Karner Blue Butterfly . Photo credit: Susan Beckhardt
In the workshop about the restoration of the American Chestnut that I taught a couple weeks ago, I asked everyone:
What do YOU dream and wish for the ecosystems you belong to?
Can you fully imagine it? What would it be like to BE there, with all your senses?
Those of you there in the workshop gave some really beautiful answers. A couple people gave me specific permission to share their dreams.
I imagined being a person in the future, walking through the forest and coming to my favorite sit spot at the roots of an old-growth American Chestnut Tree that was planted during the Great Chestnut Restoration back in the 2020s. I imagine seeing all the branches high above me and the light coming through the leaves. I wonder what the bark of a mature Chestnut tree feels like. And what is it like to rest under the shade of the Chestnut tree? I imagined the excitement of the yearly event to gather the Chestnuts. I wonder if people will go Chestnut-picking with their families the same way we go apple picking (although we will have to watch out for the spikes!)
“My dream is that when you turn on the news, we’re regularly talking about the battle to rescue our endangered species. Wherever we are, we talk about the local ones. Maybe we share national victories. We’ll be talking about restoration efforts that are underway here in the San Francisco Bay Area and how to get involved. And then we’ll say “In other news, across the coast we’d heard about the American Chestnut as being a dead dream but it is coming back to life. And we’ll talk about how the Chestnut is now flourishing again in the forests. So let’s cheer on our East Coast restorationists.” Or maybe we’ll talk about a new endangered species discovered in the Southwest and what it will take to protect it. So this becomes news that we talk about regularly as a society and that we become aware of, with regular pathways for getting involved, so people don’t think of this as something that the young and ideal do, but it’s something that anybody can and should be doing, to the point that it becomes a matter of national responsibility. Wherever we are. And the conversation goes beyond endangered species to endangered ecosystems.”
“I dream of walking through the Albany Pine Bush, and there are just clouds and clouds of Karner Blue Butterflies. They’re very very tiny, and they used to be abundant. There are stories of people walking through during that window of time in May when they come out and there are just CLOUDS of them coming up from everywhere you go. I hope we get back to that point. Rebecca, I know you had the job where you count them …. I dream of being at the point where nobody could POSSIBLY count them. All you can do is say “Here the air is 100% full of them. Here the air is 90% full of them.” You can only do that. Because it’s just impossible. And all the other cool bugs and interesting things that grow there. And people valuing our species and ecosystems as much as other things they value.”
Photo Credit: Susan Beckhardt
Watch the full workshop recording to follow along with the prompts for yourself and hear more participant responses.
By the way, have you heard this song “Dreamers” from the 2022 FIFA World Cup Official Soundtrack? I heard it recently, and it feels so relevant to what we’re doing here.
🎵 “Look who we are, we are the dreamers.
We make it happen ‘cause we can see it.” 🎵
What is YOUR dream for the future?
How can you create space to let yourself imagine?
I'd love to hear about it. I invite you to leave a comment below!
Until next time,
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