Coral Reefs Saved My Life

See how nature is shaping mothers' lives across the globe.

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This Mother's Day, Save a Coral Reef and Help Save a Life.

Arden O’Conner, dive enthusiast and frequent traveler to the Caribbean, had no idea that the underwater world she loved would one day save her life. Diagnosed with leukemia at age 26, O’Conner placed her faith in her doctors, and her doctors found help in one of the most biodiverse places on earth – the coral reefs of the Caribbean Ocean. When you adopt a coral reef in honor of your mother, aunt, grandmother or friend on Mother's Day, you are helping to protect the lands and waters on which all life depends.

O'Conner's story illustrates how our personal health is directly correlated to the health of our planet. Do you have an inspiring story of how nature has played a role in your life? Please share it with us below.

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Memories from the Community

Submitted by Janet Shellman
November 30, 2013

With planet earth being squeezed I want my half of resources to go to you.

Submitted by Alice
February 23, 2013

The Bible promises us a paradise to come but in the meantime, the TNC helps me realize that it is behind me as I help teach my children, grandchildren and great grands how much there is to love and care for nature. My first camping memories are of a huge canvas tent on a lone beach on the Big Island of Hawai'i where I was born. I was about 2 or 3 years old. My children started camping at the age of 6 weeks at Nat. Park campgrounds around the wester U.S. Now my great-grands are following the tradition. There must always be special places to visit, camp, hike, bird watch or just sit beneath a tree and listento the river slip by. Thank you, TNC, for keeping us going in the right direction.

Submitted by makweti
December 13, 2012

I grow up being admonished by my grand father that I was expected to stand firm, strong, incorruptible and to cope with life's adversity like a Mukwa tree. This message I have always kept and it helped me to graduate with a distinction in Environmental Studies at the University of Zambia. Unfortunately, this Mukwa tree in Zambia is going extinct due to timber logging and wood trade.

Submitted by Garrick
December 11, 2012

Growing up my mother and father would take my brother and I for 1-2 week vacations in Colorado. We had an 8' Huntsman cab-over camper and 4 dirt bikes (motorcycles) which we rode across many a mountaintop trail. We would ride up and then take hikes thru the mountains for miles. My favorite was above the tree line where you could see forever! It was freeing and incredible to be out in nature/one with nature. You cannot do that in the same way for the most part in today's fenced in world. So The Nature Conservancy has become special to me because they provide protected expansive natural places where you can go and roam in some of the most beautiful places imaginable. Go see for yourselves!

Submitted by Susan
December 10, 2012

Growing up in Western New York, I was blessed to have Lake Erie and Ontario to our north, and a summer home on Rushford Lake in the south towns near Pennsylvania. We would enjoy the beaches of the Great Lakes, but it was our summer home that I loved so much. Even though the lake it's self is man made, the amount of wildlife and forested areas around were so beautiful. The lake was nestled in between small mountains. I would hear woodpeckers and chickadees in the spring, There were beaver in the creek and lake, Pan fish to catch. We would go salamander hunting as kids and beam with pride as we showed off our coffee cans filled with them. At night we would catch fire flies in glass jars. We would always release our catches back were we found them of course. I loved to see the chipmunks chase each other and dart into their burrows. In the Autumn we would jump in the leaf piles and have so much fun. The outdoors was my playground and the sights and sounds of nature are so much a part of me. I can't imagine a world without it. I want my grandchildren to be able enjoy nature like I did.

Submitted by Jim
December 10, 2012

I grew up in Southwest Georgia in the late 1950’s and 1960’s. When one thinks of beautiful places, I doubt my home would come up in many minds---mile after mile of peanut, soybean and cotton fields, pecan orchards and pine plantations. You won’t see many photos from Southwest Georgia in a coffee table book. However, my memory is filled with the outdoors. Although our house was in the ”burbs,” it was on the very edge of development in those days. Only 200 yards from our back door I could enter a pine forest (who cared that it was planted?) on a partially overgrown road, and walk literally for hours without seeing another person or any kind of human construct. My miniature collie, Chet, and later our schnauzer, Gidget, always walked (RAN!) with me, darting in and out and across the road at full speed. I would see rabbits, deer, quail, dove, snakes, and many other kinds of birds and reptiles. During the summer I filled up on blackberries and scuppernongs (southeastern wild grapes) that grew wildly alongside the forest road. There were hidden ponds, sinkholes with springs, solitary and huge cedar trees (great for climbing), and, of course, the quintessential, majestic live oak literally dripping with Spanish moss—all spectacularly scenic. I have been exceptionally fortunate. I now live near a beautiful Florida river (the St. Johns) within a half-hour drive of a fantastic Atlantic beach. I came here from the Blue Ridge/Allegheny mountains of Virginia. Both of these places have the kind of beauty you do see in books. But, as I think back on my childhood, I realize there is beauty and wonder in nature everywhere if you just look for it.

