Opt for peaceful coexistence with wildlife for this year’s Earth Day

Pasadena Humane Plaque

Commemorative plaque located on the Central Park fountain that reads, “Secured through the efforts of the Pasadena Humane Society.”

If you live or work in Pasadena, you’ll undoubtedly be familiar with Central Park, one of the oldest parks in the city. This 10-acre urban green space, located smack between Old Town Pasadena and Pasadena Humane, has long been part of the history of partnership between our nonprofit organization and the beautiful city that is home to our shelter.

You may be surprised to know that a granite statue in Central Park shaped like a large bowl was originally a drinking fountain for horses, stray dogs and other animals. In 1905, the National Humane Alliance presented the fountain to the Pasadena Humane Society, which in turn presented the fountain to the City of Pasadena.

Pasadena holds the distinction of being the first city on the Pacific Coast to have such a fountain. More than 100 similar fountains were erected in public places across the United States and Mexico in the early 1900s as part of the National Humane Alliance’s effort to ensure that working and companion animals always had access to fresh drinking water.

Fast forward nearly 120 years later, and the ongoing connection between Central Park and Pasadena Humane is evident. You likely won’t see any horses at the fountain, but you may spot shelter dogs out for a walk or our Wiggle Waggle Waggin’ bringing adoptable pets to events (such as the Jackalope Fair this weekend!).

Earlier this week, dozens of Pasadena Humane team members converged on Central Park for our second annual Pasadena Humane Earth Day clean-up event. We weeded flower beds, picked up trash and spread mulch provided by our friends from the City of Pasadena’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Services. Our staff members launched this event as a way to promote our core value of collaboration while giving back to our community.

The theme of Earth Day 2022 — Invest in Our Planet — ties in nicely to Pasadena Humane’s vision of a community that peacefully coexists with wildlife. I’d like to take this opportunity to share a few easy and eco-friendly ways you can promote peaceful coexistence with wildlife.

Gardening for Wildlife

Attract bees, butterflies, birds and other pollinators to your yard by planting a variety of California native flowers. Native plants provide food and shelter to local wildlife and offer other benefits like saving water, minimizing the need for pesticides and reducing your carbon footprint.

Trim Your Trees in the Off Season

The best time to trim your trees is fall and winter. Not only is this best for the health of the tree, but spring and summer are when birds typically build their nests. Small nests are often so well camouflaged that tree trimmers won’t see them until it’s too late. Not coincidentally, spring and summer are when we see the most orphaned and injured baby wildlife come into the shelter.

Deter Unwanted Visitors Humanely

The easiest way to reduce unwelcome visits from wildlife like skunks, raccoons, opossums and coyotes is to avoid inadvertently feeding them. Be sure to pick up tasty treats like pet food or fallen fruit and secure food sources like trash and garden vegetables. And remember to always supervise small dogs outdoors and to never let your cat roam freely.

Let’s work together to make our planet better for humans and animals alike. If you would like to learn more about how we can peacefully coexist with wildlife, or if you are encountering a problem with wildlife, view our resource library at pasadenahumane.org/wildlife

Dia DuVernet is president and CEO of Pasadena Humane. pasadenahumane.org

This blog post originally appeared as a column in the Pasadena Star-News on April 22, 2022.