Healthy forests and the clean water that flows from them are at the heart of Vermont Family Forests’ mission. And who doesn’t want clean water and healthy forests? But forest health isn’t a warm and fuzzy concept. Recently we discovered first hand how, in terms of capturing heart and mind and encouraging exceptional forest care, there’s nothing quite like a pair of eyes.
At the beginning of the summer, we installed two heat-activated wildlife cameras on VFF lands in Lincoln–one at the Anderson Wells Farm and the other at Abraham’s Knees. A week ago, we returned to the cameras to see what they had recorded. A treasure trove of images filled the cameras’ memory cards. The Wells Farm camera in particular captured many species, and we posted to our Facebook page a handful of the best ones.
Now, just as a point of reference, VFF’s Facebook page is normally a pretty quiet scene. We have a few hundred followers and most of our posts get a handful of likes and a smattering of comments. But when we posted the wildlife photos, we quickly reached 500, then a thousand, then 6600 views. We had 65 shares and a flood of comments, likes, and loves. The delight and awe these images have evoked is exponentially greater than any other post we’ve made in the two years we’ve been posting.
So what’s the take-away from that? In part, at least, it shows that people relate to and are moved by animals. Just like us, the animals whose images we caught with the remote camera have hearts that beat like ours. They breathe the same air we breath with lungs like ours. They taste the world with tongues like ours and see it with eyes like ours. Like us, they step out into an uncertain world to meet their needs.
VFF’s reason for being is to put forest health first and nurture mutually beneficial relationship with forests–it’s a mission we’re passionate about. Yet our message vies for attention with an avalanche of other worthy messages that the people we aim to reach are flooded with each day. Putting a face–a beautiful, vulnerable, wild face whose existence depends on healthy forests–on our message can help that message get through.
Take a look below at some of the beautiful faces of a healthy forest community.