As we work to save the Sagebrush in Prisons project, we've collected testimonials from graduates of the project. This excerpt is from an inmate who presented at our Stories from the Field Annual Meeting and Social Hour in November. The event raised one-fifth of the amount needed to support the program for one year. Thank you if you attended, and please visit youcaring.com/iaesagebrushinprisons for more information.
I am writing this regarding the “Sagebrush in Prisons” project. I was a part of this project for two consecutive years while incarcerated at the Snake River Correctional Institution in Ontario, Oregon. Until I was introduced to this very special project, I had never concerned myself with anything involving the environment. Conservation meant nothing to me. Threatened species, invasive species, fertilizer runoff, and any real issue concerning nature was really a nuisance to my family during my upbringing. In the small community outside Coos Bay where I was raised, we considered these issues an affront on our way of life. I come from a very traditional ranching family.
The reason I am writing this letter to you today is because after two years of getting a real-world education through the Sagebrush in Prisons project, I discovered a better way. I was taught the science behind real issues we all face as Oregonians. I believe in this project and I know it has helped numerous inmates like myself, who once were a part of the problem, now can be part of a solution that affects real change.
Please help us keep this very special project alive. We can’t do it alone.