Monday, March 23, 2009

A Life Long Conservationist?

From March 23 until March 27, I will be posting daily as a guest on the website of the Great Lakes Town Hall. I have been following this site for the past few months and was very flattered to be asked to blog for a week. When they asked me to give them a brief bio, I checked to see what other bloggers had written, and I wondered how I fit. What would I say about myself? Many of the previous posters have academic credentials in ecology, biology, political science and other related fields. Several said they have been a “life-long conservationist”. I claim to be none of these.

What I did say you can see on the website, but I couldn’t get the phrase “life-long conservationist” out of my head. I grew up in a family where the great outdoors meant a picnic or eating on the patio of a restaurant. It meant occasional sledding in winter and walks around the park in the summer.

The first time I went camping was when Michael and I had been married for two years. Michael was still in school and we wanted a vacation, but we didn’t have much money. His parents had an old camp stove, a tent, and sleeping bags in their basement from the days when my father-in-law was a Boy Scout Leader, so he suggested we try camping. When I told my mother we were going camping in Maine, she thought we were nuts.

The first night out was a little scary for me- and a lot cold. Those sleeping bags were not adequate for August nights in Maine. But the next morning was bright and sunny. The air – and the coffee – smelled fabulous. From that day, I loved camping and I began to love hiking, being outdoors, and nature. I also came to realize that if we don’t care of all those things I now love, they would not be here for future generations

I do admit we haven’t been tent camping in a few years. Our more recent adventures have meant day-hikes staying in motels (some of which are not nearly as nice as a good campsite). When time and money permit, we would like to buy a small popup or RV. We’re too old for sleeping on the ground, but we aren’t too old to explore and enjoy the outdoors.

I may not be a life long conservationist, but that doesn’t make me less committed to the cause. It only means I have a lot of time to make up. I’m working on it.

Check out my posting this week at

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