When those who live in the cities think of the USA, most/many fret that there is near a total net loss of wild, pristine land. Our national parks persevere, but I think city people believe there is not much beyond a mile from Yellowstone’s edge.
I think I used to be that. I remember the morning in the mid ’70’s when I asked my high school Biology class to look out of the window of our 4th floor classroom. That was the first morning that you could see the Manhattan skyline (NYNY)! New York City had worked hard to clean its air, Consolidated Edison had installed scrubbers and more, and you could finally see the Empire State Building, and sadly the World Trade Towers . . . . Though I was an experienced teacher (of Biology no less), parent and homeowner, I too thought pristine territory was gone, wasted, developed.
Happily!! I was wrong. I was locked into that Huge core city, and my horizons were limited, very. Despite the 350.000.000 or so of us who live in the 50 states here, America is vast, larger than we can comprehend, and that is good.
Now, I photograph butterflies, and travel, and meet folks like Nancy and John, shown here in St. Simons Island, Georgia. Nancy and John hosted me for an unforgettable week. We sought, and found, and photographed butterflies along coastal Georgia, rare ones at that, like Salt-marsh skippers, and Eastern pygmy blues and those Tinkerbells of tininess, Little Metalmark butterflies. And we talked, and we hiked, and we obsevered. They are world class birders, now also seeking butterflies. What an experience, being on trails with such sharing, knowledgeable and experienced naturalists.
These years I am seeing more, more sylvan, pristine almost primeval habitat. It is there, and it is protected, really protected by Americans like Nancy and John. That reality is so heartwarming for Me. Forget the political dustups swirling around us (well, TBtold I am a bit distracted, but . . . ), America has vast habitat under protection, conserved, and it has smaller, yet equally well guarded destinations, and Americans all around the country have eagle-eyes focused on these large and small wildernesses, and they Will be conserved. It’s the Nancys, John, Barbara Anns, Daves, Kathryns, Jennifers, Peggys, Virginias, Mikes, Angelas, Cathys, Roses, Jerrys, Tracis, Sylbies, Ericas, Sherries and Lisas that I know, and the other 1.5 million I have yet to meet, who are monitoring, clearing trails and overall conserving this gift of North America.
We made it from ’75 to today, and the news is only . . . . good. T0 2017!
4 thoughts on “Americans Conserving”
as usual, your insight into the scientific realm that is tied to your almost mystical appreciation for all winged beauties serves to inspire as well as delight us all!
I have never figured out why people spend so much to see another country when we have so much here. I’m thankful for all those you mentioned who have helped you share these beauties with me!
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Thanks for sharing these experiences and insights, Jeff. Fortunately I grew up in the country, about 8 miles from New Bern, NC, where I graduated from high school in 1955. During college and graduate schools and since, until we recently moved to the beauty of North GA Mountains, I lived in several cities, including Atlanta for over 50 years. I have always loved the vast expanses and beauty of our country, since I did travel extensively all those years. My love for nature photography enhanced my appreciation for so much of God’s creation.
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Thanks Jim for such a moving share here. I often dream of what it would be like to grow up in the ‘country.’ Growing up in the Big city was a little joke that I think G-d played with me. Funny, this post is getting light traffic, though it’s one I’ve often meant to share, irregardless. And, Nancy and John, hailing from Tattnall county Georgia, are extraordinary neighbors. Keep up your good work, for we appreciate it, Jim.
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