The Duke Farms mission is a simple one. It is to be a leader in environmental stewardship and inspires visitors to become informed stewards of the land. As an organization, we find ways to make this happen through education, public programs, visitor interaction, and demonstrating cutting-edge research in ecology and agriculture. On our 5 year anniversary, we take our organizational approach to the ground, and bring you the 5 ways that help us as individuals be stewards of the land, along with a couple wise words from five inspirational conservationists. You don’t have to be a scientist, an activist, or even an environmentalist—all you need is a desire to have a positive impact on the earth.
“Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away once in a while. Climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” –John Muir
- Open a map (or sure, Google Maps!) and find the closest unexplored green area. Is it a park? -a preserve? -conserved land? Take a stroll and get familiar with the local flora and fauna.
- Give up the screens and slow down! Take a moment to put up a hammock, lay on the grass, check out the clouds and listen to the natural sounds that are all around.
- There are others that care all around you. Attend local Environmental Commission Meetings, Shade Tree Commission Meetings, or public events. (http://www.anjec.org/)
”If we can teach people about wildlife, they will be touched… humans want to save things that they love.” –Steve Irwin
- Sign up for some programs that focus on environmental education! Duke Farms offers programs for people of all ages focusing on wildlife, agroecology, sustainability and horticulture. Find out more here: www.dukefarms.org/programs
- Stay up-to-date with the current state of the environment by reading reputable newspapers, blogs, and listening to podcasts. (Your daily commute is a perfect time to get into a new podcast. Need a suggestion? NPR’s “Radiolab” is the perfect podcast to start with)
- To fully respect each being, you must learn its name. Find a new plant around your local environment and ID it! Too easy? Set a goal. Can you ID 5 new plants a month?
”Conservation is a state of harmony between men and land.” –Aldo Leopold
- Find out how you can change some of your habits to lower your carbon footprint. Don’t know what a carbon footprint is? Want to find out how to calculate yours? Visit https://www3.epa.gov/carbon-footprint-calculator/
- Conserve your own land for wildlife! Create a meadow in your backyard, plant native species, and put up a shelter for some of the native critters.
- Shop locally! Buy your food from local Farmer’s Markets and join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). The Duke Farms Farmer’s Market is starting May 21st and will run every Sunday from 12p-5p.
“The least I can do is speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves.” –Jane Goodall
- Be a Citizen Scientist! A citizen scientist is a volunteer that contributes to research by uploading or inputting observations. Learn more about specific citizen science projects by contacting non-profit groups, or participate in the Duke Farms’ “Be On the LookOut (BOLO)” project here: www.dukefarms.org/bolo
- Volunteer with your local non-profit organization. If you’re unable to spend time volunteering, donate money to a cause that moves you! Some of our favorite partners:
- Conserve Wildlife Foundation
- New Jersey Audubon
- New Jersey Tree Foundation
- New Jersey Watershed Ambassador Program
- Appalachian Mountain Club
- Join a movement. Every voice matters, be heard!
“We have such a brief opportunity to pass on to our children our love for this Earth, and to tell our stories.” –Richard Louv
- Use the Share button! Upload photos of your favorite parks and outdoor places.
- Take a kid outside. Let them get dirty. Don’t interrupt their play. Let them learn how to play through risk taking and exploration! This will inspire a new generation of caretakers.
- Use education as a gift! Bring a friend to a program at Duke Farms. Teach each other and keep the conversation going.
Becoming a Steward of the Land? Here are 5 Books to Add to Your Summer Reading List:
The Hidden Life of Trees, by Peter Wohlleben
The Sand County Almanac, by Aldo Leopold
The Last Child in the Woods, by Richard Louv
Wild New Jersey: Nature Adventures in the Garden State, by David Wheeler
The Thunder Tree, by Robert Pyle