This Post launches the 12-minute land legacy video tale for the Wells Memorial Trail at Alabama’s Monte Sano State Park. The Post chronicles and presents the year-long video production. Bill Heslip, retired videographer, and I conceived and co-led the effort…Bill Directed; I Produced. Bill dubbed our two-person team Two Guys & A Camera. We enjoyed the project immensely. We took our work seriously, considering the product a memorial to William Arthur Wells, a lasting tribute to Robert and Catherine Wells, and a model for a selfless gift of land and Nature to perpetuity. We tried not to take ourselves too seriously, hence we had lots of fun, learned a great deal, and will never forget the rewarding experience.
Bill worked the camera (and editing software) flawlessly; I sat like a bump on a log, contemplating what I might say for the camera succinctly and with some modicum of scientific relevance and merit.
My fascination with the Wells Trail began long before Bill and I envisioned the video. See my Posts from September 2018 through April 2021:
I told the story of our efforts over a series of three Posts, October 2021 through June 2022:
Bill and I viewed the project as a labor of love!
The Alabama Park System accepted the land donation with great enthusiasm. Below right is a proud sailor, William Arthur Wells, preparing to depart for the Pacific in WWII. I think of this hero giving his last full measure of devotion to our great country every time I hike the trail. His spirit lives forever in the Wells Trail cathedral forest.
Robert and Catherine, likewise devoted to memorializing Bob’s older brother, supported our efforts with enthusiasm. I am grateful.
The cove hardwood forest is indeed a cathedral! I feel a sacred connection when I trek under its magnificent canopy.
Our Alabama grandsons feel it as well.
Large trees, deep shadows, and unlimited inspiration buoy the spirit of all who enter.
Still photos tell the tale only superficially. Alas, here’s the Video!!!
As a Board member of the Alabama State Parks Foundation Board, I am hopeful that the Land Legacy Video might spur other Parks-related philanthropy. Likewise, I see local land trusts across Alabama finding it useful for encouraging similar donations of land and treasure.
Some of Alabama State Parks Foundation team at the trailhead.
I am pleased that the both the Park System and the Foundation Board embraced the project and now accept the video with enthusiasm.
I lean heavily on the words of John Muir to express my own feelings about places like the Wells Trail:
Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.
Come to the woods, for here is rest.
In every walk in nature one receives far more than he seeks.
I thank Bill Heslip for joining this project with me, and leading our way to excellence. I cannot adequately thank Robert and Catherine for donating the land and enthusiastically bringing deep insight and inspiration to our efforts. And I express eternal gratitude to William Arthur Wells who gave his life to protect and preserve American Liberty.
Alabama State Parks Foundation
Thoughts and Reflections
I offer these observations:
- Special wild places touch us deeply.
- Special wild places lift us mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
- Every special wild place has a tale to tell.
Inhale and absorb Nature’s elixir. May Nature Inspire, Inform, and Reward you!
Note: All blog post images created & photographed by Stephen B. Jones unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: “©2022 Steve Jones, Great Blue Heron LLC. All Rights Reserved.”
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And a Third: I am available for Nature-Inspired Speaking, Writing, and Consulting — contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Reminder of my Personal and Professional Purpose, Passion, and Cause
If only more of us viewed our precious environment through the filters I employ. If only my mission and vision could be multiplied untold orders of magnitude:
Mission: Employ writing and speaking to educate, inspire, and enable readers and listeners to understand, appreciate, and enjoy Nature… and accept and practice Earth Stewardship.
- People of all ages will pay greater attention to and engage more regularly with Nature… and will accept and practice informed and responsible Earth Stewardship.
- They will see their relationship to our natural world with new eyes… and will understand more clearly their Earth home.
Tagline/Motto: Steve (Great Blue Heron) encourages and seeks a better tomorrow through Nature-Inspired Living!
Steve’s Three Books
I wrote my books Nature Based Leadership (2016), Nature-Inspired Learning and Leading (2017), and Weaned Seals and Snowy Summits: Stories of Passion for Place and Everyday Nature (2019; co-authored with Dr. Jennifer Wilhoit) to encourage all citizens to recognize and appreciate that every lesson for living, learning, serving, and leading is either written indelibly in or is powerfully inspired by Nature.
I began writing books and Posts for several reasons:
- I love hiking and exploring in Nature
- I see images I want to (and do) capture with my trusty iPhone camera
- I enjoy explaining those images — an educator at heart
- I don’t play golf!
- I actually do love writing — it’s the hobby I never needed when my career consumed me
- Judy suggested my writing is in large measure my legacy to our two kids, our five grand kids, and all the unborn generations beyond
- And finally, perhaps my books and Blogs could reach beyond family and touch a few other lives… sow some seeds for the future
All three of my books (Nature Based Leadership; Nature-Inspired Learning and Leading; Weaned Seals and Snowy Summits) present compilations of personal experiences expressing my (and co-author Dr. Wilhoit for Weaned Seals and Snowy Summits) deep passion for Nature. All three books offer observations and reflections on my relationship to the natural world… and the broader implications for society. Order any and all from your local indie bookstore, or find them on IndieBound or other online sources such as Amazon and LifeRich.