Executive Assistant to President, International Council for Bird Preservation
Founding Board Member, Audubon Vermont
Former Board Member and Chair, The Nature Conservancy, Vermont Chapter
Founding Chair, Ripton Conservation Commission
Longtime environmental advocate and citizen scientist
I’m intrigued by biological diversity and rarity. Diversity is the natural capital of our time. It defines life’s possibilities and opportunities. As diversity increases, interconnectedness and, consequently, stability increase in the natural world. But as the world loses species the linkages that hold ecosystems together are strained, and more species become rare or disappear. Realize it or not, we are the poorer. Our world, our options diminish.
We are living in the time of the sixth great extinction, the only one to be caused by a species. I’ve kept a bird life list for years, but it has stopped growing; my rarities list, those species I’ve seen that are now endangered or threatened, is swelling. A number I’ve seen are now only memories.
As our population grows we lose more wild land, where most of the world’s diversity lies. Most people have had no contact with wild land, and don’t care if it, and the species it supports, are lost.
Vermonters have taken a somewhat different course, protecting a large portion of our wild lands. We attempt to acquaint our children with the values inherent in wildness. Knowing the land and what it nourishes, and coming to cherish it, is the only path to protecting what we have. So I work to protect rarity and diversity in the hope that more people will come to understand that our options for the future depend on it.