Thanks to my sister Michelle McIlroy for designing the logo!

Welcome!

Ever since I was a child, I have been very interested in nature and the environment. I have a B.S. degree in wildlife biology, and have worked as a zookeeper, wildlife biologist, and ecologist. I am conducting a brief survey of world leaders, government officials, religious leaders, corporate CEOs, environmental groups, wildlife experts, and others regarding nature and the environment. I am also very interested in religious views, customs, and beliefs from around the world, and the interactions between religion, culture, society, and the environment. This is something I am doing out of personal interest, and is not connected to any group or organization. I have been working on this project since the summer of 2006, and hope to eventually turn it into a book and/or documentary. I am hoping to make this into a global project, with responses from all segments of society. Feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions or comments. If you have not already done so, I hope that you will consider taking part in my project, and please spread the word to anyone you think might be interested! Thanks for stopping by!

TAKE THE SURVEY ONLINE HERE http://tinyurl.com/nx4ng7

June 24, 2008

Professor Dr. Iajuddin Ahmed

President – People’s Republic of Bangladesh

Today’s Date: 20 February 2008

1. What interaction with an animal and/or nature in your life has had the biggest impact on you?

Doves and Mynah. My Mynah bird lived with us for over 20 years (1972-1992) and one night it died in its cage. I am still depressed and remember it.

2. Did you have a favorite place in the great outdoors during your childhood?

Places where doves made their nests. We usually stole their nestlings for rearing purpose. Still I am sorry for my misdeeds.

Now? No answer given

3. As a former zookeeper, I would love to know what your favorite animal is and why?

As already mentioned Doves are my favorite as well as Mynah. I still like to rear them at home though I know it is very unkind to do.

4. What do you think is the greatest environmental challenge facing us now, and what do you think will be the greatest challenge in the future?

Global warming and its effects. Last year Cyclone “Sidr” devastated heavily our Southern zone of Bangladesh. To face the challenge help of foreign countries is needed. People should be knowledgeable and brave and should be equipped with modern technology.

To mitigate such future problems people should be calm and use knowledge.

5. If you could give one piece of advice regarding the environment and our natural resources, what would it be?

Love all the creations on the earth and let them grow naturally. I advise not to harm insects, birds, animals for their natural living. Let us work unitedly for making a friendly and habitable environment for the birds and animals on the earth.

Received via postal mail

Zenkei Blanche Hartman

Senior Dharma Teacher – San Francisco Zen Center

Today’s Date: 12 April 2008

1. What interaction with an animal and/or nature in your life has had the biggest impact on you?

1) A bear in the garbage can near the bathroom I was in, in upper Yosemite Park.
2) The warm foot of a bluejay on my cheek as he took a piece of bread out of my hand as I was putting the bread in my mouth.
3) Lying under the stars watching the Perseid meteor shower when I was six.

2. Did you have a favorite place in the great outdoors during your childhood?

Yes, a hidden grotto with ferns and a waterfall maybe 10’ high in the woods ¼ mile behind my house.

Now? Yes a Zen Monastery / hot springs deep in the Santa Lucia mountains in Monterey County, California

3. As a former zookeeper, I would love to know what your favorite animal is and why?

Chimpanzees because they are so much like us. Dogs because they are so loyal and loving (especially Golden Retrievers and Border Collies).

4. What do you think is the greatest environmental challenge facing us now, and what do you think will be the greatest challenge in the future?

Global warming
Water

5. If you could give one piece of advice regarding the environment and our natural resources, what would it be?

Please be very aware of your use of natural resources and all energy and water use and minimize your consumption for the benefit of all beings who share and will share the planet in the future.

Received via postal mail

Nese Sevig

Project Manager – Active Tourism (Turkey)

Today’s Date: 16 June 2008

1. What interaction with an animal and/or nature in your life has had the biggest impact on you?

I grew up in Ankara, the 2nd biggest city of Turkey. There weren't many natural sites around where I grew up. However, every summer, we used to go to a village on the Black Sea where my family originates from. This is the place where I feel free. I had many different animals there: cats, dogs, cows, sheep and chickens. And most importantly, there was nobody to shout "do not walk on the grass!!" Perhaps that is why I always feel more free when I am there.

2. Did you have a favorite place in the great outdoors during your childhood?

The Black Sea village where my family comes from.

Now? Anywhere with a forest and the sound of a river.

3. As a former zookeeper, I would love to know what your favorite animal is and why?

Horses. They always cheer me up because they are strong and beautiful.

4. What do you think is the greatest environmental challenge facing us now, and what do you think will be the greatest challenge in the future?

Global warming generally, but more specifically for the future I suppose finding water will be very difficult. This might cause our end.

5. If you could give one piece of advice regarding the environment and our natural resources, what would it be?

Use the natural resources effectively and efficiently. We will not be able to have them once they are finished. So think twice before you act.

Martin Hirschnitz

Environmental Scientist - Ernst Moritz Arndt University of Greifswald / GoBi Research Project

Today’s Date: June 16, 2008

1. What interaction with an animal and/or nature in your life has had the biggest impact on you?

There was no specific interaction having had the biggest impact. It was rather a process and a chain of events/emotions impacting me so that I found myself fond of nature and wanting to be one of its advocates. E.g. spending much time outside, having had a pet cat, affinity for hiking and spending my civil service (instead of joining the Army in Germany) in the intertidal zones of the Wadden sea working for its conservation.

2. Did you have a favorite place in the great outdoors during your childhood?

Close to our backyard was a small forested creek in which I used to play, build dams, be a pirate etc.

Now? There are several favorite places - what links them is a feeling of remoteness, being by oneself, embraced by nature but not threatened.

3. As a former zookeeper, I would love to know what your favorite animal is and why?

Again, there is no single favorite animal. It is more about the diversity including own affections and also disgust, fear and love etc. As a child my favorite living animal was the blue whale, my favourite extinct animal Brachiosaurus.

4. What do you think is the greatest environmental challenge facing us now, and what do you think will be the greatest challenge in the future?

