Back to Nature

It’s been said that I focus too much on nature in this magazine. That may be true, but I think deep down most people feel better when they “get back to nature” in some way, shape or form.

I spoke with a freelance writer recently, telling him about a camping trip that my family and I took. We like to hike and kayak, and basically get back in touch with the flora and fauna around us. He said, “Boy, you really do live what you write about.” I guess I do, because as I look through this issue, most of the subject matter relates to nature.

Speaking of which, I am hearing about more and more “going green” success stories, from corporate America on down to the average American family. Read about the ecovillage wave (“EcoVillage at Ithaca: A Community Bound by Ideals,” page 42) and the ways that residents of a local ecovillage work very hard to conserve and preserve. A community such as this serves as an example of how people can live their lives to make better use of what they receive every day from nature. They harness energy through both wind and solar power, rainwater is recycled for specific domestic needs, gardens are major operations that feed the residents of the village, and vehicles powered by human energy are used as much as possible.

A major symbol of the natural world is making a comeback (“From the Brink of Extinction,” page 58). The population of the bald eagle has grown in this state, resulting in 158 pairs of nesting birds today. A fair share of them are here in the Finger Lakes. Efforts throughout the lower 48 states to strengthen the numbers of bald eagles have been successful, showing that we can preserve natural beauty without sacrificing the necessities of our daily lives.

Yet the preservation of the environment versus the progress of the American people is always a topic of much discussion. To me, it isn’t as simple as preserving everything and the heck with progress. There is a fine line that we all must walk between the two. It’s possible; it just takes some common sense and a little bit of discipline.

While I still have some space to write, I have to mention three very important items. The first is to announce the call for entries for the Life in the Finger Lakes annual photo contest. The deadline is September 30. Please turn to page 73 or visit for details.

Second, we now have an archive of articles from our past issues, going all the way back to our very first edition. They are text only, and searchable by keyword so that you can easily and quickly reference a variety of topics.

Third, by the time you get the Winter 2008 issue we’ll be featuring coupons on our website offered by advertisers in our magazine. Be sure to visit to take advantage of these very special deals, offered exclusively to Life in the Finger Lakes readers.

by Mark Stash

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