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A Conservation Heritage This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   With the dawn of each new day, we wake up to a world much different than it was the previous day. In the last twenty-four hours 1 to 3 species of plants and animals have become extinct, 5,000 people have died and 10,000 more have been born. The planet earth is changing at a rate far faster than natural evolution will allow. The abrupt growth of the world population, along with the technological advancement of civilization has taken its toll on this planet's natural resources. For too long people have carelessly abused our environment, and now its destruction may threaten our very existence.

The very active and well-publicized conservation movement we witness today is well fueled, yet unfortunately very late in its attempt to preserve the planet. We must realize that the first conservation actions came from America's hunters, fishermen and trappers. It has long been the interest of outdoor sportsmen to protect our environment. We, perhaps more than any other people, are linked with our natural environment as it is the setting of our most favored recreations.

It was hunters, fishermen and trappers who first called for and still continue to support wildlife management programs and fish and wildlife agencies. As a matter of fact, practically all of the nation's conservation efforts are directly funded or promoted by hunters, fishermen and trappers. Thanks to the efforts of America's sportsmen, many of the animals near extinction at the turn of the century (such as the white-tailed deer, pronghorn antelope, elk and wild turkey) are more abundant now than ever before.

Through license fees and special excise taxes on sporting equipment, sportsmen contribute substantial and much needed financial support to wildlife conservation programs nationwide. To date, American hunters, fishermen and trappers have contributed over $12 billion directly to conservation efforts and they continue to contribute $3 million per day.

In a time of increasing environmental destruction and growing public concern, it must be recognized that the American sportsman always has been and will continue to be the backbone of the American conservation movement. It's time for all those who enjoy earth's natural resources to join sportsmen in the struggle to save them. n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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