Good question! Well, the greatest environmental challenge of today as well as of tomorrow is our own attitude towards nature, our own greediness, never-ending desire to let economies grow, to achieve luxury and high income - scattered around those different threats like climate change, pollution, habitat destruction etc. are very important. But we have to focus on the driving forces. Most if not all of these "battles" have to be fought in human psychology, interactions, education and efficiency/sufficiency. Again, it's the knowledge-action-gap that must be overcome!

5. If you could give one piece of advice regarding the environment and our natural resources, what would it be?

Treat it as if it were your son or daughter - protect it, let it grow, pave the way for its development, assist it, love it and take care for it knowing that it also will be there for you one day...

Tim Kasser, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Psychology - Knox College

Today’s Date: May 30, 2008

1. What interaction with an animal and/or nature in your life has had the biggest impact on you?

I live on a small farm with (currently) a dog, cat, 7 chickens, 5 goats, 2 sheep and a donkey. We also have a 3 acre pond with lots of pond animals and birds and a few acres of woods that connect with several hundred acres of more woods, filled with the typical Illinois animals (deer, coyotes, raccoon, fox, turkey, etc.) Looking out my back window and seeing all this, interacting with the animals and learning their personalities, and the rhythm of life that comes from living in nature help to center me and keep me real.

2. Did you have a favorite place in the great outdoors during your childhood?

No. I grew up in suburbia and had no interest in the outdoors really.

Now? I love being in my woods. I take a hike there most mornings.

3. As a former zookeeper, I would love to know what your favorite animal is and why?

I've had dogs almost my whole life, but for a few months here and there. I enjoy their intelligence and camaraderie. I also like how they are smarter than me with regards to certain things, and that keeps me humble. I also really appreciate my donkey, but I don't know that he is my "favorite."

4. What do you think is the greatest environmental challenge facing us now, and what do you think will be the greatest challenge in the future?

For all the talk about global climate change, to me the massive extinction rates are far more scary for they have great ramifications for the environment and how niches of species can die off, etc.

5. If you could give one piece of advice regarding the environment and our natural resources, what would it be?

Think what your grandchildren's world is going to be like if we continue to consume like we are.

Herbert Haylock

Programme for Belize (www.pfbelize.org)

Today’s Date: May 12, 2008

1. What interaction with an animal and/or nature in your life has had the biggest impact on you?

The biggest impact on my life has been taking care of 2 pet turtles along with my daughter for the past 2 years. Having this responsibility and making her become more aware of being responsible has had many emotional rewards

2. Did you have a favorite place in the great outdoors during your childhood?

No - not during childhood.

Now? Australian Outback. It's my dream to go there and walkabout.

3. As a former zookeeper, I would love to know what your favorite animal is and why?

Great White Shark and Bengal Tiger. I have simply always been fascinated by these two animals and would love to be able to see each someone in a real setting.

4. What do you think is the greatest environmental challenge facing us now, and what do you think will be the greatest challenge in the future?

Our greatest challenge facing us now is ensuring we maintain harmony and balance with our environment. Our greatest future challenge is going to be making sure that we keep this equilibrium once we find it and determine what it is.

5. If you could give one piece of advice regarding the environment and our natural resources, what would it be?

My advice would be 'To remember that we (as humans) are but one piece of a magical puzzle being spun here on earth and we should ensure that we make our piece fit snug and not be taking up more space than required in this puzzle called life.'

Caryn Corriere

Facilitator of Learning - Tifft Nature Preserve/Buffalo Museum of Science

Today’s Date: April 25, 2008

1. What interaction with an animal and/or nature in your life has had the biggest impact on you?

I can't pick just one, but I think just regularly being out in nature made a big difference. Lots of my memories of when I was younger involve being outside. I remember hiking at night in the Bankhead National Forest with my grandparents looking for "glowworms"(firefly larva) in a cave my grandfather discovered while camping one night.

2. Did you have a favorite place in the great outdoors during your childhood?

I got to hang out a lot at Indiana Dune National Lakeshore and other spots along southern Lake Michigan and love those dunes. After moving around more as an adult, I really treasure those places, because I know that they are special places that not all kids get to grow up near and enjoy.

Now? I don't have a favorite, but it's pretty great that I get to work at a nature preserve 3 days a week. Anywhere near water is good for me, and I'm lucky to have Niagara Falls and Lakes Erie and Ontario really close to me now.

3. As a former zookeeper, I would love to know what your favorite animal is and why?

I have two favorites- sea turtles and dragonflies.

When I was in college, I had to watch a movie for my oceanography class and chose sea turtles as my subject. I fell in love with the babies waddling out on the sand to their first swim in the water. I was lucky enough to see adults when I visited Hawaii.

Dragonflies are a new fascination and I can't explain why. I just get so excited to see them flying around and I’m learning a lot about them.

4. What do you think is the greatest environmental challenge facing us now, and what do you think will be the greatest challenge in the future?

I think the biggest challenge both now and in the future is the disconnect that humans have with the earth and how the basic things we need to survive are all natural and we so take them for granted. We need to reconnect and raise ecological literacy. How to do that I think is a huge challenge we need to tackle.

5. If you could give one piece of advice regarding the environment and our natural resources, what would it be?

Learn about it, realize we are completely connected to it and even if you don't love it, learn to appreciate it and share that with those younger generations. You and they can't love what you/they don't know about.

Anonymous

Ph.D. Candidate, University of California, Irvine

Today’s Date: 23 April 2008

1. What interaction with an animal and/or nature in your life has had the biggest impact on you?

Chernobyl. When we were told we can't go outside to play. And can't drink milk. And can't eat spinach.

2. Did you have a favorite place in the great outdoors during your childhood?

The wheat, rye, and barley fields outside my town.

Now? I go to the beach. But it does not feel like nature. Southern California is too commercial.

3. As a former zookeeper, I would love to know what your favorite animal is and why?

All sorts of reptiles. Because they are not furry and because people don't tend to keep them as pets. At least not as much as cats and dogs, which I really don't like for that reason.

4. What do you think is the greatest environmental challenge facing us now, and what do you think will be the greatest challenge in the future?

Food is a problem now and will be an even greater problem in the future. Agriculture, the way it is conventionally done, is just not sustainable.

