Hope, in the shape of a caterpillar, in the shape of a stick

Hope, in the shape of a caterpillar, in the shape of a stick

By Jason Googins, Stewardship Specialist 

I’ve been working for the Land Conservancy for many years now, doing a lot of restoration work in 8 counties. However, while traveling during this time, I have seen a lot of development. It creates a sizeable amount of doubt that my work matters. It sometimes seems like development is going to swallow up everything and nothing of nature will be left behind. 

But, while at The Highlands doing some restoration work, I spotted something crawling up an oak tree. It was a caterpillar inching its way up the trunk. I went in to take a picture to I.D. it, and it stuck straight out like a stick. It was also camouflaged like one, too. It was an oak besma caterpillar. 

And it was here I was reminded why I shouldn’t be so discouraged. They (all nonhuman creatures) just need space. I also realized how many creatures are overlooked, like insects, yet they are so vital to our ecosystems. A sense of amazement also came over me at the incredible diversity of insects there are and their distinctive characteristics. These insects are vital to the food web and to humans as well. 

I find myself with a refreshed sense of purpose and a renewed feeling of hope. Yes, there is a lot of habitat loss. But it doesn’t take much space for nature to make its home there. Remember, if you get discouraged, look for the little things to remind you of all the amazing pieces of the puzzle and find hope.

The Land Conservancy of West Michigan is working to protect ecologically critical lands to ensure there are spaces for the creatures that call West Michigan home to thrive. You can support our mission by making a gift at naturenearby.org/donate. Thank you for helping keep nature nearby.

When you are discouraged in the fight to keep nature nearby, what renews your sense of purpose and hope? Leave your answers in the comments!

1 Comment
  • Joe Engel

    Nice piece, Jason, and a great reminder for all of us. Thank you!

    July 9, 2024at12:52 pm

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