Frankfort resident Rebekah Isack was inspired to help increase conservation awareness after a trip to Amistad Recreational Area in Texas last summer.
May 12, 2009 | 01:08 AMClick here to read Rebekah Isack's award-winning essay!
Lincoln-Way East senior Rebekah Isack doesn't think of green as a trend.
She wants to keep green around for a long time and has taken steps to help it happen. Despite her proximity to a big city, Frankfort resident Isack has learned to love land and wants to do what she can to keep acres pure.
Last summer, Isack traveled to Amistad National Recreation Area in Del Rio, Texas as a learning initiative through the Student Conservation Association.
She returned to her Frankfort home with a renewed sense of commitment to preserving "roadless areas," or 58 million acres of land in the United States free of development, logging and mining.
Under the 2001 Roadless Conservation Rule, put in place by former U.S. President Bill Clinton, the acreage was protected from logging, mining, or other destructive activities.
With each change in administration, though, comes the risk that the rule, which is markedly less firm than a law, could be erased, said Chris Lancette, communications director for the Wilderness Society, a national organization dedicated to preservation.
But if Isack has anything to say about, the rule will stay firmly in place.
In an editorial submitted to the Wilderness Society, Isack penned her personal position on the rule. She eloquently expressed her inherent sense of connection to the wilderness and her fervor to keep it alive. Click here to read Rebekah Isack's award-winning essay!
"I was just blown away that a young person living in a big city had such an amazing passion for protecting the environment," Lancette said.
Lancette doesn't often see such a strong commitment for conservation in someone living in an urban setting; sometimes it's hard to appreciate and fight for something a person can't experience firsthand.
Isack's time with the Student Conservation Association left her wanting to contribute more. She agreed to become an ambassador for the program on her return to Illinois. The SCA asked her to write a piece to help spark politicians' interest in keeping the roadless rule alive.
The Wilderness Society is hoping to attain backing from President Obama. In the meantime, Isack scripted a need for an interim directive that would prohibit people at the ground level of an activity like mining or logging to allow activity to take place.
Without a "time out" or an interim directive, Lancette said smaller entities can act against the rule on their own.
"I cannot imagine living in a world entirely and utterly bound by the confines of concrete, buildings, and inescapable traffic jams," Isack wrote. "Without federal protection, the destruction of these forests for the profit of logging industries is not only anticipated but also inevitable. Decisions to eliminate the Roadless Rule's protection over national forests morally debase the ideals of a supposedly 'green-thinking' America while ignoring the expertise of scientists and the concerned voices of the American people." ...continued on page 2