“Time, time, time is on our side…yes it is.”     Rolling Stones

Land and community stewardship can’t be rushed; time is of the essence, and the process, like tea, needs to be satisfyingly seeped.  Changes to land can occur slowly and only through careful observation can these vicissitudes be noted and appreciated.  “When you plant a tree,” says an old Chinese saying, “it is the next generation that receives the shade.”  Land restoration projects can be years in the making, as the good earth heals.  Monitoring the effects of a project can be satisfying, and is a vital part of any stewardship plan.   Thorough scientific research takes place over a number of years as patterns are established, verified and repeated.

Walking is the best way to interact with land; walking is also a tried and true method of working out land conflicts rather than in the sterile confines of a building.  Few animals walk with the steady gait of a human.  Break your natural pattern:  take a few steps, avoiding brittle sticks or leaves, thens top, look , and listen.  According to Mark Hilliard, a Watchable Wildlife coordinator, “There is a direct between seeing wildflife and spending enough time in the field.”

Just like knowing a new friend, knowing land and its inhabitants is a process that can occur simultanously.  Inviting new and old friends to take a walk through one’s land extends a place’s delight, and there are always new things to see and enjoy.

One great outdoor activity with a group is to give each participant two bandanas, then proceed through the land in silence.  When someone sees something of interest he/she ties the bandana on or next to the natural object for all to see.

Take time to enjoy and learn about the land.