Great Egret (Ardea alba)
Photo: © 2005 Jeffrey Berger

According to Greek mythology, Dryads were a class of nymphs who presided over trees and forests. Like all nymphs, they represented a reverence for nature. Unlike nymphs, Dryads were considered mortal because they perished with the trees that sheltered and sustained them. The wanton destruction of a tree was considered an act of impiety against the gods and subject to punishment.

Today, many native birds come under the protection of state and federal laws. Despite these protections, some native species remain in steep decline. Why? Laws that protect birds from direct threats such as hunting and poaching do little to protect them from indirect threats such as habitat loss. Deprived of shelter and sustenance, many bird species will continue to decline in future years. How? Drainage of wetlands for agriculture or real estate development, wasteful water management policies, petrochemical pollutants, and the relentless encroachment of civilization into natural habitats, as examples.

The name "Dryad" captures the essence of a moral and spiritual dilemma, i.e., economic exploitation and waste in conflict with Nature.

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