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Wildlife interconnections with humans


When you hear, “Wildlife,” what do you think of? A grassy field with 30 deer, or an open plain with elephants, zebras and giraffes? Maybe it’s a frozen, snowy mountain terrain with a bunch of moose and elk or a salmon swimming up the river to spawn. This is what would spring to mind for some people as soon as they hear the term “wildlife,” but have you ever pictured your own back yard? What most people don’t realize is that no matter how deep into downtown New York you live, or how far out in the country of southwest Oklahoma, it doesn’t matter, you are still a vital part of nature. Why, even in cities there are at least some animals such as squirrels, rabbits and birds.

There are many other ways that humans and the wildlife are connected other than just the earth that we share. It is important that people realize every piece of plastic or paper they recycle helps our environment stay clean so that all the deer, fish, rabbits, birds and squirrels have a clean place to live, as well as humans. Also, every piece of trash you pick up or throw down could also have a huge impact on whether a deer or fish will stay alive from accidentally swallowing the trash, thinking that it’s food. Pollution also makes the land unfit, not just for wildlife, but also our very own domestic livestock.

Every house and building that we humans build has a significant impact on every animal that lives in the surrounding vicinity of about 10 or 15 miles. The reason for this is that when you destroy one animal’s home, all the animals that prey on this animal may go hungry for a day because this animal will either move away to find a new home, or it will die because it doesn’t have any shelter.

This affects humans because most people eat meat from cows, pigs or other farm animals or hunt to get their food, and after we destroy an animal’s home and the animal moves away, there would be nothing to hunt. Also, when humans build things or manufacture items, they pollute air, water and the land we live on. Drinking or swimming in polluted water, breathing in polluted air or eating plants sown in polluted soil could cause significant damage to both humans and the wildlife.

At my local Jackson County Conservation District they are pushing and striving for not only the protection of local wildlife, as well as soil and water conservation. They have programs in place to help with soil erosion and protecting wildlife habitats. Some of their programs include providing grant money for the construction of ponds for livestock and wildlife animals to drink from. They are also providing a helping hand in the planting of new tree growth for wildlife habitats and shelter belts.

At my family farm in Martha, Oklahoma, we recently set aside some acreage for wildlife and bird habitats. We are in the process of building a pond for fish, water fowl, recreational uses and a source of water for wildlife. We also plant yearly food plots for a year around food source for deer and other wildlife.

Also at my family farm, we have recently applied at the Jackson County Conservation District office for government funding for the clearing of unwanted vegetation such as red cedar and various grasses, the clearing of these provides a way for new and healthier vegetation to grow in its place. We are also looking into some ideas to help with the erosion of the river banks in certain areas of our property.

In conclusion, of the many ways that humans and the wildlife are connected, some are that we share the same air, food, water and land, we all are interconnected in the food chain, and we both use some of the same raw materials to live on. Now what do you think about when you hear the term “wildlife?”

Kolton Hurst Hurst

By Kolton Hurst

Navajo FFA

(During the recent Farm Week sponsored by the Altus Chamber of Commerce, the Jackson County Conservation District named winners in a speech contest about the district. Kolton Hurst of the Navajo FFA gave this speech during the Farm City Awards banquet.)


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