Imagine a world without the sweet songs of birds, of silent forests and noiseless landscapes.
This is just one of the questions that │T│L│C│ANIMALS poses to the NatureCon visitor through the Bird Conservancy they’ve created for our event. We recently had the pleasure of chatting with them to learn more about the founding of │T│L│C│, their collaboration with NatureCon, and some great tips on how each of us can contribute to the preservation and protection of our avian friends.
When did you start to create animals in Second Life, and what was the initial inspiration?
│T│L│C│ANIMALS was founded in April 2015 – it’s our 7th year in Second Life. Actually, we got the idea for our first animal at Calas Galadhon Park Sims. It was a heron we saw and since we couldn’t find one we liked, we created one ourselves. I (True) had a Marketplace fashion store at that time but I thought I could give it a try and sell the heron. Within 5 minutes we had our first sale and 5 star review – we thought this can’t be a coincidence, it has to be a sign! It was the beginning of│T│L│C│!
Not only was your first animal creation – the heron, which also became an iconic part of your logo – a success. It continues, and many people have been recommending and buying your animals. What are you inspiring during the creation process?
We are very honoured. Feedback from customers is a great source of inspiration. We have never been short of ideas given that nature does such a wonderful job of creating such amazing models. Lautlos and I love the outdoors, we enjoy hiking, visiting national parks, and spending time outside in the garden. We hope that it is this love for nature and wildlife that our customers acknowledge. In everything we do, we pay attention to the textures and movements we apply, to ensure that the animals look natural when placed into landscaping.
We are curious! Do you have any plans for the near future what kind of animals we may expect to be added to your rich portfolio?
Very secret plans, yes, and the list is quite long! Our product ideas often develop quite spontaneously, for instance inspired by a scenery we see during one of our walks in nature.
In your store, you offer many kinds of birds, and you have also created a Bird Conservatory for NatureCon. These animals play an important role in your daily virtual life. How about their role in your real life?
Can you imagine a world without the natural beauty of birds, a silent garden or forest? We don’t want to. However, apart from their beauty, birds are so vital for our planet. They are important in so many ways, be it as pollinators and seed distributors, or pest controllers. Without them there would be chaos. Yet, we see a constant decline of numbers due to habitat losses and environmental changes.
The preservation and protection of nature has received a lot more attention in recent years, and we’re glad about that! But while there are many organizations and groups available where people collaborate for the purpose, a change starts with the individual. So, how can each of us contribute to preserving and protecting birds?
This is it. Of course not everyone has the time or the financial resources to join a bird support group. However, everyone can contribute, with simple everyday actions. Statistics tell us that apart from habitat loss, bird numbers decline due to cats, pesticides and collisions with objects. Actions that we can take include making windows safe, keeping cats inside, and not using pesticides. Something we have learned only recently is that the majority of coffee farms grow their plants in the sun, destroying forests that birds and other wildlife need for food and shelter. When we buy shade-grown coffee on the other hand, it preserves forests that helps migratory birds survive the Winter.
For those of us who have a garden: How important is native planting?
Natural gardens and native plants are key. Lawns and pavement don’t offer enough food or shelter for birds and other wildlife. Instead of a fence maybe think about planting berry bushes which besides food also provide shelter and nesting areas for birds. Make your birds feel at home and they will reward you with their presence.
Awareness about nature and the importance of birds has been a topic for a long time already. Did anything change at all for the better in the past?
There is good news to share. We are seeing some bird populations recover, for example waterfowl numbers have increased due to government funding for wetland protection and restoration. Also, we are seeing a comeback of raptors since the harmful pesticide DDT was banned and recovery efforts have been made through endangered species legislation. Public awareness of this issue is increasing, also due to initiatives like NatureCon, which provides a platform to the Second Life community to share and learn. Thank you for having us, and for letting us join you in this important initiative.