September 4th is National Wildlife Day, a day designed to bring awareness to the increasing number of endangered species not only in America, but across the world. National Wildlife Day is also a day to acknowledge the zoos, sanctuaries, and preserves that are protecting our biological diversity and educating the public, all in the hopes of creating a better future. On this day citizens are encouraged to take a trip to their local zoo, visit an animal sanctuary or preserve, or donate to a worthy cause championing animal rights.
It only takes guests a minute in our house to realize that Chris and I are animal lovers. No, it’s not that we have hundeds of ceramic kitties lining our shelves, or quite enough animals to appear on an episode of “Animal Hoarders,” but we do have four happy-go-lucky dogs and four rambunctious chinchillas. Three of our dogs are rescues, and on days when they get really rowdy I sometimes feel like I’m running an animal sanctuary of my very own! But if I still want to see something really wild when they’re being docile and calm, I can just look to my surroundings; on our three-acre plot we’ve seen all sorts of wildlife including bunnies, deer, turkeys, fox, groundhogs, snakes, squirrels, chipmunks, and raccoons. We’ve even heard a bobcat howling in the distance!
Even though we’ve got so much nature in our own back yard, and much of the peninsula we live on is part of a preserve (though Crow’s Nest is not yet open to the public), Chris and I decided to celebrate National Wildlife Day by walking the paths at Snowden in Fredericksburg. If we’d planned a little better we might have visited the National Zoo instead, but honestly I was glad to spend the holiday weekend closer to home, and the zoo can sometimes be a disappointment on the hotter days when the animals tend to sleep more during the day. Anyway, it was our first time visiting Snowden and the “cooperative preservation and education effort” turned out to be a beautiful shaded trail that intersected the walking and bike path that runs along the Fredericksburg canal. One side featured a pier that took us out over the overgrown wetlands and had pictures of some of the 118 bird species that have been identified in the immediate area. Oddly, we didn’t see any birds during our stroll but, thanks to Chris’s excellent eyes, we did spy two snakes! We also saw several giant dragon flies, a turtle, and a couple schools of fish. Some of the trees looked like they’re already starting to turn for Autumn, so National Wildlife Day offered us a great opportunity to get out and enjoy our natural flora and fauna while the weather was still nice.
Tomorrow my wild animal of a husband will be working his magic in the kitchen, crafting one of his mean pizzas in honor of National Cheese Pizza Day!