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Anais Frounjian: Protecting nature vital to all health

Environmentally Speaking

Posted: May 10, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 10, 2012 1:55 a.m.
 

Endangered plants and animals are rapidly diminishing in number, and many will soon vanish if certain steps aren’t taken to preserve them. These species play a huge role in our natural heritage but now exist in extremely tiny numbers, and may be gone for good one day. Animals and plants serve as precious parts of nature in our lives, and should be treated with care.

Extinction of species has turned into a very serious environmental problem, and shouldn’t be taken lightly for numerous reasons. For one, animals and plants play a crucial role in providing humans with many necessities. For example, trees help regulate our weather and water and clean our air. Insects can control crop diseases.

Certain insects produce insect-repelling chemicals, the soils of the New Jersey Pine produce an antibiotic, and a perennial corn is resistant to types of corn diseases. These are just a few of the many ways wildlife benefits humans and our environment.

In addition, it’s important to protect animals because animals are all part of a food chain. If one animal becomes extinct, the food chain will fall apart. And the extinction of its predators will soon follow. All living organisms are related to each other and depend on one another, whether it’s directly or indirectly.

Another reason that wildlife is an important resource is that it provides a natural base to many types of medicine. Plants in particular have great medicinal value, and play a huge role in human health. For example, morphine comes from the opium poppy, penicillin comes from the penicillium, and quinine comes from the cinchona. It is important to protect a wide variety of plants because they may be found to benefit medicine in the future.

These are some of the countless ways in which plants and animals play a beneficial role in the human society. A large variety of animals and plants are needed to ensure a healthy gene pool from which to reproduce their species. That is why we should do our best to preserve wildlife.

The best way to protect endangered wildlife is to protect its habitat.

The Santa Clara River watershed is home to many endangered, threatened and sensitive species. The slender-horned spineflower, slender mariposa lily and Nevin’s barberry are just a few of the endangered plants that can be found in this watershed. Some of its rare animals include the coast horned lizard, southwestern pond turtle, coastal western whiptail and two-striped garter snake. It is also home to several species of endangered birds. It’s crucial for our community to care for this watershed in order to preserve and save its wildlife.

As the years go by, wildlife will continue to benefit us by providing remedies to potential problems in the future because of the many beneficial and valuable traits that still remain undiscovered.

The Placerita Canyon Nature Center has played a significant role in preserving local wildlife over the past 40 years.

Ever since 1971, the nature center has served as an outstanding place to educate the public and preserve the beautiful Placerita Canyon. Its associates consist of a nonprofit volunteer group that operates the Placerita Canyon Natural Area with the assistance of the Los Angeles County.

The center’s main goal is to preserve and protect the ecosystem of Placerita Canyon for future generations and to maintain its rich history. In addition, the center hopes to raise awareness, concern and inspiration to the public in preserving wildlife with nature hikes, educational trails and wild-animal presentations.

The nature center is located in the nearby San Gabriel Mountains and has a sycamore-lined seasonal stream, willow trees, shady oak groves and a plentiful amount of other plants and animals. The park contains riparian, chaparral and oak woodland plant communities. Also, the park offers eight different hiking trails that network more than 12 miles for park visitors.

Volunteers at the nature center host programs, annual events, care for the center’s collection of native wild animals and open doors to the community to educate its visitors.

The nature center should be acknowledged, along with all the volunteers, for its wonderful deeds.

The Placerita Canyon Nature Center will be holding its annual open house May 12 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Come join us for a fun and wonderful day set with animal presentations, guided hikes, face painting, food, drinks and a treasure hunt.

Anais Frounjian is a College of the Canyons student and lives in Granada Hills.

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