in Wild Areas in a
By Walter Muma
Some pointers to conducting
scientific research in wild areas in a caretaking manner.
When placing markers in the research area,
whether these be for delineating your study area, or individual plants within
the area, or so that you can find the area later...
Use markers that are non-obtrusive - ie, markers that don't
stick out and loudly announce their presence with loud colours. Bright
yellow, red and orange wrapped around trees in a forest are not a natural occurrence
- use muted colours and place your markers lower down. As well, if
your markers do not boldly stand out, other Caretakers are not as likely to
When done properly, it should not be at all obvious at all
that a study is going on in the area.
Draw a detailed map of where your study area is and how to
find it, rather than putting up numerous markers to guide you to it.
Remove all of the markers when your study is done.
Use biodegradable markers, in case you miss
removing one or more of them.
Wrap markers loosely around plants - they
need room to grow.
Do not use nails to attach markers to
trees. If you must use nails for some reason, remove them when the
study is done and fill the resultant holes to help prevent disease and pests
from entering the tree.
Applying the Caretaking Philosophy to your
Place yourself in the "shoes" of
the animal/bird/plant that you are studying. Ask yourself, "How
would I like it if I tied this/did this to the animal/bird/plant?
Would it make me stand out in my environment? Would it impede my
movement, even if just slightly? Would it reduce my chances to mate or
obtain food?" It's easy to assume that something "so
light" or "so small" can't possibly have an effect on the
animal/bird/plant. But remember we humans are fairly large
creatures. What may seem insignificant to us, may be very significant
indeed to certain animals/birds/plants.
Remember that you're not dealing with
"objects", but living beings, like ourselves. These living
beings have just as much right as we do to be respected, have their natural
space, and to be left alone to go about their lives.