Finally, the weather has turned and there are signs of new life everywhere. Green leaves sprouting on trees, flowers and plants sprouting up from below in gardens and prairies and parks. A few weeks back I was lamenting the hanging on of winter, and a cold, cold spring. It was during those gray days I visited three different nature preserves. And I found, even lacking the warmth of spring sunshine, that I was grateful for the gifts of nature surrounding us.
A recurring theme in all three of these hikes is the gift of conservation. All of them exist today because in decades past others saw the value in preserving the land, and leaving it in tact for future generations. They saw the value in preserving the land for wildlife, for the environment, for the earth. They saw the value in preserving native plant life, for the birds, the bees, and every creature in-between. They worked the lands, restored it where it needed restoring, and they made a plan to hand it down to future generations, and ensured its safety from commercial destruction. A Gift of Nature indeed.
I recently visited Retzer Nature Center in Waukesha, The Conservancy For Healing And Heritage in Franklin, and Saller Woods, in Rochester. They are all beautiful and peaceful natural spaces. All offer something special to those who visit. And they all have a story to tell. A tale of those who worked to protect and preserve the land. I've tried to include some of the history in each profile, but I encourage you to follow the links provided and discover even more, if you are interested.
I am grateful to those souls who left us these gifts of nature. And I dream of gifts we can leave for future generations as well.
A traveler, singer, novice photographer, humane gardener, and nature lover.