Original image by Steve Arena/USFWS
Wendell Berry, in his 1971 essay on wilderness, said “I am speaking of the life of a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children; who has undertaken to cherish it and do it no damage….” John James Audubon said, “A true conservationist is a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children.” Meanwhile, this quote is chiseled on the National Aquarium building in Washington, DC as a quote from wilderness crusader and environmental activist David Brower. Beyond that, Jane Goodall has referenced this contending “we are stealing from our children,” not borrowing as to pay them back. Attribution of this quote seems less important than to acknowledge it as a universal conservation message.
Original image by Anne Post/USFWS
Author, naturalist and activist Terry Tempest Williams has long inspired women conservationists with her bold views of wilderness and the symbolic ways wide open landscapes mirror an inner and sometimes spiritual journey toward individual courage and freedom. Her book, Refuge, chronicles habitat restoration efforts at the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge in Utah in combination with a parallel and very poignant story of her mother’s illness and death. Her stories are about healing the land and healing the soul.
We celebrate #WomensHistoryMonth to spotlight the legacy of women conservationists throughout history no matter how long ago and even now as women make history everyday.
Like this Virginia Bluebell unfolding on a May day at the FWS‘s National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, WV, Terry Tempest William’s storytelling peels back the leaves of meaning to reveal beauty and truth. Her writing and activism will go down in history as an inspiration to those who work with “boots on the ground” to preserve our wild places.
Celebrating Black History Month with a beautiful bit of wisdom from Harlem Renaissance writer and renowned anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston and an early spring bloodroot poking its way out of darkness near the Madison Saltpeter cave in Virginia.