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Saturday, April 27, 2013

A gift for Mother Nature

For the past six years the natural environment has been a huge part of my life.  It has provided me and my family with endless outdoor adventure, learning opportunities, appreciation, happiness, amazing memories, time together and has allowed us all to take personal “risks” that no doubt have made us better people because of it.  How do you say thanks or express gratitude towards nature?  It was time to figure out how.

As a family we do our part to help “save the environment”.  Recycle, reuse, compost, garden, buy local, and conserve energy as much as possible.  Hardly “saving the environment” but every bit counts.  What I really wanted was to do something for Mother Nature, something bold, something I could look back on and say, hey I was a part of that and it made a difference.  Being part of a cave conservation and restoration project was exactly what I was looking for.  Surely Mother Nature will appreciate the surface of her caves scrubbed by hand with a bunch of dedicated volunteers armed with brushes of every variety!  Ben, Liv and I had the opportunity to assist Horne Lake Caves and their grand and tedious undertaking to restore Main Cave back to its glory. 
The goal of this project is to remove the dirt that has built up on the calcite formations and bring it back to its natural state.  Caver impact such as tracking dirt in and touching calcite will cause minerals on the cave surface to change from a bone white to a murky brown.  With a little TLC, elbow grease, and monitoring cave activity, Main Cave will one day look just as it did hundreds of years ago.  I am proud to say that Ben, Liv and I had a small part in helping make this happen! It felt good to give Mother Nature her day at the spa (exfoliation treatment and hydrotherapy). 
One day the brown calcite will be white again!
Conservation for all ages!
Scrubbing calcite was not the only thing we did to say thanks to Mother Nature.  On Earth Day, Ben, Liv and I gave back to Mother Nature once again…this time it was removing invasive species.  Invasive species, like English Ivy, impact our natural ecosystems by choking out native plants and wrap around mature trees, killing them prematurely reducing food and shelter for local wildlife. 
Pile of English Ivy removed from forest
This time we teamed up with the Town of Ladysmith, Parks Rec and Culture, and LaFF (a non-profit organization where I happen to be the adventure guide for the outside program) and spent a morning with 50+ families and helped remove English Ivy along the forest trails of a local park.  Stewardship, community involvement, education, volunteering and fun all wrapped up and given to Mother Nature on Earth Day. 

Was it my gift to Mother Nature or did Mother Nature give back to me? Something tells me I owe her again…Mother Nature is amazing!

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