Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado © Chris Helzer

Real People, Real Stories

Every day across the country, courageous people are speaking out for the natural world to protect their families, their communities and their livelihoods. Read real stories about how everyday people are using their outside voices to make a difference – then join our cause.

“There can be no greater issue than that of conservation in this country.” –Theodore Roosevelt, 1912

“I use my outside voice because if we can increase the amount of green space, nature has a better chance of thriving.”
Seventh Grader - Pennsylvania
“I use my outside voice any chance to evoke action, transform attitudes, and spur real change.”
Ohio State University Graduate - Clintonville, Ohio
“I use my outside voice because living in this unique valley is totally natural and amazing with all it has to offer!”
North East, Pennsylvania
“It’s my duty to speak out and share my experiences and hopefully my story can make a difference.”
Volunteer TIS Support - TNC in Missouri
“It’s important to speak about what you believe in.”
Community-college science professor and bird-watcher - Adirondacks, New York
“People are looking for places that retain a sense of character.”
Former Mayor of Palm Desert, California - Palm Valley, California
“We are profoundly connected to nature whether we know it or not.”
Student, Rice University - Houston, Texas
“Speak up for the importance of traditional lands.”
Native Hawaiian - Kahuku Ranch, Hawaii
“Everyone should use their voices, their bodies, their minds to take action on behalf of nature.”
Member of Team Nature and new father - Long Island, NY
“Learn about issues like where your drinking water comes from.”
Environmental science teacher - Danville, Pennsylvania
“Support all types of life – not just animals, not just land, but everything in between.”
Student - East Hartford, Connecticut
“Someone has to speak for future generations.”
Water district manager, father and hunter - Cumberland Plateau, Tennessee
“If you abuse the land, it’s not going to be here for the next generation.”
Retired farmer, county judge and avid boater - Crittenden County, Kentucky
“Take a hike with your friends or family – show them what inspires you.”
Restoration enthusiast - Boyds, Maryland
“Sometimes, conservation awareness can be raised simply by speaking up.”
New York City LEAF Intern - Queens, New York
“Sometimes the things that are most important are the things we take for granted.”
New York City LEAF Alumnus - Poughkeepsie, New York

Your Stories

Everyone has a story to tell. How are changes in your local wildernesses, parks and special places affecting you and your community? What special places do you think should be saved forever? What natural treasures do you value in your own community and want to pass on to the next generation? Share your story -- speak up for nature to help save the places we love!

