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       Equinunk is in the northeast corner of Pennsylvania, literally a stone’s throw from New York, situated in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains. The Delaware River separates the two states, and this is part of the river that was declared a National Wild and Scenic River in 1968. While the wildlife is not as diverse and plentiful as it was half a century ago, you can still see great blue heron feeding at the shore and bald eagles soaring overhead or a woodchuck or deer moving over a field.
       My great-grandfather bought a house with riverfront property in Equinunk almost a century ago. Like my father and aunt, growing up in New York City and spending my summers there played a critical role in molding me, honing my interest in natural science and, like them, leading to getting a college degree in biology. Going there still has a rejuvenating effect on me.
       I relax in the early morning, as fog over the river seems to create a boundary to reality. New York has vanished and the world appears to end at the trees on the edge of the eddy. Deer come to feed at our apple trees every morning and evening, clearing away all of the apples that have fallen to the ground. We can sit quietly on the porch and they will still approach, hesitant, but still seeking this treat to their diet.
       Walking around the area, I now teach my grandchildren about the plants and animals that we can find. The petals of the soap flower, rubbed with water, can actually clean your hands. The juice in the stem of jewelweed (wild snapdragon) can stop itching due to a mosquito bite. The roots of Queen Anne’s lace show its common ancestry to carrots. If you stand still after walking into the creek that flows into the river, minnows come to eat the bits of algae that have settled on your feet and legs.
       Spending time in the country, away from the hustle and bustle of the city, is relaxing. Just observing nature can give one a better understanding and appreciation of the environment, ecology and the way science interacts with everything around us. It has given me a perspective that helps me understand that the world does not exist for us – instead, we have a responsibility to care for it.
       Too often, we are all moved by the problems and demands that press upon us. We make decisions that are based on a short-term perspective. It is important for everyone to try to find a way to see the world in a broader sense. That is the only way that we can find a way to address critical problems and preserve the quality of life for future generations. Understanding why nature is important is a critical issue!
  Website by Avi Ornstein, "The Blue Dragon" – 2009 All Rights Reserved