Robert De Niro Explains Why We Shouldn’t “F—k with Nature.”
When I was growing up my teachers often cited A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. While the story tells of coming of age in Brooklyn and overcoming obstacles, the reference was often by my teachers in jest to underscore that Brooklyn, despite what it offers, is not a beacon of nature. Experiences, such as seeing stars and/or looking for constellations (big dipper–what?) or going for a walk on a trail surrounded by trees and filled with animals, were foreign to my nature starve self. It wasn’t until I went to college in Upstate New York, that I experienced many who are privilege to grow in less populated environment take for granted. I saw the big dipper. I walked on nature trails. I even got sprayed a spunk (though I rather not have gotten to experience that).
After moving back to the city those experiences became distant yet wonderful memories. At a recent dinner for Mohonk Preserve, New York State’s largest non-profit nature preserve, I was reminded of the importance of preserving the environment so people like me don’t forget that at night the stars come out and play.
Held at Tribeca Studios, the dinner included denizens from the preserve and a special appearance from Robert De Niro. Like many of the 200+ guests in attendance, Mr. De Niro, understands that nature offers a welcome escape from city dwelling. “Mohonk Preserve is a shining example of the good that came come from smart sensitive care of our natural resources. Not long ago, that seemed like a good choice, now it’s a matter of life and death. We call all agree on that,” he said during his lighthearted and often joke filled speech before roaring “Don’t F—k with Nature.”
Indeed, while Mr. De Niro, was obviously joking his sentiments were echoed by guests who live near Mohonk. “It just incredible that just a few hours away there’s this wonderful place,” gushed one guest. “So I are here to support the preserve. I am hoping to make difference.” And that she did, the conversation piqued my interest about visiting especially after hearing all of the wonderful speeches.
Other notables who attended the dinner included Mohonk Preserve Executive Director Glenn Hoagland, Arthur Sulzberger Jr Jane Rosenthal, Mary Wittenberg (President of the NYRR) most of whom stayed after dinner and danced to the tunes of the in house band.