Posts Tagged ‘conservation’

So, you want to help the environment…

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

by: Susan Halpin

I have been thinking a lot lately of the latest fad of “going green”. It seems like using environmentally friendly products has become all the rage. Reducing ones carbon footprint has become the quest of many. But with all these acts of conservationism none is as humble and beautiful as what a Purple Martin Landlord does for his birds.
Not many people are aware of the plight of the Purple Martin. Besides the fact that most people have NO idea what a Purple Martin is, the act of putting up a house or a gourd for a Purple Martin to live in is becoming a remnant of a bygone era. Much like families sitting together for dinner-SANS Television, putting up housing is something more of us should do but not many of us actually do.
What is so compelling about this bird anyway? It’s about 8 inches long and so are a lot of other birds. The males are a steely blue-ish black…OK. The females not as fancy looking…alright. What is the big deal? Since these birds will never visit your backyard bird feeder most people will never get to find out. But if you are blessed enough to witness them, you will be taken in by their beautiful song, unquestionable grace in the air and apparent joy of flight.

So why am I writing this? You wanted to help the environment. You want to make a difference in the world. Feel free to donate money to save the Whales. Don’t let me stop you from recycling the newspaper. But other than a change in your routine and giving up a Starbucks Latte twice a week, what do you want to do? Do you want to make a difference right in your own backyard?
Many people want to help nature but they just don’t know how. We go to our local “Mart” super store and spend 20 bucks on a nest box and complain that no birds ever nest in it. So, what can YOU do to make a difference? CAN you even make a difference? ABSOLUTELY! It’s not easy and sometimes it’s not pretty either. But the joy you will experience, the pride you will feel, the sense of accomplishment will be amazing!
Back in the 40’s and 50’s, when putting up a house for Purple Martins was popular, you could drive down a road and see birdhouse after birdhouse. Heck, there was a time when parks and public areas would put up housing for Purple Martins. Then something happened. Somewhere along the line, we forgot about those that were so completely dependant on us for their continued survival.
So what happened? We may have many opinions on that but one thing is certain. Literally, only individuals, like you, hold the key to this birds survival.
That’s right, You-by putting up Purple Martin housing- can be personally responsible for bringing Purple Martins into the world. You can be single-handedly, the most important factor in those birds life. For what purpose does any life have? Only to be born and die, and hopefully adding some offspring to the mix. As long as more are added to the population than die, we will slowly and surely fill the skies with Purple Martins. But your help is needed. Your actions are vital. Join fellow Landlords and raise up a Purple Martin house and enjoy the song and grace and joy that you will have added to the world.

For more info on Purple Martins go to:
Or check out some of the links on the right.

Blog & Photos Copyrighted 2008: S.Halpin/

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Folke Peterson Wildlife Center

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

I recently posted about my desire to help my local rehab center obtain Purple Martin housing. You may or may not know what is my relationship with Folke Peterson Wildlife Center. It all started with an injured fledgling I named Beau. On his maiden flight (or shortly thereafter) he got stuck in a metal chain link fence for an unknown amount of time. By the time I noticed he was in distress, he was weak and dehydrated. Beau was rehabbed by Folke Peterson and owes his life, as do many animals, to the people that work there.

You may be wondering what I am doing to help FPWC, as I am asking people if they would like to donate to FPWC. I mean, Geez, “You have a website and sell all kinds of stuff and even Purple Martin Housing-just donate one of the houses you sell.” Well, if I was independently wealthy, I would. I have wholesale agreements with the people whose Purple Martin Housing I sell but none of them are free. Folke Peterson will have the option to purchase (at wholesale prices-for NO profit) from my site any of the housing I sell. OR since it is their donation money they can purchase it from whatever source they wish. My MAIN interest is helping them to get housing up. Do I have ulterior motives? YES! Because I know that when people see Purple Martins in flight, they will be astounded. Others will then want to get Martin houses up of their own. Hundreds of children will be exposed to these birds. Perhaps some of them will tell Mom and Dad about these birds. Perhaps a few people will be as taken and fall completely in awe of them-as I have.  But I am off on a tangent.

Follows is an exerpt from their site about the history of the center:
“In 1969 Bonnie Findlay and her brother Wallace Findlay founded The Bambi Bird & Wildlife Sanctuary, one of the first wildlife rehabilitation operations in Florida, on 31 acres of undeveloped, Australian pine-wooded land west of State Road 7, (441), and just south of Southern Boulevard in Western Palm Beach County.

Bonnie and Wallace dedicated the rest of their lives to the cause of helping injured, sick, and orphaned wildlife, by nursing them back to health, and releasing them back into their natural habitat.

With little more than their own time, money, and unending compassion, they generously cared for this area’s native wildlife and protected the animals living on their designated sanctuary.

In February of 1997, a devastating fire destroyed the Findlay’s home and two other buildings. Tragically Wallace Findlay perished in this dreadful blaze. Bonnie was diagnosed with cancer soon after and passed away in 2000. But before she died, Bonnie decided to partner with The Folke Peterson Foundation, named after a South Florida dairy farmer who bequeathed more than $25 million dollars of his money to animal causes in 1989.

The causes and dreams of these two animal lovers, separated by time and distance, but with similar visions, came together in 2001 when the Peterson Foundation Trustees and Bambi’s Board of Directors agreed to construct and fund the building of a $2,000,000 facility on the property, while at the same time renaming Bambi as The Folke Peterson Wildlife Center, at the Findlay Sanctuary. The original board members of the Peterson Foundation, including Chairman Don Champion, Frank and Emily Van Vliet, Howard Usher, Rick Kornmeier and Sue Shearouse were instrumental in crystallizing this joint vision into a long range plan for the future that would include the state-of-the-art facility we have today.

“I spent much of my youth feeling lonely and out of place,” Wallace once said. “So when I see sick animals that are injured and scared, I feel compelled to help. My dream is to build a wildlife hospital here, and I know if I keep working towards this goal with purpose and dignity, it will come to pass.”

Through the dedication and hard work of countless people, both past and present, that dream is being fulfilled.

With the Findlays’ and Folke Peterson’s hopes for the future in our minds and hearts, we proudly carry on the work of saving wildlife, educating the public and preparing to ultimately become a teaching hospital for current and future wildlife veterinarians and wildlife rehabilitation professionals.”

Blog & Photos Copyrighted 2008: S.Halpin/