I think that this coming week is going to be the end of spring and the beginning of summer. Shortly, you will see hay fields being mowed and grass on shallow soil starting to turn brown, just as normal.

I am glad there is at least one normal thing happening right now. Thanks to nature, there are actually a few other normal things happening that we may be overlooking that I would like to focus on.

One of the best normal things happening right now is birth. Spring always brings new baby animals, and I will take this time to remind you that it is not only illegal, but harmful, to baby animals to pick them up.

Quite often, if they are disturbed, the mothers will abandon them. If a baby is huddled in an area, most likely the mother left them there on purpose and will come back to get them.

Last week, I had a different issue with babies. A turkey hatched her babies in a back yard. The problem was that the people’s dog also used the back yard and tried to kill the chicks. Luckily, the owner was able to section off the back yard to keep the dog and turkeys separate until our local volunteer Wildlife Rescue was able to come help remove the turkey family to a safer area to raise the babies.

The next normal item I would like to discuss with you is water safety. There has been some interesting timing with our weather and entering Stage One of our recovery. Last week, we had two days in the upper 80s and the rivers and lakes were packed with people. That is not my concern as much as the water temperature. My best working summer will be the summer that no one drowns.

The potential problem I see coming right now is the drastic difference between the hot air and the cold water. When you go from hot air to cold water, your body can seize up to conserve body temperature, cause cramps and cause you to drown. Be cautious when you are out swimming and be safe. The best way to be cautious is to wear a life jacket.

Last year, I wrote a grant to the Umpqua Fishery Enhancement Derby and received about 100 life jackets adult and child sizes, to give away. Until recent circumstances, I was planning an event to distribute them.

That doesn’t seem prudent right now, so now I have a new plan.

If you need a life jacket, contact me and I will get you one. If you know someone who needs a life jacket, have them contact me. There are limited quantities, so it will be a first come, first serve, but I am hoping to hear from people who will actually use them and not just get one to have for the future or just in case. I commend that type of planning but in this scenario, I want to see these get wet and people having fun in them.

As time goes by, I have my fingers crossed that we will get back to normal in every area, not just nature. Until then, I hope that everyone enjoys the great outdoors safely and I want to do my part to help make that happen.

If you are concerned about wildlife that might need help or someone that is damaging wildlife, contact me. If you want to get out of the house and go for a swim but need a life jacket and don’t have the finances to get one, get ahold of me.

Remember, our job is to keep people and wildlife safe through education and enforcement and in this scenario, giving.

You can reach me at aaron.baimbridge@osp.oregon.gov, or by dialing 677 on your cellular phone and asking for me.

Aaron Baimbridge is a senior trooper in the Fish and Wildlife Division of the Oregon State Police office in Roseburg.

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