He hopes that groups can share information about their successful control, while also working to educate the public about not planting them.In this and in many cases, people often just don't have the right information, he said."I refuse to believe that anybody out there is going to be openly and intentionally harmful to the land," he said.
With no one to tell him what to do or what to look at, he becomes an explorer, splashing through streams and turning over logs.
It never occurs to him to go inside and watch TV or play video games instead."Everything that I wanted was outside," the now 39-year-old Christopher recalled.
"There's never a joint strategy to achieve what the region needs."Recognizing that no one person or group has all the answers, a big part of his job is to help those groups collaborate and share expertise."I"m a matchmaker to a certain extent," he said.
"I look at environmental challenges and I try to figure out who are the partners that could contribute to a solution."It's a new model, so he's figuring things out as he goes. Take invasive plants, which he sees as one of the biggest conservation-related issues in our region.
But I also get to put on a tie and go to meetings where I can talk with people about collaborating to preserve the woods that I still love to play in," he said.
And it's in keeping with his epiphany those three decades ago.
And offering resources to the private landowners – people with backyards, that is – so that they can learn how to make an impact. "Mister, mister, do you want to see a giant turtle?
Even with all that looking outward, Christopher also focuses on the CNC's 1,600 acres with a goal of making it a model native ecosystem. He recalls a day spent dealing with engineering issues, looking at how to fix a section of trail in a sustainable way. "No surprise that a little boy's wonder at the natural world was all the reminder and affirmation Christopher needed."I get to play in the woods.
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