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2/11/08

Wildlife + Suburbia. This really is a post about Smart Growth.

What is this, freakin' nostalgia week?

First I write about leetle lamps I saved, then a good friend sent in old pictures of us playing in a band (oh don't think I'm talented- I played the tambourine), then in my green building group I mooned over Finland and my time there in the '90s... think midnight sun, sauna, and lots of berry liquor. (I will overlook describing the mosquitoes the size of small animals in this post. The old growth birch forests more than made up for it.)

Now my dad just sent me a picture of a fox outside their (Crested Butte ski vacation) door, and suddenly I'm pulled into my days living in the Chelsea Hotel, often spent with Vali Meyers. She used to talk about her tamed foxes in Italy, who would follow her around, willing but wild pets who adapted to her presence.

In Virginia, I don't think twice about a fox dashing across the land, far away, across a hill. But this picture from my dad of a fox who adapted to tourists, sniffing about their kitchen door, thus raising the glorious, bad gypsy ghost of Vali, reminded me of the adaptability of wildlife, and that as ignorant suburbs further encroach upon quiet land... I am greatly aware of a shift, a change... They adapt. They adapt or die, and many are adapting to us.

I hear tales of turkey in Boston; friends recount their experiences of coyotes stalking the huntsmen here, peregrine falcons roost downtown, bald eagles and red tailed hawks swoop outside my office window, I see hordes of vultures on suburban doorsteps, otters in the freeway median... and this summer, the first real photo passed on to me (Thank you John! Love my cousins!) of a scouting camera image of a mountain lion in the neighboring county chasing deer... still rejected as myth by the public... (John, you really should pass on that photo to someone.)

Where I'm going with this is that green building is not just about efficiency, it's also about preservation of national resources through private purchase of acreage on the market now, to preserve and conserve. It's smart, slow, well-planned growth, allowing habitats to continue unmolested so that there is still a buffer between wildlife and allowing their avoidance and shying away from us, instead of overcoming a fear of, then depending on, then, frankly, preying on us.

Through smart growth planning, homes can cluster together, enhancing community interaction, while leaving the rest of the tract of land for wildlife and outdoors enjoyment.

I'm just saying that we need to value more our undeveloped land and let the animals be. Not that the copperheads or black widows care. But I do know that a fed bear is a dangerous bear, and it is our fault our careless communities are blending wilderness with completely-ignorant-to-real-life-in-the-country people. It is not an easy balance, and everyone loses.

Through conservation through private and public land purchases and deeds, we protect our national resources and treasure, our landscape, local histories, and wildlife.

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