Inspiration from nature
From Nature Preserves, August 2020, a commentary from the president of the organization, Jackie Swift:
Compassion for All Through Nature Preservation
As New York State started locking down in mid- March, Society members jumped to the call of ser- vice for our fellow human beings. Bob Sienkiewicz, who works for the NYS Health Department, began accepting late-night deliveries and doing inventories to ready the PPE supplies for distribution to agency nurses. Suzanne Pilon became a delivery person for Meals on Wheels. Soci- ety professors quickly developed online classes to care for their students while other members began making masks. During this historic time, members have protested, signed petitions, and added their voices to the calls for justice and equality.
This is one of those times when compassion for the suf- fering of our fellow human family-mates needs to be turned up while at the same time we continue our hard work for preserving the natural world. It is with an eagle’s vision that we see the whole picture and know that pro- tecting nature is indeed an essential way to “love one an- other.” Preserving the rarities we love can become com- passion and love for all beings.
Quality of life is directly affected by the integrity of our environment, of which we are all an integral part. All our food comes from the biosphere, our minerals from the lithosphere. Our bodies are mostly water from the hydro- sphere, and our lungs breathe the atmosphere. Then there is the spiritual uplift and healing that comes from being in the natural world. Our shelters come from nature as do so many other ecosystem services. It only makes sense that all our lives depend on its integrity. The environment’s health is our own. A vibrant green world means well-being for everyone.
Preserving our Earth home is one of the best ways to care for all life. The focus of the Society on saving rare species, habitats, and geology has the additional benefits of en- hancing watersheds, air quality, and the complex web of life. By protecting uncommon species, we are protecting ourselves as well. By preserving wild nature, we are look- ing out for native species—truly an act of kind compas- sion and empathy for all.
Be well and safe, dear members, and thank you so very much for your essential part in our Earth preservation community.
We cannot know what we are doing until we know what nature would be doing if we were doing nothing.
And that is why we need small native wildernesses widely dispersed over the countryside as well as large ones in spectacular places.
--from the essay "Preserving Wildness" by Wendell Berry, 1986
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.
President of nsswny, Jacqueline Swift and President Emeritus Steve McCabe at Zoar Valley
"NSSWNY members are all passion-ate about the nature that sustains us. We’re energy-savers, recyclers, and definitely tree-huggers—all doing the daily tasks of conservation, environmental stewardship, and raising awareness about the preciousness of our natural world. Every single act adds to the goodness quotient of preservation."