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
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!
St. Louis, MO
I have many different special places that are important to me. Many are parks, some are just little natural places in my backyard. I live close enough to Forest Park to walk there. Forest Park has been a huge part of my life. I've lived right near the park since I was three. Now, I'm 13. It's been 10 years that I've been going to that park. I love to picnic there, shoot arrows, bike, and walk. I don't think Forest Park will be going anywhere any time soon, but if anything ever threatens the existence of this park, I would hope that everyone will do what they can to keep the park alive. Another park that is very important to me is Castlewood. I don't live within biking distance, or at least what I call biking distance, and I probably only go there once a month. Nonetheless, The sights and sounds are absolutely amazing. The scenery at the top of the cliff is breathtaking, and I always take a panorama shot every time I'm there. It's less popular then Forest Park, but more rugged and natural. I believe Castlewood has more of a chance of closing down or being developed on than Forest. That's why I hope nothing ever tries to close down Castlewood, because they could succeed. But, if something does attempt to, I know I will do everything in my power to stop it.
These are the two most significant natural places that I spend my time in, other than my garden and backyard. Thank you for taking the time to read about my special places.
marnie reed crowell
deer isle Maine
Some years ago I fell and fractured my skull, suffering traumatic brain injury. Even after the helicopter Life Flight to the hospital it was not clear I would survive. When I regained consciousness and reviewed my life, I was so very glad that I had made my contribution to nature and The Nature Conservancy. Make your life count; it's a great feeling! It's like paying your rent for your time on this wonderful planet.
After 37 years in the workplace, I retired in 2005. My passion is birds and birding. I have seen over 600 of the 800+ species that have been found in the US, and photographed 500 of them. I would like to see and photograph the rest, but if their habitat isn't protected, that won't be possible for me, much less my kids and grandchildren. Protecting nature isn't a luxury, it's our duty as citizens of the world. Our future, and the future of our heirs, is MUCH more important than making a buck any possible way...
We hike and bike around Tucson. Both activities are a rare treat because the City, County, State and Federal have all worked together to preserve natural lands. There is a strong movement here for water conservation, an important principle in keeping human impact on the land to a minimum level.
We are so blessed to be in Tucson.
My concern is for some of America's prime agriculture land in this San Joaquin Valley of California being "eaten up" by real estate developers. Once it is gone, it is gone forever.
We live in something as close to Paradise as you get-but have been trying for many years to get rid of a paper mill which puts sometimes hideous smells into the air. My neighbor moved with her family to Alaska, because they were becoming allergic to the fumes. Now they want to burn 'biofuel'. There is clearly unfair practice about their conforming to environmental laws. Some people say that it helps the economy too much to get rid of- we need to find an alternative to get a more unanimous local support. Also I have seen them in a political committee meeting 'auction off' the number of feet between the trees and the road. It started at 150 and ended at 25, in about 3 minutes. Washington State in general is losing more trees than it should. My friend says that Douglas firs have common root systems and each tree supports the others. Maybe we should all know that. Certainly one would want to support that. We do have people trying to support the Park system now that we have lost federal funding. Individuals are doing their best to cooperate, and do the work that the parks need so that they remain parks. This is the first year, or a little over, that 'discover' passes have been sold- it raised half of what they thought it would.
On December 11, 2008, 1.1 billion gallons of Extreme Toxic Waste was released into the Clinch River, leading to the Tennessee River. With over 23 Extreme Toxic Waste agents, many of which are also carcinogenic, my family was filled with dread and fear. We were more concerned about how fast the story slipped into the background, seemingly suggesting that it was no longer a threat.
At that time I was a Ph.D. Public Health student, taking an environmental health class at Walden University and elected as an assignment to make my local community aware of what was going on, especially after the conflicting results between TVA, the EPA and Duke University's Dr. Vengosh regarding the threat it posed. I hosted a speaking engagement at the University of Tennessee Chattanoga and had as a guest speaker a representative from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation to help us to understand what was going on and what could be expected. It was worse than we thought.
I was able to publish an article about how to activate community response through the International Laureate blogsite, and also published an article in the Chattanooga Times Free Press using my "outside voice" to help bring awareness to our city, 50 miles downriver from the spill site.
There is still no replacement containment of the released toxins on land, and the retrieved sludge from the rivers, as far south as the Watts Bar Dam. The laws determining accountability are still unclear and there has still been no widescale testing of the impact on the children in the immediate area. We did not forget, even if the story slipped into an eerie silence. Airborn particles are threatening many lives, especially those towards the city of Knoxville, all the pastures where dairy animals graze, and wildlife that have been decimated as a result.
We did not forget, but the wheels of justice seem to have stopped regarding this spill. There are many other containment sites that threaten to burst in a similar way to a potentially even greater adverse impact on people, wildlife, the environment in general and in ways that are as yet still too hard to predict. Of all, the silence about the matter is the most disturbing!
We can't control mother nature. Nature can due cruel things as we have experienced in floods, draught, hurricanes and fire. This is just the beginning of what can happen. We must do what climate science is telling us to mitigate the effects of climate change. We must all act together to minimize our CO2 emissions from fossil fuels and encourage conservation, promote green plant growth and energy efficiency. I believe that if the people of the world can't come together on climate change, than nature will eventually win by destroying our present day way of life on planet earth. Climate change affects the total planet and not just specific national and international treasures. This is a world problem and nature will destroy us all if we don't get our act together.
Our town is proactive in preserving open space with active suppt from the nature conservancy and the redding land trust.
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.