Letters to the Editor

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CONSERVATION: Are we doing enough to protect owls?

Letter by Connor Dorst , Tacoma on March 21, 2012 at 1:05 pm with 53 Comments »
March 21, 2012 1:05 pm

My name is Connor, and I am 8 years old and in the third grade at Browns Point Elementary School in Tacoma. I just completed a “Community Expert” report on the conservation of the Northern spotted owl. This report made me wonder if we are doing enough to protect these owls.

I learned about the Northwest Forest Plan from the 1990s and about groups that are trying to help, such as Conservation Northwest and the Defenders of Wildlife. I really love nature because I picture myself as that living creature. If someone tried to injure or harm me, how would I feel? What if my home was taken away or destroyed?

I also learned that President Obama and Secretary Ken Salazar of the Department of the Interior are trying to create a compromise through a new plan. They hope to allow loggers to still come in to the owl’s habitat, the old growth forest, and cut down up to 60 percent and still allow for owls to have space and homes in this area.

I am worried that if they continue to allow loggers into the owl’s territory that the owls will lose too many trees and homes and die off as they have been doing for years. I know that there are only 11,000 owls left between Oregon, California, British Columbia and my home state, Washington.

What can my community do to help? Please join the conservation efforts and help save these owls.

Leave a comment Comments → 53
  1. 8? – impressive writing!

    I haven’t studied the issue much, but I really hope there is sound science on the part of all interests when decisions are made. We need the logging industry, but we need to protect endangered species and our environment.

    I hope Connor studies the science behind the decision to allow 60% tree removal and maybe talk to experts in a variety of fields, environmentalists, loggers and others and get back with us.

  2. concernedtacoma7 says:

    No one is trying to harm the bird. What they are trying to do is earn an income and put a roof over their children’s heads.

    There is a balance between industry and the environment. In this case, that balance is tipped in favor of the environment. As pointed out above, their biggest threat now is another type of owl.

    Nice anti-industry brainwashing coming from that school.

    The Defenders website is full of wacky climate change threats. Recommend you find alternate places of knowledge that at least try to hide their partisan bent.


    The leap from global warming to volcanic eruptions to west nile is comical.

  3. sumyungboi says:

    Hi, my name is Billy, and I was born on Saturday. On Sunday afternoon, while investigating a mid ’70’s claim of imminent global cooling, I inquired of my father his opinion on the topic. Following his encouragement, I then attended a Monday morning forum at the University of East Anglia, where several speakers were quite hesitant to endorse the former claim of cooling, quite the opposite in fact. At this point, it would seem that the verdict is still out.

    Anyway, chow for now. Must nap, only four days old, after all, need my rest.

  4. Hey Connor, owl tastes great in Marcella sauce or slow cooked with some rub and a little lemon.

  5. sandblower says:

    So many idiots, so little time.

  6. David1964 says:

    Sorry to all you cynical folks, but Connor is a real 8 year old kid with his own brain. He hasn’t been indoctrinated by anyone. Believe it or not, to all you adults who were followers as children, there actually ARE thoughful kids today who speak their own minds and follow their own beliefs. Things are different from when you and I grew up, when we didn’t question authority. (See, there is a positive flip side to questioning authority!) By the way, no one at school TAUGHT Connor about the owls. He did his own research, formed his own conclusions, and learned that as an American citizen, he has an opinion and is allowed to voice it. Thank you, Connor.

  7. Am I the only one who suspects that Conner had help in the form of a good editor and a couple peer reviewers (AKA parents).

    Great letter! Hope to hear more from you in the years ahead.

  8. As you can see Conner, there are idiots in this world and then the normal (above) like yourself, nice letter!

  9. sumyungboi says:

    “.. but Connor is a real 8 year old .. hasn’t been indoctrinated by anyone ..”

    Sorry bub, but until little Conner can intelligently discuss sustained forestry, until he understands the economics of forestry and forestry regulation, when he can tell us what FSC means and describe the importance of the chain of custody, he’s just another kid who’s being taught one side of an issue. It’s a lot easier to teach little kids to love cute little owls than it is to give them the full story. You should be ashamed of yourself. Little kids like to play tag, and catch frogs, and using them as little tools in a propaganda war is just wrong.

  10. sandblower says:

    If some had a brain it would be dangerous. What comes first, a habitat which sustains wildlife or a habitat that does not? What comes first a habitat that sustains humankind or a habitat that does not?
    Boy, it’s an easy question.

  11. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Blower-did you write this letter?

