Karen Dove Barr, Attorney, was recently recognized by the Georgia State Bar for providing legal assistance to military families and service members. She has practiced in the field of family law in Savannah for 34 years.
All over North America humans are committed to protecting and fostering the existence of other species. Deer, gray wolves of the northwest, the almost extinct bison, the grizzly bear, the ubiquitous coyote, and that great nuisance animal, the American eagle, are returning in droves, adapting to life in a world full of human neighbors.
Excited as we are that animal and plant species almost exterminated by unthinking expansion of human control are returning, the adjustment for humans is not as simple as restoring the animal populations. Humans must adapt to life with the animals as well.
The pressures that led us to limit coexistence with undomesticated animals return as populations rebound.
As beautiful an animal as is the white-tailed deer and as sentimental as we become after watching Bambi, the reality of life intermingled with a thriving deer population makes humans want to reach for their guns and blast the annoying, rose garden-eating, tick-infested animals back to the forests where they belong.
But there are no forests.
Deer, once we stopped trying to exterminate them, are perfectly happy to change their diet to roses and day lilies. Ospreys and eagles prefer to build their nests on cell phone towers instead of swaying treetops, if only the cell phone companies weren’t compelled to clean up the nests sites at the end of each season. No raccoon ever turned down the opportunity to frolic overnight in a hot-tub.
If humans want to share the world with animals, we must adjust our expectations for a sanitized environment and learn to coexist.
On Skidaway Island we are doing just that.
By Karen Dove Barr
Karen will be awarding a $25 Walmart gift card to FOUR (4) randomly drawn commenters during the tour, and a Grand Prize of an Apple iPad to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour.
Wild Times on Skidaway Island, Georgia's Historic Rain Forest, details life in a unique Audubon-designated, ecologically friendly refuge. There, golfers pitch balls around endangered great blue herons, mama raccoons march their babies across backyard decks where once Guale Indians trapped ancestors of the same raccoons, and residents dodge alligators and rescue snakes.
Even the vegetation is wild. Three hundred-year-old oaks dripping Spanish moss and poison ivy surmount an under-story of wax myrtle and holly. Carolina jasmine, Cherokee roses, and endangered orchids grow wild in the rain forest. The book examines choices residents make when stared down by a bald eagle, when a red-tailed hawk mistakes a golf ball for bird food, when wakened at midnight by deer munching hibiscus. Wild Times on Skidaway Island educates about the species that residents must adapt to on this historic island.
When Walt and Carol Culin topped their house at The Landings with a coated metal roof they were confident the roof would be problem-free for a hundred years. Walt’s contacts as head of an industrial coating company helped him get the latest technology. Even a hurricane shouldn’t destroy their unusual–looking roof.
But nothing in Walt’s Princeton-educated background prepared him for dryocopus pileatus, the pilated wookpecker.
Male pilated woodpeckers are fixated on the notion that female woodpeckers are attracted to the stud with the noisiest pecker. Usually the woodpecker has to be content with drumming on a hollow tree to resonate his sound. Walt and Carol’s metal roof, however, raised the bar for the local woodpecker population. Walt and Carol were regularly awakened by mate-seeking woodpeckers as soon as they moved into the house.
Walt ended up having to make a run to Toys ’R Us for rubber snakes. Glued to the chimney alongside a big fake owl, the snakes allowed Walt and Carol to catch some winks in the early morning during woodpecker mating season.