Interview with Trude Hurd

On March 23rd 2011, Vaibhav interviewed Trude Hurd, the educational manager of the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary, the home to many birds who migrate from around the world.

Vaibhav: What exactly does the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary do?

Trude Hurd: In the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary, we focus primarily on three things: education, research, and conservation. Our education has everything to do with birds and how they need clean water to survive in the environment. We have school tours for students and public tours during the weekend. Our research includes having surveys and bird research programs. In conservation, we try to conserve the environment in as many ways possible including by sending and addressing messages about the environment.

Vaibhav: How is the water cleaned up in this sanctuary?

Trude Hurd: The main purpose of this sanctuary is taking urban run-off water from outside San Joaquin Creek and putting the water through a natural clean-up process using a series of ponds and vegetation to remove chemicals and biological elements from water. The water is 60% cleaner when it is released to the ocean and now has very little algae.

Vaibhav: Is this recycled water drinkable?

Trude Hurd: Federal law precludes us from releasing this recycled water as drinking water. This water, however, can be used in many situations like in toilet water in high-rise buildings (where they have a separate drinking water supply) or in watering sports fields and parks. We distinguish this kind of water by using pink and purples pipes.

Vaibhav: What else does this sanctuary do?

Trude Hurd: This sanctuary is also used to control floods. Rain goes straight to the canals and then to the ocean, preventing any floods. Wetlands are really good areas for flood control. We also implement natural treatment, through a couple of treatment plants.

Vaibhav: What do you think should be done to address our water crisis?

Trude Hurd: There are a lot of environmental organizations that have been in existence for over 100 years now. People should go to these natural environments and sometimes take a guide to really understand what is going on. Once they know what is happening, they will be more considerate and realize and change the bad habits that they have. You can also educate people about how birds and how often they migrate to many different places. Because of this migration, we need to keep their water sources clean. Birds need clean water just like we do.

Vaibhav: How does the water crisis affect the wildlife?

Trude Hurd: The water crisis doesn't necessarily affect our wildlife center and our birds, just as long as there are people cleaning and not polluting the bird's water. However, in the more southern parts of North America, birds sometimes have little access to clean water, because of the water crisis.

Vaibhav: What are good ways to purify water?

Trude Hurd: One can add filters to their water delivery system to further clean the water. One can also contact their water district to ask information about their water.

Vaibhav: What can people as in citizens do to help the birds and their habitat?

Trude Hurd: A normal citizen can help the wildlife by planting California native plants rather than other plants. These plants are still really pretty, but they consume much less water. Also, people should keep their cats indoors. This is due to the fact that cats can catch birds and can kill them. People should also use fewer pesticides. Although, pesticides kill bugs, which may be a good thing, bugs are the bird's food source. People should also use fewer chemicals in the house. Chemicals are terrible for birds. Also, one can educate other people about birds and the wildlife and how they need clean water.