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Rebuttal to Kids Article

In fairness to those I mention in articles, here is a rubuttal from Park Ranger Marc Swanson to my article "They're After Our Kids."

Hi Del,
Actually, it was good talking with you.  I've found that when talking with people with different views than myself, we still share core values.  I think this was the case with us as well.

Please find below a rebuttal on your article.  The only thing I would ask is for it not to be edited.  If you feel any revisions or additions are necessary please let me know and I'll add those. 

Please send me the link to the page when it has been added.

Again, I'm honest about this summer. I'd be pleased to meet you in person and show you some of the prime spots around the area.  Perhaps we can continue our debate at that time.

The Rebuttal
A few days ago, a collegue forwarded an article written by Del Albright entitled "They're After Our Kids!"  It talked about a Kenai Fjords Park Ranger in Alaska. a bureauocratic component of the vicious green circle, who was charged with brainwashing our kids with nonsense radical protectionist views.  "They're After Our Kids" Albright says.

At first I couldn't stop laughing... although the language was inflamatory, it bordered on farcical.  It was so off based I wondered if this Del fellow was even on the boat... for you see....I'm Marc Swanson, the NPS Park Ranger that Mr. Albright was writing about.

But as I continued to review the article I became a bit vexed.  Who is this Albright fellow to call me an extremist and elitist?  Yeah I work for the federal government (I guess that qualifies me at least as a seasonal bureaucrat).  But I also hunt, fish, have a four-wheel drive (although I prefer to enter the woods on foot), and I enjoy having a cold one with folks from both of the political aisle.  You can call me many things, but elitist just doesn't fit.

So, I decided what the heck, I'll give Del a call. I ended up on the phone with Del for a good 20 minutes, maybe more. We talked, we disagreed, we laughed. But despite our differences, and there are plenty of these, there were more things that we agreed on than not.  We agreed that the land should be taken care of, we shouldn't trash it.  We agreed that all people need a place to connect, in their own way, to the land.  And although we didn't talk about it, I bet we would also agree one of the finest moments of life is casting a fly on a evening summer lake and having a fish rise to it. 

In the end Del asked me to write a rebuttal to his article.  Something that would set the record straight in my eyes. Thanks Del.   Well this is it:   

I told him there were many things that were just wrong about his article that he wrote, but the most egregious and inflamatory  was the title and theme "They're After Our Kids."  As a Park Ranger and, in the off-season a teacher of natural sciences, my goal is not to indoctrinate people, or kids, into my views.  Rather it is to provide opportunities to learn about the natural areas of our country.  You see, today kids (and most adults for that matter)   don't have a relationship with the natural world.  By in large they don't fish, they don't hunt, they don't hike or drive out into the woods.  When I take students on field trips to do projects in the woods, too many will say it is their first time away from town.

That's sad.  And it's wrong.

So that's why I do what I do. On the boats that go into Kenai Fjords we see puffins flying through the air.  We see sealions on the rocks.  We smell the breath of Orcas blowing as they rise near the boat. We heard glaciers thunder as they calve into the bays.  It's truly an incredible experience.  But what I try to do is to cognitively connect the visitors, and the kids, to these resources. I use their experiences on the boats as windows to better understand the science behind the birds, the whales, the glaciers.   By talking about the science of what we see, the visitors (and yes, kids)  get a sense of the critical fibers that make up the natural ecosystems.  They perhaps get a sense of the fragility and how we have a role in protecting the viability of these natural areas.  I hope they gain a sense of the preciousness of the natural world.

I know that I have done my job as a ranger and a teacher if my guests, and yes those kids, have a desire to get back into the woods (whether it is by foot, by 4WD, by UFO-- I really don't care), And that while they recreate, they will use the knowledge and the desire to minimize their impact on the resources.

That is what I do.

PS to Del, I look forward to sharing a cold one and some of my favorite haunts next summer in the Great Land.

Read original article here

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