On Earth Day, celebrated every year on April 22, we asked Manomet staff and scientists to reflect on what amazes them the most about the Earth and its many forms of life, or to share their thoughts on their personal connection to nature and our planet. Their responses remind us that every day can feel like Earth Day if you take a moment in tap into nature.
Ready to soak up some inspiration and then feel the urge to head outdoors? Here are 14 moving and thought-provoking quotes from conservationists on our bond with our living world.
Eric Walsh: The thin layer in which life exists is both fragile and resilient; the earth does not need us, which is why we should care about it.
Lisa Schibley: I love that there are a million ways to “[do] nature.” Whether it’s planting native [plants] in our garden, submitting newts to “inat” [aka the iNaturalist smartphone app], filling our [bird] feeders, chasing those rarities, learning about migration on Zoom, exchanging ideas with colleagues, researching ecolodges in Colombia, or donating to conservation causes, there are so many ways to love, support, and participate in nature, and I love them all.
Nicolas Marchand: To me, nature is soothing, the perfect healer! [There’s] nothing better than to immerse in nature when you need some fixing… I do it a lot by immersing [myself] in the sea (by surfing all seasons), but going out to [any] natural environment also works perfectly for me!
Kim Goggin: Looking out over a sparkling sea or standing In the forest embraced with all that greenery… I’m at peace.
Emily Farr: I’m constantly amazed by the breadth and diversity of landscapes on the planet. I’m also in awe of the resilience of life–like sea-run river herring that return to rivers where they historically spawned as soon as barriers (like dams) are removed!
Mark Lafaver: One of the most interesting experiences I’ve had during my time working for Manomet is when I went to the Arctic with the field team and was so inspired by how LOUD the wilderness is when there is no human noise to distract us from what Earth is saying to us.
Andy Whitman: I am humbled in those moments with foresters and farmers when I realize how deeply we share a sense of wonder and passion for stewardship of the earth. I am inspired by those moments when I stumble into a small insight about the amazing complexity of nature and evolution: such as counting the number of hairs on a knuckle of a Pterostichus spp. ground beetle under a scope to identify its species, or being in a maple-beech forest in early summer and overwhelmed because I knew every bird call and song I heard and every tree and wildflower I saw.
Madison Fagant: [I love] how sunsets get more and more beautiful with each passing minute.
Molly Jacobs: For me, love of nature is about mystery and connection. In grad school, I fell in love with marine larvae–small, transparent, shimmering in rows of cilia… breathtakingly beautiful. They are still mysterious–too small for trackers or bands, they just disappear into the vast ocean and reappear when they settle or are rediscovered. Birds are the same way–delicate, bright-eyed, beautiful, and they disappear into the vast sky, only to reappear on the other side of the world a few weeks later. I love making connections that help explain the mysteries, that give us flashes of insight into what happens in the [seemingly] vast un-trackable ocean (or sky).
Arne Lesterhuis: The earth is populated by such a great diversity of life, and although we as humans tend to separate ourselves from it, I always smile when I see a pair of lapwings standing in the shade of a tree on a hot day, just like humans. So much diversity, but we are all connected by the main elements that rule the earth.
Alan Kniedel: What fascinates me most about the Earth is how interconnected everything is. Whether it’s a plant coevolved with its pollinator, the boom/bust cycles of predator and prey, or migration routes and wind patterns.
Kat McAlpine: Whether on a remote forest path or windswept beach, or simply walking down my favorite tree-lined city streets, I feel the hum of nature and I recapture the perspective of how I’m inextricably connected to the infinite cycle of growth, exchange, and decay, and of energy, life, and information that is ceaselessly ebbing and flowing between all lifeforms. As I gaze at the night sky and contemplate the vastness of the universe, I am grateful for the unmatched human privilege and responsibility of being consciously aware of what a rare treasure this living, breathing planet is on the cosmic scale, and of seeking to act accordingly.
Evan Dalton: I most appreciate that the Earth is just one giant closed-system experiment. Every piece has a role to play.
Allie Hayser: What amazes me the most about Earth… its capacity to hold countless unique forms of life that depend on numerous specific needs and different processes from the Earth itself. Earth reminds me that I belong to something much bigger. We are so lucky to have the insight and ability to discover its mysteries. It’s so magical and beautiful how much of an effect we can have in such a short time. Some of my favorite ways to sense the Earth:
* Smells of old earth and clay * smells of flowering wildflowers * smells of fresh, foggy ocean mornings * smell of sunshine and grasslands *