The stars in the clear morning skies have been more beautiful than ever the last couple of weeks. I realize I don't see as many stars as I could in the country where there are no city lights, but those I see are wonderful.
I was thinking about endangered species the other morning as I walked along Wildcat Boulevard.
I recently read an article which reminded the reader that the Endangered Species Act is 40 years old this year. In 1973 when President Richard Nixon signed the bill authorizing the Endangered Species, it caused quite a stir.
The conflict is how do we, and should we, preserve certain animal and plant species? What has precedence: a certain plant or the best for all — mankind?
Saving some endangered species has been relatively easy. The bald eagle and peregrine falcon were saved by banning the use of DDT. But what if there was no replacement for DDT?
Two plant species, the San Clemente Island paintbrush and the San Clemente Island lotus, have been rescued from extinction by removing the goats from San Clemente Island. With no predators, the goats multiplied and ate these two plants to near extinction on this island off San Diego, Calif.
Some of our native plants have been eliminated because of a foreign disease. The American elm and Ozark chinquapin trees once stood tall in cities and on farms. Then they all died. Today, a rare disease-resistant elm and chinquapin have been discovered which might save this species.
The Neosho National Fish Hatchery has worked with and continues to work with endangered species. Currently, they have a large program trying to preserve the pallid sturgeon.
They are also experimenting with a native mussel and possibly the Ozarks hellbender. Besides these programs, they are monitoring the colorless fish and other creatures found deep in some of the springs that supply water to the hatchery.
Most of us realize that nature once had creatures that no longer exist. We don't have dinosaurs walking along the roadways. For some reason, they became extinct. We don't have passenger pigeons any more. Man made them extinct.
Take a walk, know there are no simple endangered species answers, use your signal lights, and see what you think about while passing along Wildcat Boulevard.
Russell Hively writes a weekly column for the Daily News.