I once read an excerpt from Eudora Welty that read, “Location is the crossroads of circumstance, the proving ground of what happened? Who’s there? Who’s coming? And that is the heart’s field.”
Only in Mobile can you find an individual so deeply in love with their environment, they would marry it. As a native of this elegant city, I have appreciated countless hours investing in the place that anchors me. So much time, I feel that Mobile is truly my better half. I encourage others to feel the same embrace, to protect the environment that shaped you, and to be proud of the legacy you will leave for future generations.
Crossroads of circumstance
If location truly is the crossroads of circumstance, don’t you want to leave that location better than you found it? If we are merely traveling individuals fortunate to land in a particular place, shouldn’t we set the bar at the highest standard for others to follow? At Mobile Baykeeper, we set those high standards. We are champions for our place and are dedicated to protecting the beauty, health, and heritage of the Mobile Bay Watershed. Our watershed is an immense network of over 250 separate waterways, including rivers, bays, creeks, and bayous that wind through the Delta before entering the Bay.
The Delta, sometimes known as the Bay’s backyard, has deep historical and natural roots, spanning from “arguably” the last battle of the Civil War to one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in North America. Mobile, previously known as the city of six flags, can partially attribute its diverse heritage to the Spanish and French explorers who settled in Little Bateau in the Delta in the 1500s. We are rich in culture and forever growing from the lessons of those who settled our place long before we were here.
Who is there?
As Mobilians, we are no strangers to claiming our territory, believing no challenge is too large to face, and being immensely proud of what we have. We do not hesitate to welcome out of town guests and share with them the lessons we have learned from our beautiful place. Bless their hearts; they never quite know what they are getting into even during a short visit.
I have never met a Mobile native shy of explaining where we all come from and why we are all still here. We have such a powerful connection to the land and all of the many waters surrounding us. Over the years, my grandfather unfailingly explained to me the value of our place, our individual and communal calling to defend what we have, and why we are so uniquely fortunate to call this place home. Environmental stewardship in a place like Mobile, whose economy is directly tied to its natural resources, is the key to success for our community.
Who is coming?
It was no coincidence that the first word Alabama native Helen Keller learned was “water.” As individuals, our bodies are made up of two-thirds water. For us Mobilians, our watershed covers two-thirds of the state of Alabama. In Helen’s autobiography, “The Story of My Life”, she described her first experience with water, when teacher Anne Sullivan placed her hand under a stream and began spelling w-a-t-e-r into her palm.
“Suddenly I felt a misty consciousness as something forgotten--a thrill of returning thought; and somehow the mystery of language was revealed to me,” she wrote. “I then knew w-a-t-e-r meant the wonderful cool something that was flowing over my hand. That living world awakened my soul, gave it a light, hope, joy, set it free!”
Helen’s connection with water lives inside all of us. My childhood memories are filled with experiences of water – experiences on Mobile Bay. My adult life is filled with even more of those experiences and they are forever growing. I never miss an opportunity to embrace our wonderful bay and all of its surrounding waterways.
I want my children and grandchildren to share my same passion for this wonderful community, and joining the team at Mobile Baykeeper has helped inspire me to leave a legacy for future generations. As a team, we are dedicated to our mission and advancing the quality of life for the citizens of our community. I cannot think of a stronger embrace I have than for my city, my community, and my bay. My heart’s passion emanates from the bay and all of the waters surrounding Mobile.
And that is my heart’s field.
- Justine Herlihy, Development Director