Animals that go extinct disappear forever. Oh no! We don't want that to happen if we can help it. That's one reason we do conservation (con-sur-VAY-shun). That means we use resources carefully.
What does "use resources carefully" have to do with animals?
** Here’s an example:
Think of the paper you use. Where does it come from? Trees! And where do lots of animals live? In the forest with trees! If we don't use paper wisely we cut down more trees than we need to. That means more animals lose their homes than need to.
See how it works? If we use our resources - um...trees - wisely, then we won't have to cut as many of them down. If we don't have to cut as many trees down, more animals get to keep their homes.
Conservation means trying to fix the harm that's been done while also taking better care of the environment. It also means helping wildlife keep their natural homes (called "habitats").
It means being good land stewards. A land steward is someone in charge of taking care of the land. A good land steward treats the land well so that the plants and animals that depend upon it can survive.
Animals have always gone extinct; that's natural. However, these days some animals face unnatural troubles because of things humans do and we need to help save them.
When we do conservation we try to fix any harm that's been done while also taking better care of the environment. We also try to help wildlife keep their habitats.
What's so special about habitats? Well, think of it this way: What if you had to live in a special kind of house and you got kicked out it? Where
would you move if there were no more houses just like the kind you needed? And what if you couldn't build another like it? Where would you go? Conservationists help make sure animals don't lose their habitats - their special homes - in the first place!
Conservation matters not only to animals facing troubles, but also to our future. What if the animals you see today no longer exist when you grow up? Yikes! But that doesn't have to happen. Thanks to the hard work of conservationists, many Texas animals have been saved.
You can be a conservationist, too. Lots of Texas animals still need our help...make that YOUR help! Kids can help? You bet!
Check out Texas Parks and Wildlife's Junior Naturalist pages for lots of exciting ways you can get involved and learn more: http://tpwd.texas.gov/publications/nonpwdpubs/young_naturalist/index.phtml.