The Link Between Tango, The Bark Park, Sea Turtles & Sustainability

That’s a long title.  What do Tango, the Bark Park & sea turtles have to do with sustainability?  Well, a lot.  They all encompass some of the key elements that comprise sustainability, as defined by the 1987 Brundtland Report.  Starting with Tango (he’s a cutie & mischievous), he’s a rescue dog pulled from a local overcrowded, ill-kept kill shelter.  Two women friends run the Canine Rescue, a non-profit organization in our community that saves animals, educates people about the virtues of having a dog companion and strives to stop the proliferation of unwanted pets.  Animals that are allowed to pro-create and then are abandoned create a burden on our communities resources.  These animals have to be collected, cared for, euthanized and disposed of at tax payers expense.  Some animals that are “disposed of” may be sent to rendering plants (warning – not for those with a weak stomach) that pose serious environmental hazards.  By providing a service like the Canine Rescue they are helping to build caring, responsible communities.

Next, the Bark Park.  Again, this is a non-profit organization formed to establish a local fenced, off-leash park for dogs.  As we petitioned for the park and presented our mission to the county commissioners, we had much opposition.  It seems many individuals thought this was a waste of time and money.  Not so.  The county has “leased” the Bark Park 2 acres of land that would otherwise be rendered useless due to it’s proximity to wetlands and hurricane debris fill site.  Both controlled by the DEP.  No one wanted this land.  The county volunteered to do all site preparation, though all other infrastructure including parking, fencing, water, etc. was the responsibility of The Bark Park.  In come fundraisers galore.  The park is now in place and provides a safe haven for pets and owners to exercise and mingle.  Many local relationships and networks where born out of the love for a dog.  Organizations like the Bark Park help strengthen our society by fostering a sense of community.  In addition, this particular park turned a barren piece of swamp land into a vital communal stomping ground.  It also, gives dog owners an alternative to the beach which can often lead to disturbing beach goers and native wildlife.

Finally, about that native wildlife, usher in the sea turtles.  Here in Walton County, we have a group of volunteers that run the Sea Turtle Watch program.  Sea turtles are an endangered species and are protected by the Endangered Species Act.  These volunteers scout the beaches for turtle nests, mark them and keep vigilant watch over the nests to ensure the emerging young turtles make it back to sea.  I’m envisioning another post coming about construction, turtle lighting and sea turtles.  In Topsail Island, North Carolina, they also take sea turtle endangerment seriously as well as one step further.  In this coastal town you can find the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center.  At this turtle hospital, injured and sick turtles are cared for and released back to their natural habitat.  If you want to see something really cool, check out their live turtle webcams.  Saving sea turtles preserves the biodiversity of our natural environment as well as boosts our communities cultural and natural resources.  For places like South Walton County Beaches and Topsail Island, saving sea turtles is directly linked to the local charm that attracts tourists and potential home owners alike and keeps our local beach economy buzzing along.

And that’s what a dog, a park, and a turtle have in common.


6 thoughts on “The Link Between Tango, The Bark Park, Sea Turtles & Sustainability

  1. Wow! Great article and thanks for the plug!!! Did you know that only 1 in 10,000 sea turtle hatchlings survive? You know that I’m your biggest fan (and not in a Cathy Bates sort of way)!!! Keep it coming, I love your blog! I’m hoping Dara starts her own blog. Wouldn’t that be cool! (Love Ya)

  2. What a very informative blog that also has entertainment value! I guess that adds up to ‘Sustainability’! Thank you for the blog, links and valuable information. It actually makes me feel ashamed that I’m not more involved in my community. Although it’s very important, voting alone really isn’t enough. Personal involvement in the community as well as the environmental & humanitarian issues need our attention, and that attention brought to others. Thanks for reminding me elitrope! Very inspiring.

  3. I’ve heard that much of the replacement sand brought in to combat the beach erosion from the recent hurricanes doesn’t work for sea turtle nests — it’s too soft and collapses. One guy was quoted as saying he’s seen pregnant turtles just give up and go back to see rather than lay their. Have you heard anything about that?

  4. Thanks for the comments!
    Graphic – you might want to check out a county commissioners meeting sometime. I found out about all kinds of things going on in my hood that I was otherwise oblivious to.
    PeakEngineer – The sand is actually too compact after restoration for the sea turtles to dig nests. Here is a great link that explains the process and the affect on turtles.
    Personally, I’m against restoration for many reasons, but until we convince people it’s not a good idea to build on a sand dune on the beach, I suppose they’ll continue to dredge and restore (to the tune of 4 mil. per mile, I might add).

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