The Good News is that during hard times—and what a hard few months it's been—nature is around if you need it. It plays many roles in a crisis, from minor distraction to major escape.And when you're trying to make sense of the world, nature can serve as an inspirational backdrop, which reminds me of the June Jordan poem "For Alice Walker (a summertime tanka)":
Redwood grove and war
You and me talking Congo
gender grief and ash
I say, "God! It's all so huge"
You say, "These sweet trees: This tree"
The good news is that as of this writing, park visits are up. Fishing license sales are surging. Bike shops are thriving. The pandemic appears to be amplifying our desire to be outdoors. As Quinton Skinner writes in Dispatch, "For many of us living in the COVID-19 era, nature has been a therapeutic godsend."
The good news is that when it comes to tracking and managing animal disease, Michelle Carstensen is on the case. As head of the DNR's wildlife health unit, Carstensen is part super-sleuth, part first responder, working tirelessly with her team to contain all manner of animal affliction, including chronic wasting disease in white-tailed deer. She's also a member of a committee that's trying to figure out how to safely handle wildlife during the pandemic. The DNR is lucky to have her.
The good news is that Jessica Petersen loves insects. So much so that she's dedicated her professional life to studying them—and advocating for them. In her story, the DNR entomologist makes a simple yet powerful plea: Start noticing insects, which are so vital to plant and animal life. Petersen's writing is measured and thoughtful, and though she admits that some species are in trouble, she avoids the hyperbole sometimes found in reports about global insect decline.
The good news is that if you're interested in birding, you don't have to visit some far-flung destination or invest in fancy equipment. According to DNR zoologist Bob Dunlap, all you need to do is grab a field guide (or, heck, your phone) and see what you can see in your own community. I'm no bird expert, but I find that being able to ID some of the avian species in my neighborhood deepens my appreciation for where I live.
One last bit of good news: Readers like you continue to support us in a big way, and for that I am grateful. It's an honor to work for a magazine that evokes such passion and loyalty.
And now I think I'll go outside.
Chris Clayton, editor in chief