As you are sitting around at home surrounded by family getting ready for the dreaded Thanksgiving Dinner conversation with extended family that may or may not share your world views, and you are thinking “What am I gonna do for holiday gifts?” or maybe not, but I think you should consider the following [toolongdon’twannareadspoilers: buy park passes and donate to conservation advocacy groups, see below for suggestions and links]….
As you are trying to find common ground across the stuffing this Thanksgiving, remember that most of the people sitting there care about the lands, lakes, and woods (or deserts or mountains). They just may use different language to show their passion about the environment. That Uncle of yours that voted a way you didn’t like (whether it was Hillary, Trump, or 3rd party; hey but at least he voted) has probably donated more to conservation this year through hunting license purchases and taxes on his recreational equipment than you have given your entire life.
Most people care about the environment; either you do in a preservation-stand-back-and-look-at-it-way or a conservation-get-your-hands-dirty-sometimes-mess-things-up-but-doing-something-way or a my-folks-have-been-here-doing-things-this-way-type or way.
Instead of going out for Black Friday or buying things for your family likes socks and sweaters and knickknacks and other random stuff I have a couple of suggestions that can actually be liked by the people you are gifting them too, do the environment a solid, protect public access to public lands, and make you feel good.
- Get them a National Park Pass – common, everyone loves the parks.
- Get them a pass to their local state park.
- g. Indiana: http://stores.innsgifts.com/ ; Texas: http://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/park-information/passes
- Also if you want to spend black Friday outside, many of them will free entrance this year on Black Friday
- Give a gift or subscription in their name to a conservation advocacy group:
- Care about protecting our public lands heritage? Donate in their name to the Teddy Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (Common, everyone loves Teddy too!): http://www.trcp.org/donate/index.html#.WDchhbIrLIU
- Care about wilderness? Give them a gift subscription to Backcountry Hunters and Anglers: http://www.backcountryhunters.org/join
- Want to be a little combative about it? Go ahead, get them a subscription to Sierra Club: https://vault.sierraclub.org/ways-to-give/
- Do they like to fish (do you like eating fish and drinking clean water?) Get them a gift membership to Trout Unlimited: https://gifts.tumembership.org/member/gift_membership
- See if the State you live in has magazine for the department of natural resources or game and fish organization: e.g. Arizona – https://www.azgfd.com/Media/Magazine ; Indiana – http://www.in.gov/dnr/9329.htm ; Texas – https://www.tpwmagazine.com/ ; Massachusetts: https://www.mass.gov/how-to/massachusetts-wildlife-magazine
- Ask them to take you fishing or hunting, offer to buy the next year’s license for that particular activity, and learn something from each other (please?). Seriously though, a lot of the funds for conservation programs and habitat restoration that happens in your state probably comes from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses and those tax dollars I mentioned. This goes for nongame species and habitat too!
- Check out your state wildlife/park agency for more details: e.g. Indiana –http://www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/5330.htm
So I hope this gives you some holiday ideas. It means you can avoid Black Friday. It means you can put your money where your mouth is (a lot of these things aren’t that expensive), and it means you can have some impact for conservation. It also means you have an opportunity to open a dialogue and become a part of the solution, instead of being part of a division. And here is the even sappier message: you might just learn something new too. Happy Thanksgiving people. Hope you have safe travels and delicious food.