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Comments From Our Readers


Salt on Old Wounds” [Incite, July-August], Ted Williams’s piece about Utah’s Great Salt Lake, is very good. Thank you for helping elevate the importance of the issue—it really means a lot to the lake and to all of us w

ho are working on its behalf.

Lynn de Freitas
Executive Director
Friends of Great Salt Lake
Salt Lake City, UT


The following were comments posted to The Perch.


Kim Hubbard/Audubon Magazine

June19: I have constantly felt guilt in this oil spill crisis, because I use and love so many things related to oil. I used to frequent an Arco station because it had the cheapest gas—which is my gateway to ultimate freedom. Could I live without being able to just drive away in my car? Then there are the myriad ways oil is involved in our lives, from our CDs to our movies to the many plastics we buy and recycle and buy again. It truly is astounding what disasters like this point out to us about what we ignore at our peril. What is worth the loss of a sensitive marsh or the disappearance of a sea turtle? I do not consider this some regrettable minor mistake to be forgotten by next week’s soundbite disaster. This is it folks, this is it!–Tina


June 26: I’m grateful for all of the volunteers helping the wildlife from the Gulf. How horrifying it must be for these unsuspecting creatures who were just doing what they do and found themselves the victims of us doing what we do.

I helped out on a rescue of animals caught in a small spill in Navarre, Ohio, with the Tri-State Bird Rescue in 1995. Most of the birds were Canada geese, which are not endangered but still amazing. Those memories will remain with me forever. Volunteering is heartbreaking; you have to take yourself to a different place to do it. The release of the rehabbed birds is all worth it, though. I still cry when I relive the moment I watched those geese return to the clean water.–BZTAT


Kim Hubbard/Audubon Magazine

June15: I wrote only half a dozen pieces for Les Line [“The Master,” July-August] over a 15-year period, so I can’t claim to have known him well. What was—is—important about Les is that he insisted that Audubon tell the truth about all manner of crimes against nature.

For many years, for writers and photographers who wanted to do aggressive, rigorous, critical journalism in defense of the environment, Les was the man to see. Much of the stream of environmental journalism that has followed, right down to today—about energy and food and water; climate change and clean air; about Katrina and BP; about our terrible destruction of the earth and our political mendacity and our corporate lies—flows through Les Line and the pages of Audubon.–Anthony Wolff


June 16: I worked for and with Les for 20 years—first as a freelance writer/field editor, then for 12 years as executive editor. Les was every writer’s dream: flexible to a fault, receptive of others’ ideas and perspectives, and unflinchingly supportive. But that same flexibility could both nourish and discombobulate his staff.

One of Les’s finest moments as editor was when he decided, close to closing deadline, to tear the issue apart to cover the eruption of the Mount St. Helens volcano. It seemed utterly capricious to the staff, a pointless knee-jerk reversion to Les’s ambulance-chasing days as a newspaper photographer. The ensuing chaos made everyone miserable, including the printer. But when the magazine appeared in print, the Mount St. Helens pieces were clearly the keystone to an issue that still had that trademark serenity, even though the issue’s production was anything but serene. Not so incidentally, some of the material actually scooped the newsweeklies and other media.

Les Line was a big man with even bigger ideas and a fondness for shaking things up. He changed the face, the whole landscape, of conservation and environmental publishing. We shall, I think, never see his likes again, but the world is a better, cleaner, prettier place for his having passed through it.–Gary Soucie


May 25: Word inflation has reduced the value of “great” to dime-a-dozen status, but in the truest sense of the word, Les Line was a great person. His legacy was to turn Audubon magazine into the standard-bearer of the conservation movement. His years as editor (1966–1991) coincided with the rise and high-water mark of environmentalism. But Les’s genius and greatness were in making nature and the environmental ethic felt deep in the hearts of countless individuals. Under Les, Audubon was among the few magazines in wide circulation that gave space over to lengthy, totally engrossing, New Yorker-type pieces.

Twenty-five years ago this month, I answered an ad for a job at an “environmental organization” in New York City, and walked through the doors of the National Audubon Society to be greeted by a glass case showing issues of the flagship magazine—Les’s magazine. I took one look and knew I was where I belonged.–Fred Baumgarten


Kim Hubbard/Audubon Magazine

June 16: Olivia Bouler [Audubon Family, July-August] is a great role model for kids her age! My daughter is an artist and we live in the Pensacola area. She loves the beach and wants to be a marine biologist. We’re sad about what’s happening. We go to the beach all summer. My daughter wants to help with the cleanup but can’t because of her age. But Olivia has given her some great ideas of other ways to help! Kids are people, and what they do matters!–Anonymous


June 22: It takes a special person to care enough to do something. I know Olivia didn’t realize the magnitude of her effort by drawing that first picture, but she has really impacted lots of folks.

I am so upset at man allowing this oil spill, caring only about money rather than consequences to our wildlife. I write bird articles for my local newspaper and just wrote one about the American white pelican and the brown pelican. I lived through a serious oil spill off the coast of Washington. As much as we tried to save the birds, they all died.

Birds are like humans: They have blood, a heart, lungs, feelings, and instincts. The big difference: They give much more than they take.–Anonymous.