To the editor:
I am a native of Lake Placid, and currently a senior at St. Lawrence University. This semester, as part of an environmental communication class, I am studying and blogging about the harmful effects of litter on animals in the Adirondacks and on SLU's campus.
I noticed trash on my street and thought about the deer we often see roaming the neighborhood. To think we have wildlife and garbage in the same area has fueled me into educating Adirondack residents and students on campus. I decided to take pictures of trash and document its location, while also researching how harmful it is for animals to come in contact with human garbage.
After some research, I have learned how species can form habits of looking for scraps in residential areas or landfills. Bears, for instance, will stop at nothing to break into a dumpster or trashcan in order to salvage any remains for themselves. If a bear finds a specific area where trash is present, it will return and become reliant on that for food.
Bears aren't the only animals seen in mountainous areas, but garbage can affect all animals in the same way. By mistaking trash for food, animals are liable to consume garbage. This can block their digestive system, which can be fatal. A significant means of prevention is to not litter, and properly dispose trash in a garbage can.
Instead of preserving their natural Adirondack habitat, we're continuously making it more dangerous for them by leaving refuse on the ground. Also keep in mind that the more trash that is prevalent, the more likely people will litter. We are not only endangering indigenous species, but are also de-valuing the land where we live.
With a little effort, we can greatly improve the beautiful nature and wildlife that surrounds us.