  12. David1964 says:

    Sumyungboi, I’m no “bub”. The fact that an 8 year old is interested enough to begin to discuss something other than Legos(or some other fun endeavor) ought to be something to be proud of, not only for his parents and teachers, but for the greater community. Eventually young Connor will learn the various views of all sorts topics, and will begin to condsider “ramifications” and “shades of grey”. This comes with maturity, something that many on this newspaper blog seem to lack.

  13. David1964 says:

    Sumyungboi, are you saying that until Connor goes to college and learns about forestry, that he has no right to share his opinion in a public forum like the News Tribune? If so, then you have no right to voice your opinion on any matter here until you are properly educated on the different facets of each topic you wish to discuss. What’s good for the gossling is good for the goose.

    BTW, I have nothing to do with Connor’s education or parenting, but do know him to be a thoughtful, inquisitive boy who will make something of himself someday. Why do some adults feel the need to squelch this in children?

  14. Frankenchrist says:

    This 8-year old is smarter than all the Republican trolls making these bullying remarks.

  15. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Dave, a newspaper blog is not your refrigerator for you to boast of your pal Connor’s work. His parents (or you) submitted this for a group of adults to read.

    It is obvious the kid had some help and was pushed in a direction of ‘evil logging’. Brainwashed to be a progressive at 8 years old. Teach the kid something useful, economics for instance.

  16. sumyungboi says:

    Save your time, David, and I don’t really care about little Conner’s college. I don’t have to be up this early to know that the sun is going to rise today, and I don’t need videotape evidence to know that Conner being taught leftist environmentalism without balance. You people really do have no shame, do you? The end justifies the means, regardless of if you’re robbing little kids of their childhood.

  17. Spiderweb says:

    Hey sumyunghorsesrear, do you always pick on children?

    Great letter Connor! Please continue to read, learn and think critically.

    ….and never worry about the sumyung’s of the world. They have to make themselves feel better by putting others down, the hallmark of a small individual.

  18. Spiderweb says:

    “It is obvious the kid had some help”

    There are many documented cases of children with extroardinary genius.
    What is obvious is that many have a way higher opinion of themselves than reality warrants.

  19. The headline should be edited to speak the truth of the liberal lunacy we live under – Are we doing enough to harm humans?

    Probably not. Small groups of them are still resisting the socialist utopia.

  20. sumyungboi says:

    No spider, I’m picking on the adults who’re exploiting the kid. Love how you changed my name around when you’re trying to offend me, how adult of you. And keep on teaching kids to hate, it speaks volumes for your side of the issue.

  21. Glad I';m not a hate filled right winger.

  22. Spiderweb says:

    “I’m picking on the adults who’re exploiting the kid”

    You’re making an assumption with no evidence. Okay, perhaps it wasn’t malice on your part. Arrogance is sufficient explanation. Still not justified.

  23. Frankenchrist says:

    “There are many documented cases of children with extroardinary genius.”

    And none of them ever grew up to be conservatives.

  24. sumyungboi says:

    spider, I read the kids letter and came to the conclusion that the kid was coached, and the letter was edited by adults, all left leaning environmentalists. I don’t need proof. That’s one of the problems with the world today, is that it’s somehow become a sin to make a judgement call, we’ve become a nation of “what the meaning of “is”, is”. Eight year olds are second and third graders, and regardless of what the boys “opinion” is, or even whether or not he was coached, it is rather meaningless. I’m not a physicist, yet I find quantum physics rather interesting. Do you think my opinion with regards to anything in that field means anything? Someone who knows the kid (above) asked, does the kid need to have a degree in forestry to express an opinion? Absolutely not, but if anyone wants their opinion to be taken seriously, they should be able to at least hold an intelligent conversation while defending their opinion against contradictory assessments. Conner may be a bright kid, don’t know him, but you can bet the farm that my conclusion regarding those around him is correct. I still contend that adults are using him as a tool.

  25. Much of what is logged off is exported. Although it is favorable to our economy to export goods, exporting raw materials instead of finished product excludes many Americans from the manufacturing jobs that our raw materials could provide. The spotted owl is an endangered species and deserves protection even if that protection is financially inconvenient for some. Allowing some logging could be a good compromise as long as the owl has room to thrive. Constant monitoring is necessary. Maybe you will grow up to be one of those who will help monitor the success of programs that preserve our natural wildlife. Keep up the good work Conner.

