Libby High School essay winner — David Brooks

“What does wilderness have to teach the ‘civilized’ world?”

The wilderness has many things to teach the ‘civilized’ world. Take a look at how diverse and complicated, yet fairly organized a forest is. A forest is an ecosystem in which every plant and every animal has a role in its society to help the others live. These plants and creatures all depend on each other for survival as they work together to accomplish such a feat. The societies of people should recognize this and not only follow the forest’s ecosystem and way of life, but we should also protect these habitats. The forest is a home for many plants and animals just as a house in which we live is to us. How would we like it if someone destroyed our homes and our way of life? We simply wouldn’t. If humans would work with each other and strive to help one another for survival instead of things such as war and bickering, then we would have a more stable society. The wilderness has the ability to teach us, the “civilized” world, how to work together to live and accomplish our goals, just as a forest’s ecosystem would.

Another way wilderness can teach the ‘civilized’ world is by its way of recycling. Every aspect of nature and the wilderness is used and not abused. All elements from water to decaying plants and animals are reused through a major process in which a wilderness’s resources never run out or fail. This can teach the ‘civilized’ world about recycling. Recycling is our friend and it can help us overcome our natural resource crisis.

Weather is also another way nature and the wilderness can teach the ‘civilized’ world valuable lessons. Spring’s rain is nature’s way of cleansing the impurities and decay left behind from a winter’s season. Spring’s sunshine is the resource used to begin a new era of life which continues throughout the summer and into fall where dormancy for the plants and animals occur. The weaker plants and animals die off through the season of winter; and the cycle begins again. Every part of nature is always reused and  never wasted.

These examples of weather and the four seasons can teach the people of society that only the strong survive through the hardest of times. A drought for the environment could be compared to the depressed state of our society and economy. If we continue to head down the path we are currently on, we are doomed to fail as the weak. But if we choose to take the path the environment has taken, we will be conclusively victorious and triumphant over our destined doom. We will be on the right path. The path in which working together for survival, recycling, and respecting one another for future generations, a successful and stronger evolution will be inevitable.

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Categories: Blog
About The Author:

Sandy Compton has been program coordinator for Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness since 2009. He is also a storyteller and author of both fiction and non-fiction books, and the publisher at

In addition to his other duties, he runs the FSPW All Star Trail Team (, which works on Forest Service trails in the Scotchman Peaks. He is a trail surveyor as well, and a C-Certified Crosscut Bucker/Feller and USFS National Saw Policy OHLEC instructor.

Sandy grew up on a small farm/woodlot at the south end of the proposed wilderness and lives there still. He is also board member of the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance and a planning team member for the Northern Rockies Wilderness Skills Institute.

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