5. If you could give one piece of advice regarding the environment and our natural resources, what would it be?

Pay more money for food. People need to push for a change in the way food is produced. And they have to be willing to pay for it.

Mark Duchamp

Iberica 2000 (www.iberica2000.org)

Today’s Date: 21 April 2008

1. What interaction with an animal and/or nature in your life has had the biggest impact on you?

Having dogs and cats throughout my life.

2. Did you have a favorite place in the great outdoors during your childhood?

Under water (skin diving)

Now? Mountain walking

3. As a former zookeeper, I would love to know what your favorite animal is and why?

I would tell you if I weren't worried that it may induce you or others to capture more of them to put them behind bars.

4. What do you think is the greatest environmental challenge facing us now, and what do you think will be the greatest challenge in the future?

Overpopulation, now and in the future.

5. If you could give one piece of advice regarding the environment and our natural resources, what would it be?

Get a vasectomy.

June 15, 2008

Tom Sheahen

President, Western Technology Incorporated

Today’s Date: April 19, 2008

1. What interaction with an animal and/or nature in your life has had the biggest impact on you?

I’d have to say it was the first deer I hit with a car. My kids were in the back seat and broke into major tears; I called the cops and they just yawned; I talked to other motorists nearby and nobody cared. I came to the realization that you just can’t put too much emotional attachment onto forest creatures.

2. Did you have a favorite place in the great outdoors during your childhood?

Smoky Mountains; Canadian Rockies

Now? Deep Creek Lake, Maryland

3. As a former zookeeper, I would love to know what your favorite animal is and why?

Australian animals like Platypuses and Koalas, mostly because they’re different and far away, and thus have a somewhat romantic cachet.

4. What do you think is the greatest environmental challenge facing us now, and what do you think will be the greatest challenge in the future?

Right now, there are still way too many children in poor countries dying of minor diseases like diarrhea, which are fully curable/preventable. The advanced countries need to devote a higher percentage of their income to helping the extremely poor countries.

The toughest challenge for the medium-future is going to be convincing people to use nuclear power. Most people have an irrational fear of nuclear power that causes them to dream about “renewable” energy sources, while doing nothing to actually change anything.

For the more distant future, the fact that world oil production is going to peak will cause panicky nations to exploit other resources very inefficiently (shale oil, etc) and their haste will damage the environment.

5. If you could give one piece of advice regarding the environment and our natural resources, what would it be?

Remember that mankind is the “stewards” of all creation, and therefore has to THINK very carefully when trying to balance the needs of people with the preservation of nature.

E. Calvin Beisner, Ph.D.

National Spokesman, Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation (www.cornwallalliance.org)

Today’s Date: April 19, 2008

1. What interaction with an animal and/or nature in your life has had the biggest impact on you?

I cannot restrict my reflections here to a single instance.

The most vivid pictorial memory from my very early childhood is from when I lived in Calcutta, India, where my father worked with the U.S. State Department, with coordination of food aid as part of his responsibility. (His observations of the misallocation of most of the grain shipped to India--its resale to other countries to enrich Indian bureaucrats and politicians and fund arms procurement--was among the great heartbreaks of his life.) Because of my mother's illness, most mornings, very early, I walked with a guide to another home for the day. We were out early enough that often the trucks had not yet come around to pick up the corpses of those who had died of starvation overnight. Images of those corpses form that vivid pictorial memory, and they have long been an important motivator in my desire to see economic development in the poorest countries of the world to deliver people from hunger, disease, and starvation. Although India is a naturally beautiful country, with lush tropical vegetation in many places, its sad history left it, at mid-twentieth century, still desperately poor. Reflecting on that--and on the continuance of such problems in sub-Saharan Africa and other desperately poor areas of the world--helps me to remember that our pursuit of environmental stewardship must go hand-in-hand with the pursuit of human well being.

A second instance appears under #2 below.

A third comes from my fishing (mostly) and hunting (occasionally) with my father when we later lived in rural upstate New York. These wonderful outings exposed me to much of the beauty of creation in a totally different climate and culture. Sometimes it was of creation little touched by human hands, but often it was also of creation ably and wisely managed by human hands, enhancing fish and deer populations, dotting the landscape with lovely ponds, restoring dense forests after prior cutting. These experiences helped me to appreciate how the created order contributes to human thriving--and how human care can contribute to natural thriving, too.

And a fourth comes from a week spent at a remote lake in the rugged Canadian Rockies during my teen years, quietly hiking, canoeing, fishing, observing the majestic mountains, waterfalls, and forests, and watching and listening in amazement during thunderstorms as lightning flashed, thunder crashed, and torrents cascaded off the steep cliffs into the choppy water of the usually mirror-still lake. What a wonderful reminder of the constant changeableness and resilience of God's creation!

2. Did you have a favorite place in the great outdoors during your childhood?

While living in rural upstate New York, when I wasn't in school I was almost constantly running, hiking, climbing trees, and stalking game--sometimes real but mostly imagined!--in the nearby wood and meadow. The tallest tree in the wood was a favorite of mine, and I frequently climbed to a natural "cradle" near its top and lay among the branches, swaying with the wind, listening to the birds, watching the beautiful clouds scudding across the sky, sometimes watching as daylight turned to dark and the moon and stars came out. Even in high winds, I enjoyed that spot. Down on the ground, I would gather many creatures--among them frogs, salamanders, mice, beetles and bugs of many kinds, sometimes snakes--for the menagerie I maintained at home. For me they were not just objects of study but even playmates. My many young buddies and I didn't think of this as an organized environmental field trip (It was anything but organized!); it was everyday life. But it instilled in me a love for God's beautiful, mysterious, intricate creation that has stayed with me all my life.

Now? Living now in south Florida, I enjoy the beaches, occasionally the Everglades, and, in the aftermath of a hurricane (in itself an absolutely awe-inspiring experience, though in the midst of it I'm grateful for the shelter my modern, post-Andrew-code house affords!) that leaves lights off and the sky less humid than usual, the brilliant, starry sky, so often barely visible because of suburban lights and high humidity or cloud cover. But my traveling to give lectures often takes me to other places where I can drink in more of the beauty of the creation--to Pikes Peak, in Colorado, or to the less dramatic but more lush mountains of rural southeastern Tennessee, or the Appalachians of the Carolinas and Tennessee and Virginia and West Virginia, or the Poconos or the lovely countryside of rural western Connecticut and Massachusetts. Whenever I can, on such trips, I make a point of walking nature trails, absorbing the vistas, or simply lying out on the grass and watching as the canopy of stars slowly passes overhead.

