This article was originally published in CREA’s Spring 2019 newsletter.
Baxter Worthing participated in CREA programs and year-long studies through high school; was an Environmental Youth Leader; helped guide our younger campers; then became a student Board member. We asked about the impact CREA has had in his life, and he responded:
“When people ask why I decided to become a biologist, I usually start the story with CREA.
When I was in high school, CREA gave me the first taste of applied ecology that got me hooked for life. Being a teenager is frustrating sometimes, and being a teenage environmentalist is even more frustrating. CREA helped quell this frustration by introducing me to people who shared my passion for the outdoors and by giving us opportunities to work together to enact real, positive change.
In hindsight, what made that change so positive was the fact that we were educating people from our own community and working to preserve an ecosystem mere miles from our own backyards. Through this experience, CREA taught me that, although the goals of conservation are often expressed in the context of positive change at the global scale, conservation is most effectively enacted at the local scale by people who have a genuine connection to the land they wish to preserve.
National Parks are great for people who have the means and ability to visit them, but smaller-scale, local protected areas allow a much wider range of people to fall in love with nature. What makes CREA extra special is its dedication to both conservation AND education, and CREA helped me understand that the former is impossible without the latter. That notion is what inspires me to continue to learn as much I can about the natural world.”