Don Torino’s Life in the Meadowlands: The Spirit of the Eagle

Just as it has always happened since time immemorial, the seasons have changed, mornings have now become cold and crisp, and the final crimson and gold leaves have just about fallen to the ground. And now, like it always should have been, the Bald Eagle begins what it started eternities ago, patrolling the skies of New Jersey; fishing, hunting and soon raising its young as it did for eons past.

Growing up here in the Garden State and especially in the Meadowlands, the Bald Eagle was something we could only imagine and dream of – never could we ever dare to believe that one day we would see the Bald Eagle return here with the almost unimaginable success like it has today.

Don Torino and Chief Vincent Mann
Turtle Clan Chief- Ramapough Lunaape Nation

To try to explain those feelings and sentiments to the uninitiated is sometimes difficult. It is the symbol of who we are as conservationists and what we are about as caring human beings at our best, a living flying, breathing symbol of what we can accomplish when good people join together to do the right thing. And yet no matter who you are, where you grew up and or what age you may be, there is something about the Bald Eagle that stirs the inner soul , brings reality to the imagination and brings us some ancient inner peace in a place where things are as they should be.

For a few of us the return of the Bald Eagle means much more. Like my dear friend Chief Vincent Mann of the Great Ramapough Nation:

“When I see the Eagle many thoughts fill my spirit ….. For me this winged one allows me to be close to our Creator, the visions of soaring above all really gives me peace in a world that can be filled with so much destruction and hate.

“I often find myself taking flight with my brother the Eagle soaring through the clouds and making a perch on the tallest of trees looking out over Creation. This amazing winged one reminds me of whom we as humans are supposed to be, we should become a part of our nature respecting it and all that comes from it, taking only what we need to preserve the balance in the world as we know it….. Respect pride honor and humility are all things that I get from this magnificent creation, all values that for me allows me to be whom I was also created to be.”


Waapalaniwii Manutoow

(Eagle Spirit)

Chief Vincent Mann

Turtle Clan Chief- Ramapough Lunaape Nation

Almost 50 years ago the fight began to bring back the Bald Eagle from the brink of extinction. Laws like the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act helped bring us to where we are today. It is now up to all of us to make sure we honor the Bald Eagle and those people who dreamed enough and cared enough decades ago so that we can be blessed to see the Eagles return to New Jersey by protecting and preserving the Eagle and its habitat wherever this magnificent raptor graces the sky.

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