Hugh Smith
I have helped making wildlife documentaries in Madagascar and in the Democratic Republic of Congo and my latest venture is studying marine life in the Mozambique Channel, I specialize in marine biology, as an underwater diver and cameraman recording events only witnessed by a few.
Meredith Hudson-Bourdeau
St. Petersburg, F.L.
God has given all of us his beautiful creation to watch over. Let us use our voices to help.
Alexandra Cabanelas
San Juan Puerto Rico
I am new to FL. I have just been here few months but I think there's a lot work to do to help the environment. Just yesterday I was in the Lantana Nature Preserve cleaning, planting and weeding. It was a wonderful experience to see how my help and the help from the Nature Club in Nova Southeastern University brings big changes to help the environment and the community. Help like that, volunteering in these parks and nature preserve spaces makes a change. One by one everyone can help. If people unite the change can be bigger and bigger. I feel that the Ocean is the area that must be essentially saved. FOREVER! Coral reefs and fish also need our help, we need to make bigger Marine Protected areas. This is a problem not only in FL, but worldwide. Also, I think the Everglades also need our help and every endangered species there. It was great to see that in the Lantana Nature Preserve everything is Native from FL, there's no one exotic plant. We need to keep every place like that and take the exotic out, including animals. Maybe we don't have to kill the animals, maybe there can be another option.
Teresa Milton
Ocala, FL
I grew up exploring and enjoying the outdoors and Florida's wildlife in the Ocala National Forest. We must protect what we have left from developer's because we can never replace the balance that nature has created. We must save a corridor of forest for our keystone animals from South to North Florida and protect our water. The ONLY way we can do this is to work together.
cynthia neal
Jamie Rocco
I am an environmental science/biology teacher that came began teaching last year after working in the private sector of the environmental industry. I have a deep passion for the environment and I would love to get more involved in the local community to contribute to a more aware society.
Mary Carolyn Cerney
Roff, OK
My husband and I moved to South Central Oklahoma about 20 years ago. We have lived on a ranch/farm within a few miles of the Pontotoc Ridge Preserve and have loved the beauty and solitude of the area. In the foothills of the Arbuckle Mountains, close to the Blue River, the scenery is exquisite with lots of wildlife, trees, plants, rock formations. When my beloved husband died in July, it was a great comfort to name the Nature Conservancy, specifically the Pontotoc Ridge Preserve as the recipient of memorials in his name. He would love knowing that a place so very special to us was being supported in a small way by his death.
Dorothy Varellas
San Francisco/Twain Harte, Californi
As a Californian I know all too well just how important clean fresh water is to life as we know it. The last 3 years we have experienced a terrible drought. At my home in Twain Harte we were asked to reduce our use of water this summer by AT LEAST 50%. That meant my lawns (which help to "fire proof" my home) were allowed to die. I also did not plant a vegetable garden for the 1st time in 42 years! At my home in San Francisco we also let our small back lawn die and only watered a very few of plants we hoped to save. We cut back our use of water in both homes because we knew all too well that we may not get the snow and rain we need this winter. We have seen terrible forest fires in one of my very favorite places - Yosemite National Park. As we travel back and forth we have seen the natural places show severe signs of drought and yet the farmers in the Central Valley continue to irrigate with impulse sprinklers in the middle of the day - the hottest part of the day. All the while we are sacrificing attempting to conserve water, they are draining the ground water dry! This summer the birds did not come. No Orioles, Swallows, Hummingbirds came to nest as they have always done. No butterflies, dragonflies, and very few lady bugs arrived to pollinate what plants survived the drought conditions. The local deer herd in Twain Harte are starving. We need to do whatever and all things we can possibly do to preserve what we have and protect our natural places for the future. Water is the key to life on earth. We must protect our forests because they conserve the water that falls as rain or snow. The roots and much in the forest hold water in the soil and release it slowly in the summer. We must not clear cut because it disrupts this cycle of water conservation. As a San Franciscan I also know we need to protect our oceans. They drive the weather that brings the rain and snow. The ocean off the coast of California is warmer now than normal. This is a real and serious threat to our weather. It is all caused by climate change which is caused by our dependance on fossil fuels and our reluctance to conserve. My husband & I recently put solar panels on our roof and even so we try to reduce our use both natural gas and electricity. We drive fuel efficient cars and plan our trips so as to run several errands in the same location. People need to learn a new way of living. We cannot take for granted that life as we have known it will continue into the future. We all need to learn to conserve. I hope that Congress and California will be leaders in setting new goals and protections for our state and our world. If we don't take drastic measures soon, there will be no future for our children and grandchildren. Please act quickly! Dorothy Varellas
Kay Campbell
All the national parks need to be protected, preserved, protected. Vacant land within towns, cities, saved and made available for public use. We must preserve is all we have left on this water, air are our existence. When these are gone, they are gone forever. What else is there! NOTHING. As a kid growing up in Wyoming,my favorite places were the mountains. They offered peace, solitude,tranquility, solutions to problems, exercise, and clear thoughts. My favorite places are the national parks in the walk in a park makes the reality of the great earth a wonder. Today's children need to be reintroduced to the outdoors, respect the environment, and relish the potential of conservation of precious land...lessons are waiting inir lands...we need to pass these lessons on to generations of the future!
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I know that investing in conservation is the only way we can help keep America beautiful, strong, prosperous and healthy. I am proud to join a community of people who speak up for nature to help save the places we love.