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America, The Beautiful: Show Pride in our Natural Heritage - Wild Roots
It’s the Fourth of July, a chance for all of us to come together in our red, white, and blue and agree that despite all of the divisiveness that’s got us down, we love this country and are proud to call it our home. The spirit of today has got me thinking about our garden, as usual, and dreaming of what it might be like if everyone celebrating with juicy watermelon and good beer and patriotic songs and parades small and big would have that same pride and sense of place when planning their home and community landscapes. Often when we talk about our natural heritage, the conversation centers around how critical it is to protect our national and state parks. But what sense does it make to stop there? If you believe that gorgeous and diverse forests, wetlands, deserts and prairies are part of our identity, why not promote that same message through your own ecological restoration efforts? ?Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children’s children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance.? ? Theodore Roosevelt I find it funny?and sometimes sad and often frustrating, depending on my mood?that we hang flags and talk about who and what is un-American, and then we rip up, replace, or pave over our natural areas with little thought about what it means to strip the country of this incredible part of our past. Take a minute to dream about what your piece of land might have looked like before past generations replaced it with composed gardens meant to mimic the places from which they came. Imagine that 40 million miles of hard-working, air purifying, wildlife-supporting natural beauty we paved over with cement. Now that’s not to say that there’s a single specific pristine time to go back to. Native Americans transformed the land for their needs long before the Europeans began dismantling the massive hardwood forests that covered the East Coast and plowing over the prairies of the Midwest. And prior to all that, there was a mile-thick ice sheet just a little ways north of our little town. But the scale of the transformations of the past 100 (heck, even 60) years have left our ecosystems reeling. If that…