My appreciation for nature was triggered early in my life roaming my grandparents’ blackland prairie farms and pastures in south central Texas. As a child, coming across rocks, fossils, spiders, birds, bugs, snakes, and scat was a normal part of weekends and summers, and my family encouraged appreciation of the bigger world that surrounds us.
When my husband and I had our own children, we found ourselves spending our free time doing pretty much the same thing all over Texas and beyond. We have hiked the Chisos and Guadalupe Mountains in West Texas, gone swimming in Lake Amistad along the border, played in the sand dunes of Padre Island, floated Village Creek in the Big Thicket, and biked the Mission Trail along the San Antonio River. When we hike, I’m usually the one bringing up the rear because I like to see my family in front of me as I take pictures of all the flowers, plants, and rocks along the trail.
These places give my family the stories we will share for years to come and they keep me a student throughout my life. What kind of rock is this? Is that a dog or coyote print? Why is this fossil in this particular place? There is an amazing and beautiful world all around us, and I know there would be a big hole in my life if I did not make room for it.
When TLC asked me the question “Why Nature?” two things came to mind. Nature is family, and nature is learning. I hope we can all work together to make sure these experiences are available for everyone for generations to come.
Lauren Kalisek has been a TLC member since October 2016. She is a Monthly Steward and Ned Fritz Society Member.