Well, SOMEBODY’s gotta do it!

…or “what’s to appreciate?”

On the Discovery Channel, “Dirty Jobs” is a show we certainly enjoy.  In his show, host Mike Rowe shadows somebody holding a job that most of us would not desire: cleaning up roadkill, sterilizing dirt filled with chicken droppings, scrubbing ocean buoys… not fun, but somebody’s gotta do it.  Rowe shows respect for the men and women who are sometimes looked down upon, but who go where others will not tread, showing skill, courage and bravery that is finally recognized on the public stage.

When you think about it, the natural world around us has its own “dirty jobs.”  If not for a few undervalued members of the animal kingdom, we would be neck deep in the refuse of life.  I read last week that today, September 5, is a day set for us to gain awareness of and appreciation for the most undervalued “dirty jobs” cast member of the natural world. 

Vulture Appreciation Day?  What in the world is there to appreciate about these ugly, bald birds that eerily circle above carrion?  Reading more about this “holiday,” I saw that it is actually International Vulture Awareness Day, giving us all a moment to pause and consider the valuable place these scavengers have in the circle of life (enter the theme song from The Lion King, which is now traipsing through my head).

Unlike predatory birds, like our nationally celebrated eagle or the majestic hawk, the vulture does not kill its prey.  It may not be a vegetarian, but the only meat this carnivore enjoys is that which has already died.  Deceased rats, squirrels, rabbits or any roadkill provide a good meal for these avian trash collectors.  Worms and fungi have their place in the natural world, but when you think about it, you have to appreciate how these fowl help to rid the world of much of the foul “leftovers” of disaster and disease.  (…yes, pun intended.)

Monday is Labor Day, a day for us to appreciate the laborers of our society.  I suppose we can take a moment to appreciate the natural laborers that help make this world a better place.  It isn’t always a fun job, but somebody’s gotta do it.