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!

Andrea Chisari
I was born in Massachusetts, and learned to swim before I could walk. Growing up, we spent every weekend at the beach and every summer at a wilderness campground in Cape Cod. - I now live on Florida's Space Coast, near the pristine beaches of Canaveral National Seashore. There is no better place to appreciate Mother Nature. There are no buildings or anything to mar the sand and surf of our beaches - just miles of dunes and sea, home to sea turtles and jellyfish and dolphins and more birds than you can count! - I am grateful every single day that I learned to respect and honour Nature and her wonders and will fight to protect them with all my strength.
Toby Cardoso
New York City
sue-anne solem
chapel hill, nc
I am a retired elementary school teacher, currently working as an environmental educator of children K-12. I provide hands on outdoor experiences for children so that they can develop a love and understanding of the natural world that supports their existence. I am distressed by the rapid growth in my area that is resulting in hundreds of acres of thriving forests being cut down for development. We are rapidly losing what has made this place a mecca for many people to move here. In addition to being aesthetically unpleasing, this loss of habitat has profound effects for us, including increased flooding, loss of animal species, and a diminishing of green places for people to connect with nature. When I first arrived here in 1975, we had no deer overpopulation; now almost everyone has had a car accident with a deer, we have increasing numbers of vultures, and all farmers have to have deer fences in order to survive. This is another example of the imbalance of nature that has resulted from the unwise use of land here. To our credit, we have improved and added to our state parks, and now have many wonderful places people can visit to connect with the outdoors. These must be sustained and supported by the residents. I value our rivers and streams and work with the Haw River Association to help keep that river flowing healthfully, educating students about its importance in our lives. I value our roadside ecology, and am distressed by the useless and destructive mowing that goes on in our state, wiping out all native wildflowers that could sustain our pollinators. I am glad that I am actively working to help educate students about our natural resources and the importance of conservation.
Brad Snyder
Maple Grove
As a current Science Teacher and Outdoor/Environmental Educator, and a former Engineer, I fight for clean energy sources and to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, and for wilderness/natural areas such as Minnesota's favorite wilderness - the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) - which I frequently visit. The BWCA is a special place that definitely should be saved and protected forever.
Mike Wsol
I have a nationally and internationally recognized traveling sculpture that is coming to Atlanta this May. It is an experiential, environmentally themed public art sculpture that Georgia State University sculptors, NOAA and prominent Florida oceanographer, Dr. Muller-Karger, recently debuted in St. Petersburg, Florida. The sculpture, called Current Collections, is a high profile piece that focuses on the critical need to reduce the inflow of trash into stormwater runoff which empties into the world’s waterways. It promotes sustainable recycling and waste disposal practices in an innovative and engaging way. Standing four stories tall, the sculpture generates high levels of public engagement, from adults through school children of all ages. In fact, Current Collections was built in part by 2,000 participants in coastal clean ups and youth artistic recycling activities. It has had a wonderful impact in the Tampa Bay, FL area reaching tens of thousands of people by increasing awareness, stimulating engagement and inspiring positive civic action. We have the partners to replicate this success in Georgia. The best location to connect the broad public with urban trash issues, sustainable recycling and proper waste disposal practices is Centennial Olympic Park, near the Georgia Aquarium and CNN. Over a million Georgians and tourists visit this area in May and June. See image below We would welcome the opportunity to discuss synergistic opportunities to engage the public and potential contributing sponsorship to cover park site rental fees. The Atlanta exhibit is a 501c3 fiscally sponsored project of C4 Atlanta. Key partnerships include Centennial Olympic Park; Georgia Aquarium; Georgia State University; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA); Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association; and the International Ocean Institute-USA. Current Collections has garnered highly positive media attention from the Wall Street Journal, the BBC, the Tampa Bay Times, and WFLA 8 TV (Tampa’s NBC affiliate). My creative colleagues and I have been immensely gratified to see Current Collections engage prominent organizations and community stakeholders, giving them an opportunity to advance their initiatives.
Karen Clossey
Long Pond
Carol Bostick
Nature is my spiritual beacon on Earth....
Charlotte Brewer
Chevy Chase
Fortunately I married into a family who loves and values the natural world. My father in Law was the education director of the Conservation Foundation in the 1050's and helped create the Student Conservation Foundation, the brain child of a Vassar College Geology student wanting to restore tha National Parks after WWII. AT this time more than 50,000 young persons starting at age 15 (including two grandsons) have been able to work in National and State Parks. Funding is presently being cut back for this personal and natural world improvement . As Americans we must stand up for planet sustaining practices.
Mary Harte
I have been watching the drought change my garden here in California and noting with alarm the hot summer days we've been having -- in winter! In Colorado, I have smelled the smoke of wildfires more than once from my cabin door, and as an avid botanist have watched what a disrupting climate does to our wildflowers in the summer -- and the insects, too. It is heartbreaking to watch a butterfly emerge from its chrysalis into hot dry air, then slowly die. What have we wrought?
James Swindler
Normal, IL
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Sign the Pledge

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.