“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens
can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing
that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
Hello Riveredge Friends,
This much loved quote above has inspired countless impactful works that have indeed changed the world for the better. Yet, at the close of the 50th Birthday year of Riveredge Nature Center, there surely cannot be a more fitting summary of the collective effort which has been, and continues to create the impact of Riveredge.
Since 1968, so much has changed across the Riveredge landscape, and yet so much has stayed the same. Through it all, individuals coming together have been the driving force making a difference at Riveredge. On these last days of 2018, I ask you join with us to continue this collective impact in 2019 and beyond.
Just as in 1968, our world still needs nature centers and, I would argue, the need for this work is increasing daily. In 1975, Riveredge’s Board President wrote, “This (work) seems terribly important in an age when one can seriously foresee a walk through a forest as a walk through a plastic bubble.” In 2018, our world has appeared to strengthen the imaginary and real bubbles around us – separated from the natural world by our homes, our cars, our schools, our work places, and the alternative realities provided by technology. Traversing these barriers to invite nature into the lives our families, our neighbors, and our greater community is the work of Riveredge today.
If people are to become inspired to learn and care for the natural world, they must first discover and learn to enjoy it.
On these last days of Riveredge’s 50th birthday year, I leave you with words from Andy Larsen’s first newsletter article published in the autumn of 1969. Andy was the first Executive Director and Naturalist at Riveredge.
Being a part of this legacy of committed individuals changing the world at Riveredge is truly an honor. I hope you will join us as a committed member of the Riveredge Family. Alone, we can only do so much. Together, we are the thoughtful, committed citizens changing the world.
With great gratitude,
Jessica Jens, Executive Director
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Where are We Going
by Andy Larsen (1969)
“As Riveredge readies its facilities for schools and the public, our purposes and goals must be carefully examined.
Today, as never before, man’s existence is threatened by his very effect on his environment. I feel that the goal to which Riveredge must dedicate itself is the development of environmentally literate citizens.
An environmentally literate citizen can be defined as one who is able to recognize environmental problems and will take action to solve these problems. He must have a basic understanding of the relationships between man and his biological, geological and chemical environment.
Ecology, which might also be called environmental biology, is the foundation of the environmentally literate citizen and will be the basis for the programs conducted with groups using the nature center. Without this basic awareness and understanding of the bio-physical environment, one cannot recognize or anticipate breakdowns in environmental systems that might arise through the development of a new technology, a social or a polictical decision or an economic action.
Preparing people to make educated choices about the social, political and economic activities that affect the environment that maintains their lives must be a major purpose of education. It is this aspect of education that is called environmental education – or, perhaps, survival education.
The goal for Riveredge, then, is offering programs that will help develop the environmentally literate citizens that are needed if man is to survive. Riveredge will be a center for Environmental Education. The land is our starting point for learning those ecologic principles that direct our existence. Riveredge can provide the framework for many programs in Environmental Education for the greater Milwaukee area.”
– Andy Larsen, 1969
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