Celebrating the Environment

Originally published in the Dickinson County News

Last week, I made my third visit to the Orphaned and Injured Wildlife Refuge in Spirit Lake.

Not only did I get to watch our beloved trumpeter swan Clyde healed and back on his feet, but I also encountered some of the most adorable “babies” I’ve ever seen.

Thirty-some infant raccoons sprung up to get attention as I walked into their presence.

A two-week-old squirrel burrowed in the hands of its caretaker Linda Hinshaw as she changed its blankets.

Two mini chickadees looked nearly alien to me as she fed them cat food. (Ironic isn’t it?)

And as I administered a bottle to a two-week old fawn, it stole my heart.

The Orphaned and Injured Wildlife Shelter has quickly become one of my favorite places. While not open to the public, it is still one of the greatest assets the region has acquired. And it’s just one example of the commitment to the environment found in the Iowa Great Lakes.

Start looking around and you’ll see dozens of organizations committed specifically to the betterment of the environment. Water quality groups are a prime example and many bear the responsibility of keeping our water clean. The Dickinson County Conservation Board, The Iowa Great Lakes Trails Association and the Dickinson County Soil Conservation District are further examples.

I could go on for hours.

The strength and purity of the environment in the Iowa Great Lakes is what keeps this area strong. It’s what makes many residents decide to live here and what keeps the majority of the tourists coming back.

While you may not get the direct opportunity to feed a fawn or to heal a trumpeter swan, there are many ways to enjoy the environment of the Iowa Great Lakes. And there are just as many ways to help keep that environment clean and hospitable for both wildlife and humankind.