woodruff refuge
Photo of Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge by Paul Dudley Bishop

Editor, The Beacon:

I am no hero. I have no big money to contribute. I am a poor working artist and poet who spends his days in a studio. But I have also spent my lifetime wandering in and out of Florida’s wild places. That is where my inspirations are born.

After college, I began a short career working at various state-funded conservation projects: a Florida state park on the St. Johns River, Paynes Prairie, and the Cecil Webb Area west of Okeechobee.

Then I spent seven years as a naturalist for Volusia County Schools. During those years, I saw a lot of wild country and a great deal of wildlife.

Wanting to save all of that comes naturally.

When the Florida Wildlife Corridor concept was born, I was already a full-time working artist. Wild birds and landscapes were my forte. I felt I was influencing people by showing them the beauty of nature’s wonders. People bought these interpretations, and I still persist after 50 years.

But I was selling to what might be considered “the peanut gallery” — appreciators with moderate income. Only one of them became a millionaire. And he has been a lifelong friend. Lucky for me, he still buys my art. But one millionaire does not make a Florida Wildlife Corridor happen. No, that will require many millionaires.

Nevertheless I must be content with working as the stonecutter — chipping away one stroke at a time.

All of us can help, but most of us by chipping away diligently day after day, stroke after stroke.

Just begin and keep up the rhythm.

Paul Dudley Bishop

DeLand

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