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The Beauty of the Place: Gaining a conservation ethic through the senses

The road that bisects Aldermere Farm is considered the “back road” between Camden and Rockport. The average visitor to the area may never venture along it, but those that do know what a treasure they have come across. Those that live here have known this treasure for a long time. Experiencing Aldermere Farm is truly multi-sensory. Passing the trees that line Russell Avenue and seeing the beautiful vistas of open pasture and wooded areas along with the unique black cows with their white stripe head down eating grass. Hearing the bellowing of cattle from different parts of the farm and birds calling, smelling the distinct smells of a farm and the land (hay, soil, dewy grass, and cow manure), feeling the crisp breeze across your face, and tasting it on your tongue as you swallow in the beauty of the place. These are all a part of the Aldermere experience. One might say that to gain a conservation ethic is to experiencing the beauty of a place. Richard Rockefeller expressed those words to his daughter, Rebecca Rockefeller Lambert, before his passing and her words resonated in a recent speech she gave at the Maine Coast Heritage Trust Summer Celebration at the Abigail Aldritch Rockefeller Garden on Mt. Desert Island on August 1, 2014. “We often think of beauty in this culture as something shallow or something superficial, but beauty has power to it. My dad knew of this power. He felt it deeply. He may not have talked much about it, but I know that the beauty of the Maine coast was one of the driving reasons behind my dad’s desire to protect it — that it’s so beautiful.” “One of the big questions that we both held in recent years was how to transform our culture so that it could be more compatible with the natural world. And we both agreed that though the question is kind of intellectual, the answer couldn’t be cerebral. To transform hearts and minds, you had to access some place deeper than the rational conscious mind. I would like to suggest to you today that beauty is a pathway for this transformation. That beauty - natural beauty in particular - is like a doorway or a portal, like the moon gate. It’s an invitation into a different way of being. It invites us to slow down, to be still, to attend. It fills us up, so that with perhaps more satisfaction, we have less need of material excess. It invites us into connection with nature, with the world around us. It invites us into relationship with other living beings. And it helps us know we’re held, that we humans belong here on Earth. And I believe that all these things - attending, slowing down, finding more satisfaction, connecting with the Earth, relating, and feeling that we really belong here on Earth - all of these are roots or seeds to a culture that maybe has a slightly lighter footprint here on Earth - that may be a bit more compatible with nature.” We invite you to find a place that connects you to the land and fills you deeply.

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