November 1, 2017: TRUST

~by Susi Pittman


Trust is the firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. That being said, I would like to recommend a group that deserves our support and trust. The Wildlife Land Trust is a group that should be at the top of every good steward’s radar. It is all about caring for creation naturally & responsibly, with both human and non-human species considered in the process and outcome. It is a conservation group that works to celebrate and protect wild animals by creating permanent sanctuaries, preserving and enhancing natural habitat and confronting cruelty. Land owners who have property that provide valuable wildlife habitat know that such lands are rapidly disappearing to development and other exploitative uses. Permanent protection of both land and wildlife is possible and that is what the Wildlife Land Trust enables landowners to achieve.

A case in point is the Bartram Trail. Here in Florida, located along the St. Johns River in St. John County, Florida, there is a highway that runs along the Bartram Trail which has been designated as one of the State of Florida’s “scenic highways.” It is hundreds of acres of old oaks, river views and wild flora and fauna offering a taste of old Florida complete with flowing Spanish moss blowing in the cool river breezes. There have been landowners with land that is adjacent to this historical trail who have made sure that the natural experience of what the Trail brings will be protected by donating their land to the Wildlife Land Trust. Some of these lands are beautiful parks offering an immersion into the truly pristine wilderness of Florida.

William Bartram, born 1739, was America’s first native born naturalist who journeyed into the Southeastern United States (before the United States existed) keeping a journal of the 18thcentury southern natural environment both written and artistically captured. The Bartram Trail runs from the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains to Florida and from Louisiana to the South Carolina shoreline.

On the State Road 13 in Florida, there stands a monument with a quote from William Bartram, one that truly sums up the spirit of the man. It reads:

“My chief happiness consisted in tracing and admiring, the infinite power, majesty and perfection of the Creator.” (William Bartram Traced 1773-1777 Deep South Region)

I find that quote to be especially poignant to me as founder of this web site. I can absolutely relate to Bartram’s exhortation and admiration. Many times in my life, I have sought the uncommon trail and lingered in majestic natural sanctuaries just to draw near to the Creator. Today, Florida is seeing massive growth in new housing developments. In spite of these developments, we are seeing more and more land owners step forward to place their lands in the Wildlife Land Trust. This is helping to nsure that wildlife neighbors like deer, turkey, bobcats, otters, rabbits, possums and raccoons, black bear, coyotes, water birds, indigenous plants and trees and their surrounding habitat can remain intact and protected.

Please support the Wildlife Land Trust and help to keep our natural spaces available to the next generation of stewards. Learn more about William Bartram, mentor to the first generation of America’s naturalists. He respected creation in true Christian stewardship. Maybe we could all take a lesson from his walks through the South, acknowledging God in all that he saw, conveying in artistic beauty and eloquent words his affirmation of love for the Creator.

READ: John and William Bartram: Travelers in Early America

Taking a close look at the lives and adventures of two of America’s first botanists, this account chronicles the lives of the father-and-son team composed of John and William Bartram. It relates John’s role as a peer of George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, among others, and the visits that these men paid to him at his botanical garden.

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Susi Pittman is founder of CatholicStewardsofCreation.com and Owner-President of Twin Oaks Publishing; she is author of Animals in Heaven? Catholics Want to Know!; a member of the St. John’ s Catholic Writers Guild;
a member of the Florida Publishers Association, Independent Book Publishers Association, the National Association of Professional Women, the ASPCA, the National Wildlife Federation, the Humane Society of the United States and the National Audubon society.

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