The easiest thing to forget when we inadvertently talk as if conservation or restoration are merely concepts or “constructions” is how much we ourselves are tangibly moved by hands-on contact with the animals and plants themselves.
I remember working in the fields for a few days with Rob Robichaux of the Silversword Foundation on control of exotic species and monitoring of rare native ones. Then we went over the US Fish and Wildlife Service propagation facility for critically endangered species of the Hawaiian Islands. At least a dozen species were represented on just one propagation bench in the nursery there, some of them by the only individuals left on the planet. I choked up. To let any plant or animal get that rare horrified me and catapulted me into deep sorrow. But witnessing the extraordinary efforts the Silversword Foundation and its collaborators have accomplished over the last decade gives me great faith in the humans who choose to turn around the declines of such species and increase their populations wherever possible.
Being engaged on the ground in such work not only helps other species, it helps us (our species!) gain clarity and resolve to do whatever we can to save what Gretel Ehrlich calls “the remaining riches of the living world.”
Brother Coyote, OEF