A Time for Thanks: Nature and North CarolinaNovember 25, 2015
“As we all prepare for the holidays and special time spent with family and friends, we reflect on some of the many things for which we are thankful. For starters, we are thankful that nature does not discriminate or judge any of us. Whether we are young or old, rich or poor, nature openly welcomes each of us to explore and enjoy the bounty of the outdoors. Whether we are hunters, birders, hikers, campers, or paddlers, each of us are “birds of a feather” when it comes to being received and welcomed by nature. When we walk into the woods, a park, or a grove of trees in a backyard, none of us are judged by any racial, socioeconomic, or other factors. In nature we are all equal. That’s something to be thankful for and to build upon.
There are other things that give us a heart of gratitude. We are thankful for the hump of the Blue Ridge in the western sky, cypress-ringed swamps, mountain bogs, marshlands, and our Outer Banks—and we are thankful for those who work to protect these areas for future generations. We are thankful for goldfinches at a feeder, doves in a field, and fireflies on a summer night. For the night sounds of whip-poor-wills and owls, the gurgling of mountain streams, the snort of a buck in predawn darkness, the drumming of ruffed grouse, the bugle of an elk, the honking of migrating geese in formation, the mid-summer cacophony of cicadas and crickets and the water breaking with fish on the line.
We count our blessings for the iridescent colors of brook trout, forests dappled with winter sun, spotted fawns, water glistening on a duck’s wings, first light, and the brilliant hues of a cardinal perched on a hemlock bough. We treasure the smell of campfires, wet dogs, and salt air. The scents of honeysuckle and cedar and of fresh fish frying. We are thankful for the salty taste of Carolina oysters, sweet blackberry pie, ripened tomatoes, and tender venison.
The Carolina landscape is bountiful and teeming, but only if we continue working for sustainable practices that will allow our children and grandchildren these same joys. So as we give thanks, perhaps we should value these words and heed them in full. After all, future generations deserve to give thanks, too.”
-Written by guest author Tim Gestwicki
Tim Gestwicki is CEO of the North Carolina Wildlife Federation (NCWF) with over 20 years in non- profit conservation work. A sportsman who helped lead the building of an elite, formidable conservation organization recognized for effective and efficient work statewide, regionally and nationally, Tim has established a one of kind wildlife habitat coalition comprised of sporting and land conservation groups to work in unified fashion on agriculture, farm bill and private lands habitat efforts; and has initiated new wildlife habitat programs for developers, places of worship, and islands. Tim enjoys hunting and fishing in NC from the mountains to the coast.