Sportsman’s Corner: Seeing the forest for more than the trees

Published: 2/21/2020 9:45:14 PM
Modified: 2/21/2020 9:45:00 PM

A presentation entitled “Forestry and Carbon: Science and Practice” will be held March 4 at the Millers River Environmental Center, 100 Main St. in Athol.

This program will be delivered by Paul Catanzaro, associate professor and state extension forester at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. He and Anthony D’Amato of the University of Vermont authored an outstanding booklet entitled “Forest Carbon: An Essential Natural Solution for Climate Change.”

As you may recall, this writer attempted to provide some information on carbon and forests in my Jan. 11 column. Judging from a number of positive comments I received from readers, the column provided a basic introduction to the subject and the MassWildlife article that the piece was based on is now out and has received rave reviews.

This is a very important issue and one not to taken lightly. If you have not read the MassWildlife article, written by Brian Hawthorne and John Scanlon, you should. You should also consider attending the March 4 presentation at the Environmental Center to get facts and data that is driving the search to learn all we can about what is really going on and what science is suggesting are prudent actions to take going forward.

As a member of the Massachusetts Fisheries and Wildlife Board, I have been briefed and been able to listen for over 20 years as biologists have reported what their research has shown. They have chronicled the changes they have been able to determine in ongoing research about impacts to birds, animals, plants and insects. It is easy to suggest changes or dismiss the things happening if you do not take the time to learn as much as you can about the topic. The March 4 evening promises to be very enlightening.

20/20 vision

An ad on the radio caught my attention this week as it sought to link the year, 2020, with 20/20 as it is used in comparing vision; 20/20 vision is a term used to express normal visual acuity (the clarity or sharpness of vision) measured at a distance of 20 feet. If you have 20/20 vision, you can see clearly at 20 feet what should normally be seen at that distance. If you have 20/100 vision, it means that you must be as close as 20 feet to see what a person with normal vision can see at 100 feet.

Having 20/20 vision does not necessarily mean you have perfect vision; 20/20 vision only indicates the sharpness or clarity of vision at a distance. Other important vision skills, including peripheral awareness or side vision, eye coordination, depth perception, focusing ability and color vision, contribute to your overall visual ability.

Some people can see well at a distance but are unable to bring nearer objects into focus. This condition can be caused by hyperopia (farsightedness) or presbyopia (loss of focusing ability). Others can see items that are close but cannot see those far away. This condition may be caused by myopia (nearsightedness).

Let me suggest that everyone take the time to get your vision tested soon to see what is going on with your eyes. As a hunter and shooter, my visits to the eye doctor were always to get shooting glasses. It was actually more than 10 years since my last eye visit when I recently had a vision test done. That is a long time to use the same prescription, but everything seemed to be fine.

I realize that I am fortunate to have good vision and do not require glasses to read or drive. I do tend to wear them while driving at night as it makes reading road signs easier and always wear them while hunting or shooting. Nearly 20 years ago, I first worked with the Decot Hy-Wyd company to obtain high-quality shooting glasses and they have been an outstanding product. Two others who inquired about the company after seeing my glasses also went with Decot and they are also very pleased with the quality of the products.

Besides being able to see game and hit targets your eyes have other functions and concerns. As we age, we need to be aware of changes and possible developments that are always better when dealt with early. Some examples would include age-related macular degeneration, which can begin as distorted, fuzzy of shadowy central vision. Cataracts are common and a burning or gritty sensation or blurred or watery eyes could be a sign. Glaucoma usually involves higher-than-normal pressure levels inside the eye resulting in peripheral vision loss, trouble seeing in dim light and difficulties navigating while walking are late symptoms of peripheral vision loss.

This is not intended to be a scare tactic, just a reminder to get your vision checked. There are a lot of interesting and beautiful things out there to see. There are also interesting things to hear and turkeys are beginning to gobble. Just a matter of time!

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