Restoration Chair Update
by Stan Petrowski
To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate;
A time of war, and a time of peace.
Over the course of the past decade and a half my passion for the purpose of restoration ecology exploded. Those of you who have known me through these years have often remarked that my zeal bordered on madness. Indeed, at one point I sat on the Board of Directors of six not-for-profit organizations, a plethora of committees and participant in a handful of intense, yet successful conservation/restoration campaigns.
What motivated the insane pace of activity and drain on personal resources was my awareness of the tragic need the natural world had for human intervention in its defense. So many species were being listed or should have been listed for protection under the endangered species act. Apart from that there was the agonizing specter of the devastation of forest lands and water resources. The fundamental underpinnings of ecosystem health were being persistently gnawed away because of profit and the triflings of material gain that our society calls progress. Not to say that I considered myself qualified to the task. It was purely desperation not sufficiency that fanned the flames.
The one consolation I received was the opportunity to associate with a broad spectrum of individuals whose singular commonality was not politics, religion or the acquisition of wealth but a shared sense of the natural world’s need. With hearts and minds that were held in high stature in my view it was a privilege to put my shoulder to the wheel in consort with them. The very core of my being was sustained by the selfless sacrifice made by these individuals. Their resilience and capacity to be reconciled despite the reality of our faulty humanity always gave me hope.
My journey with Umpqua Watersheds began in 2009. Provoked or rather inspired by supporting acquaintances I hitched my wagon to this wonderful organization. The fire and the ice, the victories and failures, the shared mutual tenacity was a point of pride for me. A price worth paying. Never was an organization within the context of my experience more despised or more loved as an entity of place than Umpqua Watersheds. That also helped define and coalesce my commitment to the people and the vision.
Alexandra, my wife, stalwart and capable, has supported my headlong madness to take on the world haters and destroyers. It worried her that I was helter-skelter rushing into the fray without regard for anything else. That said, she carried the weight of our 80 acre ranch, with all of its responsibilities tirelessly. The moral encouragement and understanding she lavished on me became the fury behind my wings. I did fly, without reservation, with hope and chance pointing me in the way.
Prior to this foray into public involvement she and I lived a conscientious “organic” lifestyle always taking care to enrich the land and be gentle with the world. We’ve shared 45 years together discovering what that meant and continue to learn. For my part, life was predominantly contemplative, always engaging in my labors, doing what I could to align myself with true life. We are now both in our 70’s and the pace and scale of our efforts are losing their edge. It’s not sad. It’s the natural course of life. We’re running a good race but also must keep it real. It’s time for me to share the load of our mutual stewardship once again in the best interest of my wife’s health and capacity. I’ve given all I have for the better part of two decades and recognize the next stage of life’s responsibilities. With that I have given notice to my dear friends on the Board of Directors that I must step down. I send this message to our faithful supporters in the hope that someone young, intelligent and resolute for the good of the natural world to take my place. If you are that person do not hesitate to make it known. All living creatures will give their gratitude! I know it is so.