Monday, February 18, 2013

My Work...means more to me now than ever

I believe in a land steward ethic.  I believe we are all responsible for the natural world we depend on for life and we are responsible for how we leave that world for our children to inherit.

I love wild things and wild places.

I want my children to play in dirt not on iPads.

I want my children to know nature and to know how to take care of themselves in it.  For outdoors not indoors to be their habitat.  For a stick, hoe, ax, tractor steering wheel, binoculars or gun to be more natural in their hands than a mouse or game controller.

I want to show them the spectacular wonders there are to see in this world.  I want them to sleep in an glass igloo in Finland to watch the aurora borealis or Northern Lights.  I want them to Drive the Dalton Highway.  I want them to start a lifelong quest to finish the Appalachian Trail with us then each other.   I want them to learn to read the subtle stories in nature because they are intimately familiar with it.  To recognize bird songs and animal tracks.  I want them to learn the art of fly fishing because I believe it is the outdoors man's yoga.  I want them to know the awe of sitting in a South Texas blind at dawn and the anticipation of what might come by.  I want them to know spirituality in nature as well as in Church.

John Muir said it well: "Most people are on the world, not in it".  

I want my boys IN it.

I want them to take pride in the land they live on.  

As Aldo Leopold said:  

"The landscape of any farm is the owner's portrait of himself."

I want to raise capable men.

I want them to know hard manual labor building fences, tending gardens, working cattle, or cutting wood.  I want them to experience pack trips on horseback and to have a zillion camping adventures.   I want them to know the sense of accomplishment you feel when you've finished a task that made you sweat and gave you callouses.
6 months old - 1st camp out in Dad's cabin
My husband is a smart man.  You're not simple minded if you finish vet school.  But he finds true joy in working from raw materials and has built a one room cabin with his brother for camping and hunting; a log barn for my horse & is now working on a phenomenal log chicken coop for me.  He works in a surgery suite 5 days a week.  He works on the land 7 days a week when he can manage it.  It keeps him sane.
My horse barn and the start of the coop in the background
I want them to know respect for all things living and for the natural world.

I want them to know the satisfaction of growing things and fixing their own meals with what they grow.

I want them to believe they can do what most believe can't be done or wouldn't try to do.

I want them to know the Foxfire Books and the value of historical knowledge.
Cover of Company Brochure
That makes me more dedicated than ever to my job in the field of conservation.  I am a wildlife biologist by training and education.  My job experience is in grants.  Because let's face it, money makes this world go around.  I am the state coordinator for a grant program that partners with private landowners wishing to enact good conservation practices on their lands for the benefit of healthy terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. We focus on projects aimed at creating, restoring, protecting and enhancing habitat for migratory birds and species of greatest conservation need throughout the state. We seek projects that positively impact watersheds by reducing soil erosion, restoring and enhancing native vegetation, and restoring proper functioning of rivers, creeks and other riparian areas. 

Why private lands?  Well in a state where 95% of the land is held privately that's the smart thing to do.  Private landowners determine how clean your water is, how healthy the air you breath is, and how safe the food you eat is.  They are the keepers of the majority of the habitat available for all wildlife.  How they manage their lands directly impacts all of us.  So with that much at stake, how could we not partner with the private landowners?  

Now I'm not saying I don't want my kids to love technology.  On the contrary.  I want well rounded capable Men.  If they grow up to be a stock broker on Wall Street or a lawyer in L.A., the lessons learned on the land will serve them every, single day.

That is why I love my job more now as a parent than I did before.  There is so much more at stake for me now.

Family photo in the barn my husband made. Taken by Anna Spenser of  Grace Photography

So here they are getting started:

More later.

Thanks for visiting!


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