Sunday, February 5, 2012

Thanks and goodbye from Moderator Scott Weidensaul

Discussion Topic: Return to Wild America: A Yearlong Search for the Continent's Natural Soul

It's been a real pleasure to be part of America's WILD READ,and I want to thank Anne Post and the National Conservation Training Center for giving me the opportunity to moderate this discussion for the past month – and to everyone (including some of the former moderators) who helped make this such a fascinating conversation.

The ground we've covered – what is and is not"wild," and how much of that determination comes from within ourselves and how much is intrinsic in the land and wildlife; how we restore wild landscapes, what our goals for restoration should be, and whether we should even call it "restoration"; whether we're at our core optimists or pessimists, and how that effects our outlook – all of this circles back to some of the core questions I was pursuing in Return to Wild America.

What does it mean to be a conservationist at the start ofthe 21st century? What will be the legacy of the next 50 years, should anyone try a centenary lap around the country as I had done, chasing Peterson andFisher's ghosts to sample the heartbeat of wild America? How will we as a generation stack up when compared with what our predecessors accomplished, and what they lost?

I don't have answers for those questions. I do know there will be heartbreaking losses (there always are) and stunning victories we can't even contemplate – and I know that our job, as Bill Sherwonit pointed out yesterday, is to pay attention and share the news.

And – perhaps most importantly – it's our job to enjoy the living hell out of it. For all the troubles, for all the grief, for all the wounds, this is still an astonishing, staggering, achingly lovely land, and we have a responsibility not only to protect it, but to revel in it.

Whether that means a wilderness float down the Snake through the River of No Return, a morning's birding in a Low Country marsh, looking for desert bighorns along the Gila, the dawn hatch on an Adirondack stream or a stroll through Rock Creek in D.C. with the sound of the Beltway in the distance, the wild is there, and we owe it to ourselves to partake.


1 comment:

Jason said...

Thanks Scott for your great book and thought-provoking questions for discussion. And to all the others in the discussion out there - tell your friends. This is a great forum and I can't wait for this next one (am sorry I missed the first few)