Tag Archives: inspirational quotes

Wednesday Wisdom – Native American Proverb

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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.

This family of Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) makes its way at dawn across the Lower Pool at Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, Concord, MA.  Thanks to FWS volunteer and photographer Steve Arena  for his photographic storytelling at Great Meadows.  Since today’s wisdom is about caring for our future by nurturing the present, Steve’s image reminds us “Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –over and over announcing your place in the family of things.”  (Mary Oliver, “Wild Geese”).  After all, it is still April and it is still  National Poetry Month!!



Wednesday Wisdom – Terry Tempest Williams

bluebells- terry tempest williams

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.

Wednesday Wisdom – Zora Neale Hurston


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Credit: USFWS

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.