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Supporting Our Communities
As we move into the 12th week of Wild Rivers Land Trust’s staff working in separate work spaces, I am grateful for the basics of life and work, reconnecting to core values, and equally saddened by recent events.
It is humbling to see how a viral pandemic exposes our vulnerability as mammals, and shows our interconnectedness with each other and nature on a global scale. It is amazing that the smallest germs aren’t even living organisms (they need a host to live and reproduce), and they can have significant, far-reaching impacts on our planet. As the pandemic progressed, we saw dramatic decreases in greenhouse gases in our atmosphere with reduced human activity and wild animals start to inhabit empty city streets and towns. The planet’s healing and resilience was seen as hopeful, however it came at such grave costs to human life and well-being.
The virus also revealed weaknesses in our social fabric as disparities in health, access to healthcare and the fragility in our food security, food systems, and economy.  Recently, those flaws revealed the underpinnings of inequities in our social justice. We saw this through the lens of weaponized racism towards Christian Cooper while birdwatching, towards Ahmaud Arbery on a morning jog in rural Georgia, towards George Floyd left to die at the hands of the people we trust to protect us.
These events cause me to reflect on the work we do and how conservation must serve and benefit all on this planet. Everyone must have clean air and clean water as basic fundamentals to life—the connection of poor air quality to increased vulnerability to the coronavirus drove this home. The legacy of pollutants and impacts of climate change are disproportionately imposed on black, brown and indigenous communities, and this is unjust. We need to create welcoming and safe environments for all to recreate and reap the benefits of experiencing nature for human physical and mental health. We are wise to remember our interconnectedness and how we are only as strong as our weakest links in nature and society.
As we look to navigate this pandemic, Wild Rivers Land Trust is mindful of the struggles in our communities, and we want you to know we remain productive and committed to improving life for all living things. We are working on promoting clean air and water and mitigating climate change through conservation to improve the health of all citizens of the planet. We know that much of your effort and support must go to the immediate critical needs of taking care of each other right now. We will continue to work on the challenge of climate change, by conserving the natural systems that are necessary to address the ecological and social problems of a warming planet.
I remain optimistic that we humans are addressing very fundamental issues that have plagued us for generations and we will come out stronger in the end. I am grateful that the Land Trust’s work can continue through our dedicated staff and Board of Directors, and all the people, foundations and organizations who support our work. I have been taking time to listen, learn and to elevate the voices of those who are normally suppressed. My hope is that we will emerge from these challenges more grounded in equitable human values that protect each other and sustain life on our planet.
I wish you all health and wellness in these stressful times. Know that the work of the Land Trust continues while we are all called to do more for our fellow humans. I hope you all stay safe until we can meet again in the not-too-distant future and you are able to spend time enjoying nature wherever you can.
Ann Schmierer
Executive Director
​Wild Rivers Land Trust