3. As a former zookeeper, I would love to know what your favorite animal is and why?

Well, years ago I would have said lions or tigers (particularly when, at a zoo, a tiny tiger cub walked between my 18-month-old daughter's legs and we got a marvelous picture of it), but my sixth child, a son, has for several years been a great fan of otters, reading everything he can get his hands on about them, and I think he's converted me!

4. What do you think is the greatest environmental challenge facing us now, and what do you think will be the greatest challenge in the future?

How interesting that you should ask this question at this time! I addressed that very question in the first of a series of "Mt. Nebo Papers" being produced by the Institute on Religion and Democracy, and the paper was released just last week, titled "What Is the Most Important Environmental Task Facing American Christians Today?" It can be read at http://www.theird.org/NETCOMMUNITY/Document.Doc?id=25. (Free and fast registration might be required before you can access it.) I will let you read the paper itself so that you understand why I think as I do on this question rather than just give you the quick answer.

5. If you could give one piece of advice regarding the environment and our natural resources, what would it be?

God has told us what we must do. What does He require of us, but to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with Him (Micah 6:8)?

June 01, 2008

Anoop Rajan

Webmaster / IT (India)

Today’s Date: 19 April 2008

1. What interaction with an animal and/or nature in your life has had the biggest impact on you?

When i was 4 years old. I was at my native place and cow gave a birth to a calf, i insisted to sleep with it. at first my parents didn't but as per my wish i spend the whole night sleeping beside to the new born calf

2. Did you have a favorite place in the great outdoors during your childhood?

yes my native kreala. and still it is.

3. As a former zookeeper, I would love to know what your favorite animal is and why?

Elephant is my favourite, coz its so huge and still has a soft heart.

4. What do you think is the greatest environmental challenge facing us now, and what do you think will be the greatest challenge in the future?

We are losing all the trees and i guess and if no tress and then no oxygen as well and if no oxygen no fresh water to drink.

5. If you could give one piece of advice regarding the environment and our natural resources, what would it be?

Don’t ABUSIVE with the nature.

Try to limit your use.

Prue Robinson

Environmental Officer, MEDASSET- The Mediterranean Association to Save the Sea Turtles

Today’s Date: 17 April 2008

1. What interaction with an animal and/or nature in your life has had the biggest impact on you?

Working as a wildlife rescuer and carer in Australia certainly had the biggest impact- being trained and responsible for the care of baby possums that have been orphaned, squawking lorikeets that have concussion from flying into glass and Tawny Frog Mouth birds (similar to owls) that in their majestic domineer suffered terribly with a slow poison from preying on a rat dying from rat poison and many more.

2. Did you have a favorite place in the great outdoors during your childhood?

Yes, walking in the Australian bush near my family's holiday house in Tanilba Bay, Port Stephans. The naturalness of the bush as well as plethora of birds and creatures was always wonderfully refreshing.

Now? Living in Greece now, my fiancĂ©’s village house certainly tops the list now. An old school house in traditional Greek style facing the sea and surrounded by an amphitheatre of mountains.

3. As a former zookeeper, I would love to know what your favorite animal is and why?

Horses, a love taken from childhood horse riding camps.

4. What do you think is the greatest environmental challenge facing us now, and what do you think will be the greatest challenge in the future?

I think global warming is the greatest environmental challenge as it encompasses all environmental concerns in one. Undermining the very fabric of our planet- the climate, runs the risk of changing forever the ideal conditions that keep us alive and balanced in a universe of inhospitality.

5. If you could give one piece of advice regarding the environment and our natural resources, what would it be?

Stop believing that the environment is 'out there' dissociated from you and your city life. It is the very basic building blocks of life, shifting the natural balance has impacts on the world that we cannot yet conceive- we are still learning about this intricate world around us, we should never assume we have 'mastered' the environment if we cannot foresee the damage we have the potential to inflict.

Courtney Everts Mykytyn, Ph.D.

Independent Scholar, Medical Anthropology

Today’s Date: 14 April 2008

1. What interaction with an animal and/or nature in your life has had the biggest impact on you?

This is a tough question to answer as there have been many... we have always had cats and dogs in our various homes and been day-hikers and campers. But the first that comes to mind -- well, two that come to mind immediately are these:

1) During an 8-month backpacking-hitchhiking trip through S. America when I was 21, I was in an outdoor market in Lima, Peru. A man got my attention and was trying to sell me a baby spider monkey. I was aghast. He kept the little thing in a burlap bag and it was shivering when he yanked it out. It was agonizing for me as I felt very caught between not wanting to be a consumer contributing to the maintenance of this kind of animal-market and the thought of that particular monkey suffering. After a few days of naively trying to figure a way to get the animal back to the States, I bought her and took her to the zoo. Which was perhaps an even worse fate though I try to believe that at least she had other spider monkeys to befriend. Anyway, this decision and experience still haunts me.

2) At about 14 a friend and I found a raccoon in the woods near our home. It was clearly dying and probably suffering. We couldn't just walk away but had no idea how to help -- and doubted that the animal could be rehabilitated. Eventually, we enlisted some help and sadly but quickly killed the raccoon. Did we put it out of misery? Were we being good stewards? The woods have always been a favorite place of mine and I often think of that raccoon when I am out in the trees...

2. Did you have a favorite place in the great outdoors during your childhood?

While I loved camping and hiking, perhaps my favorite place as a kid was beneath a great old oak tree. I would sit there reading for hours as the sun twirled through the leaves...

Now? There is a hike near my Southern California home that traverses a small creek. The boulders are enormous and the gorge the creek has cut through them is beautiful. I am always impressed by the intrepid roots of the trees that cling to the side of these rock cliffs and somehow manage to eek out an existence.

