Tuesday November 20, 2012 | 01:23 PM
Posted by Mike Tetreault

Living in Maine, where nature is a part of our lives, it’s easy to take our gifts for granted. So this week, I’m taking a moment to count my blessings and think about the reasons why I do what I do, and all the great people who make my work of conserving nature possible every day.

Each fall, I’m struck by how grateful I am for our seasons. As each one turns to the next, we cherish what has gone and can again be excited about what is emerging.

And I’m grateful for days at work when I get to see how much people really do care about the natural world.

I recently got a note and a gift from a nine year-old local boy. He wrote “Dear Nature Conservancy. Please try to help chimpanzees. Love, Ryan. PS I am a kid”. The note was written on construction paper with an illustration of two trees and a chimp. Enclosed was a one dollar bill. We are allocating the gift to the Tuugane project in Tanzania.   His donation - and those of a million people just like him, all over the globe - make my work possible and help to vindicate my faith in this world.

So, I asked my colleagues here at Fort Andross in Brunswick what makes them feel thankful this Thanksgiving. It’s been a great year for conservation in Maine, as we celebrated the completion of two iconic projects and worked with countless partners, old and new:

Tom Abello: I am thankful for Maine's voters who reaffirmed the State's commitment to our forests, rivers, streams and natural areas by passing the Land for Maine's Future bond at the polls on Nov. 6.

Tom Rumpf: I am thankful for the support of our donors and the hard work of many hands and voices around the state which helped us complete the Moosehead Forest Project this year – the largest contiguous easement in the United States.

Nancy Sferra: I’m thankful that our grandkids might once again walk through the forest under the shade of an American chestnut tree.

Kate Dempsey: I am thankful that I was able to watch, with my family and hundreds of partners, the Great Works Dam come down this summer. It showed me that our collective effort was worth every minute spent working to fulfill the Penobscot River Project's vision. And my kids loved those huge jack hammers! 

Geoffrey Smith: I am grateful there is a motivated group of fishermen willing to work with us to develop more selective and sustainable fishing practices despite the mounting economic and ecological challenges they face every day.

Rod Vogel: As an outdoor enthusiast and avid angler, I am thankful for the recent conservation success in the Moosehead Lake Region with over 400,000 acres conserved in partnership with the Conservancy, Forest Society of Maine and Appalachian Mountain Club. Every time that I fly fish in the area, I am comforted to know that such a vast amount of habitat has been conserved for people and nature.

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Mike Tetreault leads The Nature Conservancy in Maine, where he works with partners in conservation, government and community development to identify solutions which ensure that Maine's natural resources are available for people and for nature.

He holds a degree in environmental studies from Brown and a MS from the field naturalist program at the University of Vermont, and has studied resource management in Kenya, Mexico and throughout New England.

Tetreault started his career teaching wilderness leadership and environmental education, and has worked for The Nature Conservancy since 1998. He lives in Bath with his wife, their daughter and a menagerie of pets.


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