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!

Catherine Lugar
Be aware ofthedwn. Chorus song birds are. Disappearing "listen up, you will miss them when the are gone." Checkout And promote burdsongs awReness wherever you can in you neiborhood with events for fellow birders with your kids friends an neighbors.
Cesar Yoc
I was born in Guatemala, but I grew up in the South Bronx. When I was living in Guatemala my aunt used to take us to wildlife places and rivers. We used to take baths in those rivers and it felt great enjoying the water and the tranquility of the land. When I came to the Bronx my perspective of the world change. My first experience was stepping on doodoo and seeing the graffiti on the wall. I did not know what to think of the place. I was fortunate to have participated in the Boys Scouts at a young for a year (The leader died so they dissolved the troop). Here was my first time experiencing what nature was given us and what people were missing in my community. I decided to do science in high school and joined the Research Program Group after school. There I did research about the Greenhouse Effect and the electric vehicle (General Motors EV1). These research helped me understand how important it is to take care of the environment and let me see how humans were affecting the environment. I decided to go to SUNY ESF and there I learned how humans can work together to improve urban neighborhoods as well as preserving natural spaces. I believe in improving human dominated ecosystems, because we can not just preserve land if people do not know why is important to do so. I still want to learn about scientific and research breakthroughs that focuses on improving urban neighborhoods. My experience in the Bronx and Guatemala has given me a perspective that I will always cherish. Hopefully youth are given the opportunity to see beyond what society lets them see.
Vickie KAY
just love Fiorida, it's land, waters, and critters.
Diya Wilson
Seattle, WA
I am a teenage girl who wants more than anything to make a difference. I love the Earth and I want to see it as healthy and happy as possible. I want to preserve it, and let the future generations enjoy it as much as I do. Thank you, Nature Conservancy, for being a voice in this fight. DW
Nancy Thompson
I have a small lake behind my home that once had several species of birds, many of them wading birds, that nested here every year and used the island at night to roost. Because we are close to the Gulf of Mexico we would also get several species of shore birds and during migration seasons birds often stopped here. They are all gone now. This is because of a homeowner that has allowed her boyfriend and his friend to run high speed, radio controlled boats in this tiny lake. I gave him alternatives, he didn't want them. They were not conveinent. I have tried for over a year to stop this activity here and save this. I have been unsuccessful because I guess there are no laws that regulate the use of these devices in Florida and no one from the state or county is willing to step up and say this is not ok. Not even FWC has been able to stop this. FWC can't even protect federally endangered Wood Storks from this activity. Areas like this are being taken from us a piece at a time and we are being told that there is nothing we can do about it. I feel devastated by the loss and it has driven off more than the birds now. This scares the squirrels, raccoons, alligators (they have been hit by these high speed boats)and the river otters that used to come here have not been here in some time now. There needs to be some regulation on these "toys".
Kyle Brown
Glen St. Mary
I am very pleased that in recent years in our home county of Baker we have seen the connecting of Osceola National Forest to Okefenokee National Refuge. I look forward to seeing a proposed connection via wildlife corridor of St. Mary's Shoals Park to the Osceola. I will use my "outside voice" to encourage local and state officials to bring this to completion.
Jack Taylor
I'm an outdoor and travel photographer who believes that bringing photo stories (about our environment and wildlife) to the public will educate them about the earth - and thus cause them to appreciate and conserve our surroundings.
Barbara Sallee
Bradenton, fl
I am a retired teacher who taught in our DOD overseas schools for 38 years. I saw that human growth is having a tremendous effect on nature around the world. I'm now living in Florida and am concerned with the constant building of more housing and the encroachment into the Florida Panther habitat east of Naples and elsewhere. I'm also concerned about the blanket of lawns using water and chemicals and replacing Florida native plants with exotics that spread quickly. There seems to be a trend toward understanding the importance of native plants in yards to support native wildlife and Sarasota County and others have wonderful projects going to educate the public and protect wetlands. Don't know that they can keep up with the destruction of wild areas though. I work with Audubon to monitor nesting beach birds (Black Skimmers, Snowy Plovers, and Least Terns) and educate the beach going public about how to help. I also volunteer at SOS, a Sarasota bird rescue and release facility.
melinda ramsey
Around 2002, my husband and I discovered Ozello, a mostly wilderness area surrounding a small old fishing village, between Homassa Springs and Crystal River, Florida. We had begun visiting the 7 rivers area, as it is called, to observe Manatees and enjoy the springs at the rivers' headwaters. About 2 miles after turning from US 19 onto Ozello Trail, one heads west and enters old Florida, much as my grandmother described it when she was a Florida homesteader in 1915. After a few miles, nearly all signs of civilization cease. Acres of scrub and wetlands stretch out interspersed with Palmetto Hammocks, skeletal cedars and other small coastal trees, leading to a series of limestone keys rising above bayous and shallow inlets with small bridges spanning the gaps between the keys. Developers had once dug canals along the Trail and on the keys hoping to build homes or condos; but they had been stopped presumably by government environmental concerns. The old fishing village of Ozello proper still exists while newer homes, both permanent and vacation, were built along the trail, most on canal or gulf front lots. According to locals, no more building can take place except on existing lots. My husband died while our Ozello vacation home was being built. But I go there with friends whenever I can. Each time I go, I leave "real time" behind and enter old Florida, where I can stand on my deck in deepest darkness, while stars circle overhead, and life slows down. I have a custom plate on the front of my car which reads "Ozello Keys." No one who asks about it has ever heard of Ozello and I hope, perhaps selfishly, that remains so forever.
Grace Carlson
Sarasota, FL
i feel fortunate to live in a community that values biodiversity and conserves our environmental assets
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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.