  26. We find that the 1989 listing of the spotted owl has no significant effect on employment – not even in the two states where the debate has been most intense. Instead, the only statistically significant turning point came with the passage of the Wilderness Act in 1964. The direction of the change, however, was precisely the opposite of what is generally expected. Both nationally and in the Pacific Northwest, the greatest decline in timber employment occurred from 1947 until 1964 – a time of great economic growth, a general absence of “unreasonable environmental regulations,” and growing harvests. The period since the passage of the Wilderness Act has been one of increased complaints about environmental constraints, but much less decline in logging employment. If logging jobs have indeed been endangered by efforts to protect the environment in general and spotted-owl habitat in particular, what is needed is a plausible explanation of how the influence of the owls could have begun more than forty years before the species came under the protection of the Endangered Species Act.


  27. Spiderweb says:

    “I don’t need proof.”

    And yet you claim others opinion is meaningless, while admitting yours are pulled from thin air? ROFLMAO!!!

    Arrogant and hypocritical. Maybe you should quit while your behind pal

  28. WangChung says:

    Good letter Conner. Good letter Bandito. I’m all for stopping the exporting of raw materials to foreign countries instead of finished product. I hate to see the barren moonscape on the drive to Greenwater. It would be nice if the owls could be bred in captivity then released and, if the government would prohibit logging within view of “Scenic Highways & Byways.”

  29. All this talk makes me hungry. Frank’s Red Hot is great on wings.

  30. sumyungboi says:

    spider, can you say that you honestly believe that this letter was submitted by an eight year old with no coaching?

  31. Vox_clamantis_in_deserto says:

    the greatest decline in timber employment occurred from 1947 until 1964 – a time of great economic growth, a general absence of “unreasonable environmental regulations,” and growing harvests.

    You don’t suppose that may be due in the tiniest part to mechanization??????

    And, apparently, neither do the… uh-hum… not very highly unbiased authors of the paper you linked, bB.

    Not one shred of evidence, not citations to back-up their claims… this is a classic example of cherry-picking in as much as I’m not willing to fork over twelve bucks just to see the rest of a fourteen-year-old paper. Nor, I suspect, is anyone else here.

    And as my now-deleted initial post stated, the biggest threat to the spotted owl is the barred owl. Barred owls have spread here naturally from the east. They compete with the smaller spotteds for habitats – a competition the spotteds are losing and would have lost regardless of The Wilderness Act, or endangered species protection, because nature is simply running its course.

    Spotted owl populations have declined 40 percent since receiving “endangered” status, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says they may go extinct in some parts of their range if something isn’t done about barred owls.

    When you have the 0bama administration (through Ken Salazar) advocating shooting them, you know the issue has moved way beyond logging.

  32. Vox_clamantis_in_deserto says:

    And as for the advocates of “finished lumber” exports, I guess we can count you in favor of exporting bread instead of grain – shirts instead of cotton – succotash and fruit salad instead of produce – peanut butter and trail mix instead of nuts… etc, etc.

    Three facts:

    – Log exporting was nearly dead ten years ago due to the prolonged Japanese recession and the rapidly expanding US housing market. Exporting is a market-driven business practice and China is the new market, which is why we have seen a resurgence in raw-log exports over the last 3 years.
    If there is no market here, and given that importers don’t buy much of our finished products, would you have private forrest owners simply sit on their harvests? Yeah, that would really help a lot of loggers and forestry-related businesses/ employees.

    – Ever consider the cost of shipping raw logs versus finished product? You would, if you were an importer.

    – Though I’m sure the Chinese have built mills to handle their imports, I’m not sure if there are gauging discrepancies for their finished product, as there was with the Japanese. But one thing I am sure of; if we won’t sell the Chinese raw logs, someone else will. Do you consider this a victory (no matter that it would be pyrrhic)?

  33. BlaineCGarver says:

    By the comments, I see that Connor (who wrote a good letter, but with facts not in evidence) is not the oly 8 year old. Maybe Franken*, when he grows up, will realize that personal name calling means the argument is lost.

  34. Conner, I hear that the Obama administration has authorized an indian tribe to kill some bald eagles because it is their tribal “right’ to do so. Are you equally concerned about the bald eagle? If so plaese ask Obama to stop killing bald eagles. By the way, is your house made of wood products? If so, I wonder where that wood came from.

  35. Spiderweb says:

    “spider, can you say that you honestly believe that this letter was submitted by an eight year old with no coaching?”


  36. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Vox or BB- in trying to find a reason for declining timber labor during the period specified I attempted to link it to output.

    I suspect WWII had a play in this, as well as other factors. Anybody able to find a chart showing out for the period before 1947 and after?

