“ What we are doing to our forests is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another.” ...Mahatma Gandhi

So it's hard for me to drive around town, and watch all these bulldozers knocking down all the trees. For what? New homes, which we have way more than we already need. Solar panels? They are a good idea but there are other areas that can be utilized without having to destroy our natural resources.They are destroying the forests and the homes of thousands of animals and plants that live there. The Pine Barren forest we live in is a globally rare and endangered habitat and therefore so are the many of the species of plants and animals who live here. I have included a link to the Mass Fish and Wildlife Endangered Species List. Knowledge is power as they say. ( https://www.mass.gov/service-details/list-of-endangered-threatened-and-special-concern-species) I see a lot of wild animals who seem to be lost, looking for a place to go. Looking for a home. It breaks my heart.

Please, wake up people. With every habitat that is destroyed and every plant and animal that becomes endangered, or extinct, we are one step closer to the end of our species. There are hard working advocates out there, trying to save these habitats but with all due respect to them, it's not working! We are not stopping the destruction. So what do we do?

In order to play the game, I tried to educate myself on how the process of getting permits to build works. I am still learning and I always welcome advice. But the way I see it, we all need to make our voices heard!

Let me explain. Plymouth (or your town) is divided into sections. Each section has a board of town representatives who represent and vote for your district at these meetings. It is the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Planning Board who ultimately have the final vote on how the land is used. Your town Board of Representatives attend these meetings and vote for the will of the people in your district. But we need to make our will heard! Also, as Plymouth residents we are all welcome to attend these meetings and speak our peace. People have been protesting the destruction of our forests for years, sadly to no avail. There have been some victories such as limiting the amount of solar panels companies can build in Plymouth but they just move to other towns. We have a conservation committee in the town as well. They get involved if the proposed building site is within 100 feet of wetlands. We also have an Open Space Committee who fights for exactly that. We need a mass showing of people. We need to stick together to stop this. We need to fight!

Here is the how to. Find out who is on your district board and I urge you to learn more about it and get involved. You can also get more information about the Open Space Committee and the Conservation Committee. Many of these committees have openings, or even just meetings you can attend. Everyone needs to get involved. If you are as disgusted as I am, you need to get involved. We all do!! We can't wait any longer. We can't wait for someone to come in and stop this because that someone is us. The time is now! That's why I am learning the process and sharing it with you. I will definitely keep you apprised of what is going on but I need your support. I know I'm not alone in how I feel and I know together we can accomplish our goal. Are you happy with how fast our forests and its inhabitants are disappearing? If your answer is No, we need to stand up and fight together. When it's time for a mass gathering, I hope you chose to join me.

JoAnn Byrnes is a local state-permitted wildlife rehabilitator who has been working with wildlife for over 20 years. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Bridgewater State University. Any questions? Email her at wild.again@yahoo.com. Follow her on twitter @ByrnesMae.