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!

Greg Giboney
I think we need to protect farm land and forest land from developers. As A buffer zone for wild lands.
David Luxem
Cavorting with nature is my mind cleanser.
Roy Munroe
Olympia WA
Like many Americans who grew up in not only the United States but especially the Pacific North West where I was able to visit, hike, camp and fish in some of the most beautiful places this country has to offer! I grew up appreciating the wilds and the different ecosystems that sustain all life as we know it! Now that I'm 70 years old and look back on my youth and the opportunity to have lived in a time where respect for all life and our ecosystems always came first before Profit, before the thirst for Power and the selling out of our caretaker status for Greed! It's not easy to watch what some do to destroy the very fabric of our existence but it's there and that caretaker status is not's just been pushed aside until now by those who's only agenda is to take without the care part. I see sites such as yours and although it's going an ongoing battle with some I believe that most Americans are willing to stand up for these precious area's to be held to our hearts and protected for the sake of this world and for the future generations to be able to experience what I have experienced during my walk upon this world! We fight this fire with the truth and as I believe that truth will never be found to be wrong, maybe pushed aside from time to time but in the end truth Always wins out for the betterment of our only home! Lies have no substance and nowhere to hide except behind more lies!
Patricia Gritman
We live on the Olympic Peninsula, just outside Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest. We chose this paradise for our retirement home because of the opportunities for hiking, for kayaking, for breathing clean air, and for enjoying every day the spectacular beauty of our forested mountains and sparkling waters. Since we moved here 16 years ago, we have hoped that we would live long enough to see the Elwha River run free and the salmon return, with the removal of the dams. Now we can celebrate that, so I have written this poem for three generations of folks who have not known the river without dams: We never saw the river wild nor salmon spawning shore to shore. "Watch now in awe," the Raven cries, "This Elwha thrives for evermore."
Dianne Hurst
We have been sailing and power boating as well as diving in Puget Sound for 30+ years, and have seen the water quality decrease and populations of fish and mammals decline over that space of time. We'd so love to things turned around. This is an area of incredible natural beauty. Don't let the orcas and other species disappear and continue to fight against oil trains and ships traversing our region!
Phyllis & Ivar Dolph
We are so fortunate to have Community Forest Lands and some county parks. We walk in Washington Park almost every day. We think its natural beauty is so special that we call it "our little bit of heaven".
Denise Mahnke
Nature is all. Each special place is impacted by the use of all. Watching one place get traded for another is heart wrenching, knowing that the resources are exploited in the trade offs. A wholistic view is essential to truly preserve the integrity of the system we call nature. Keep remaining wild places wild, including the integrity of the quiet, and what happens in the sky. Trading off old growth forest, and peaceful quiet wild land, for a visually green, noisy, highway corridor is not conservation. Save farmland, for locally sources food. Sidewalks, parking lot lighting and million dollar port a potties are not necessarily positive impacts to what is nature. Educate those that love nature, on how to live with nature, respectfully.
Patricia Wilson
Belfair. Washington
I live on 16 acres above Hood Canal in WA state. It is an area rich in wildlife and natural beauty. Because I value the area so much, I'm leaving our house and land to the Nature Conxervancy in my will. We don't know what the future holds for us, but with the ever expanding human population it is a sure thing that habitat for wildlife will be shrinking. It is already causing near extinctions of many species. If I can do anything at all to help the situation, I feel I must. 16 acres isn't a lot but it is something. Every little bit helps. If everyone did something to help wildlife, it could make a huge difference. Knowing that this land I'm on will hopefully still sustain wildlife after I'm gone makes my life seem worthwhile. Thankfully the Nature Conservancy is doing all they can to support the natural wild places and the wildlife on it. Thank you Nature Conservancy for all you do. You are making the world a better place for people and wildlife.
Gail Dawson
Port Hadlock
We are nature.
Jaana Asriel
Our family, my husband John, my dog Tech and myself, are so lucky to live in this small town in WA state. Nature is all around us and accessible. Every chance we get, we're out there, in the woods! Hiking, camping, mushroom hunting, berry picking, snow shoeing, photographing, bird watching, identifying trees and wild flowers, and every now and then picking up a pebble that speaks to me. All this is as vital for us as is breathing. I cannot state it any better than that. Without the time spent in the woods, away from the noises of 'civilization', life would not be worth living.
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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.