Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Connect with land: 'Adopt-A-Preserve'

Guest opinion by Brigid Moriarty


By BRIGID MORIARTY

Brigid Moriarty serves as an AmeriCorps volunteer for the Wood River Land Trust. To learn more about adopting a preserve, please contact her at bmoriarty@woodriverlandtrust.org or 788-3947.

Natural beauty is something we can all appreciate in Sun Valley. Just watch the sun set on the mountains, the snow fall gently onto the evergreens or the river meander over smoothed rocks and you'll see it.

But what is our connection to the land? As humans we have found many uses for the land. We build on it, we admire it, we use its resources, we play on it. But how do we feel about it? What does it mean to us? This is a topic worth exploring.

Land has an amazing ability to create community. We all have these mountains and rivers in common, something someone in Nantucket doesn't share with us. And while development and growth will occur, how can we maintain that sense of community the land provides us? The challenge is to retain a connection amidst all the "improvements" that happen.

That is part of why I am here working for the Wood River Land Trust. I have a position for a year through AmeriCorps and will spend my time attempting to build a more powerful community connection to the land.

The Land Trust is seeking to create a network of people who can help manage and maintain the lands we protect and restore. The aim of the "Adopt-A-Preserve" program is to give the community a sense of ownership of these lands. After all, it is in essence your land and we protect it for you.

By adopting these lands you will come to learn what they require to remain healthy and also realize what they give back to the community such as wildlife, solitude, and clean air and water. It also means having fun, getting outside with your neighbors, getting dirty and doing good. A few things I think we all can enjoy.

We are a part of the land. It gives us wildlife to enjoy, water to drink, rivers to play on and many other things that are essential parts of our quality of life. The land around and our connection to it mold us as people.

I remember catching crayfish in the creek behind my house and climbing in this one great tree whose trunk split in three providing a perfect spot for a fort. I am sure we all have these memories. They differ depending on where and how you grew up, but they are there.

Think about it if you will, how do you connect to the land? Few more powerful questions can be asked.




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