An Expression of Feelings

John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge

A few weeks have passed and our nation is still hurting and our hearts are heavy! How do you make sense of everything?

The confusion and unsettled nature of what’s happening in our communities of color is frightening! The unspeakable thought of losing our loved ones to criminal acts continues to plague us. I’m struggling to make sense of all that has transpired recently in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, St. Paul, Minnesota and Dallas, Texas. President Obama said it best at the memorial for the fallen Dallas police officers, “we all know racial bias.” The question is how are we as a nation going to move forward to find solutions that are inclusive and respectful of the cultural and ethnic differences that make up the very fabric we call America.


As we look for solace from all the strife and injustice, let’s not forget the small wonders of Mother Nature. People and nature can thrive together – and nature can help bring people together. Many may not be aware that within an hour’s drive of most major metropolitan areas in our nation, there is an urban wildlife refuge. Philadelphia, for instance, has been home to an urban refuge since 1972 — John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum. This green oasis has a long history of connecting people with nature. From walkable trails to canoeing and fishing along the Darby Creek to just providing a place to enjoy the wide variety of wildlife, wildflowers and plants, urban refuges such as John Heinz and many other wildlife refuges around our nation can offer a place of healing and tranquility.

John HeinzI feel quite fortunate to have joined the National Wildlife Refuge Association, the only nonprofit that’s dedicated to promoting and protecting the world’s largest wildlife conservation network, the National Wildlife Refuge System; and to have the chance to explore and share with others the benefits these urban area wildlife refuges can bring to people and their communities. Even while we still grieve, we can come together in a way that’s not built around fear and distrust, but from a place of peace, love, empathy and understanding of one another!

Click here to learn about these urban area treasures.

Joy Blackwood is the Refuge Association’s Urban Wildlife Refuge Program Manager. If you have comments/questions she can be reached at jblackwood@refugeassociation.org or 202-577-3396.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.refugeassociation.org/2016/07/an-expression-of-feelings/

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