Barbara Beck on the importance of connecting people and nature

“Each of us has the power to make good things happen.”

Barbara Beck has loved nature for as long as she can remember. Despite living in the concrete jungle of New York City, her father made sure she spent plenty of time exploring the great outdoors. Today, Beck is an ardent advocate for the planet, a WWF Partner in Conservation, and a member of WWF’s Legacy Circle—a group of people who help protect the future of nature by including WWF in their estate plans.

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Barbara Beck in Rwanda.

Why are you passionate about conservation?
It all started with my father. He was a German immigrant who grew up in the Black Forest and felt at home in the neighboring woodlands. He wanted me to feel the same way and made sure nature wasn’t just something I read about in books. We spent a lot of time outside together, including frequent trips to visit friends who lived near a lake outside the city. Because of my father, I had the opportunity to really connect with the world around me, which is why I’m so passionate about conservation today. I try to live my life in a way that helps the planet: I started beekeeping last year; I have made my gardens at home pollinator and bird friendly; and I support WWF.

Why do you feel connecting people and nature is important?
I was lucky to feel connected to nature at an early age, and as a result I have always cared about wildlife, the environment, and the future of the planet. I know many people haven’t had similar experiences and feel disconnected from the natural world. I hope, in some small way, my actions can help fix that problem. Getting people involved and encouraging them to make small changes in the way they live and the resources they use can also have an impact. Seemingly small changes—from minimizing the use of plastics to using energy efficiently—make a difference when embraced by many people. Each of us has the power to make good things happen.

What gives you hope for the future of our planet?
I’ve traveled across all seven continents, from Africa to Antarctica to the forests of Pennsylvania. I have seen how people light up when they connect with nature. Not only that, but there’s a groundswell of good intent to protect our planet. On social media and other platforms, grassroots movements are mobilizing thousands in support of conservation. We are not apathetic. We do care about the fate of nature, and we’re taking action to protect it.

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