” i love places where there are crowds of trees.”
scio woods county preserve, ann arbor, mi, usa
3 sister lakes
3rd sister lake
“In memory of “Daddy” Filbert Roth
Head of Forestry School (UM)
By his Forestry Boys
“nature is a serenade for souls willing to hear.”
Dolph Park, Saginaw Forest, 3 Sister Lakes – Ann Arbor, MI, USA
Remember to space it out, watch the waving, and recreate responsibly.
those zany park rangers are at it again
i love their method of getting the message across
National parks across the country provide endless opportunities for recreational activities for everyone from the casual sightseer to the experienced adventurer. With your help, we can enjoy these special places while preserving them for future generations to enjoy. Learn more ways to recreate safely at https://www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/recreate-responsibly.htm
“one thorn of experience is worth a wilderness of warning.”
-james russell lowell
when walking in a park near my daughter’s house
an illustrated storybook trail
with pages spread throughout the woods
placed there by the village and the local library
a perfect pairing.
goats from twin willow ranch have arrived at gallup park! ten goats in all will be busy over the course of three weeks “goatscaping,” removing brush from the park’s two islands. the islands are normally accessible via foot bridge; but during the three-week goat initiative, june 6–June 27, the islands, and bridges, will be closed.
goatscaping is an old-fashioned, eco-friendly and entertaining form of brush control. goats like to eat invasive plants like honeysuckle and buckthorn; poison ivy (to which goats are not allergic as some humans are); and pretty much any green plant within reach. this pilot project is part of an ongoing effort to clear out the overgrowth and invasive shrubbery as park staff work toward a long-term maintenance plan.
the goat initiative has an interactive component as well, for those curious about this work. GIVE 365 will be hosting three goat talk and walk tours in conjunction with volunteer work days. how to participate in a tour, for more information about this initiative, including goat photos and their bios, and more is available at http://www.a2gov.org/goats-at-gallup.
“ideas are easy.
it’s the execution of ideas that really separates the sheep from the goats.”
after walking many miles
through the parks at home
i traveled north for a visit
to a whole new town
and when walking through the city
i once again find myself
in yet another beautiful park.
‘i don’t know where i’m going from here
but i promise it won’t be boring.’
victoria park, ontario, canada
the notes i scribbled after each walk in the parks
the artifacts i gathered as i walked the parks
most dried out to the point where i could not recognize them
i threw all of the the notes and artifacts into a big shoe box
in one heaping pile
things fell out and fell in
i found a purple feather and holiday glitter in the mix
clearly a very complex and organized system.
“if you wish to forget anything on the spot,
make a note that this thing is to be remembered.”
-edgar allan poe
from july 3rd-october 30th, i spent much of my free time walking the parks in ann arbor. i was initially surprised that there were over 150 parks in the city, but happy to discover the number. and so, with no sense of direction, and no expectations, other than to see what was out there, i wandered into the woods and stumbled into the greenspaces, open to whatever came my way.
some of the things i discovered about the parks –
ann arbor has 152 parks, along with other recreational and activity spaces
not all of the parks were easy to find or to access, information and directions were vague at times – there were many secret entrances. during this adventure, i had to climb though brambles, through backyards, across driveways, park illegally, go over and under fences, across ravines, around hills, between fences, over water, under low trees, and behind school yards.
the parks total over 2,000 acres (more on that tomorrow)
they range in size from the tiniest pocket parks (postman’s rest and depot) to the largest- birdhills (161 acres) and the nichols arboretum (123 acres)
many different people/organizations help to care for them – the university of michigan school of natural resources, the boy and girl scouts, garden clubs, sportsmen’s clubs, land preservation groups, businesses, neighbors, schools, churches, anonymous individuals
they are used for all kinds of celebrations, get togethers, meetings, activities, sports in every season, as well as solitary endeavors
all kinds and ages of people and animals use the parks
there is a lot of water involved – rivers, creeks, streams, lakes
lots of trees, wildflowers, corn, berries, pine cones, apples, orchids, peonies, lilies, mushrooms, thistles, brambles, green spaces, vines, grasses, ravines, hills, fields, marshes, meadows
lots of rocks – from boulders to gravel
play areas of all kinds – for toddlers through adult sports enthusiasts
lots of structures – tree houses, forts, damns, benches, tables, huts, camp sites
lots of animals of every kind
incredible histories and memorials
lots of neighborhood parks – each has at least one park within it
at times i felt like i was in someone’s intimate space, like showing up and sharing their yard with them
other times, i was the only one in a large, incredibly beautiful space, in the middle of the city, or just on the outskirts, but deep in the woods, hidden away and far removed
some of the things i discovered about myself:
i am stronger and have much more stamina than when i began walking
i am apparently bite and injury resistant – never was bitten by any insect, animal, or human, only got scraped after my slide down a hill
i love walking deep in the woods in quiet solitude
it takes me about 40 minutes before i am deep in my zen zone when walking and then i could walk forever
i also love being amidst the wildlife and human activity in the parks at times
i went through 1 and 1/2 pairs of shoes
i discovered interesting lost/abandoned items along the way – mittens, socks, flip flops, shorts, underwear, glasses….
i am now a bit wealthier – (found 28 cents along the way)
i am able to walk in all weather conditions
i still have a horrendous sense of direction but always find my way back home
i found so much more than i ever expected, including an incredible sense of peace, and feel changed in ways that will stay with me forever
each and every park has a story, each one has its own personality, each one has very loyal caretakers, each one is valued by the community, each one is clearly loved by someone.
it was a long, but wonderful journey and when i finally reached the end of the list, it was bittersweet. along the way, i learned much about my city, the people who live here, the spaces within my community, the nature that surrounds me, and even more about myself. thank you to ann arbor for providing such amazing places of beauty for all of us .
“many a trip continues long after movement in time and space have ceased.”