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Beavers spared, score one for kids

By asoglin
Wednesday, November 7th, 2007 at 10:44 am in Other.

20071107__beavrally_300A family of Martinez beavers won’t be killed after all. The state agreed Tuesday to trap and quarantine them at the Lindsay Wildlife Museum and later relocate them to an area approved by the state. At issue was the potential flood risk of the beavers’ dam in the Alhambra Creek, which prompted talk of killing the beavers. (For more about the reprieve, check out Gary Bogue’s blog.)

What followed was an outcry from residents young and old. Children flocked to the creek to see the beavers and lobby against their deaths. They posted fliers and signs. They wrote essays and letters. And we’re not just talking elementary school-aged kids — teenagers were in the mix, too. Which was heartening, not just because some cute critters were at the center of the matter but because it showed initiative, passion and political-enterprise on the part of these kids. We got to see first hand that when kids care about something, they are willing to take a stand.

It seems all we ever hear about is how apathetic the next generation is. Young adults don’t vote. They don’t read the newspaper or watch news broadcasts. Kids in 5th and 6th grade don’t even know who was in office before President Bush. Current events, to them, involve who won “American Idol” rather than the most recent election.

OK, granted, the beaver effort hardly ranks up there with war and economic crises. But learning to lobby has to start somewhere. Kids need to see first-hand how speaking out can make a difference. Eventually, they stop believing us when we say “trust us.” They want to see it to believe it. The city of Martinez and the state of California listened by finding an alternative for the beavers. And here’s hoping the kids realize that their lobbying efforts don’t always fall on deaf ears. They can make a difference, if they only try.

Ann Tatko-Peterson

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