3. As a former zookeeper, I would love to know what your favorite animal is and why?

No real such "thing" as a favorite for me. I am drawn to the primates but have a hard time seeing them at the zoo and overhearing the stupid taunts of my fellow zoogoers. Perhaps because I spend most of my animal time w/ our three rescue mutts, I might say the canine tops my list...

4. What do you think is the greatest environmental challenge facing us now, and what do you think will be the greatest challenge in the future?

Perhaps the loss of animal habitat and the ever-growing human population would be the biggest challenge. Oh, and global warming.

5. If you could give one piece of advice regarding the environment and our natural resources, what would it be?

Jeez... One piece of advice? Hmm. Leave the world better than you found it. A somewhat trite answer -- and one that is incredibly subject to interpretation -- but one that I try to teach my two children (even when we walk through our neighborhood, I make them pick up at least a piece of trash that their footprint in a small way is a thoughtful one).

Angela Bancalari-Schmidlapp

Owner - ABS Research

Today’s Date: April 14, 2008

1. What interaction with an animal and/or nature in your life has had the biggest impact on you?

“Toninas” or porpoises in the South Atlantic, growing up.

2. Did you have a favorite place in the great outdoors during your childhood?

The ocean, South Atlantic off the coast of Argentina, swimming deep from the beach w/ my father.

Now? Same ocean, off the coast of Argentina or Uruguay. Or the Atlantic off of S.E. Florida, where I live now

3. As a former zookeeper, I would love to know what your favorite animal is and why?

Too many to name…reef creatures (because I can stay “hours” underwater just looking at 1 square meter of coral surface and never tire), monkeys (for their incredible face expressions), sea turtles (they are peaceful, elusive, and prehistoric looking)…

4. What do you think is the greatest environmental challenge facing us now, and what do you think will be the greatest challenge in the future?

Ignorance, there is so much we need to learn! And so much we need to teach. And now as in the future, probably, population growth.

5. If you could give one piece of advice regarding the environment and our natural resources, what would it be?

Teach the children to be socially responsible.

Roger Tompkins

Private Citizen

Today’s Date: April 11, 2008

1. What interaction with an animal and/or nature in your life has had the biggest impact on you?

Seeing a group of dolphins swim by our boat when I was a child. The beauty and unity they showed was something I wish humans could someday attain.

2. Did you have a favorite place in the great outdoors during your childhood?

We used to spend time in Hawaii when I was a child. While it may not be "the great outdoors" it was some of the best times i had in the natural environment.

Now? Anything and everything to do with Africa.

3. As a former zookeeper, I would love to know what your favorite animal is and why?

Tiger, the gentle and peaceful nature of such a powerful animal. The way they appear very curious about what's going on around them without really paying attention.

4. What do you think is the greatest environmental challenge facing us now, and what do you think will be the greatest challenge in the future?

I would say the greatest challenge is educating and engaging people to make the necessary changes in their daily lives to live more environmentally friendly. As far as the future is considered, the greatest challenge is dealing with population growth and the resulting pressure it puts on the Earth.

5. If you could give one piece of advice regarding the environment and our natural resources, what would it be?

Small changes in life add up to big impacts for us all.

Rodrigo P. de Vera Jr.

National Service Training Program (NSTP) Coordinator Co-Chair, Office of the Student Affairs - Lyceum-Northwestern University, Florencia T. Duque College, Inc. (Philippines)

Today’s Date: 10 April 2008

1. What interaction with an animal and/or nature in your life has had the biggest impact on you?

I love dogs. When I was a kid, I used to cry every time my dogs passed away. Dogs have become my constant friends-they give me joy. They guard our house. When they know I arrive home from work, they meet me at the gate and wag their tails.

Part of our culture is dog-eating. It has become part of our delicacy. I really don’t agree of eating dog meat. Despite having a law on cruelty against animals, many of my country still like to eat dog meat. The way they kill dogs as shown many times in our local television programs is horrible and pitiful. Since I love dogs, I told myself not to eat dog meat and I don’t eat dog meat even if it the only food prepared wherever I go. I would rather go hungry that see a dog being killed just to satisfy ones hungry stomach.

2. Did you have a favorite place in the great outdoors during your childhood?

My favorite place in the great outdoor during my childhood was in the field. The field in our barrio (barangay) is peaceful-serene and verdant. It is a place where you can meditate and be with nature-fresh air and you can imagine yourself flying with the birds in the sky.

Now? I love going to Antong Falls which is located in the next town, Sison. This place is beautiful and you can still feel nature at its best.

3. As a former zookeeper, I would love to know what your favorite animal is and why?

I love our dogs more than any animals. They become our constant companions and a good guards, too. If you love them, they will love you in return. When they were still puppies, I used to kiss them until they grow older. Since they have raised of being kissed, they used to kiss us also. There is a reciprocal response.

4. What do you think is the greatest environmental challenge facing us now, and what do you think will be the greatest challenge in the future?

Global warming. In the Philippines, we have experienced the effects of global warming. Today, summer is quite hot. Before, rainy seasons used to be at the month of May when farmers used to start plowing their fields, but now, they start planting rice mid July because of lack of rain.

If we don’t start from our own self, it might be too late save the earth when everybody starts dying, human, animals, and plants.

5. If you could give one piece of advice regarding the environment and our natural resources, what would it be?

Love nature the way we love our self. Nature, in fact, reflects our own self. Whatever we do to nature, will in return be done unto us. If you start destroying nature, you are in fact, start killing yourself.

Gareth Goldthorpe

Private Citizen (Malaysia)

Today’s Date: 10 April 2008

1. What interaction with an animal and/or nature in your life has had the biggest impact on you?

Working in Banff, Canada, me and a friend were driving along a quiet road towards a ski resort (out of season). As we came over the top of a small rise my friend slammed on the brakes as we saw, standing on its hind legs in the middle of the road, sniffing the air, a huge grizzly. Amazing! we both had cameras on the back seat but neither of us reached for them as we sat transfixed.

