To me it’s because with restoration I can do work that makes things better. And, like the folks on the burn crew above, restoration is a magnet for getting people involved at the local level.
The scale and scope of restoration projects varies considerably. Some projects must use high-end technology and fleets of earth moving equipment, such as the plan to restore the hydrology of the Florida Everglades.
However, restoration activities also include less expensive and less technical work, often showcasing the work of private citizens such as those volunteering to restore habitat and recover biodiversity on a few acres in their local natural areas, or neglected rights of way. On this neighborhood level, restoration draws citizens who supply their own shovels, pruning saws, and drip torches to clear their local public lands of pest species and facilitate the return of native species.
Maybe it is the easy accessibility that attracts so many people to restoration ecology. Maybe its popularity is due to the feeling that just one individual can really make a difference. And, many people are probably drawn to restoration work because they recognize that humans are part of nature, and can be a constructive influence, and don’t have to always be an unwelcome intrusion.
What is your story? How and why are you involved in restoration, and what about it appeals to you?