A few weeks ago I had a phone call from a man looking for the government entity responsible for managing a small park in the Northern Neck because it had been vandalized and trashed. He was on vacation, had found the park, and was appalled that it was in that condition. He didn't have access to the internet and found me somehow from the Virginia State Parks listing on the state map. I did some quick research and got him the information but also spent some time that day and several times since talking to him about his commitment to cleaning up trash polluted streams in and around Richmond.
He took time out on his vacation to go out "trashcombing" finding trash that most people don't even notice. Here is the haul from one of his outings.
Over the next few weeks I will be sharing some musings from the Trash Fox, AKA Tim Thompson. One thing that Tim and I agree about is the need to educate people to understand the consequences of litter to our streams and waterways and the wildlife that call them home. Actually while I was talking to him I recalled the Keep America Beautiful anti-litter campaign from 1971.
Because of my affinity for social media, I particularly enjoyed this poem from Tim who replaces the character in this commercial with wildlife.
Have You Heard from the Wild Creatures?
By Tim Thompson, the Trash Fox
Tom the giant, snapping turtle has not sent a text with a tantrum about the tree debris blocking the path to his regular feeding holes.
Harriet the beautiful, mature blue heron wishes she could holler out loud to say that fish are harder to find and are often unappetizing – and that the trash flow never stops.
Bennie the beaver does not bark into his cell phone bemoaning the fecal problem or the murky silt.
Samantha the black snake cannot send word that there is a monthly, illegal spill of white liquid into the waterway from a concrete culvert and it is fouling her ecosystem.
Freddie the old red Fox has no Facebook page to gripe that he cut his paw on broken glass in the stream – and that the wound has not healed because of the polluted water.
Yolanda the yellow swallowtail butterfly cannot yell or spell out her complaints about the smell.
Rick the handsome red cardinal can only chirp-chirp-chirp concerning the plastic bags choking the stream and making the fauna unsightly.
Fanny the finch fires off no fax with an alert about the disappearing food sources.
Francis the big, green bullfrog wishes he could bellow into his speakerphone with anger about the excessive styro-foam chunks in his mud bog.
Wilma the wren does not write nor whistle a tune with warning of the trash fouling her nesting grounds.
Derrick the young, white-tailed deer types no tweet to denounce the large man-made debris littering the stream after twisting his ankle from landing on an old, discarded car tire.
Melinda the mother mallard duck makes no blog post to protest the bottles and cans that are a traffic hazard for her raft of anxious, newborn ducklings.
Rocky & Rosie the nesting pair of red-tail hawks don't ring with an urgent report that their black snake breakfast tasted funny – and they are not feeling well.
Sally the salamander wishes she could send a sarcastic e-mail to scream about the polluted creek.
But Billy the ancient striped bass believes that their environment will overcome these man-made problems, and return to the wild, natural world of the Red Man when all creatures were treated with respect.
Light breezes send a clear cloud of carbon dioxide floating through the trees and bushes from the nearby auto scrum at the red-yellow-green (go) light; gurgling brooklet is silenced by dams of junk food garbage.
SCREE-SCREE-SCREE shouts a red-tail hawk in the bright, sunny blue sky, followed immediately by a loud, extended cacophony of animals echoing out vehement displeasure with their habitat.
Oak tree creaks from a gust of wind then leans one of its thick branches out almost touching the ground and whispers, If you are of the Earth, why do you keep fouling your nest – and ours – to the point of ruin?
The human looked up at the towering tree and said: I hear you loud and clear.