Why I Give: One Donor's Story

Here’s one supporter's inspiring story about his lifelong connection to nature. What’s your story?

Each contributor to The Nature Conservancy has a story about why they give back to nature—to leave a legacy, to support our mission, to help protect our world.

For Pennsylvania resident Paul Rabe, it's about a lifelong love of nature. "From the time I saw Sleeping Bear Dunes in 1961 until last week along the Appalachian Trail, my love of unmolested places for the enjoyment of nature by all has never waned."

Read his story below and then share your own story to inspire others as you have inspired us!

Why do you give to The Nature Conservancy?

Paul Rabe:

Like John Muir, I conclude that the experience of nature, particularly when it is "straight from the hand of God, uncorrupted by civilization and domestication," restores a sense of balance and well-being to a person. Although I conclude there is a place for governmental intervention to protect truly wild and natural places, I also conclude that conflict can be minimized by using free enterprise to accomplish the same thing.

What is your favorite place in nature?

Paul Rabe:

My favorite place is Yellowstone National Park—an almost unparalleled mixture of mountains, canyons, thermal features, untamed rivers, and truly wild animals.

Tell us about your favorite memory or experience in nature?

Paul Rabe:

Standing at the rim of the Grand Canyon for the first time, at age eight. It's bizarre for an eight-year-old to have had this thought, but I had truly wanted to go there for (it seems) my entire life. My mind seems to have been over-loaded at the overwhelming beauty of the place: so large, so colorful, so (seemingly) endless. I had that same experience the second time I went there. And the third. And the fourth. And the fifth. And I expect I'll have it again every time I go there.

What is your wish for nature?

Paul Rabe:

That more people will adopt the attitude of Teddy Roosevelt: "We have gotten past the stage, my fellow-citizens, when we are to be pardoned if we treat any part of our country as some thing to be skinned for two or three years for the use of the present generation, whether it is the forest, the water, the scenery."