“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” – Rachel Carson, Silent Spring
There’s no doubt this summer has looked different for many across the world. Not only has COVID-19 impacted our everyday lives in some way, but it has also posed a threat to conservation efforts globally, ranging from reduction in management capacity and effectiveness, and budgets and staffing cuts which may sometimes result in an increase of illegal activities like poaching and unregulated logging.
It is in these unprecedented times that we often turn to nature to find solace, hope and even newfound inspiration. For some, that might mean venturing out on the trails at a nearby national park. For others, perhaps it’s a quick stroll around your block.
During this pandemic, I can personally attribute much of my sanity to simply getting outside when possible. I’ve found calm and positivity on long walks, revitalized by the fresh air and endorphins. I’ve also found promise and strength in the sounds of nature, from the chirping of birds to the churning of the Potomac.
But our access to nature, as well as the physical and mental benefits we reap from it, are dependent on numerous variables, with climate change being a major factor. As recent as this July, Washington D.C. broke the record for most 90-degree days in a month, which made it difficult for many in this area (including myself!) to take pleasure in the outdoors for an extended period of time.
Regardless of your nature experience, one thing remains true: we must recognize that nature is a part of us, and come together to champion Earth’s conservation not only for our personal well being, but also for the well being of global communities and future generations.
That’s why The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is proud to be a part of the Grow Together initiative, which is a collective movement meant to celebrate the power of our beloved natural spaces and create positive change for the planet.
Here are 3 actions you can take to make an impact today:
Give: Visit growXtogether.com to make a simple $15 donation. The choice is yours: Plant trees! Clean a beach! Protect a nest! Support a local park! Create equitable access to the outdoors! Whatever you choose, you’ll have an opportunity to support impactful organizations like TNC, Big City Mountaineers, Surfrider Foundation, Outdoor Afro, The Trust for Public Land, and Point Blue Conservation Science.
Explore: Download free STEM-based Junior Field Guides here, meant to inspire the next generation of nature lovers. Developed in partnership with KinderCare Education, these guides engage children ages 2-5 in nature learning activities. The best part? Your kiddos will earn a badge for each guide completed!
Share: Spread the word to friends and family by posting a #growXtogether pic of yourself in nature, standing as a force-multiplier for good.
If nothing else, I challenge you to take some time today to reflect on your personal connection to nature. I believe the more we illuminate our own connections and stories, the more motivation we’ll have to join together as the force of nature that’s needed to protect our planet.
Leah Kartun has worked in the nonprofit sector since 2015 and is currently a manager for The Nature Conservancy’s Cause Marketing & Brand Partnerships team, which develops authentic brand partnerships to engage and inspire consumers through tangible actions that can directly impact conservation work. A native of the Chicago suburbs, she lives in Northern Virginia where you’ll usually find her outdoors or researching new sustainable recipes. To learn more about the impactful work TNC is doing globally, please visit nature.org.
1 “Ensuring the resilience of protected and conserved areas in the wake of COVID-19,” Nature.org, April 28, 2020.
2 Livingston, Ian. “Washington breaks record for most 90-degree days in a month,” The Washington Post, July 28, 2020. Accessed August 16, 2020: