Those just passing through can't possibly comprehend how serious we are about preserving what is lovely, and restoring what has been defiled. But little do those passing through know, either, of the rising threat to these treasures that define us as The Garden State.
When conservation plays offense, what's at stake is not so much some future loss, but a linked and living landscape that's out there right now, a landscape where it is still possible to see five bears pass by a campfire in a single night.
Through consistent and deliberate year-round work, farmers provide us with the makings of our holiday traditions. They grow the flowers that adorn our tables, the wreaths on our doors, and the Christmas trees that are a centerpiece for many families.
Among us Hispanics nothing defines our ties to nature, to the divine creation better than the amor por el terruño, or loosely translated, our love of country, an often spiritual connection with the land that sees us grow, that nurtures us, that gives us life.
I don't believe our window of opportunity has closed on building new big reserves; not yet anyway. But we need to be much more creative and more optimistic if we are going to breathe new life into, and reawaken, that Golden Era.