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Letters to the editor

September 11, 2011

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Everything old is new

Your feature on Nomar Garciaparra’s transformation from tight-lipped ballplayer to gabby sports analyst (“ ‘No Comment’ No More”) bears out what poet John Donne said centuries ago: “No man’’  –  or was that Nomar?  –  “is an island.”

Jim Leffert / Cambridge

As a lifelong Red Sox fan, I cannot and will not forgive Garciaparra for the way he quit on the Sox in 2004. Thankfully, his behavior triggered the deadline trade that helped the Sox win the World Series, so maybe it was a blessing. I have been supportive of what the John Henry crowd has done with the team, but honoring this quitter when he retired last year was a slap in the face to the fans.

Alan B. Wayne / La Quinta, California

I very much enjoyed Elizabeth Hunnewell’s story on going gray (“Back to My Roots”). At 43, after 20-plus years of coloring my hair, I gave it all up. I recently wrote about having spent two years growing it out gray and loving it, only to find out we have hard water in our new home that is turning my hair green. Sheila Corcoran Abraham / St. Charles, Illinois

I was too cheap, too busy, and too indifferent to color my hair. I have yet to see a woman who does and then looks younger than her actual age. On the contrary, unnatural hair ages the person. But it is all one’s perception. Coloring one’s hair is a choice, but what really lies beneath that decision? Show me a balding, successful man who feels his stature would be enhanced with hair transplants and some boot polish. Julia Johnson / Beverly

What struck me the most was the question from one of Hunnewell’s hairdressers: “Do you want to look like an old lady?” I know many young ladies and gentlemen whose hair turned gray in their 20s, some even in their teens. If folks continue to dye their hair (and have cosmetic surgery), we’re all going to forget what a real 20-year-old to 30-year-old person looks like. “Old lady” is a mentality, not a head of hair, so let’s all be a little more forgiving of our natural selves. Jen Shepherd / Norwich, Vermont


“The Curious Case of the Piping Plover” (August 14) recognizes the hard-won progress Massachusetts communities have made in restoring piping plovers and points to the ability of humans and birds to coexist on some of our busiest beaches. Our collective efforts, which have resulted in a nearly fourfold increase in the number of pairs in the Commonwealth, continue to lead the nation.

The piping plover’s success in Massachusetts can be compared to that of the bald eagle – with one worrisome difference: While the banning of DDT was key to the eagle’s return, the small beach-nesting plover doesn’t stand a chance without ongoing protection. Mass Audubon takes pride in managing nearly half the plover pairs in the state. While the number of pairs has increased, the article rightly points out that rates of reproductive success are not sufficient to sustain the population. We’re committed to understanding further the complex issues affecting nesting success, including what can be learned from some of our more urban beaches.

In a world where divisiveness impedes our collective ability to find solutions, the success of the piping plover offers an opportunity to tell a different story – one in which the hard work of many and a balanced approach have helped to bring a species back from the brink. We need continued public support to ensure that these little birds – and the biodiversity they represent – can be part of the beach experience for future generations, but only if we are willing to share our sandy shores with them.

Katharine C. Parsons / Director, Coastal Waterbird Program at Mass Audubon

I was surprised by the underlying pro-off-road-vehicle position of Kris Frieswick’s article. Where was the editorial balance? Frieswick reveals nothing of the impacts to birds or those fragile beaches converted to ORV-jammed parking lots. No distinction is made between the 2-ton-truck crowd and pedestrian beachgoers. She doesn’t mention Plymouth Beach’s global importance to the thousands of birds that nest and migrate there. Ann Hecht, US team leader of the recovery plan for the piping plovers, recently stated in the Cape Cod Times that protection is essential: “The daunting part is that if we walked away, the population would suffer immediately.”

Scott Hecker / Executive director, Goldenrod Foundation

Frieswick’s article was well written, informative, and well balanced. The Duxbury Beach Reservation strives for balance in protecting the plovers but allowing public access. Your report of what we spend on our endangered species program is accurate; we wanted to emphasize that we are committed to allowing beachgoers use of the beach as long as they follow the rules and stay out of closed areas. I think the plovers are much smarter than we humans have given them credit for: They know that hanging around cars and people protects them from predators. Margaret M. Kearney / President, Duxbury Beach Reservation Inc.

Most of the names and places in this article could be changed and all the facts would apply to Cape Hatteras National Seashore, even the “Piping Plovers Taste Like Chicken” bumper sticker. Some businesses, including mine, have posted signs such as “Save a plover, kill an island.”

Frank M. Folb Sr. / Avon, North Carolina

I live in Kingston, right in the middle of the plover controversy. The thing that really enraged me about the article was a comment made by Jason Smith, who tells his children they can’t throw rocks at plovers, though “they can still throw rocks at the gulls.” Since when is it OK to throw rocks at birds?

Vivienne Hennessy / Kingston

COMMENTS Write to or The Boston Globe Magazine/Letters, PO Box 55819, Boston, MA 02205-5819. Letters are subject to editing.