Submitted by Karan
December 10, 2012

This is a video of my TEDx talk on Grow-Trees, a web-enabled enterprise I founded that has planted over 370,000 trees so far in India.

Submitted by zosimo
December 9, 2012

I grew up in a forested village with an elevation of 300masl. Fencing the northern boundary is a 3,600-ha natural park where nestles a pocket lake 17-ha wide, 29-m deep. The lake has neither an inlet nor an outlet. It is said to be volcanic but the water is very cool ideal for tilapia or Nile fish. When I was a kid I would come with my uncle and cousins on weekends to go line fishing. We had kerosene lamps and sat on rocks at the edge of the lake. It took only seconds for black tilapia to bite our hooks. We always had our field day.. Some other nights we would poach birds that slept on low-lying branches of coffee plants in my uncle's farm. The following morning we caught fishes by the hand when the water recedes from the rice paddies. Those days were naturally overwhelming and memorable. But they are gone now.

Submitted by Rebecca
December 9, 2012

When I was born my parents were dairy farmers in Southeastern Wisconsin. I played out in our one acre yard all year round. I heard birds sing and watched them fly about in the sky. I saw squirrels run down and up trees and play. I watched the cows graze in the pasture. My fraternal grandmother took me for a walk in the woods and the purple thistles grew as tall as I was. My father rotated his crops and planted trees when old ones died and had to be cut down. My mother planted a variety of flowers in the yard. Because I spent the first eight years of my life on a farm, I realize how important it is to take care of the earth. My mother, father and grandmother provided me with experiences that helped me love and appreciate nature- the flowers and the weeds.

Submitted by Debbie
December 9, 2012

I just finished running a marathon in all 50 states. What an amazing way to see the country and learn. I teach gifted enrichment in elementary and taught about the state I ran in...I went to state parks and local parks when I could to earn a badge by community service work...children saw me and asked how they could do that! I teach about our environment showing students where I actually had been. I raced and was honored to do this marathon quest all sub 4 hour each state! I have a greater appreciation for every state and how important we all are to the whole! Words cannot describe the passion I feel to get out there and focus on environmental education.

Submitted by Donald
December 8, 2012

When I was a boy scout, my troop went camping and hiking in Sequoia National Park. I hiked across the Sierra Nevada, and gained a deep love for forests, mountains, and wilderness. Later I worked as a naturalist at Grand Canyon, and now I am an environmental historian.

Submitted by wendy
December 8, 2012

Take Five

Submitted by Roger
December 8, 2012

My grandparents lived in a rural area of Michigan that adjoined a state forest. During the 1930’3 and 40’s following the depression, it was important for them to use the gifts of nature bountifully found in their surroundings to provide food for their family. Many of their abilities to identify edible food and to harvest from nature were shared with me as I grew up. Today in retirement I share my love of the outdoors by encouraging others to interact with nature through writing and teaching outdoor classes. Becoming involved with The Nature Conservancy has given me a way to express my values.

Submitted by jerry
December 8, 2012

As a child I remember crabbing, when we staying at my godfathers camp. Every summer as soon as school left out we would cross lake Ponchartrain to the camp. We would fish l,swim and crab. Sometimes we would even scoop up.soft shell crabs. My childhood was a wonderful adventure thanks to the nature outings every summer. We camped for years at least 7. The camp was lost to a hurricane but before it was I have a lifetime of stories to share. Love of nature.

Submitted by Ann
December 8, 2012

I have a family place in northern Canada where I go every year. It is beautiful and peaceful and the trees are amazing. There was a plan to develop it and ruin the scenic beauty with ugly houses and condos, which a group of people on the lake successfully stopped. The Nature Conservancy does fantastic work!

