This Earth Day 2012, the hubby and I hiked a portion of the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve near our home.
It was a wonderful outing. The morning was cool, wildflowers and butterflies were out in force (as the hubby's cell phone snapshots show) and we got a great view of the endangered golden-cheeked warbler. Sorry, the bird wasn't nearly as accommodating as the butterflies when it came to picture taking.
Many of our neighbors are dismissive of this lovely little bird. What they really don't like is that it gives the U.S., city of Austin and Travis County governments so much say about what we can do with the miles of open space around our community.
The hubby and I don't mind that we can't go freely traipsing through the hills and canyons that are just across the street from us. We're happy to sign up for the limited guided walks in the area. We know that if humans aren't kept out, the warblers' home habitat would soon be razed.
What so many of our nonbirding neighbors fail and/or refuse to realize is that if that happened, our views of miles of open space would be views of miles of strip malls and more houses.
And that would mean, dear oblivious neighbors, that the thing that you worry about most of all, the value of your -- our -- homes, would drop, both financially and aesthetically.
Numerous nature, and other, donation options: So with a renewed appreciation of nature, when we got home from our hike I sent a contribution to an environmental group.
It seemed the perfect move on Earth Day.
It also will be a tax deduction on our 2012 tax return.
If you're similarly inclined, today or any other day, there are lots of environmental nonprofits from which to choose.
A quick search of "environment" in the Internal Revenue Service's online exempt organizations list (formerly Publication 78) produced 1,437 nonprofits that are OK'ed by the tax agency.
And that search result also is this week's By the Numbers figure.
Type in "nature" at the IRS page and you'll get another 648 groups to which you can donate and deduct your gift.
Of course, you can -- and should -- type in the specific name of your favorite charity, whatever cause it supports, to double check that it's IRS qualified.
If it is, then your donation is tax deductible.
If it's not, well you should find another charity to support.
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