By Jeff Corwin, Emmy award-winning TV host and co-founder of JeffCorwinConnect Inc.
I am really fortunate to have a job I love, which also happens to be the coolest job out there. But it is also an incredibly humbling one, because so many of the awesome creatures I see are endangered because of human destruction of their habitats. It’s kind of ironic, really, if you think about how we, as species, are losing our own connection with nature.
So one of the driving forces in my life and in my work is to foster that connection, to encourage it in others. My mission is not only to take my audience on an extraordinary journey, but also to create a bridge of appreciation and understanding between our species and all the others with whom we share our planet. I firmly believe that you cannot protect what you don’t understand. And you cannot understand what you are not connected to.
That’s the tricky part though because what we are now collectively experiencing is a nature deficit disorder. I think that the measure of a healthy society is the health of its ecosystem. The more we get out there and enjoy the outdoors, the more we become invested in our health and our future, and by extension, in those of our natural world, too. By teaching our children to do the same, we are securing their wholesome future, as well.
How Crucial is Investing in the Future?
For the first time in American history, the younger generation is less healthy than their parents. There are so many ways we can explore and bond with the natural world, to notice and to appreciate its wonders, both big and small. You don’t have to get on a plane to have an adventure: check out the neighborhood pond, go for a quick hike, or turn over a log to see what cool critters you can find underneath.
Nature is Easily Accessible
We often don’t realize how incredibly fortunate we are to live in a country with such easy access to wilderness. Americans have over 84 million acres of national parks alone! This staggeringly huge area does not include state parks and forests, and countless wildlife sanctuaries and refuges. These forever protected places of extraordinary natural beauty and homes to hundreds of thousands of species of animals are ours; ours to explore and to cherish.
Most of us are never more than 20 miles away from a wild place, and even the urban environments provide conduits to nature. So there is no excuse: go ahead and create some experiences that you’d treasure and would want to repeat. The journey of natural discovery is endless, but it is also two-fold. One day you might discover that you have become a steward of your natural world.
Check out these photos of Jeff Corwin out in the field in our very own backyard, connecting with nature. Do you integrate nature into your everyday life as well as your travels?
Moose, Denali National Park, Alaska
Batcave outside of Albany, New York
Glacier-repelling, Exit Glacier, Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska
Elephant seal, Anos Nuevos State Park, California
Albatross off of Hawaii
Mountain climbing in the Rockies
- Bear work, Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska
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This post was written to help you embrace the “Connect with Nature” pledge for Wellness Week! From March 11 through 17, make your week well with valuable wellness tips, free classes and events, and exclusive deals and offers. Plus, enjoy a free $25 Wellness Week Gift Card when you purchase a $25 SpaFinder Wellness Gift Card during Wellness Week (March 11-17). Learn more about Wellness Week 2013!
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Jeff Corwin is an Emmy award-winning TV host and co-founder of JeffCorwinConnect Inc, a wildlife-nature focused, trans-media edutainment company. The fuel behind the mission of JeffCorwinConnect is to build a global community of people who care about the future of our planet and seek to better the world for themselves and their children. Connect with Jeff on twitter at @iamjeffcorwin and on Facebook.
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