Submitted by Jeannie
November 12, 2012

I grew up in Denver, but the Rocky Mountains – no more than a half hour west – might as well have been an MGM scenic backdrop for all my family visited. When I was 13, my best friend Charlotte Pool and I spent a few days in a 1930’s cabin in Foxton, a barely-there wide spot on a dirt road adjacent to Buffalo Creek, deep in spruce and pine woods west of Denver at about 9,000 feet. Charlotte’s dad rented a small place each summer, and, knowing that Charlotte and I needed outdoors time away from the city, trusted us (and the world) enough to give us the keys for a Monday-through-Wednesday stay. I’d not stayed the night anywhere other than home, much less in such a “wild” and inviting place, and I was thrilled to go. The cabin was basic, without running water, with slanty linoleum floors and a wood-burning stove. The lone phone was down the hill at a small country store that was open only on weekends when people would come up to cool off in the hills and on the creek. Foxton was empty and we had the run of the “town” to ourselves. One night we walked down to the Creek and sat for a bit, listening to crickets, owls, the snicker of horses across the stream, the conversation of the creek, and silence. I decided to walk back up the hill and lie flat on the dirt road in front of the store because it was cool and dry – something the streamside definitely wasn’t. I stretched out my 13-year-old body in a full spread eagle and stared comfortably, completely safe, at the stars. The overwhelming sense of lying on a spinning planet in the midst of the stars flooded me, and rather than seeing things as “out there” and “down here” I felt the full swirl of the whole universe, and knew I was a part of it. We inner-tubed the creek, hiked up the hills and looked at wildflowers, talked to the horses, peered in other cabins and read by lantern at night. The cots were cold. Those two nights in Foxton changed my life. I’m the only member of my family who “got out” of the city, and, truth be told, am probably the happiest of our clan. The gods envelop me every day and I know I’m in the whirl of life and an embracing universe.

Submitted by Tania
November 9, 2012

I'm from the northern state of Nuevo Leon, in Mexico. The four most important people who taught me to love nature were my maternal grandmother, one of my closest uncles (my mom's older brother) my father and my mother...they all love nature (trees, plants of every kind, animals). We made many trips with my grandma and my uncle, they taught me names of plants everywhere and how to grow some of them; my uncle was a loving and very special person who just grew life everywhere around him! he loved growing plants and even had many animals in his house and took care of them for years! (dogs, cats, turtles, crows, pigeons, an eagle, a goat, a wildcat, a racoon, ducks, etc) my parents love growing plants in the childhood memories are full of sounds from all the animals around....I'm thankful that I grew up with such loving people who also taught me to respect nature in every way possible! I miss my grandma and my uncle very much, they left us, but the things they taught me are with me everyday...those values will always be in my family!

Submitted by Barbara
November 8, 2012

My Grandfather who was a quarter Native American taught me to love Mother Earth and all her creatures. We fished, hiked, walked in the woods and tended all the animals on his small farm in Southeastern Ohio. We planted trees, picked berries, and I learned about special plants that could be used as medicine. I have always valued my time and experiences with him and still miss him every day.

Submitted by Jason
November 7, 2012

I did not grow up in a nature-loving family, but I married a woman that did. She loves being out in the nature and I'm growing to love it. We've camped all over the place and go on hikes quite often. We live in NYC now, but pack up our gear and get out as much as possible. I've grown to love nature mainly because it brings my wife and children so much joy. The fresh air and beautiful scenery are lovely to take in, but watching the pure joy on my family's faces is even better. My favorite getaways from NYC to take with the family are kayaking on the Delaware River, hiking in the Catskills, or taking a longer trip down to the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. I've blogged about an overnight Kayak trip I took with my 8 year old son. You can read about it here.

Submitted by Charlotte
August 12, 2012

One of the most captivating places I've visited was on a trip from Michigan to Southern California. I was traveling south through the high desert of Nevada before sunrise. The cactus was in blossom and the air was so thick with the smell of them. I stopped my car at the side of the road and waited with my camera for some nice mountain desert cactus sunrise shots. I snapped several. None turned out because it was too early - the shots were too dark. But that did not take away from the joy of the experience. I'd like to make another trip and get the shots right. Maybe slide film; the prints have a 3D look that just cannot be bested! I love being away from any city. There is NO greater awesomely humble feeling than to be in the midst of GOD'S natural creation! For man to destroy any of it in the name of progress, for land development, for oil and mineral rights and mining, etc... is so much against God's intended purpose for our existence - to be good stewards of HIS Garden - the EARTH. Those who have no respect for the land that sustains us and the animals that live on it will one day realize their error way too late. MOTHER will one day rise up and take back that which is HERS!! When that happens, remember where you read it. AHO!!