Jeff Corwin is a world-renown wildlife biologist and conservationist. For years, we’ve watched him explore nature through his enormously popular television shows. We’ve watched him decipher nature’s mysteries while educating and entertaining us. But his own journey didn’t start out that way.
“We lived in the city,” Corwin said. “My dad was a Boston cop. There was no nature. The local bay was polluted. It wasn’t until I was about six years old that we visited relatives that lived in a rural environment. I tumbled in the backyard and found critters in a stone wall and then found a snake in a woodpile. That was my gateway into nature.
“I felt so fulfilled and I enjoyed the challenge of unraveling the mysteries of nature. It was that moment of finding that snake that set me on my course to becoming the person that I am today.”
Which is why the exploration of the natural world is so important to him. And it’s why he’s taking the time out of his busy schedule to headline the 10th Annual Nature Fest at Bridgeland. People, he says, need to be connected to nature.
“We are hardwired to be natural explorers,” Corwin said. “It’s who human beings are. It’s what makes us special. The best way to exercise our exploration muscles is by connecting to nature.”
Corwin brings that sense of natural exploration with him everywhere he goes. He knows that everyone needs nature to be healthy, successful people in their everyday lives. Separation from nature – which he calls nature-deficit disorder – can thwart that health and success.
“I think it’s a disservice to our children to deny them their natural right to be connected to nature,” he said.
Which makes Corwin’s appearance at Bridgeland, a Houston community that plans to devote more than 3,000 acres to open space and recreation while offering more than 900 acres of waterways, a natural fit, according to Heath Melton, Vice President of Master Planned Communities for the Howard Hughes Corporation.
“Jeff Corwin is without a doubt one of this country’s foremost nature conservationists,” Melton said. “He’s the perfect fit for both Nature Fest and Bridgeland. He helps set the example that we try to carry on at Bridgeland. It’s so important to us that we use this land wisely, conserving where we can and providing sanctuary to the many species of wildlife in the greater Houston area as we grow.”
Corwin believes that being an environmental steward isn’t optional any longer – it’s a necessity.
“We feed off nature and we thrive off nature so it behooves us to be good environmental stewards,” he said.
Corwin’s appearance at Nature Fest is meant to help demonstrate that. From Africa to Asia to South America, he brings everything from strange reptiles to ancient mammals with him. The oddities of the natural world all come together in this natural experience that Corwin hopes build a connection.
“We have the bizarre to the gigantic, the intimidating to the gentle,” he said. “We have every facet of nature.”
It’s an experience that he says not only offers a chance to have fun and see amazing creatures but one that he hopes also leaves people with information they can “harness in their own lives to be good environmental stewards.”
“These resources that we have, that we need, we don’t inherit from our ancestors,” Corwin said. “We borrow from our children. I think we owe it to our children to promote good, pragmatic environmental stewardship. Connecting to nature is the first step.”