Now more than ever, it is imperative Ohio conservation interests connect, communicate, and collaborate as a united front for nature and the environment.
By Dan Best, Naturalist, Geauga Park District and Member, Kirtland Bird Club
I have always felt that the weakness of the environmental/conservation/nature preservation community or movement is fragmentation, the lack of a united front. While the plethora of like-minded organizations provides 1) a diversified choice of organizations to join and support as best suited to an individual’s particular interests or concerns and 2) smaller, low overhead operations are more manageable from a leadership and functionality viewpoint, the result is a tremendous competition for membership among the environmentally-minded citizenry. Unfortunately, the result is also well-intentioned but largely ineffectual efforts towards environmental and conservation issues due to such small voices.
The decades since Earth Day have seen an erosion of fervor among the general population that has the allowed for the recent rise of audacious and outrageous efforts to dismantle environmental and conservation legislation, funding and other regressive measures to thwart gains made in the last 50 years. Now more than ever, it is imperative that conservation/nature/environmental organizations unite. I am not suggesting mergers necessarily. However, it is high time to give attention to the vast range of common ground and duplicity among such organizations, institutions and agencies, to grow beyond the parochialism that can afflict a single organization or grassroots club.
What I am calling for is connectivity among organizations that brings various entities, related in mission, interest and passion, together as alliances, confederations, leagues, or coalitions that give the strength in numbers, larger legal funds, more political clout and all-in-all, a louder voice for nature and the environment.
So yes, I think that the Kirtland Bird Club should consider a partnership with the COAC. And for that matter, I’d like to see the Burrough’s Nature Club, the Toledo Naturalist Association, the Wheaton Club of Columbus, The Cleveland Natural Science Club, the Ohio Bluebird Society, the Ohio Ornithological Society, the Ohio Bird Conservation Initiative, the Friends of Magee Marsh, The Ohio Chapter of the Nature Conservancy, all of the other state or local bird/nature/conservation organizations in Ohio, and yes, even the hunting/fishing factions of the conservation community such as Ducks Unlimited (as one example), unite under one banner, to coalesce in time of need as a force to be reckoned with in support wildlife conservation, environmental and natural areas protection.
Naturalist, Geauga Park District
Member, Kirtland Bird Club
The Council of Ohio Audubon Chapters (COAC) mission is to promote chapter development by 1) sharing the best practices, 2) brainstorming solutions to common problems, and 3) developing relationships in workshops and retreats.