Doane should work to preserve the Aldrich Prairie Research Site, particularly the prairie dog population residing there.
Doane has prided itself in striving to be a environmentally friendly campus. Various clubs and committees have introduced measures to reduce food waste in the cafeteria, to use reusable containers and to add more solar panels to campus.
By selling the Aldrich Prairie Research Site and putting the lives of the prairie dogs at risk, Doane has betrayed its environmentally-friendly past.
Doane should follow the advice of Maureen Franklin, former Academic Affairs vice president, and either retain the land, make a conservation easement or, failing all else, try to relocate the prairie dogs.
While the lives of a few hundred prairie dogs may seems unimportant, one should remember that they are a species in need of conservation and the Aldrich Research Site may be the furthest east prairie dog colony in the state.
While selling the land is not necessarily a death sentence for the prairie dogs, it does put them at risk. A risk that betrays Doane’s record as a green campus. Even if the new owners decide to allow the prairie dogs to remain rather than convert the land to farm ground, future owners could decide to kill the prairie dogs.
If Doane is sincere about being an environmentally friendly school, then it should work to conserve the Aldrich Research Site’s prairie dog population.
If Doane allows the land to be sold without any protections for the prairie dogs, then what does that say about this university’s environmental claims?
By putting the lives of these critters in jeopardy, Doane would be actively going against its claim to be a green campus.
The Owl staff encourages the Green Committee and the Human and Planetary Health Society and the entire Doane community to take a stand to preserve this land, and encourages the university to avoid selling the land if possible, and to include provisions for the prairie dogs if the land is to be sold.