IonE’s Climate Change Mascots
What was intended to be a quick share rapidly became an all-office event: the arrival of three baby opossums to the Institute on the Environment. Sustainability Education student worker Dominique also has a job working at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Roseville, and these opossums were up for their big release into the wild. Besides being cute baby animals and a fun work-time distraction, these opossums are a sign of something a bit more drastic: climate change.
Opossums, the only marsupial in North America, (cousins of koalas and wallabies and other fun Australian animals) are “native” to Virginia, but have been recently been moving northward. Although they’ve lived in southern Minnesota for around 100 years, their migration to the Twin Cities has only taken place within the past two decades or so. Even though they love our warmer summers, they still aren’t used to the winters. They don’t hibernate or have fur coverage on their hands, ears, or tails, so they are frequently victims of frostbite. It seems like they’re looking to hang on by their tails as our winters become progressively warmer. Even though the weather is bringing us more adorable animal friends, it is a warning of more change to come. Hopefully these critters will encourage us to be more environmentally friendly every minute of the day!
Written by Dominique Boczek