Love is in the air! As Valentine’s day approaches us, we are reminded of just how important our loved ones are to us and how delicious those mini candy bars are. There is one relationship though that I don’t feel gets enough credit; our relationship with water. This relationship not only tugs at our heart strings but keeps us alive. It is our friend, our life line, our home, and so much more; but in times of drought, like any normal relationship, it can be strained. With the rains that have encroached on our great city of Athens, the concept of drought is far from our minds. It is important to note that although we have gotten some influx of rain into the Oconee River, the impacts of years of persistent drought can still be seen. Although this lack of water can be detrimental to our community, it is usually the animals in the area that feel it first.
Last week, I was extremely lucky to have visited one of my favorite places in Athens: Bear Hollow Zoo. It is located on S. Milledge Ave., and, if you have never been, I highly recommend it. While I was there watching all the different animals, I was reminded just how important water is to them. Humans and most animals can actually survive longer without food than they can water. Talk about a strong relationship!
Animals, such as the beaver, call water their home, shelter, and livelihood. These great creatures are typically found along river beds and spend the majority of their time in the water.
Frogs, such as the green tree frog seen here, actually breathe through their skin! Not only is the quantity of water around them important, but the quality as well. When there are more contaminants in the water, it is much more difficult for them to breathe, thus hurting the frog.
Last, but certainly not least, are my favorite animals at Bear Hollow. Black Bears are much like humans in their water needs. They use water mainly to drink, to bathe, and for hunting. Black bears not only need water themselves, but also feed on insects, fish, and plants that need water to survive.
Moral of this story? Water is our most important relationship to consider this Valentine’s Day. Spread the love, but save the water!
Nicole, WCO Intern
**Photos courtesy of Wade Sheldon of Bear Hollow Zoo.
Originally posted on waterconservationstation.blogspot.com, 2/12/13