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Part of the Whole by Kelly Mistry

My name is Kelly Mistry, and I am a quantitative ecologist. I am a research scientist in the Quantitative Conservation Lab at the University of Washington. My research is part of an ongoing project to monitor and manage invasive species, the Brown Tree Snake, in Guam. The lab is part of both the School of Aquatic & Fisheries Sciences at the Washington CRU.

Stay on the trail
We say
Don’t disturb the environment
We believe
Limiting our presence
is best
But is the trail truly separate from its surroundings?
Just for a moment
leave the trail behind
Step on the grass
Settle into the dirt
Sink into the water
Feel the rock
The sand
The soil
Any of it
All of it
We are not confined to the trails
Not our influence
Nor our impact
We are not separated
Kept safe and apart
By the trails, roads, structures that we make
The illusion of our disconnection
From our ecosystems
Is dangerous

We are
players in all ecosystems
entrenched in all food webs
affected and affecting
Only by seeing ourselves in the picture
Neither problem nor solution
But part of all processes start to finish
Can we see what conservation truly is
Conservation of balance
Conservation of community
Conservation of self
as part of the whole
Static equilibrium is not the goal
Our world has always been dynamic
Ever changing
Ever evolving
Each player in an ecosystem gives as well as takes
How do we give?
Can we balance our give and take
Find reciprocity
in each unique facet of our world
I believe we can
We must
We will
Imperfectly but with purpose
Through setbacks and leaps ahead
And I need you to believe it too