First Sunday Reflection
by John Ann Shearer
“Now when the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various diseases brought them to him, and he laid his hands on every one of them and healed them.” Luke 4:40
Wildlife Biologists are optimistic people. We have to be. Otherwise, we’d never get past thefirst day! Even when optimism wanes, we must persevere because caring for our plants and animals and their habitats is the right thing to do.
It’s easy to get on board when there is an emergency with our environment like an oil spill. That’s like calling 911 or rushing someone to the ER. Caring for our earth and its inhabitants day after day through the constant and cumulative impacts of habitat destruction is more like caring for a loved one with a chronic illness or a disease. It’s not glamorous and it’s certainly not easy. Ultimately, they may not live. But, just as their life is worth fighting for, our wildlife and the habitats upon which they depend are worth fighting for.
Habitat loss is the number one reason that species become endangered in our country. Any one parcel of habitat that disappears may not be significant, but it adds up. Saving habitat is important, but when it has been lost, there is often an opportunity to return it to the way it was. As a wildlife biologist, I have the privilege of working with landowners who want to restore their lands and create habitat for the benefit of rare species or migratory birds. I restore habitats like the longleaf pine ecosystem where towering pines look down on a carpet of grasses and wild flowers, where woodpeckers work their way up the pine bark and fox squirrels pick apart cones. Funny, there are so many things I am not sure about when it comes to knowing what God wants of me, but about this, I am sure.
Prayer: God of all Creation, Help us to love our earth the way we love one another and to care for it the way you have called for us to care for each other. May we remember that your creation is a gift that you’ve entrusted to us.
John Ann Shearer has served as the state coordinator for the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program in North Carolina since 1999. Prior to this she worked at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge in Alabama, Upper Souris Refuge in North Dakota, and Mattamuskeet Refuge in North Carolina. She has an undergraduate degree in Biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a master’s degree in Wildlife Management from West Virginia University. John Ann is an ordained Presbyterian elder and serves on the Worship and Earth Care Committees at Western Boulevard Presbyterian Church in Raleigh.
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