Message from Don Henley

Don HenleyWelcome to World Wide Waldens, a web-based environmental stewardship program, that empowers young people around the globe to find a Walden - a place needing care and protection - in their own community.

At a time when global warming, biodiversity, sustainability, pollution and other urgent environmental issues weigh heavily on our minds, World Wide Waldens invites young people to reflect on their environmental ethic, make a positive difference in the world, and connect to other young people who share similar concerns and convictions.

In the fall of 1989, I was watching CNN and saw a report about two real estate development projects - a large office building and condominium complex - both slated for construction in the heart of historic WaldenWoods near Boston, Massachusetts. This place of international literary,environmental and cultural significance inspired the writings of the great philosopher and naturalist Henry David Thoreau, and is widely recognized as the birthplace of the American conservation movement.

Having read Thoreau's work in high school and college and having been influenced by his writings, I was shocked to learn that Walden Woods was vulnerable to the pressures of commercial development. My reaction to the disheartening news was immediate. I needed to do what I could to preserve this historic and ecological treasure. If we failed to protect Walden Woods, where the concept of land conservation first took root, then what would be the fate of thousands of other "Waldens" throughout the world? We need these places - they help us reconnect with the natural world and inspire us to become better stewards of the environment.

In 1990, a group of friends and supporters joined me in founding the Walden Woods Project, a nonprofit organization. Fortunately, we successfully purchased and preserved the sites in Walden Woods threatened by commercial development. To date, the Walden Woods Project has protected nearly 150 acres and is continuing to lead the effort to preserve more endangered sites in Thoreau's Walden Woods.

Since 1990, I have had the honor of meeting individuals from around the globe who are passionate and committed stewards of our natural world, and I have learned that every community has a Walden. I hope you find your Walden, take a stand for your environment, and let World Wide Waldens help you tell your story. I look forward to hearing about your success! Together, we can ensure a brighter future for our planet.

Don Henley
Founder and President
The Walden Woods Project