    And there were regulations placed before 1947. Some timber producers, like WY, also begain selective cutting on their own (I imagine for economic reasons; rather then have the value of the land drop drastically after a harvest, if it could continue to produce then the value would hold).

  37. sumyungboi says:

    spider, than I can honestly say that you’re not thinking clearly. And there are varying degrees to the weight of any “opinion”. My opinion is that Conner was at the very least coached, and most likely edited. This would be a majority opinion, and not one that’s hard to come to. It’s like saying that bunny rabbits are cute, it doesn’t take a whole lot of thought come to that opinion. The boy, however, was delving into the politics and economic impacts of the forestry industry. Without balance, that is, without being subject to opposing arguments, his opinion is meaningless. At this point, Conner is a tool of whomever is trying to convince readers through him, which is not his fault, and is disgusting. You people egging him on are like people who take their kids to protest marches and give them signs and all, they’re never the wiser that many or most people don’t agree with them, since they’re surrounded by adults all chanting the same thing.

  38. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Frosty, great point.


    Where is the outrage, left? Oh, they are not Catholic so their beliefs are superior to law and common sense.

  39. vox – do you have one shred of evidence to support your claim that spotted owl protection has cost jobs? Especially in light of your posts citing mechanization and the vulnerability of export markets, I don’t see anything that counters the conclusion of the study I cited: We find that the 1989 listing of the spotted owl has no significant effect on employment – not even in the two states where the debate has been most intense.

  40. frosty and ct7 – the tribe has been given permission to sacrifice two eagles. Bald eagles were taken off the endangered species list in 2007 due to their spectacular comeback after DDT was banned in the 60s. Your attempt at drumming up outrage or claim of hypocrisy is lame.

  41. Vox_clamantis_in_deserto says:

    vox – do you have one shred of evidence to support your claim that spotted owl protection has cost jobs?

    bB, you’re nothing if not resolute in your twisting of fact. By that, I’m being generous (he says, nodding to the Monitor), because nowhere have I said that “spotted owl protection has cost jobs”. This is not to say that I don’t suspect they have, just that I have neither the time nor interest to research the claim – as, I suspect, neither had you, based on the rather weak link you provided.

    What I will say is that spotted owl protection has shut down land. And regardless of consequential factors such as ease of harvesting, proximity to yards, quality of harvestable trees, etc, that the loss of this land has surely caused, the mere introduction of regulation is always felt by the end consumer in the form of higher prices.

    The tiny portion of the 1998 paper you linked may have contained their “conclusion”, but without supportive data it is not even close to conclusive. And given the advancement of mechanization, the more germane question is what effect the designation (regulation) has had on production vis-a-vis cost of the end product.

    I believe employment in many farming and manufacturing sector would have seen a significant drop in employment here in the US, from 1947 to 1964 simply due to mechanization.

    And many of the industries that were around in 1947 would have seen similar or more drastic loss of employment since then. While that was clearly not the fault of spotted owl protection, like your study, it too would be apples to oranges.

  42. How does the right get so misinformed and filled with hate?

  43. Vox_clamantis_in_deserto says:

    Earn a clue, wer.

  44. took14theteam says:

    I concur Vox.

    Klu has a very strong resemblance to the one who posted as Sumner. Same Troll style.

  45. Beerboy, great attempt at trying to cover for Obama’s policy on killing Bald eagles. You’re right on one point though, they are only allowed to kill two eagles, for now, what happens when others also claim the “right” to kill more eagles? The precedent has now been set.

  46. frosty – explain why bald eagles shouldn’t be sacrificed in a ceremony that honors them.

  47. took14theteam says:

    We could go back to sacrificing virgins as well. That ceremony used to honor them as well….

  48. So…you’ve joined PETA and become a strict vegan then…..

  49. We could go back to sacrificing virgins as well.

    Nope…Republicans want to sacrifice “naughty” girls and their children (once they are born, of course).

  50. Beerboy, oh. where to start? There was a time in this world where human beings were sacrificed for “religious worship”. How does killing a bald eagle in any way “honor” them? Seems like twisted logic to me. Being a “progressive, I would think that you have evlved more than that.

  51. “evolved”

  52. Earn a clue frosty.

    I am not about to attempt to educate you on comparative religions or the traditions of the Arapaho.

    If you can satisfactorily explain why it has become common practice in America to scar young boys’ penises even though there is no real proven medical benefit to do so, maybe I will attempt to explain it to you. Or, I’ll make it simple for you, explain why the ritual scarification of baby boys is still practiced in Judaism.

  53. Beerboy, so we have now moved from killing eagles to boy’s penises? And you want to “educate” me? LOL

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