Our hearts go out to all deeply affected by this pandemic. We hope everyone is healthy and safe. COVID-19 can’t cancel community.
“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” — Rachel Carson
With spring we’re especially aware of the strength and healing we find in nature. In a normal year this issue of the Dragonflyer would address our busiest season, with naturalist events at peak activity. While this certainly isn’t a normal year and we are far from peak activity, I am so grateful for and proud of the strong work NTMN members are putting in to keep our chapter mission going.
New Class – You new students are impressively energetic and undeterred by the disruption sheltering in place causes. Some new classes around the state have postponed completion, but you have hardly missed a beat. More about the new class elsewhere in this issue, but your enthusiasm is so infectious I wanted to recognize it here. You’ve kept a great pace toward certifying.
General Membership – We’re all eager to meet and work together face to face again. Please know that your safety is top priority as we consider re-opening activities. We will use a measured and gradual approach, planning for now to continue online chapter meetings for the summer. Until meeting in person is possible, many of you are taking advantage of the range of activities available to stay connected and engaged. Between our state and local coordinators’ work, members have many opportunities both for distance service and for online advanced training. Please visit the calendar and see other notes in this newsletter for ideas. Among those is the NTMN Photography Challenge, a great way for all levels of photographers to share their favorites with the chapter. So, get outside and give it your best shot!
Earth Day – We’ve just celebrated Earth Day, for the first time as a virtual experience. I hope you were able to participate in some of the online opportunities offered through EarthX, EarthDay, and others. I like how these events provide focus and challenge us. We recently watched Planet of the Humans. Plenty of controversy and slant, but it raises questions.
This year is special, being the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. As I suspect a number of you did, I took to the streets in 1970 to celebrate the Earth and add my voice to the call for change. This has been a good time to look back on what’s gone well and hasn’t, on a broad scale and in my own effort. Remembering the many desperate projections from then, it’s easy to see significant progress, even while many issues so urgently need to be advanced.
It is almost hard to conceive of a time when we didn’t have meaningful measures in place to control air and water pollution, regulate pesticides and hazardous waste, and protect endangered species and wild rivers. In the intervening decades, the environmental pendulum has swung back and forth: a world priority, then not so much. However we’ve managed the cycles, at least we’ve had broad goals to shape the conversation. (On the personal side, who knew one could take so many diversions from meaningful conservation? Suffice to say I wish I’d done much differently.)
It is also hard to imagine how key issues of our time, like climate change and mass extinction, were barely addressed. And how fragile and susceptible to erosion many of the gains have proven.
Unexpected benefits of the current protective measures – healthier air, fewer resources used, less water pollution, lighter traffic, wildlife moving into areas where they’ve not been, mountains becoming visible for the first time in decades – make some aspects of life better. Though bought at all too dear a price, these temporary changes give a hopeful vision of how things might be.
Which brings me back the Rachel Carson quote. In those “repeated refrains of nature” we have much to strengthen us. Even as we see human and global dangers, the rapid renewal of springtime stands out with messages of resilience and continuity.
Thank you for all you do!