When it comes to longtime contributors to this newspaper, you can't get more OG than Jim Anderson. He's been writing this column for almost as many years as this publication has been in existence: that's 20 years if you've been counting, dear reader.
Along the way, Anderson has regaled us with many a tale of how he rolled into Bend on his Harley back in the '50s... how he worked as a naturalist for this entity or that one (OMSI, for starters) and how he's appeared on Oregon Field Guide and other great gems that only endear us to his particular brand of spinning a yarn.
And also along the way, we too, have learned quite a few things. So, to show him just how much we've absorbed, we're hijacking his column to share the greatest nuggets of Jim Anderson wisdom for 2017.
For the love, don't feed the deer.
As you might have learned from Feb. 9's "Cougar killings back in the news," and Oct. 26's "The trouble with people and deer," feeding deer in town—or anywhere, really—is really not cool. First, it encourages the deer to stick around populated areas, instead of heading out to the winter range where they'll be able to scour the landscape for the stuff they normally should be eating. Second, with deer in town, the predators follow.Do you really want a big cougar in your backyard? Didn't think so.
So, put away those corn nuts or bird seed and.... Don't. Feed. The Deer. Ever.
Keep your cats inside.
Don't like coyotes hanging around your yard? Hide yo' cats.
As the Dec. 16, 2016, piece, "Why Coyotes Like It In Town" explains, cats are mighty tasty for a coyote. You know how you keep going back to that local, organic, artisan food cart you can't stop telling your buddies about? It's like that.
Thus, coyotes will come into human territory to find that fine feline snack. On top of that, cats are also predators who will decimate the songbird populations in your area—if you allow them. If your cat can't be contained, put a bell on Fluf-cakes so the songbirds know she's stalking.
Buy bird-friendly coffee.
If every cup of coffee had a disclaimer that read, "THIS many birds were harmed in the making of this joe," our bets are there would be significantly fewer caffeine addicts out there.
As explained in the Dec. 6 article, "The Dark Side of Your Morning Cup of Coffee," not all coffee growing practices are good for bird populations. Some coffee farms are good habitat for native birds, and the migrating birds who come from our part of the world to winter in warmer climes.
In general, shade-grown coffee is better for the environment—and better for birds in turn. Since shade-grown coffee relies on the humus natural to the forest floor, it doesn't require harsh fertilizers. Sun-grown coffee, meanwhile, is much harder on the environment. So look for "bird-friendly labels" before you buy your next bag o' beans.
Don't eff the bees.As Anderson reminds us in his Aug. 31 article, "Pity the Poor Bumblebee," the problems facing bees are one of the most crucial biological and ecological issues we are facing in the modern age. They're more than a canary in a coal mine. They also happen to contribute largely to food production.
The takeaway you should learn: Stop spraying pesticides on everything. It's hurting the bees, which pollinate all of that food you eat.
Government agencies matter.
In spite of what you might be hearing from the national stage, government agencies are not out to get us, and regulations can protect us. As Anderson outlines in May 25's story, "Why Government Environmental Agencies Matter," agencies such as the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and other agencies do their work to protect the public. In a time of much rhetoric surrounding government overreach, don't be fooled.
Ready to re-read Anderson's work? Check out the "Explore Outside" tab.