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!


June 01, 2008

Ellen Blackstone

Private Citizen

Today’s Date: April 8, 2008

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

It was pretty subtle, but when I was eight, I looked into the neighbor's wooded yard and spotted what I found to be an Ovenbird, passing through on its migration. That yard was a treasure trove for the next few days. And my family and I became engaged in birding as a result of that. My work is all about birds. And my father went on to have a bluebird trail of more than 50 boxes, when the concept was just getting started. He also read "Silent Spring" when it was first published and got all over his congresspeople to do something about it.)

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

I birded with my family in a lovely wooded area in Southwestern Iowa. We called it -- and I still do, 50-odd years later! -- "Birdy Paradise." [As opposed to "Birdy Haven," which was out the other direction from town and not *quite* so birdy.]

Now? I love raptors, so it's hard to beat "the west 90," a winter raptor paradise about 60 miles north of Seattle. It's near the mouth of the Skagit River, where Snow Geese and Bald Eagles abound. Over the pasture and dikes, Rough-legs, Northern Harriers, Short-eared Owls, maybe five species of falcon (six, the year the Eurasian Kestrel showed up!), and the usual suspects hang out. [This is, of course, on the days when I can't get to the Carera Biological Reserve in western Costa Rica!]

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

I'll avoid the usual warm and furry ones and go with a bird...

1--Peregrines are my favorite raptors, because they're so agile and fast and look so fierce, but they can look so ... almost *sweet* when they're on eggs, turning them around so carefully.

2--Hard to beat parrots, especially African Greys, but even down to the basic budgie.

And crows are about as entertaining as they get! (Raven-cousins, too.)

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?

In spite of global warming and overuse and abuse of most of our natural resources, we aren't *growing* future environmentalists. I hate to whine "What's the matter with kids today?" because it's not their fault. But we do need to get those kids outdoors so they learn to understand and love it. Otherwise, they won't bother to protect it in the future. They don't know what they're missing now, and they don't understand what they are losing.

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

Take your children outdoors, and teach them to love and respect the natural world, not be afraid of it.

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