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!


March 13, 2010

Maureen O'Mara

Biological Science Technician - USDA/ARS/NPARL

Jul 23, 2009

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

I think that growing up near a forest preserve and non-mowed fields along a rail line influenced me the most out of all my experiences with nature. I was able to just leave my backyard and escape into another world. I have been doing this very thing ever since (I'm 50). My decisions about where to locate whenever I move are based on whether or not there is a place in nature to escape to.

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

Guess I already answered the childhood question. Now, I have the good fortune to live close to the Missouri Nat'l grasslands and the Yellowstone. Even though access to the Yellowstone River is greatly limited by land ownership there are two parks that allow public access and I will go walk along it for as long and the water level allows.

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

I don't have a favorite. I appreciate animals for the different qualities that they have. Although, I might add that I lean a bit towards bats, maybe because they are airborne like the birds that I love to watch. And when you hold one they act like they are so ferocious and will tear your head off if you don't let go of them right now!!

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?

I think our attitude about development is our greatest challenge. We think the earth has unlimited space and we can just continue to populate and develop it. That leaves most people without the opportunity to have the experience that I had as a child. I believe that experience in part led my understanding that we have a connection to place and planet and we must take care to preserve it. Future challenge, more of the same of what I have described. Along with development and growth comes all the problems and we just keep growing.

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

I don't usually give advice like this. I support groups who fight for our environment and other creatures that share this planet, but I don't advise. It's a very personal decision that everyone has to come to as far as their relationship with the earth. On an individual level I would rather draw people in through my actions - leaving my lawn longer, letting the clover grow for the pollinators, putting in a native plant garden, admiring and talking about the Turkey Vultures that come in to the "hood" for the summer, talking up the Grasslands, etc.

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