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Recently I had a profound experience with nature. I was walking to school at Westminster College when a mallard stopped doing its duck thing and looked me straight in the face. As I met its gaze, I remembered why I cared about natural spaces.

People care a lot more for national parks and wilderness areas than their urban natural spaces like gardens, parks and lawns. An over-romanticized view of wilderness creates this discrepancy.

Wilderness is a wonderful place to spend time, but it's a place where an individual "is a visitor who does not remain." Wouldn't it be nice to maintain that connection with nature in a place where your presence is readily welcomed?

Natural spaces in a city can regularly give urban dwellers a taste of raw natural experiences, but they are often overlooked. They are as close as your backyard, neighborhood park or neighbor's flower beds.

In addition to caring for Utah's forests, sweeping vistas and rock formations, share the love of urban natural spaces, and perhaps spend more time visiting your neighbor's ducks.

Katherine Dalrymple

Salt Lake City

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