To the editor:
I was happy to read that the Kids on Wheels group has found property on which to locate. I think it is right for kids to have this place to go and congratulate everyone who has worked hard to bring this project to this point in development.
One thing I would like to suggest: The property is already wooded with a wide variety of trees and plants, probably including wildflowers, mosses and toadstools of interest. Is someone going to do a study to see what is actually there and what can be saved to be part of the wooded park?
I noticed that there will be some fill-in for the skate park due to the floodplain nature of the land; however, the creek and established flora are already assets to this location. Perhaps even a high school biology class can work with the Brown County State Park Nature Center, or with local experts such as Ruth Ann Ingraham and the Brown County Native Woodlands Project to identify the locations of plants of interest, take the opportunity to remove any non-native species, and even label the trees by species.
Small as this area is for a natural habitat, there will still be songbirds and amphibians and maybe mammal critters and small owls that call this area home or use it as a travel corridor, and the opportunity is ripe for learning about thoughtful environmental use, meeting both the land’s needs and teen needs, even as other people work so hard to save this kind of landscape in various areas of the county by removing invasive plants.
I hope that these issues are taken under consideration. For anyone wanting to learn more about natural plant niches, the book “The Hidden Life of Trees” discusses in detail how a plot of land like the one under consideration here is actually a viable and self-supporting community. Having it available as an environmental study lab for school credit in addition to a recreational space will add/maintain another useful dimension from which Brown County teens can benefit, and tie teens in with the local Woodlands Project in a very constructive way.
If I have missed an article somewhere stating that these considerations are already underway, then I applaud the pre-planning already accomplished for this wonderful space.
Patti Reynolds, Indiana Raptor Center
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