Wed April 26, 2006
Commentary: Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge
By Gladys Gifford
Buffalo, NY – Spring bloomed for us one glorious day in early March.
My husband and I celebrated that beautiful day by going out to the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge, just north of Pembroke.
There we saw glorious things.
We saw various ducks puttering around at the Cayuga Pond.
We saw a thousand Canada geese gathering overhead.
And in the company of a handful of other birders, we saw a platoon of tundra swans flying swiftly overhead on their silent, strong, white wings.
And then we saw a bald eagle, sitting next to its nest, waiting for its partner to arrive, ready to raise another batch of young.
It was a glorious day.
The residents of Western New York are most fortunate to have a National Wildlife Refuge on our doorstep.
Everybody, get out there and see those wonderful birds!
Leaving the Cayuga Pond overlook, we went to the visitor's center, but it was closed, for lack of staff.
We walked around back, to check on the birdfeeders, but they were empty. Our national wildlife refuges and national parks haven't been fully funded by Congress for years. Such neglect is a national shame. America's natural landscapes deserve better care.
That Saturday at Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge was our refreshment, our spiritual renewal, our re-introduction to spring. We reconnected with the wonderful diversity of wildlife, the enormous glory of the natural world.
We took a breather from the unrelieved sprawl that surrounds Buffalo by visiting a place that is home to breathtaking beauty.
So the next time we have a gorgeous, clear day, do as we did.
Get up early, and head out to the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge with your binoculars, to feast your eyes on the wonderful diversity of the natural world.
You will be a better person for it.
Listener-Commentator Gladys Gifford is "Stewardship of Creation Educator" for Presbyterians in Western New York.
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