Trouble in Paradise



In mid summer I saw two of these beautiful babies – twin fawns – delicately tiptoeing through the tall grasses on a nearby empty lot just around the corner from where I live. I stopped my car and watched as they slipped quietly into the shade and safety of the deep, wooded ravine through which runs a fresh spring.

This same wooded ravine runs the length of the street across from where I live, and it is teaming with life… on the ground, in the trees and on the wing. The secret to all this abundant wildlife is the natural spring which feeds into another creek, then another larger creek which eventually feeds into the big river in my area. This fresh spring has, for many years, kept the last urban forest in my town strong and green.

The little green place where I saw the twin fawns is the gateway for the ecology of our wooded forest. Through this small undeveloped passage enters much of the wildlife that is trapped in our shrinking urban environment. Through this one remaining green doorway the animals in our neighbourhood must somehow find water, food, safety and shelter from the summer’s devastating heat and the even deadlier human beings.

Sadly this fragile green gateway is now for sale. It was scalped with heavy machinery down to the red earth removing trees, bushes, weeds, grasses, wildflowers…every living thing. The real estate agent said it had to be done so that a potential buyer could see how easily a 3000 sq foot house could squeeze onto a tiny piece of land.

What price can be put on the ecology of that wooded ravine which is one of the largest, remaining green spaces in town ? Why couldn’t the neighbourhood have gotten together to protect this place that protects our trees, our wildlife and us? Wouldn’t we and and our children have been better served if we created a pocket park that school children could have visited to learn about the wildlife that depends on the safety and water of the wooded ravine? What better way to help the children learn the value of leaving some special natural places alone than a place to teach about conservation in your own neighbourhood?

If I were a person who had money, I would buy that little green space in my neighborhood and donate it to a river conservation group who could make sure no one ever destroyed this green place, and I would invite my nearby elementary school to walk to this small green place with their teachers on a nice sunny day to learn about all the animals and nature that live in the wooded ravine.

Maybe I would even clear the vines off the walled stone path that leads to the fresh spring, and on the next hot summer day, my grandkids, and I would take that path into the cool ravine below to see where the river begins and the baby deer come to drink.