2. Did you have a favorite place in the great outdoors during your childhood?

Growing up in semi-rural England, I have always had easy access to the countryside. However, I do remember with fondness a childhood trip to the Lake District in the north of the country

Now? Probably Banff NP, or possibly Kim Hy Nature Reserve in Vietnam

3. As a former zookeeper, I would love to know what your favorite animal is and why?

The wolf (European or north American). I guess I got drawn into the whole mythos surrounding the wolf from a young age and just got more into it the more I learned.

4. What do you think is the greatest environmental challenge facing us now, and what do you think will be the greatest challenge in the future?

Without a doubt, the biggest challenge facing us now and in the future is the unsustainable growth of our species. Almost all of the problems we cause can, I believe, be brought back to that basic denominator.

5. If you could give one piece of advice regarding the environment and our natural resources, what would it be?

Don't be so arrogant to think we can survive in isolation.

Nancy Moinde-Fockler

PhD Student – Rutgers University

Today’s Date: 9 April 2008

1. What interaction with an animal and/or nature in your life has had the biggest impact on you?

Almost attacked by a buffalo - a very close encounter while conducting census of two primate endangered species in Kenya

2. Did you have a favorite place in the great outdoors during your childhood?

Near my parents farm by the river where we used to swim with my siblings and childhood friend

Now? I am natural outdoor person, but any place that makes me feel removed from modernity with plenty of natural vegetation and next to water bodies (sea, river, lakes etc..) makes me happy.

3. As a former zookeeper, I would love to know what your favorite animal is and why?

The pata monkey necoz I am studied them and worked with them in the wild.

Elephants because I am in awe of them

4. What do you think is the greatest environmental challenge facing us now, and what do you think will be the greatest challenge in the future?

Deforestation - especially in the third world and carbon emissions especially in the first world.

5. If you could give one piece of advice regarding the environment and our natural resources, what would it be?

On a person level contribute towards community action in ways that improve on habitat preservation. To policy makers at government level - invest on advertising on reducing carbon emission and imposing stiffer cost for those organizations that emit large amounts of carbon.

Barry Brooks

Retired

Today’s Date: April 9, 2008

1. What interaction with an animal and/or nature in your life has had the biggest impact on you?

Killing chickens

2. Did you have a favorite place in the great outdoors during your childhood?

Uncle's farm

Now? No answer given

3. As a former zookeeper, I would love to know what your favorite animal is and why?

My cat

4. What do you think is the greatest environmental challenge facing us now, and what do you think will be the greatest challenge in the future?

Building an economy that doesn't need growth.

5. If you could give one piece of advice regarding the environment and our natural resources, what would it be?

Support conservation and population control.


Dear Jeremy,

I hope you find this interesting...

Is capitalism really in a grow-or-die situation?

It appears that the limits to growth will REQUIRE the world to adopt economic systems that can function without growth in consumption. Which systems can adapt to reduced consumption? Many people believe capitalism will not be able to end consumption growth.

http://mrpeakoil.com/grow-or-die.html

John Wiessinger

Educator - Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History

Today’s Date: April 9, 2008

1. What interaction with an animal and/or nature in your life has had the biggest impact on you?

Probably raising Mallards as a child. I was able to learn about these ducks firsthand, watch the female raise her young, see the young grow and change, attain adulthood and continue the cycle of life.

2. Did you have a favorite place in the great outdoors during your childhood?

I spent most of my spare time enjoying the woods, fields, and creek on a small farm in western Ohio.

Now? I now have 5 acres of woods, creek, and pond in upstate NY where I focus most of my time. I do enjoy Tupper Lake in the Adirondacks as well.

3. As a former zookeeper, I would love to know what your favorite animal is and why?

I really can't say that I have a "favorite" animal. I find that I'm attracted to a wide range of insects, birds, fish, and reptiles. Guess my favorite is the animal in front of me at the time.

4. What do you think is the greatest environmental challenge facing us now, and what do you think will be the greatest challenge in the future?

Our greatest challenge, in my opinion is educating the public to understand that their future is linked with that of our environment's health - we're not separate. This will continue to be the challenge into the future, requiring that governments make the hard decisions that individuals are/seem unwilling to make.

5. If you could give one piece of advice regarding the environment and our natural resources, what would it be?

That humans are just as much a part of an incredibly complex web of life as any other organism. We can't function in a vacuum without affecting that web and ultimately affecting our own quality of life.

Kristy L. Sullivan

Preschool Teacher, Environmental Educator and MOM

Today’s Date: April 9, 2008

1. What interaction with an animal and/or nature in your life has had the biggest impact on you?

I've had many animals come and go in my lifetime. A couple of the most memorable include a baby skunk we raised when I was 5 (its mother was hit by a car) and when I worked at the zoo in Watertown, the staff took turns taking home and caring for a baby porcupine. That was a very sticky situation, but caring for that noisy critter during night feedings gave me a wee glimpse into those nights where I'd be up with my own babies.

2. Did you have a favorite place in the great outdoors during your childhood?

My family owned a summer home near the Adirondacks that was also near our great uncle's farm. We spent most of our summers there catching frogs in the pond, building lean-tos with left-over branches while Dad cut wood in the forest, and early springs gathering sap with Uncle Fred to boil down for syrup. Most of my appreciation for nature stemmed from those early experiences... from birth.

Now? Now my husband and I live on a farm with our own sugarbush and fields and rivers to play in. We are so glad that our children can have those same opportunities as we did growing up to get outside and explore... and work a little too.

3. As a former zookeeper, I would love to know what your favorite animal is and why?

My favorite animal is the common loon. I love being by an Adirondack lake and hearing the eerie love songs from this majestic bird as they echo across the waters.

4. What do you think is the greatest environmental challenge facing us now, and what do you think will be the greatest challenge in the future?

I have to follow in Richard Louv's shoes on this question and say the greatest challenge is nature deficit disorder. We cannot even begin to touch some of the more pronounced problems like global warming or cures for diseases if today's teens and children, our future scientists, aren't connected to their roots. They need to understand and appreciate our rich God-given resources.

5. If you could give one piece of advice regarding the environment and our natural resources, what would it be?

Get out and PLAY! And get your children out to play!

Dr. Linda Olsvig-Whittaker

Coordinator of Scientific Data - Israel Nature and Parks Authority

Today’s Date: 9 April 2008

1. What interaction with an animal and/or nature in your life has had the biggest impact on you?

Weekend hikes with my father while growing up; they made a naturalist of me.

