60 Years of Conservation

"One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever." - Ecclesiastes

04-01-1996 // William W. Howard

Three generations and 60 years have passed since the National Wildlife Federation was established in 1936, and we have much to celebrate in our anniversary year. Our tangible accomplishments are conspicuous and important. On the following pages, you will read about eight "bright ideas" that have helped NWF in its efforts to guard our natural heritage for the next generations.

Over the years, NWF has lead the fight to bring back dozens of species from the brink of extinction; to restore the purity of America's waters; and to recover the wetlands that shelter so much of our wildlife. We have fought private interests and indifferent governments to sustain our public lands as a trust we hold in common ownership. In all of these efforts, we have endeavored to unite Americans from every walk of life behind a traditional American value - that of balancing the need to use our resources with the need to conserve them.

Nevertheless, the events of the last year in Washington and elsewhere warn us that some leaders in government and business do not share these values. They would still prefer to sacrifice our priceless resources to short-term and shortsighted profit.

As we near the new millennium, it is both sobering and inspiring to remember how long it took this nation to change its mind and its morality about other significant values. It took more than a century for Americans to reject slavery, and another before all our citizens could completely participate in our political life.

We at the National Wildlife Federation hope that by our own centennial in 2036 - if not sooner - every American will have made an irrevocable commitment to living sustainably and harmoniously on the Earth we have inherited. In a nation that quite legitimately celebrates personal freedom and private property as wellsprings of our special identity, it will not always be easy to determine how to best take care of our communal heritage.

But for the sake of all generations to come, the millions of members of the National Wildlife Federation will continue to try.

William W. Howard
President and Chief Executive Officer

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