Get the lead out
Thanks to Ann McCreary for two excellent and informative articles about how a relatively small number of people are poisoning our wildlife with lead (Jan. 10). The first tells a very personal story of the people who found a sick golden eagle near Winthrop and others who tried to save it. It died later from lead poisoning, probably from eating lead ammunition.
The second article reminded me of Rachel Carson’s book “Silent Spring.” Carson wrote how widespread use of DDT and other pesticides killed wildlife in large numbers across the country. That book eventually led to the use of DDT being severely limited and the creation of the EPA.
The toxic effects of lead on many species have been known for decades. Nearly half of bald and golden eagles today suffer from chronic lead poisoning. Efforts have been made to reduce the use of lead ammunition, with only limited or localized success.
In some ways, the use of lead ammunition, albeit on a smaller scale, is even worse than the story of pesticides. Pesticides had an important use in agriculture and in some disease control. Plus, there were not readily available replacements to serve some of the same functions. There is no similar justification for using lead ammunition in hunting and target shooting. Non-toxic ammunition has long been available.
It is ironic that the hunters who claim to have been the “first conservationists” are in the forefront of efforts to block any regulations to require using non-toxic ammunition. The NRA claims it would add a little to the cost of ammo and be a little more difficult to use. In other words (mine), to hell with wildlife if saving it inconveniences hunters in any way.
Protecting our wildlife from increasing lead poisoning is inexpensive and could easily be accomplished. The necessary political steps are long overdue.
PTA is working for you
On Dec. 1 of last year, the Methow Valley PTA replaced Family Teacher Association (FTA) as the volunteer organization to support teachers and students in the Methow Valley School District. The FTA was formed with good intentions, but starting an organization from scratch proved to be daunting. The FTA board decided that joining a larger umbrella organization would provide needed structure and support so that we, as volunteers, could focus on our primary mission — supporting parents, students and teachers.
What that looks like, exactly, can differ, which is where you come in. Early PTA causes included passing child labor laws, bringing kindergarten into our schools and implementing school lunch programs. Our causes today in the 21st century may differ, but the need to advocate for our children has not changed.
Contrary to popular belief, the umbrella PTA does not dictate local priorities. It is up to each local PTA to decide what they want to focus on. The umbrella PTA provides guidance through the process. One does not have to be a parent or have a child in the school system to join the PTA. Anyone with an interest or desire to improve children’s educational experiences is welcome to join. We each have our own skills and interests.
It takes a village to raise a child, and we hope you’ll join us. Our first meeting will be on Wednesday, Jan. 24, at 5 p.m. at the Winthrop library meeting room to discuss business, volunteer opportunities, and to elect officers. Future meetings will be posted on the school district website. You can also join our mailing list at email@example.com.
Julia Babkina, PTA President
Scott Larson, Vice President
Kim Frey, Acting Treasurer