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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Potawatomi State Park, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, USA

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Potawatomi State Park, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, USA
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Registered: August 2015
City/Town/Province: Brussels
Posts: 1
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“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.”- John Muir.
Nature is a vital part of our lives. The beauty of a meadow in bloom, a rambling creek, or a tree gently swaying in the wind can bring warmth to even the saddest of hearts. There is much truth in Muir’s quote- exposure to nature can be a transformative experience; a moment of much needed quiet in a fast-paced, rapidly evolving world. However, we who advance so fast have a way of inadvertently trampling things around us, things like rivers and lakes and peaceful forests. The nature walk Muir had in mind is in serious danger of becoming a distant memory.
For these reasons, I decided I wanted to do something to stop the deterioration of our beautiful natural areas. I attend Southern Door High School in Brussels, Wisconsin and adore theatre and literature. In fact, I have had the honor to join Third Avenue Playhouse’s professional theater company multiple times. So, in other words, my approach to conservation was a bit different than most. I knew I would not be able to purchase land to protect it from big businesses, or pass conservation laws. But maybe I could begin to change the mindset of my community- through theatre. This epiphany hit me on a cold night in the middle of March, and I immediately set to work.
My mother is the naturalist at our local State Park, Potawatomi, which happens to have a wonderful outdoor amphitheater. Urging me on and greatly helping me with the logistics, my mother obtained a grant to put on a small theatrical production on a night in July. And thus, “Wisconsin’s Wild Words” was born. In a nutshell, it was to be a series of interpretive readings, character interpretations, and song, all focusing on the works of famous Wisconsin naturalists.
Over the course of the next few weeks, I worked frantically to find writings by the likes of John Muir, Aldo Leopold, Sigurd Olson, and Frances Hammerstrom. I then rallied some of my theatre friends for an “adventure.” We rehearsed together for about a month. I participated in some of the readings, and those I wasn’t in I would give “notes” and tips to help the other actors; a director of sorts. We all wanted a large turnout for our event, so I wrote personally to over 15 local businesses to invite them to attend, which to my delight was very successful. As the big night rapidly approached, we decided to take our own advice- and just enjoy nature. At the end of many rehearsals, we would go on nature walks, go kayaking, or simply sit and listen to the birds. These day were among my favorites of the entire summer.
At last, the performance day arrived, and went splendidly. We donned our “Wisconsin Wild Words” tee shirts which were provided by the grant, and climbed on the stage. The amphitheater was packed with over 120 people; far exceeding the amount of seats available. We opened the show with the entire group singing “Windsong” by John Denver, which was followed by selected writings by Sigurd Olson, and a reading of “The Calypso Borealis” by John Muir. We then spiced it up a bit with a reenactment of a real life interview with Lorrie Otto about returning lawns to their natural state, and a character interpretation of the life and achievements of both Frances Hammerstrom, and Gaylord Nelson. Finally, we closed the show with some truly touching words by Aldo Leopold, including “Silphium”, and “Thinking Like A Mountain.”
After the show, we had a long discussion with the audience. The effect we had was all we could have hoped for. To nearly all present it was a sobering experience, but one not devoid of hope. They seemed to understand, as we sitting on the stage did, that there were small ways to make a big difference, whether that be planting a flower or tree, or simply sitting on a lake in a boat and realizing how unbelievably precious or Earth really is. Many people in attendance said as much to me later, and I knew they were truly affected by the poignant words of those great naturalists.
To me, who grew up as a naturalist’s daughter, and thought I was well educated about nature, I learned a valuable lesson. Though our wilderness is seemingly constant, it is constantly evolving and has the capacity to touch people in a million different ways, be it big or small. We can’t lose that.
Date: August 11, 2015 Views: 4534 File size: 13.5kb, 46.3kb : 729 x 547
Hours Volunteered: 150
Volunteers: 10
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 17 & 16 to 60
Area Restored for Native Wildlife (hectares): 500
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Registered: November 2015
City/Town/Province: DHAKA
Posts: 1
November 23, 2015 11:53am

Thanks Michaela carry on........................your destination.