When I began teaching environmental biology (1964) it seemed prudent to join The Audubon Society. The society was formed in 1905 probably inspired by John Muir’s creation of the Sierra Club in 1892. The membership included a monthly magazine that contained stunning Nature photos and relevant current event articles. At the beginning of each issue, the editors included: “A Statement of Audubon Philosophy.”
- We believe in the wisdom of Nature’s design.
- We know that soil, water, plants and wild creatures depend on each other and are vital to human life.
- We recognize that each living thing links to many others in the chain of nature.
- We believe that persistent research into the intricate patterns of outdoor life will help to assure wise use of Earth’s abundance.
- We condemn no wild creature and work to assure that no living species shall be lost.
- We believe that every generation should be able to experience spiritual and physical refreshment in places where primitive nature is undisturbed.
- So we will be vigilant to protect wilderness areas, refuges, and parks and to encourage good use of nature’s storehouse of resources.
- We dedicate ourselves to the pleasant task of opening the eyes of young and old that all may come to enjoy the beauty of the outdoor world and share in conserving its wonders forever.
– Audubon: March 1954
It is no wonder that the opening line of “The Audubon Philosophy” became part of the title and foundation that The Biodesign Class was built on.
Although I knew the steps by heart, my relationship with “step 6” was purely intellectual and definitely not soul-stirring. That all changed in 1972 when Lettie asked her fateful question (Biodesign Out For A Walk, Page 2) which led to meeting John Muir and hundreds of Naturalists, saints, sinners, sages and poets who were seeking a spirit-filled life.
My relationship with students was not unilateral, but reciprocal. I was supremely blessed to see Yosemite, Grand Canyon and California’s Mendocino Coast through the eyes of over 700 students. Mother Nature may have been opening their eyes and in turn, they were opening mine.
This is exactly what the Audubon Society was promoting and it was an honor to identify with and represent their philosophy.