A guy from a distant galaxy walked into our office the other day. He said he wanted to sign up. He looked a little strange, but we didn’t flinch. We attend meetings of serious bird watchers—we’re hard to shock. “Sign up for what?” we asked.
“It’s Earth Day,” he said. “I want to join your land trust.”
“Okay,” we said. “That’s surprising, though. You’re from a different planet.”
“That’s why I’m here,” he explained. “My planet’s toast.”
It’s a challenge to look sympathetically into a three-eyed gaze, but we tried, and asked him, “What went wrong?”
“We didn’t know your mantra,” he said.
“‘Think globally, act locally.’ So smart.” He was a humble sort of alien. Down-to-earth.
“Excellent,” we said. “But do you really know what land trusts do?”
“Oh sure. I’ve looked at all your web sites.”
“Yes. It’s my job. I’m on a mission from my galaxy,” he said, waving his antennae. “Land trusts work with land owners and communities. You protect the basic natural resource. What your planet is made of.”
“So you know all about us?”
“Back home I give PowerPoint presentations about you. ‘What’s the good of land trusts?’ I ask ‘em. ‘Let’s count.’”
He held up his fingers, which were all thumbs, and he bent one backwards each time he made a point.
“First, think food. No land, no agriculture.”
“No farms, no beer,” we agreed, quoting one of our friends.
“Next, clean water. Nature gives you the good stuff. Land is what nature grows itself on. Wildlife is part of that picture—it would be a very lonely planet if yours was the only species.”
We hadn’t thought about it that way.
“And we’re talking health,” he continued, slamming back another thumb. “Mental and physical. You land trusts protect places for deep breathing and peaceful walking.”
“We call it ‘recreation’,” we told him.
“Ho hum,” he sneered, becoming less humble. “I have to keep my audiences awake. I tell them, ‘Hikers do it on the trail!’”
This embarrassed us, so we changed the subject. “Why did you pick this particular land trust?” we asked.
“We join ‘em all,” he explained. “If a town has a land trust, we’re in. And we like regional land trusts because your professional staffs get a lot done.”
“Thanks,” we told him. “We’re proud to be part of the overall effort.” We cut to the chase. “How much would you like to give?”
“We just kick in the basic contribution,” he said. “It’s a tough economy everywhere.”
We were satisfied. While he filled out our little form, we gave him a new member packet. “Would you like to subscribe to ‘Outdoors This Week
,?’” we asked. “That way you’ll always know what’s going on. It comes in your email. It’s free.”
“Yes!” he said. “You’ve got a great planet to go outdoors in. I hope you can keep it that way. Happy Earth Day!” With that, he rode off on his bicycle. It was the most excitement we’ve had since Rex Trailer stopped by.
Ron McAdow, Executive Director