Target: Emily Boyd-Valandra, Wildlife Biologist at the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota
Goal: Thank Native American tribes for restoring rare, unique species to their former habitat
Expressing a deep love of the land, many Native American tribe members are working to conserve rare animals but also to honor a cultural memory, one of a land teeming with a variety of wildlife. With a college degree in ecology, Emily Boyd-Valandra, reflects a growing trend among younger Native Americans who have been returning to tribal land to take an active role in revitalizing native ecosystems, according to an article in the New York Times. These wildlife stewards have been instrumental in protecting rare native species like the swift fox, a small, tan dog known for its cleverness. Like many species, the swift fox was killed in massive numbers, following the rise of industrial agriculture in the U.S. In fact, it was nearly placed on the endangered species list, having been nearly decimated by agricultural poisons and preyed on by coyotes, which became abundant in the wake of the extermination of wolves.
Yet, for species to be reintroduced into an environment, they need their natural habitat. For many animals in the Northern Great Plains, that means land untouched by plowing or other agricultural activities. While unplowed temperate grassland is the least protected large ecosystem on earth, according to the non-profit American Prairie Reserve, Native American communities have mostly kept their grasslands intact. Welcoming these rare species back to their home, many Native Americans take pride in enabling these animals to thrive once again in their natural habitat.
By signing the petition below, you can praise these members for their devotion to native wildlife.
Dear Ms. Boyd-Valandra,
I am writing to applaud you for your dedication to restoring native animals to their natural habitat in the plains of South Dakota. Drawing on both science and traditional culture, you and your community have helped protect rare, unique species like the black-footed ferret from threats like habitat fragmentation. Your leadership and hard work are both admired and appreciated.
Thank you for reminding us to respect the land and all the creatures including us that call it home. Your dedication to native ecosystem conservation is truly inspiring, and I wish you the best of luck in your future initiatives.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Mariomassone via Wikimedia Commons