I have been known to occasionally get a bit sappy about water…and with good reason. I feel that I owe my passion for the environment, and for water specifically, to experiences and people that were part of my life as a young boy. My father, uncles and grandfather all took the time to take me out fishing. I still remember my anticipation for these trips-I often would not be able to fall asleep the night before, with so much excitement about the trip the next day. As I got older, I spent more and more time by myself in the woods behind our house, where we had a small stream and a pond. This place was a secluded paradise for me where I spent countless hours fishing, building forts, camping, and contemplating. Everything revolved around water; if I was not in it, I was near it.
These early experiences had major impacts on the person that I am today, and the activities that I like to do outside of work. Several of us made a trip to EPA in Boston yesterday, and I commented that I couldn’t imagine raising children in a big city like Boston or New York. I know that there are many advantages to living in the city. However, for me, the thought of not being able to walk out my back door and be close to nature makes me feel like I am in a room with no air. My time on the water, in the garden, or in the woods is essential to me.
Although my daughter is not really into fishing (believe me I have tried!), I get her immersed in nature in other ways. I recently took my two nephews fishing, in an effort to do for them what people in my family did for me. It was a beautiful spring morning, and we fished several secluded streams in eastern Connecticut. I hope that they got some sense of the amazing beauty all around us, like the sights and sounds of returning migratory birds, new vegetation, and of course a few fish! Seeing their excitement when they landed their fish was priceless to me.
We are all busy, and day-to-day life sometimes takes over. But I encourage all of us who have children in our lives to take some time and get them doing something outdoors, to connect them to the natural world. You never know what future impacts this might have on that person, or on the planet as a whole.