2. Did you have a favorite place in the great outdoors during your childhood?

Forest in general, wherever I happened to be. There were various state parks in my area, as well as woodlots.

Now? Still forest, but we don’t' have much in Israel. The Nahal Sorek nature reserve near my home is probably my favorite. Since it took the sewage of Jerusalem until about ten years ago, the canyon was never developed. Today it is the closest natural area to my home, and it does have riverine forest.

3. As a former zookeeper, I would love to know what your favorite animal is and why?

Cats, probably. I always had them. Now I have 15 of them. I am very good with animals, and especially with cats.

4. What do you think is the greatest environmental challenge facing us now, and what do you think will be the greatest challenge in the future?

1. Now: overpopulation. 2. Later: overpopulation.

5. If you could give one piece of advice regarding the environment and our natural resources, what would it be?

Don't have more than two kids. One is preferable.

Malcolm J. Brenner

Eyes Open Media

Today’s Date: April 8, 2008

1. What interaction with an animal and/or nature in your life has had the biggest impact on you?

Undoubtedly, it was communicating with, being courted by, and ultimately making love with, a female bottlenose dolphin when I was a college student in the early 1970's. I wish I could say the story had a happy ending, but it didn't.

2. Did you have a favorite place in the great outdoors during your childhood?

Yes. I grew up in Red Bank, New Jersey. In the scrubland woods nearby there was an odd little mound with a sapling growing out of it, and wrapped around the sapling, like a constrictor snake, was a thick vine. The kids called it "Snaky Hollow," and it was reputed to be a place of mystery and magic. It inspired me to write a screenplay (unproduced).

Now? I like it where I live, in a mostly-undeveloped part of southwest Florida. When I lived in the southwest (1992-2002) the most awesome place was the volcanic pinnacle of Shiprock (Tsé-bit-A'i) on the Navajo Nation.

3. As a former zookeeper, I would love to know what your favorite animal is and why?

See (1) above. Dolphins are the only other animal I have found that can relate to us on an equal footing.

4. What do you think is the greatest environmental challenge facing us now, and what do you think will be the greatest challenge in the future?

Now: reducing the human population before we do irreparable damage to the ecosystem. In the future: preventing asteroid impacts. They can f*@k up things worse in one millisecond than we can in 1,000 years.

5. If you could give one piece of advice regarding the environment and our natural resources, what would it be?

Live your life as if your great-grandchildren's lives will depend on everything you do today. Or, as the Navajos say, "Consider the results of your actions unto the seventh generation."

Mandy Heales

Project Officer - Environmental Protection Agency (Queensland Australia)

Today’s Date: 9 April 2008

1. What interaction with an animal and/or nature in your life has had the biggest impact on you?

As a 15 year old (1986) on a year long trip around Australia with my family we took part in a guided walk at Kakadu National Park. While I don’t remember many specifics now as it was so long ago, I remember that we had to write a short poem about something around us. I still carry the poem I wrote around in my wallet to this day. This experience inspired me so much I ended up becoming a ranger and have worked in this field ever since.

2. Did you have a favorite place in the great outdoors during your childhood?

We would go camping to a small town called 1770 (on the Queensland coast) every year. We would camp on the waters edge and as kids would beachcomb all day long. It is unfortunately much more developed now.

Now? The Amity and Moreton Banks in Moreton Bay (adjacent to Brisbane – capital of Queensland)

3. As a former zookeeper, I would love to know what your favorite animal is and why?

Loggerhead turtle. I have been fortunate enough to work with these animals and have had experiences with them from hatchlings through to adults. I am in awe of their resilience in the face of what we humans throw at them and into their oceans.

4. What do you think is the greatest environmental challenge facing us now, and what do you think will be the greatest challenge in the future?

Greatest environmental challenge is communicating with people in a way that will inspire them to want to improve how they interact with and and impact on the earth.

Greatest environmental challenge in the future will probably be managing the effects of climate change.

5. If you could give one piece of advice regarding the environment and our natural resources, what would it be?

We only have one earth – look after it and we look after each other.

Colleen E. Boyd

Assistant Professor/ Director of Native American Studies Minor Program – Department of Anthropology, Ball State University

Today’s Date: April 8, 2008

1. What interaction with an animal and/or nature in your life has had the biggest impact on you?

In 5th grade I spent a week taking horseback riding lessons through Camp Fire Girls. It was life-changing in that I learned to work with, and communicate with, a large and potentially frightening animal. I have been 'in love' with horses ever since!

2. Did you have a favorite place in the great outdoors during your childhood?

Several - I grew up in the Pacific Northwest - I always loved the beach and living in Seattle, it was never far away. I also spent a great deal of time in the summers swimming in Lake Washington. I loved Carkeek Park (on Puget Sound) and Whidbey Island, where we rented a cabin in the summers when I was very small.

Now? The Olympic Peninsula where I do fieldwork is at the top of a fairly long list that now also includes the Eastern Woodlands - I love the hardwood forests I have come to know living east of the Mississippi River.

3. As a former zookeeper, I would love to know what your favorite animal is and why?

Horses (see above) and apes and monkeys (anthropologist, what can I say?) Sea mammals of all sorts (see above) and I am a serious cat person with tons of love left over for dogs.

4. What do you think is the greatest environmental challenge facing us now, and what do you think will be the greatest challenge in the future?

The threat of pollutants to lands, wetlands and salt and freshwater. I work with traditional salmon fishers and I actually cry thinking about the loss of marine resources. Probably global warming is on that same list.

5. If you could give one piece of advice regarding the environment and our natural resources, what would it be?

Love it or give it back to indigenous people. And by that I mean quit thinking and acting in the short term - imagine what you want your descendents to see 100 or 1,000 years from now.

Ellen Blackstone

Private Citizen

Today’s Date: April 8, 2008

1. What interaction with an animal and/or nature in your life has had the biggest impact on you?

It was pretty subtle, but when I was eight, I looked into the neighbor's wooded yard and spotted what I found to be an Ovenbird, passing through on its migration. That yard was a treasure trove for the next few days. And my family and I became engaged in birding as a result of that. My work is all about birds. And my father went on to have a bluebird trail of more than 50 boxes, when the concept was just getting started. He also read "Silent Spring" when it was first published and got all over his congresspeople to do something about it.)

