“I fully agree with you about the importance of preserving coastal islands. My wife is now in the process of turning over to the Nature Conservancy of Maine an island, near Final Haven, given to her by her father many years ago…”
Charles A. Lindbergh, whose life for 40 years had been devoted to aviation, took on a new role in the late 1960s – that of a passionate and articulate spokesman for conservation. Profoundly convinced that civilization is imperiled by modern man’s disregard for important wildlife species, for primitive peoples, for irreplaceable timberlands...
Charles A. Lindbergh, whose life for 40 years had been devoted to aviation, took on a new role in the late 1960s – that of a passionate and articulate spokesman for conservation. Profoundly convinced that civilization is imperiled by modern man’s disregard for important wildlife species, for primitive peoples, for irreplaceable timberlands and for unique marine life, he spent a substantial part of his last years devoting his time and energies to being a conservationist. “We are in grave danger of losing forever not just millions of years of evolution on earth, but the eons of change that have produced man and his natural environment,” he said.
In the process of his involvement in conservation, Lindbergh was willing – “where I can accomplish a purpose” – to lift the cloak of inviolable privacy he had maintained since the kidnapping and murder of his first son, Charles Jr., in 1932. The purpose that motivated him was saving what he saw as man’s priceless heritage. He played a significant part in efforts to keep from extinction the blue and the humpback whale and the one-horned Javan rhinoceros. He joined in the task of preserving the wild animals of East Africa and the polar bear in Alaska. He also undertook to focus attention on the perils to marine life in the Pacific Basin and elsewhere. And he campaigned for the setting aside of “core areas” of natural beauties, primeval forests and jungles throughout the world.
Lindbergh visited the Philippines in January 1969 to scout the conservation situation there, which included the threat to the survival of a number of aboriginal tribes, and returned in May for 12 days of vigorous conservation campaigning. On this trip he traveled thousands of miles, made scores of short speeches, shook at least 2,000 hands, ungrudgingly gave hundreds of autographs and even stood sponsor to a bridegroom at a tribal wedding – all to put the weight of his personality and convictions behind private and public conservation ventures.
Charles and his wife Anne Morrow Lindbergh spent summer idylls on North Haven Island off the Maine coast for decades. This was the site of their honeymoon, and the place of Anne’s magic girlhood. Anne’s father, a partner at J.P. Morgan and later Ambassador to Mexico and U.S. Senator from New Jersey, gifted the newlyweds nearby Big Garden Island as a wedding present. Charles and Anne loved Maine and gave generous donations to the Maine Nature Conservancy. Anne also deeded the group Big Garden Island, which is owned by the conservancy to this day.
Autograph letter signed, three pages, Manila, January 26, 1969, to a Mrs. Shirley Talcott, head of the Connecticut Nature Conservancy, who had written asking for his support. He expressed his support, and mentioned his wife’s donation to the Maine Nature Conservancy. “My apology for this late reply to your January 6th letter. I have been traveling almost constantly. My correspondence is in literally hopeless condition, and it is increasingly difficult to find hours to devote to it.
“I fully agree with you about the importance of preserving coastal islands. My wife is now in the process of turning over to the Nature Conservancy of Maine an island, near Final Haven, given to her by her father many years ago. It would be an important and grand accomplishment to preserve islands along the south Connecticut shore, and I wish you and the Connecticut branch of the Nature Conservancy the utmost success in this project. I would like to reply that I could take an active part, but I am now involved in conservation situations at home and abroad that demand more time, by far, than I am able to devote to them. In recent months I have been at home in Connecticut only for a few days at a time, with usually weeks between. As a result, routine details have accumulated on which action cannot be postponed indefinitely. As my schedule now stands, I do not see where I am going to find the hours to bring even these details up-to-date, to say nothing I’m having a little friend-visiting time left over – much as I desire it. At the moment, I am trying to be of help in the extremely serious and critical conservation situation existing in the Philippines, and this is again delaying me for days in relation to the schedule I had planned. That means cutting down on something else, and as yet I don’t know what.
“I cannot overemphasize how much encouragement it gives me to hear from people like yourself that conservation projects in New England are receiving strong support. In regards to the Scotts Cove swamp area [near the Lindbergh’s Darien, Connecticut home], my wife and I have been in contact with Mr. Oldrin and Mrs. Harris. We hope very much that the project to place this in custody of the Nature Conservancy can be brought to a successful conclusion. Subject to satisfactory arrangements being made, we are ready to contribute a strip of our land to protect the eastern water entrance.”
So the Lindberghs put their money where their mouths were by donating their own personal lands to promote conservation.
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