Nature Connects

Welcome and thank you for taking an interest in ‘Voices of a Flyway’! We’re very honored to have your attention and your eyes and ears for the duration of this project.

We’re hopeful that the sights, sounds, and stories that we bring to you throughout this project cause you to seriously consider your personal relationship with, and impact on, the natural world, as well as your connection with your fellow Americans.

What might this look like? Well, from a nature perspective, it might be that you find yourself spending more time outdoors. Or maybe you’re already outdoors a lot, but now you pay more attention to the details around you, such as the myriad of bird species that make their way through your backyard each year, the sights and sounds of the seasons, or the differences in the plant and animal communities in the places you travel. You might even end up joining a conservation-minded or environmental group to help protect these new discoveries, or the things you’ve always held dear.

From a human perspective, we hope our work reveals three things. The first is how our actions impact the natural world. Quite simply, there’s very little we do on this planet that doesn’t cause strain. Because of this, species have gone extinct, ecosystems are disappearing, and the climate is changing. We don’t point this out to place blame or make you feel guilty. We point it out to remind us all: we can and must do better from now on. With just a little effort, sacrifice, and cooperation from everyone, we can enact positive environmental change that fosters sustainable lifestyles and lessens our impact on the planet.

Secondly, we hope to illuminate how harm to the natural world affects us all. There isn’t a single person on this planet who hasn’t been or won’t be affected by these changes. And unfortunately, some groups feel this impact way more than others. Additionally, we all need clean air, clean water, quality food, and access to natural spaces to lead more fulfilling and healthier lives. Without a healthy planet, we can’t achieve these things. We all deserve access to these basic rights for ourselves and for future generations without overburdening specific groups of people or imperiling the planet.

Finally, we seek to heal a divide in this country in how we talk about this issue. The vast majority of our impact isn’t caused by individuals, but rather industrial groups. Yes, we absolutely need these groups for goods, services, and jobs. However, it’s critical to remember that their impact far outweighs that of individuals. We need to embrace this fact so we can stop blaming each other, heal the divide between neighbors, and unite together in demanding that the cost of our existence be lessened by responsible, ethical, and forward-thinking industrial practices that are economically feasible at a level that prioritizes the environment and human well-being.

For the duration of this project, we will work to accomplish these goals. This blog will be a space where you can check in on our progress and get connected to the story yourself. We will do our best to post at least once a week while on the road, including photos of the places we visit, sounds of migrating birds as they navigate ecosystems along the Mississippi Flyway, and stories of the people living beside them. After field work is over, we’ll also provide updates about the status of our podcast, story map, and speaking tour.

We’ll also update our Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook pages frequently, so be sure to check them out @flywayvoices. You can follow them all, as well as this blog, by clicking the links on our homepage.

Finally, throughout our work, feel free to share your own interactions with nature, stories of the changes in nature you’ve noticed, and how these changes have impacted you. Make sure to tag us in your posts, while also using our official project hashtag, #natureconnects. By joining in, you’ll help accomplish our mission, while building a more understanding and connected community.

See you on the road in April!