Environmental Policy

“Something will have gone out of us as a people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed . . . We need wilderness preserved . . . because it was the challenge against which our character as a people was formed.”

Wallace Stegner, Wilderness and the Geography of Hope

Our Conclusion, The Nature Workshops

It is our belief that Wallace Stegner has it exactly right — one of the great challenges of our time is to preserve the wilderness that remains. That can only be done if we start today and work enthusiastically as a group to save every inch and every animal. Thus, our workshops will include some amount of time devoted to how we, as a people (even starting with so small a group as our eight participants in a particular workshop) can help nature in its plight. Below are our guidelines for action in the wild that will be followed at all workshops.

” Friends at home! I charge you to spare, preserve and cherish some portion of your primitive forests; for when these are cut away I apprehend they will not be easily replaced.”

Horace Greeley, New York Tribune, 1851

General Guidelines for Working in the Field with The Nature Workshops

Trails: Many of the places we visit have regulations requiring that all activities take place on the established paths. Many others have areas with signs or postings that close a specific location to foot traffic. In all cases, we will honor those rules. In locations where there is no regulation and/or postings, we will take a common sense approach, and in no case will we ever walk on plants and destroy them. All established trails will always be used when possible. In no event will anyone pick any plants, whether obviously alive or dormant. Only dead, unattached plant life will ever be moved.

Erwin and Larry in Kayak in Alaska, © Roger Devore
Erwin and Larry in Kayak in Alaska, © Roger Devore

Wildlife: Wild animals have a tough time existing from year to year, and we will avoid adding to their stress in any way. In no cases will we ever feed animals — this is one of the worst things humans can do to wildlife (only birds seem to be able to exist when being fed by humans). Wild animals are always just that — wild — and close interaction with humans is dangerous to both the wildlife and the humans. We want all of our participants to fully enjoy their encounters with wildlife (which in some locations, can occur very often) while remaining safe. Additionally, we feel responsible for the safety of the wildlife. Our overall guideline is that no participants will ever get closer to wildlife than we are — we are more familiar than most attendees with the habits of the animals and a zone of safety should exist behind us. It is also our feeling that most wildlife photography should use 400 mm or more of focal length (that can be obtained with as little as a 200 mm lens and a 2x teleconverter), although we will not require that. However, we will seldom get close enough to large mammals to utilize anything less than a 200 mm lens.
Mike in Texas Hill Country, © Lonnie Brock
Mike in Texas Hill Country, © Lonnie Brock

Failure to follow these guidelines could, and likely will, result in a participant being asked to leave a workshop, with no refund forthcoming. Please help us protect the lands we visit and their natural inhabitants.

“A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.”

Aldo Leopold, The Conservative Ethic

“If mountain gorillas are to survive and propagate, far more active conservation measures urgently need to be undertaken. The question remains, is it already too late?”

Diane Fossey, Gorillas in the Mist

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