Thanks to my sister Michelle McIlroy for designing the logo!


Ever since I was a child, I have been very interested in nature and the environment. I have a B.S. degree in wildlife biology, and have worked as a zookeeper, wildlife biologist, and ecologist. I am conducting a brief survey of world leaders, government officials, religious leaders, corporate CEOs, environmental groups, wildlife experts, and others regarding nature and the environment. I am also very interested in religious views, customs, and beliefs from around the world, and the interactions between religion, culture, society, and the environment. This is something I am doing out of personal interest, and is not connected to any group or organization. I have been working on this project since the summer of 2006, and hope to eventually turn it into a book and/or documentary. I am hoping to make this into a global project, with responses from all segments of society. Feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions or comments. If you have not already done so, I hope that you will consider taking part in my project, and please spread the word to anyone you think might be interested! Thanks for stopping by!


September 09, 2007

Dan Shapley

News Editor / The Daily Green.Com (

Today’s Date: Sept. 6, 2007

1. What interaction with an animal and/or nature in your life has had the biggest impact on you?

I grew up in Salt Point, NY, where there is a mixture of farmland and forests. The Wappinger Creek flowed through my parent's back yard, and a little inlet formed there on their property in the woods. I spent most of my playtime exploring those woods and the creek, and that experience shaped my interest in nature and the environment. My parents also took me and my sister hiking each Columbus Day in the Swawangunk Mountains, to Skytop. This too inspired my love of the outdoors. Later in life, I spent several years as the environmental reporter for the Poughkeepsie Journal, and this gave me the opportunity to meet and interact with scientists and advocates in a variety of landscapes, and to focus on a variety of environmental issues. Crawling under the Mid-Hudson bridge to see nesting peregrine falcons, catching giant sturgeon in the Hudson River, searching for bog turtles in swamps, watching the annual hawk or Monarch butterfly migrations, catching shad and blue crabs with commercial fishermen -- all these experienced shaped my love of the outdoors and the environment. The added benefit of seeing other peoples' passion and expertise enhanced the experience.

2. Did you have a favorite place in the great outdoors during your childhood?

See above. Certain bends in the Wappinger Creek, and trails on the Shawangunk Ridge are important to me.


Those landscapes are still important. My favorite places now are in the Catskill Mountains, where the sense of remoteness and wilderness are easy to find. There's a sense of calm I get there like no other.

3. As a former zookeeper, I would love to know what your favorite animal is, and why?

My favorite animal is my dog, Mookie. As for a favorite species, it's tough to say. I love monkeys but don't often interact with them. I love the birds that come to my feeder, particularly a red-breasted nuthatch that has lately been making the rounds. I've always loved hawks (and even vultures) and admired the way they soar high above. I don't think I have a favorite, but I love coming across new animals, or encountering them. Actually, I've got it. My favorite "animal" is the conglomeration of summer insects that buzz -- the crickets, katydids, cicadas and the like. That sound is not only a "favorite" but I consider it an essential piece of my happiness.

4. What do you think is the greatest environmental challenge facing us now, and what do you think will be the greatest challenge in the future?

Global warming is a huge problem, and I worry about reports that indicators of significant change are occurring faster than scientists first predicted. Because of the significant negative effects that are to come, and because the potential solutions to the global warming problem have the potential to encompass so many other issues, it's the single most important issue of this day and of the future. In near-terms, suburban sprawl is a huge issue in my home in the Hudson Valley. The loss of species, wildlife habitat, water quality, air quality and productive farm soils are among the serious consequences of the unchecked development that has occurred, particularly in the past five-plus years.

5. If you could give everyone one piece of advice regarding the environment and our natural resources, what would it be?

Do one thing today. Do another tomorrow. And so on. Also, go outside and get inspired. And take a kid with you. It's essential to the future of the environment, because if we don't have a personal connection to it we won't care enough to do anything as it is degraded.

PS - I see you're in Ravena, NY. I did some writing about the cement plants in the Hudson Valley, and there's a biggie in Ravena. I'm curious if it had any bearing on your interest in environmental issues...