Words from a Warden: Presenting Nathan Cristofori

Man dressed in black, wardenOur guest blogger is Nathan Cristofori, Natural Resources Warden for the Town of Plymouth.  He will speak about his progressive and innovative views on natural resources law enforcement as part of our speaker series, Making Waves in Coastal Conservation, on Wednesday, April 23rd at 204 Long Pond Road from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. (doors open at 7:00 p.m.). His presentation is entitled: Words from a Warden: Balancing Law Enforcement and Conservation. Space is limited; pre-register by emailing: dss@goldenrod.org.

As Plymouth’s first Natural Resources Warden, a job that fit my interests and education, the fact that I am working a ‘dream job’ every day is not lost on me. It is incredible to know that I am in a profession that is the culmination of five years of college and eight years of applicable work experience.

When I told fellow Westfield State College Criminal Justice majors who are now working for various police departments around the country that I was intent on going into environmental law enforcement rather than tradition police work, they all asked me the same thing: “Why?” I found myself wondering the same thing: why did I choose this career?

When I was a college student working towards my Bachelors in Criminal Justice, I worked the night shift at my seasonal job at Long Beach in Plymouth. I remember one of those quintessential New England summer nights where it was more comfortable outside than inside, and the only sounds were gently crashing waves, and music from bands coming across the harbor. We had done excellent work that summer helping a record number of Piping Plover chicks fledge, a year after none fledged. Reflecting on the work I had done at the beach for the past two summers, I had one of those moments of clarity that Thoreau and Hemingway wrote about: I knew that protecting the ecosystem I was surrounded by was a career I needed.

Prior to being the Warden for Plymouth, I was an Environmental Scientist on Cape Cod. I loved researching wetlands, but it wasn’t enough knowing I was

Piping plover chick

Piping plover chick

just helping the environment, as satisfying as it is; I wanted to be someone who not only took proactive steps to help the environment, but also someone who stops others from harming it.

People often ask me why we need to protect this species of bird, or that type of flower. Perhaps I don’t answer their question to their liking, but I always retort, “Why shouldn’t we?” I believe that we, as the dominant species on this planet, have a duty to act.  Because we have the capacity to research issues and problem-solve, we should apply those abilities. We must be the stewards of the natural world and protect those species that cannot protect themselves. I believe that this world is worth saving, not just for the sake of environment, but also for the people that live in it.


Monarch butterfly on seaside goldenrod

I want people to be able to walk the conservation properties in town, and, I want hunters and fishermen to utilize the resources found here, and I want everyone to do so safely, responsibly and legally. I chose this job because I believe in it. Working a job you believe in doesn’t feel much like work, or a job for that matter, at all.