to test whether land depleted from years of intensive use could be restored to health.Like thousands of other farms in the Midwest, it was in very poor condition.As a maverick of conservation, Aldo Leopold questioned the growing trend in the United States to rely mainly on government for conservation.In addressing the limits of government he wrote, ’We tried to get conservation by buying land, by subsidizing desirable land changes in land use, and by passing restrictive laws.He wanted to change how private land was used in commodity production so that more habitat would be available for wildlife.To Leopold, a key to changing behavior was giving the private landowner an economic stake in conservation.Today the Leopold legacy lives on through the entirely private 1,500 acre Leopold Memorial Reserve, owned and managed by the Sand County Foundation.The reserve includes the farm from which Leopold derived his ideas.The reserve itself serves as an experimental laboratory for testing new methods of restoring natural ecological processes on lands that have been intensively farmed or logged, damaged, and abandoned.Included are cultivated lands, oak savannas, sedge meadows, prairie grasslands, and wetlands that provide habitat for wildlife.Apart from the original farm, tracts of land have been incorporated into the reserve’s management system through agreements with neighboring landowners.Each of the owners participating in the reserve has agreed to refrain from certain land use practices detrimental to the restoration of natural habitats.Landowners retain title to their property and agree to manage individual parcels in concert with the objectives of the entire reserve.In addition, the landowners allow the Sand County Foundation’s scientific team of ecologists, biologists, and hydrologists to monitor and manage the reserve as a single unit.In establishing these arrangements, the foundation took to heart Leopold’s words on compensating landowners.Reed Coleman, Sand County’s chairman, describes how this was done.A couple of us decided we ought to do something about curtailing development near the shack.We went to seven or eight landowners of various types and convinced them to enter into a voluntary agreement.As compensation, we would pay that landowner’s property taxes.We developed these agreements in 1965, before conservation easements had been discovered, and they have lasted almost thirty years.According to its 1989 brochure, the foundation isin the practice of healing the biologic community, with its human population on the lands and waters of the northeastern Sauk County, Wisconsin.We do so to provide one model of effective stewardship.This is not to generate precise replicas, but in order to enable other private landowners and committed conservationists to find their own way back to the good earth.At every level, the foundation emphasizes participating in active conservation work on private lands.Adult visitors to the reserve enjoy Leopold’s practical approach to conservation that lets them get their hands dirty.Recent projects include picking and sacking of prairie seeds for prairie restoration, surveying of tracts for weedy plants and removing them, and assisting with the

Supprimer les publicités sur ce site pendant 1 an