2. Did you have a favorite place in the great outdoors during your childhood?

I birded with my family in a lovely wooded area in Southwestern Iowa. We called it -- and I still do, 50-odd years later! -- "Birdy Paradise." [As opposed to "Birdy Haven," which was out the other direction from town and not *quite* so birdy.]

Now? I love raptors, so it's hard to beat "the west 90," a winter raptor paradise about 60 miles north of Seattle. It's near the mouth of the Skagit River, where Snow Geese and Bald Eagles abound. Over the pasture and dikes, Rough-legs, Northern Harriers, Short-eared Owls, maybe five species of falcon (six, the year the Eurasian Kestrel showed up!), and the usual suspects hang out. [This is, of course, on the days when I can't get to the Carera Biological Reserve in western Costa Rica!]

3. As a former zookeeper, I would love to know what your favorite animal is and why?

I'll avoid the usual warm and furry ones and go with a bird...

1--Peregrines are my favorite raptors, because they're so agile and fast and look so fierce, but they can look so ... almost *sweet* when they're on eggs, turning them around so carefully.

2--Hard to beat parrots, especially African Greys, but even down to the basic budgie.

And crows are about as entertaining as they get! (Raven-cousins, too.)

4. What do you think is the greatest environmental challenge facing us now, and what do you think will be the greatest challenge in the future?

In spite of global warming and overuse and abuse of most of our natural resources, we aren't *growing* future environmentalists. I hate to whine "What's the matter with kids today?" because it's not their fault. But we do need to get those kids outdoors so they learn to understand and love it. Otherwise, they won't bother to protect it in the future. They don't know what they're missing now, and they don't understand what they are losing.

5. If you could give one piece of advice regarding the environment and our natural resources, what would it be?

Take your children outdoors, and teach them to love and respect the natural world, not be afraid of it.

Mark Freeman

Clemson University grad student, non-traditional-aged

Today’s Date: April 8, 2008

1. What interaction with an animal and/or nature in your life has had the biggest impact on you?

Hooded Warbler. I was always interested in birds since a child, but when I was in my 30's a friend showed me a Hooded Warbler thru binoculars and it started my true "birding career". It planted the seed that pushed me back into pursuing a career protecting birds and other wildlife. It forced me to take action and work hard to leave an unfulfilled career path and return to school. At 44 I am currently working towards a Masters degree in wildlife biology.

2. Did you have a favorite place in the great outdoors during your childhood?

The longleaf/palmetto woods near my house in Clearwater, FL and the numerous ponds, wetlands of Clearwater, Tampa Bay area.

Now? Many spots in GA and SC. The state botanical gardens of both; Jekyll Island, GA; and the county roads of my home in Oconee County, GA

3. As a former zookeeper, I would love to know what your favorite animal is and why?

When I was a child I was drawn to birds of prey, especially the Bald Eagle and Peregrine Falcon. For their strength, speed, and simple beauty. I don't really have a true favorite today.

4. What do you think is the greatest environmental challenge facing us now, and what do you think will be the greatest challenge in the future?

Overpopulation globally, and here in the USA overconsumption, unnecessary waste. Americans are trained by the media, the advertising moguls, and the so-called leaders of the country to be wasteful (buy, discard, repeat). I truly believe this. People can get by with so much less, yet are brainwashed into wanting everything and replacing everything every few years. Just look at our curbsides on trash day...

5. If you could give one piece of advice regarding the environment and our natural resources, what would it be?

Pick one: Try to get by with less STUFF! Re-use what you can. Park once at a strip mall and WALK to the different stores. Bring your own grocery bags, bring your own drink cup. Compost.

Sarita Mehra

Secretary, Rajputana Society of Natural History (RSNH)

Today’s Date: April 8, 2008

1. What interaction with an animal and/or nature in your life has had the biggest impact on you?

The power of natural streams has great impact on me.

2. Did you have a favorite place in the great outdoors during your childhood?

Mount Abu, Sirohi, Rajasthan, India

Now? Northeast India

3. As a former zookeeper, I would love to know what your favorite animal is and why?

Birds in general, especially Green Avadavat. It is interesting to observe their behavioural activities.

4. What do you think is the greatest environmental challenge facing us now, and what do you think will be the greatest challenge in the future?

Habitat alteration as well as changing climatic condition. Increase in the frequency of the natural disasters.

5. If you could give one piece of advice regarding the environment and our natural resources, what would it be?

Sustainable development and sustainable use of natural resources.

Lou Fisher

Natural Resource Specialist, Broward County Environmental Protection & Growth Management

Today’s Date: April 8, 2008

1. What interaction with an animal and/or nature in your life has had the biggest impact on you?

NIGHT-TIME TAGGING NESTING SEA TURTLES ON THE BEACH

2. Did you have a favorite place in the great outdoors during your childhood?

YES, A LARGE SECOND/THIRD GROWTH FOREST AREA IN PENNSYLVANIA

Now? ANY AREA OF HEALTHY REEF IN THE CARRIBEAN AND WESTERN ATLANTIC

3. As a former zookeeper, I would love to know what your favorite animal is and why?

SIBERIAN TIGER – IT’S MY SIGN IN THE LUNAR ASTROLOGY

4. What do you think is the greatest environmental challenge facing us now, and what do you think will be the greatest challenge in the future?

PROVING OR DISPROVING THAT GLOBAL WARMING IS A SERIOUS ISSUE TO DEAL WITH AND MANAGING SEA LEVEL RISE IN THE COASTAL AREAS

5. If you could give one piece of advice regarding the environment and our natural resources, what would it be?

BE OPEN-MINDED REGARDING ALL ISSUES OF ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY EXAMINE THE SCIENCE BEING USED WITH KNOWLEDGEABLE SCRUTINY TO MAKE CRITICAL DECISIONS AND MAKE SURE TO EDUCATE THE MASSES REGARDING THAT SCIENCE!