by Sandra Messner, IFA Development Director
Writes an IFA friend named Sally: “My grandparents were the most influential people when it comes to inspiring my love of the forests. I spent many days in “Papa’s Woods.” I remember it was he who showed me my first trillium and my first bald eagle. My grandmother took me on picnics by the brook, and out to find ‘forest-foraged feasts’ of milkweed, cow slips, and wild asparagus. They took their five daughters on many hikes there, my mom included. My grandparents have been incredible examples to everyone in my family when it comes to reverence for the forests…establishing a nature preserve near their home, and just recently giving up canoe camping at the age of 82!”
Anyone who loves forests probably remembers when, and why, the love began. It’s fun to sit and think for a minute about our earliest experiences in the woods. The feeling of adventure, the miracle of so many kinds of life, and the people we shared the adventure with.
“These experiences [hikes and wildlife sightings and picnics and campouts] are in our blood,” says IFA Executive Director Jeff Stant. And as we recall our own histories of our love for forests, we start to feel grateful. Not only for the forests themselves, but for what they mean in our lives.
“Thankful for Forests” is the theme of IFA’s year-end giving campaign. You’re invited to:
–tell us the story of why you love forests, and how you came to love them (click here to write your story)
—make a donation to IFA in the name of the person who exposed you to the pleasures of the forest — be it backpacking, hunting, hiking, foraging or just daydreaming. Include their name in the “comments” field and we’ll publish it in our printed newsletter, Forest Defender. A recurring gift — even just $5 a month — is a great way to help.
Another story, from IFA member Josh: “I’ve been hiking Scarce O’ Fat Trail in Yellowwood State Forest for 25 years, and wanted to give something back so others can experience its wonder and natural beauty.”
When you give to IFA, your money goes to work mobilizing groups around the state to protect their local public forests, engaging scientists to study forest wildlife such as the state endangered hellbender salamander, and inspiring people with events like the Wild & Scenic Film Festival (set for February 17).
It’s the time of year to say so: all of us at the Indiana Forest Alliance are grateful for our enthusiastic members, vigilant activists, committed volunteers and generous sponsors and grantors.
It goes without saying that we’re also grateful for the forests themselves. The history they hold, their bounty and resilience, their majesty.
The Indiana Forest Alliance will keep our watch over them, with your support. Thank you!