So, whacha doin’ with your summer – Anything constructive?
Biking 4,000 miles to support nature? That’s what Nathan Winters did to raise $50,000 for The Nature Conservancy – and raise awareness of issues such as climate change and of people who are working with agriculture, wilderness and efforts to preserve natural places. Looks pretty good next to cutting the grass, doesn’t it?
No – the Conservancy doesn’t have anything to do with it. Nathan is just a guy with strong legs and a big heart who found himself with the opportunity and desire to do something dramatic for nature. Really dramatic, in his case: He embarked on this journey without any previous bike touring experience.
But more than a bike ride – it’s a fully interactive event. Nathan Blogs and tweets daily updates and images from his journey, in addition to doing outreach to local press and events and visiting as many Nature Conservancy preserves as he can.
We wanted to get some basics – so here’s a quick Q&A with Nathan to get you started (look for more updates as his journey progresses):
CGS: How far are you biking on this journey? When and where did you start, and where are you ending? Where are you now?
Nathan Winters: Roughly 4,000 miles. I started May 10th in Belfast, Maine. I am currently in Winona, MN, and going to finish somewhere in Washington State. It’ll take about six months.
CGS: Why The Nature Conservancy?
Nathan Winters: I am passionate about many things in the world and had considered various ways to give back. But when I dug deep and thought about which cause I truly cared about most and what I was truly most connected to…it was the preservation of nature. I chose The Nature Conservancy as my beneficiary because I feel it is an amazing organization that helps protect our planet beyond ways we can fathom.
I also feel that people around the world should really consider themselves global citizens and not citizens native to the country in which they are living. I see The Nature Conservancy as an organization that does just that based on their work all over the world. They simply have the ability to do more with more… and that puts my mind at ease.
CGS: How are you publicizing the trip, and what’s been the online response?
CGS: You didn’t have any touring experience before this. What’s been the most challenging experience so far?
Nathan Winters: Climbing mountain passes in Vermont and battling heavy rains and wind uphill in New York have certainly presented some challenges. And while it might sound a bit cliche…leaving the wonderful people in great communities behind is always a very difficult thing to do as well.
CGS: I understand you’ve been visiting Nature Conservancy preserves and staffers along the way. How is that going, and what have been some of your experiences?
Nathan Winters: It is always great to see some of the work The Nature Conservancy is doing here in the states. One of my favorite experiences I had the opportunity to stay and meet with the folks with the Michigan region and talk closely in regards to the wonderful work that goes into managing and protecting the Great Lakes/Lake Michigan region. Truly fascinating.
CGS: How did you afford the time (and the expense) to do all this?
Nathan Winters: My sponsor helps me financially and like many other hard working Americans I had found myself in between jobs and decided to seize the opportunity.
CGS: Final question: How much are you carrying?
Nathan Winters: I am packing 70 pounds full of camping gear and electronics. As you could imagine, I am very self-sufficient at this point.