Heartland Outdoors: Through the Lens

There are Still Good Things and Good People

Friday, May 25

I will readily admit, I am getting battle weary. I also hear the weariness in many of my colleagues’ voices when it come to the issue du jour related to our IDNR.  We have grown weary of the problems facing our DNR, we have grown weary of seemingly endless list of issues and disappointments. We have grown weary of the general public’s overall lack of care and concern for our public lands and natural resources.  How can we teach folks to value our public lands if most of the time we are complaining?
In our quest to right the wrongs and to bring issues to light somewhere along the way we seem to have missed out on the good things that happen inside our DNR, the good people who work hard and love our natural resources.

It’s time to start changing up things – at least for me.

Almost daily I see IDNR staff people who are committed to doing the best job they can possibly do. Staff who go the extra mile to insure folks can have a safe and enjoyable outdoor experience on our public lands. These boots on the ground, frontline IDNR staff value our natural resources, value their assigned workplace, and take pride in their role in maintaining our public lands.

We should be celebrating these people, their actions, the small victories. We can’t let the problems within the system cloud our vision or color our outlook completely.
I think we’ve become so disappointed over time that we just assume it’s all bad when that truly isn’t the case.

Going forward – watch for posts from this crabby old gal about the good things that happen. The boots on the ground folks who still believe and work so hard. Let’s let go of some of the negative and start looking for some positive when it comes to Illinois public lands and natural resources.

Let’s start sharing why we love our public lands and natural resources so much and the good people who make that enjoyment possible.  Let’s start teaching people why it’s all so important and enjoyable instead of one constant refrain of gloom and doom shall we?

I don’t know about you Heartland friends, but I’m just tired of all the negativity in the outdoors these days and want to get back to the pure joy of it all.  How can we ever expect to recruit new hunters, new anglers, new outdoor lovers and expect them to come to value conservation, outdoor recreation, and our public lands if we only tell them what’s wrong with everything?

I challenge all of you in the Heartland Community to share something POSITIVE you see happening. It might be something as simple as a site tech that always makes time for visitors and helps them get the most out of a park visit.  Or perhaps a CPO that is always available to help someone learn to do things the right way. Maybe it’s just a small pollinator plot that’s been planted and is thriving and bringing lots of enjoyment to many.  Heck, even a site that always has spic and span clean bathrooms – (that is a positive you know!) The positive, good things and good people are out there!

When you head out to enjoy the outdoors this holiday weekend, look for those positives, look for those good people. Tell them thanks and job well done. Then come back here and tell us!

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