Travis’ Climate Story


Travis Finke


Mayville, Wisconsin 53050

How are you sensing climate change?

This past Thanksgiving, I was talking with my grandpa about how I changed my major to environmental studies and all the things we do in that major. I told him about the field ethogram I was working on, and we started to talk about animals. My grandpa is an outdoorsman, and he loves to talk about animals. He is an avid hunter and bird-watcher, and has been how entire life. When the discussion turned to birds, he remarked on how few songbirds come around anymore. Even though he lives on the outskirts of town, their numbers have dropped drastically. He estimates that he only gets about half as many birds at his feeders that he used 20-30 years ago. He and my grandam made an odd comment one day, that the sun “felt hotter than it used to. You can feel it almost burning your skin in the summer.” Apparently it didn’t always feel that way.

How do these changes make you feel?

Honestly, it makes me feel sad and a little bit angry. I feel sad that we are pushing out local wildlife to the point that they can’t survive anymore, and I feel upset that we haven’t seemed to care. I had never talked to my grandpa about this before, but now it seems so obvious that he would notice this type of thing. He’s never been a “save the planet” kind of guy or a stereotypical hippie environmentalist type, but he knows his wildlife. When I think about the loss of wildlife I’ve seen in my lifetime and how upsetting it is, someone who has been seeing it happen for decades must feel much worse.





Mayville, WI 53050, USA

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