Sue Morse, a true emissary of mother nature, spoke to nearly fifty folks at the Jericho Community Center on June 12, offering a colorful narrative to accompany her outstanding slide show, Animals of the North: What Will the Global Climate Change Mean for Them?
This was a first for TTJ, collaborating with Jericho’s Conservation Commission on an event; lovely to work with such dedicated folks.
Sue warns that with one third of our wildlife at risk, we can easily become overwhelmed and passive. Ironically, she says, we’re living at a unique time on the planet, when the animals need us more than ever.
Heart breaking to see and hear of the sad plight of the dwindling moose population. Many of us recall nostalgically our sightings through the years, as their annual migration brings them to this part of the state for the mineral salts of our wetlands, Sue explained.
On a more hopeful note, Sue described the reintroduction to Vermont of the lynx, which she referred to as the “ultimate northern cat”. After an explanation of how to tell the difference between the lynx and bobcat, she showed a fascinating skeletal display of how similar the lynx is to its prey the hare, effectively demonstrating, “you are what you eat”.
Sue defies stereotypes throughout the talk, for example calling the wolverine a warm loving creature, and her pictures indeed brought out a lovable quality in that animal.
Sue uses an array of techniques to get her photos of animals in the wild, sometimes imitating them to get their attention and hopefully a photograph or two. When she let out an occasional wolf or coyote howl to color her narrative, I did a double take each time, thinking it was a recording of the real thing.
Sue expanded on a Jane Goodall quote, saying “my reason for hope is the beauty of it all”. Indeed, when viewing Sue’s breathtaking pictures of the flora and fauna of the Arctic region, the audience seems united in a feeling of awe; one feels that anything is possible!
While the footage of thin polar bears is depressing, Sue mentioned the iconic animals have been observed expanding their diet to berries; the hope is they’ll find alternative sources of food and survive a changing habitat.
On the other hand, photos of grizzly bears feasting on wild salmon show creatures self satisfied and playful; indeed, Sue is convinced they were showing off for her.
Photos from the air were haunting in different ways. Images of migrating caribou on land and water were spectacular. Sue also showed a picture of hundreds of fracking operation units in Wyoming on public lands that have been co-opted by the oil industry. It was utterly jarring, but nonetheless important to see the reality of the world we live in.
After the talk, Sue enthusiastically carried on conversations one on one, situated at a table with wares to raise funds for Keeping Track, her organization based here in Jericho. Check it out at keepingtrack.org