This morning I walked across the road from Fellow Mortals to video the trees and birdsong that are part of the ambience of the property that is our temporary sanctuary for healing wildlife. Every time I look at the peaceful setting under the old spruce and in the tangled brush beneath, my joy is bittersweet, wondering what is to come for the small birds that forage there and the small mammals that nest there.
We have intentionally created a place for recovering wildlife that blends in with the natural surroundings and is therefore rarely noticed by people passing by–it is better that way for the wild ones who need the peace, quiet and privacy to complete their final phase of healing before return to the wild.
In fact, the wildlife on our road is so abundant, and the vehicle traffic such a problem, that the town has posted signs at either end of Palmer Road that read: “Slow—Wildlife Crossing,” and “Deer Crossing,” to warn of the possibility of a crane, or deer or turkey crossing the road, as people from out of the area don’t always pay attention to the 45-mile per hour speed limit.
At the end of the video are two cars, representing just a fraction of the traffic that will travel in front of the hospital every day—day and night—in the months to come, and the reason for the trees that serve as a barrier for the sake of the wild ones entrusted to our care.
The second vehicle? A Michels tree service truck driver—the company we have been told is doing the work in our area for ATC—blaring his horn at me as I video our property from the safety of the roadside.
At Fellow Mortals, we see the best of humanity, the most caring, compassionate people are the ones who make the effort to stop and rearrange their day when they find an injured or orphaned creature in need of help.
I have forgotten how cruel the world is, while I have focused on creating just this one small safe place within it.
ATC has a legal easement. We do not question that fact. The easement given decades ago in a simpler time—when people believed naively that no unfair advantage would be taken of a deal fairly made—is being exploited fully today in a time where personal freedom and enjoyment of private property is seen as subservient to the policy of a for profit enterprise that saves money for its investors with every final cut it makes
ATC is a for-profit company that is clear-cutting its easements as a matter of policy—not because it is required by federal or state governments, but in an attempt to improve its bottom line. I have confirmed this fact with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Wisconsin Public Service Commission.
ATC lines occur throughout Wisconsin and in surrounding states, and this policy applies to all of their lines.
ATC seemingly answers to no one—but as long as I have a voice, I am going to try to make them listen, and I am hoping to make you question how it is that individual rights have been subjugated to corporate interests without our elected representatives speaking out.
Fellow Mortals isn’t the first to raise the alarm. Other voices have risen and diminished in defeat. This is wrong.
Our request is simple—“Please, don’t clear cut the tree if you can trim the branch.”
If you care about wildlife and the environment, if you care about rural communities and small nonprofits that help without charging a fee—if it makes you angry when big business exploits their privileges without any regard for people whose property and privacy are ruined—please speak out for Fellow Mortals and for everyone else who is seemingly at the mercy of this corporation.
ATC enjoys ‘Green Tier Status,’ granted in 2005. If you agree that this company is being anything but a ‘superior environmental supporter’—please write and respectfully ask that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources examine their relationship with this company.
I personally find it disheartening and frightening that ATC apparently feels so powerful, and has such disregard for anything outside of their own business interests, that they believe they can act with impunity and are willing to push one small nonprofit–that exists solely for the benefit of the wildlife that inhabits the environment they pretend to care about– to the ropes, rather than examine the corporate policy that has taken so much from private landowners and made the company so many enemies as a result.
Protesting injustice is what we do every day at Fellow Mortals, with every life we fight to save. Now we must save the place that makes our work possible.