Douglas Brinkley has done a marvelous job writing about Roosevelt’s life as a naturalist, wildlife conservationist, and creator of national forests, parks and wildlife refuges. The author also explains our 26th president’s philosophy on living the strenuous life. Roosevelt, a sickly child, overcame health problems like asthma and a weak heart. When a doctor told him that he should refrain from physical exertion, he did just the opposite, and strengthened his body through exercise, boxing and hiking in the mountains. As an ultramarathoner, you can see why I admire this great man.
Theodore –he hated being called Teddy—gave a speech in Chicago (Apr 10, 1899) about the necessity for Americans to live the strenuous life to overcome the weakness that was caused by city living. He preached,
"In speaking to you, men of the greatest city of the West, men of the state which gave to the country Lincoln and Grant, men who preeminently and distinctly embody all that is most American in the American character, I wish to preach not the doctrine of ignoble ease but the doctrine of the strenuous life; the life of toil and effort; of labor and strife; to preach that highest form of success which comes not to the man who desires mere easy peace but to the man who does not shrink from danger, from hardship, or from bitter toil, and who out of these wins the splendid ultimate triumph."
Read the entire speech
America’s first bird sanctuary was created in 1903 because feather collectors or plume hunters, as they were called, were decimating the bird populations in Florida. The feathers were sold to fashion designers for use in ladies hats. During this time, some exotic bird feathers were worth more their weight than gold –literally!
Paul Kroegel who lived near the island tried his best to protect brown pelicans and other birds that roosted on this island near Sebastian, Fl. Sebastian has been the home of my parents since they retired here years ago. My father’s favorite past time was having his breakfast while watching the wildlife in the Indian River. My parents took birding classes so they could identify the diverse bird populations in southern Florida and taught me how to identify some of the water birds.
Read Indian River Run
I’m greatful to Theodore Roosevelt and Paul Kroegel for protecting these birds 100 years ago so that we are able to enjoy them today. Let’s hope that our current and future politicians are equally as concerned about our environment and wildlife so that our children and grandchildren can also enjoy all the splendor nature has to offer. See you on the trail.
Wood Storks (Mycteria americana), Sebastian Inlet
Snowy Egret (Egretta thula), Sebastian Inlet