Don Torino’s Life in the Meadowlands: Taking Time for Some Thanks


Anyone who works, volunteers or cares about our environment knows how difficult it can be at times. One battle ends another continues and at times there are so many imminent issues that you cannot decide where to begin.

Unawareness, indifference and human greed towards the environment can make the most enthusiastic lover of the earth throw in the towel and look for another line of work. But many times, just when you think you’ve  just about had enough and it’s time to throw in the towel there is something special that happens, an experience that rises up to remind us we owe many people countless thanks for helping our environment.

Last week I had the great pleasure of visiting Benjamin Franklin Middle School in Teaneck. Teacher Jessie Gorant has a Suburban Biodiversity Class and asked me to come in to give them a hand in creating a school landscape using more native plants. These wonderful students, intelligent, kind and ethnically diverse, had all their questions ready.

I could see how much they cared, heard it in their voice and could see it in their eyes. If I ever needed a reminder that there are more people than I think who care about the environment I got it loud and clear. And If I doubted there was a future generation that cared about our planet my doubts were soundly put to rest.

I left feeling renewed, revitalized and more than anything reminded I needed to thank so many people for the things we have today. So since it almost Thanksgiving I thought it would be  more than appropriate  to start giving thanks today .

I first need to thank the many incredible teachers like Jessie Gorant for bringing the love of nature to the next generation. To say they are our future is a great understatement so a big thank you to all of you great educators. Please keep it going!

I also owe thanks to the many people who work and care for our many local nature centers and parks. No matter if it’s a big or small preserve these good folks go above and beyond every day to make sure places like the  Meadowlands parks that we love so much are better places for both wildlife and people. Thank you,  you are very much appreciated.

I also want to thank the hardworking people from the NJ Dept. of Fish & Wildlife and the US Fish & Wildlife Service. These are the good people that helped bring the Bald Eagle, Osprey and Peregrine Falcon back from the brink of extinction.  Despite budget cuts and often unfriendly environmental regulations they continue to do their jobs helping to preserve open space and protect endangered species. They are always there when I call and need their help. Thanks for all you do!

And maybe more than anyone I need to thank the good people I know and the many more I have never met. These are the people who call their representatives, write letters and do what they can when our backs are against the wall. They volunteer to plant milkweed, create home wildlife gardens,help injured wildlife, take their children and grandchildren out for nature walks, and teach them about the beauty of a Cardinal and the joy of a Chickadee. Thank you to you all, the work you do is the most important, please keep it going we need you all.

This Thanksgiving I will take the time to thank the many people who do so much every day to help our environment. But make no mistake, on Friday, it will be time for all of us including myself to get back to work doing all that we can do.

2 thoughts on “Don Torino’s Life in the Meadowlands: Taking Time for Some Thanks

  1. Alice L

    Thank you! Thank you for your wonderful words, for sharing your enthusiasm and knowledge with so many, for all the hard work you do, and for calling those who care to action when needed!


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