Yes, there are beavers living in the city of Madison. I saw these trees along the Starkweather Creek, a few blocks south of Milwaukee Street. I’ve also seen similarly chewed trees in Vilas Park along Lake Wingra.
As I walked through Olbrich Gardens this morning, a man was stopped in the middle of the path, staring intently at a mature tree. His back toward me, unaware of my presence, I excused myself to get by. He apologized for being in the way, saying he was just in awe of the beautiful old tree. I agreed as I walked past, saying something about many awe inspiring sights to see today. As I continued to walk over the creek bridge, I thought, any day that gives you feelings of awe, is a good day.
The natural world never ceases to amaze me with its uniquely beautiful sights. This leaf I came across while strolling through Olbrich Botanical Gardens is a prime example.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is considering granting a permit for a developer to place a luxury resort on 62 acres along the Lower Dells, right next door to the Wisconsin River State Natural Area. The D.N.R. is accepting written comments from the public until Friday, December 28. Below is the letter I just wrote. If you’re a concerned Wisconsin citizen, I urge you to write as well. Be sure and reference Docket Number IP-SC-2007-11-2032LW and IP-SC-2007-11-2033LW in your letter, and send it to Dan Hunt, N 7725 Highway 28, Horicon, WI 53032.
I am writing to you regarding the development project proposed to be placed on the banks of the Wisconsin River’s Lower Dells (Docket Number IP-SC-2007-11-2032LW and IP-SC-2007-11-2033LW). I believe the proposed development would be a bad idea for a number of reasons, and I urge your agency to deny the permit for this development.
Over the past several weeks, the weather here in Madison has been very spring like. High temperatures have been up to 20 degrees warmer than average. Snow fall has been virtually non-existent, and lakes in the area are not frozen — a very unusual situation for January. The other day I was outside retrieving the paper, and I happened to notice a whole collection of box elder bugs (who hibernate during the winter) sunning themselves on the side of my condo. With the higher than normal temperatures there are mold spores and other allergens in the air. For about the past couple of weeks it’s gotten bad enough for me to take my daily allergy medications — something I’ve never done in January before.
What a pleasure it was to see the sun shining in Madison after about a week or so of cloudy, overcast (and sometimes snowy) weather. It’s during this time of the year when I can understand how people can become depressed and suffer from things like seasonal affective disorder. During these months (late February, early March) I always feel like my batteries are in serious need of recharging. On days like today I genuinely get an emotional lift from the sun shine.
Forty years ago this past Friday, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Wilderness Act establishing the National Wilderness Preservation System to “…secure for the American people of present and future generations the benefits of an enduring resource of wilderness.”
Yesterday I got an email from someone who enjoys the wilderness as much as I do. After reading some of the things I have here, he thought I might be interested in the web sites of Sigurd Olson (a nature writer and conservationist) and the Listening Point Foundation which strives to promote Sigurd’s philosophy and build upon his wilderness education legacy.
Those sites are definitely worth a visit if the wilderness and conservation are as important to you as they are to me.
My thought for Earth Day comes from an old proverb:
“We don’t inherit the Earth from our ancestors,
we borrow it from our children.”