Saturday, June 09, 2007

Gaia's Guardians

Gaia's Guardians

Gaia's Guardians is a loose confederation of professionals and volunteers who work on projects that benefit Mother Earth and her creatures. This is an inter-faith effort & people from all belief systems (or none) are welcome.

They just opened up a new Yahoo networking board for their colleagues here.

Please note: This is a networking group for those who are already actively engaged in this sort of work. If you are new to community service, and wish to get involved, either visit Volunteer Match or write to Full Circle at and we'll try our best to hook you up with local efforts you can support. Once you are involved you are very welcome to revisit the group and apply for membership.

A note about the Gaia's Guardian Award and the kind of work that Gaia's Guardians do is listed at the bottom of this post.

For The Smallest Among Us:

Have you ever rescued a baby bird or a baby squirrel. If so, you know how amazing that experience can be. Check out this video of Loki, a baby White Crowned Sparrow rescued at the Wild Heart Ranch.

Here is a brief overview of the rehabilitation process at a wildlife rescue shelter, complete with some very cute pictures.

And this is a useful article on coexisting with our wild neighbors.

When Helping Hurts

Remember, if you find a wild animal or bird on the ground, it may not need to be rescued! Most bird species spend about 10 days on the ground, learning to hop and fly, while Mom and Dad come to feed them. Many wild mammals like rabbits and deer leave their little ones alone for days at a time while they look for food. Even that lost looking baby seal may have a mom hovering nearby but out of sight. Or maybe the animal really does need help. If you have questions, ask the experts; call your local shelter or wildlife group for advice.

Wildlife Rehabilitation Information Directory

Here is a web directory of those groups in the U.S. who do wildlife rescue. It also has very helpful tips and some wonderful stories and pictures.

"One Cat Just Leads To Another" - Earnest Hemmingway (who had quite a few)

It's kitten season folks. Your local shelter and the various rescue groups are no doubt inundated with beasties, and will need volunteers, foster parents and supplies. Why not get together with your group and make them a goody basket? All these places have Wish Lists. Call them or go on-line and find out what they need. Trust me, you can never have too many paper towels, and after the recent pet food scare recall, a lot of these places are in need of food.

And don't forget,there are lots of older cats and cats with special needs that need good homes, too.

Before There Were Malls...

I've just finished reading Hacate's evocative essay titled Sense of Place. and it got me to thinking. I wonder how many of us began on this path because a place we knew and loved as children was ruined by greedy, mindless over-development? I grew up in the San Fernando Valley. Back then, it was best known for it's fertile farmland and horse ranches. Cougar and bobcats roamed the rolling hills and we road our bikes through dirt paths dotted with poppies and wild sage. By the time I was 10, the fields we had played in and trees we had climbed were destroyed to make way for shopping malls and concrete heavy suburbs. By the time I was a teenager the wild cats, hawks and deer were gone from the hills, and houses sat cheek by jowl in their place. The small family farms where we bought our fruits, vegetables and sweet corn were gone. The open spaces and small creeks we knew and loved had disappeared. All that was natural was paved over to make way for housing enclaves called names like Deer Hallow and Mountain View.

The Valley is now known for it's shopping malls. It is also the center of the porn industry. The 100 acre park, where we had all learn to climb rocks as kids and where I met my first oak trees, became littered with graffiti, broken glass and the occasional dead body. Ah, progress.

Like many of us, I thought and lived like an eco-feminist long before I heard the term. I can date my heart's path from the day I went with my friends to climb the trees in an open field near our house, only to find a bulldozer had cut them down the day before.

These days I belong to groups that protect wild spaces and open lands *as well as* those who advocate for lower income housing, sensible mass transit, green building, and limited growth.
The beauty of nature is for everyone. We cannot put our open space behind gates and reserve them for the privileged few. But neither can we allow our National Parks to be so trammeled and over crowed that our desire to enjoy it damages the place itself. What we need is common sense, vision and balance, like that shown by the people of Sonoma County, CA who willingly add 2 cents on to their sales tax specifically to purchase and protect small farms, and open space. Let us also praise the 10,000 Friends of Oregon who are working to preserve our heritage for future generation in Oregon and elsewhere.

The mending of the world is nigh. Wouldn't you like to be a part of that? Visit Volunteer Match and find out what you can do to help. Make a difference. It doesn't take a lot of time. It just needs a bit of heart.


The Gaia's Guardian Award

This award is given to a person or group for "Outstanding work benefiting Mama Gaia and her creatures". These people inspire the rest of us by their courage, caring and compassionate action. You do not have to be Pagan to win this award - what counts are good deeds and a noble heart.

Previous Award Winners

The California Bat Conservation Fund

The Wildlife Center of Silcon Valley

Deborah Noel: Service Dog Trainer & Spokesperson for People with Disabilities

Officer Christine Franco, Investigator (Animal Cruelty & Neglect) Silicon Valley Humane Society

In previous years, the Gaia's Guardian Award was given out at the Witche's Ball, a costume ball, charity event and fundraiser hosted annually by Full Circle. At that time, it was given to heros and heroines in California. The award is now given out nationally. The 2005 recipient was United Animal Nations for their work benefiting animals left abandoned, starving, and hurt after Hurricane Katrina. In 2006 The Gaia's Guardian Award was given posthumously to Carol Chapman, tireless advocate and Cat Rescue Mamma extraordinaire.

Some of the Work Done by Gaia's Guardians

* Companion animal rescue: fostering, adoptions, shelter work, etc.

* Wildlife rescue, rehabilitation & release.

* Habitate restoration & native plant education.

* Creating art, websites, blogs and/or writings on natural themes in order to awaken others to the beauty and power of nature.

* Working to teach children about nature and the web of life.

* Working to support the preservation of open space, forests and wild lands.

* Offering educational workshops, hikes, birding walks, and other events related to these issues.

* Involvement with water issues such as river clean up, coastal protection, water wise gardening, etc.

* Grass Roots organizing, fundraising & networking for various Earthwise & ecological causes.

* Involvement in organic & sustainable farming. Teaching kids about same.

* Working to establishment and support green spaces, parks and hiking trails.

* Actively encouraging our local governments to use native plants and trees in neighborhoods & public spaces.

* Raising awareness about recycling and wise use issues.

* Working with service animals and/or rescue animals.

* Working to aid abused animals and animals caught in disasters.

* Working for community which is both economically and environmentally sustainable and socially just.

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