Written by Dr. Laurie Thorp, RISE Program Director.
Peter Forbes of the Trust for Public Land, 2010 said,
“Several years ago, I had been asked to meet with neighbors in a community in order to help them determine what was “important” enough to be protected. I realized that in using the word “important”, the townspeople most likely meant what was rare and endangered and therefore “worthy” of saving. I knew, however, that what the people of this town really loved was the blueberry barrens and that there weren’t any endangered species there. There probably wasn’t a single person living in that community who didn’t know these steep hills or didn’t have their own personal story about them. The nutrients that gave life to their passions came from the land under their own feet. Those blueberry barrens enabled the people to be of that place. Why is it then that they needed someone else to tell them that they could protect what they loved? “
This is what we do in RISE on a daily basis. We are encouraging students to protect what they love and speak up. Because much like the community Forbes speaks of, we see the loss of habitat for other species like this toad as also endangering something in ourselves and in the vitality of our community.
Dr. Thorp is the director of the RISE Program. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.