A Complicated Relationship with Fall

National Wildlife magazine editor Jennifer Wehunt looks toward fall in an era of climate change.

  • Jennifer Wehunt
  • Conservation
  • Sep 27, 2023

A mouth-watering array at Maine Apple Camp, a biennial event, showcases New England’s fall colors and flavors.

IF I'M HONEST, I’ve had an up-and-down relationship with fall.

As a kid in Texas, I welcomed the reprieve from 100-plus degrees and reveled in acting out what “autumn” meant in places with a more dramatic change of seasons. Craft projects full of fake colored leaves seemed delightfully exotic in a land of loblolly pines. As a young adult in Chicago, I saw any crispness in the air as an omen of the frigid winter to come. I set my shoulders, gritted my teeth and kept my head down. And then I landed in New England, a fall fairy tale come to life: apples on a spectrum from tart to sweet, long hikes without breaking a sweat, early fires on brisk evenings.

I don’t know what fall will bring in the future, other than change. Living in an era of climate crisis, I’m thankful for the work of organizations like the National Wildlife Federation that recognize our decisions as humans can speed up or slow down our shared ecological clock. In this issue, we celebrate NWF and all stakeholders dedicated to strengthening the 50-year-old Endangered Species Act. You’ll read about more folks committed to safeguarding people and their ecosystems, from Apache Stronghold’s fight against landscape-scale destruction in Arizona to an indefatigable Florida effort to connect fragmented wildlife habitat.

Endeavors like these give me hope and a sense of anticipation—which might be the most fallish feeling of all.

SHARE YOUR VIEWS: NWEditor@nwf.org

More from National Wildlife magazine and the National Wildlife Federation:

Fall 2023 Issue »
Read Last Issue's Editor's Note »

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