Parents, students, teachers andpretty much anyone involved in schools and childcare are eyeing back-to-school day with a worry not felt in a century. Though what school and schedules will look like remains uncertain for many, there are some things that will stay the same.
The upheaval in morning schedules, whatever they may be, is a significant change in our neighbourhoods, particularly for wildlife. When there are suddenly more cars on the road, dogs being walked earlier or later than usual, or an absence of activity in a yard, animals will adapt; but the change is still abrupt.
Fortunately, this is something that can be mitigated with a little bit of consideration and a whole lot of sharing on social media:
- Slow down and look both ways. Whether driving, cycling, hiking or walking, remembering that wildlife is present and may be startled by us. Following the basics we learned as children and new drivers goes a long way: look both ways, keep your eyes up (not on a device) and be kind to each other. If you’re in a rural or natural area, it’s also advisable to talk out loud to alert wildlife to your presence and if you wear headphones, leave one ear open so you can hear wildlife and other sounds around you.
- Let wildlife be wild. The best thing we can do is let the animals be who they are with as little interference from us as possible. Feeding (directly or indirectly through a bird feeder, attractants like outdoor pet food, etc.) changes the behaviour of animals dramatically. As animals adapt to our new schedules, give them a bit of space to find safe places and traverse across our imaginary property lines.
- Share knowledge (with citations). While talking to friends, neighbours, parents in Facebook groups and elsewhere, let them know how you’ll be changing your habits slightly to accommodate wildlife and encourage them to do the same. For families it can be a great opportunity to learn about animals they see in their neighbourhoods, too! Sharing this blog is a great start.
Our wild neighbours frequently show us how they coexist, it’s only fair that we make an effort, too.