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Remember: About those Bald Eagles...

Saturday, December 12, 2009

About those Bald Eagles...

What a great story it is. The return of the great birds of prey to Eastern Pennsylvania is an amazing accomplishment and an encouraging development. I am 100% confident that as people skimmed through their Morning Call yesterday and came upon the story, they were pleased. They may have even said “Wow” or “Fantastic” out loud and then resumed skimming.

The story behind the story here is that without a slew of environmental restoration programs and the banning of the chemical DDT, the eagles, hawks and Peregrine Falcons would never have returned. The same "oohs" and "aahs" that the eagle story created yesterday were similarly created last year when a family of Peregrine Falcons nested on the PPL building in downtown Allentown. WFMZ even had a 24 hour webcam devoted to it.

These birds are seemed to be deemed by the general public as desirable species. I mean, that the next time a discussion arises about restoring wildlife habitat in the park system here in Allentown, it would behoove proponents of such projects to focus on the success story of the great predator birds. Sure, we can talk about the wading giants that are also returning or the intense variety of native vegetation but we would be remiss to not cite the great American symbol of freedom during the next go around.

The habitat restoration projects across America and now here in Allentown are helping to make the reemergence of these birds possible. Using proper wildlife management techniques (and I suggest you read Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold if you have any questions about it), we have the opportunity here in Allentown to set the stage for a dramatic comeback for nature in general.

Beneath the soaring wings of the eagle, we have the chance; we have the responsibility to take our wilder spaces back to nature. We can lay the foundation down that would create the food webs necessary for the majestic creatures that instill so much awe in the populace to live or visit here, as they migrate on.

This isn’t just for the birds folks.

By allowing native vegetation to take root on our stream banks, we will save our streams. By skipping a mow in the vast green expanses in some of our parks, we will begin to establish that fundamental trophic level that is necessary to restore our lost ecosystems. Perhaps it would have been a wiser course of action this past summer to tell City Council about bald eagles while they considered only the possibility of snakes descending on our parks like a biblical plague of locusts.

I hope that stories like this resonate deeply in the hearts and minds of the citizens of Allentown. We have a great opportunity here and we cannot let this one pass. Trout Creek Parkway and Jordan Park are ready. We need to be ready as well. Last summer, the no mow zones in the Parkway created beautiful meadows the likes of which I had never seen prior in an Allentown city park. I hope it is truly just the beginning.

Remember everyone, without these projects; the eagles won’t keep coming back.

Let’s do it.

Also, I was sadly reminded of this the entire time I wrote this post and I will share it with you. If you have never seen it, I warn you. It cannot be unseen:



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes,the visit of the eagles is wonderful. Absolutely amaizing in a declining urban city of 110,000. We have been watching them for several weeks now. Exactly how does this fit with "developing Allentown's parks", with the something for everyone mentality, including tupperware playgrounds, with the more trails for more out of town people, with the " destination playground ", and the silly fitness equiptment, with a planned recreation mindset. These exceptional parks are Allentowns last best hope for renewel. Will Trexler and Wildlands and Friends of the Parks lead the way? We're waiting? Or will Allentowns parks ---- 17 parks workers gone --- be allowed to fall into cheap amusement and disrepair? A home for eagles, or a goofy holiday lighting display? Where is city council and the mayor? Are they excited about the wonderful presence of these birds, our national symbol, or are they busy with paving paths in the Rose Garden? Wildlands, Trexler? We can save these wonderful parks now, for eagles, for our grandchildren, or lose them forever while we pretend all is well!

December 12, 2009 at 10:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suppose this opinion might be unpopular on this blog, but with over 2000 acres of parkland in the City's park system - I think there is more than enough opportunity for both natural-habitat preserving parks and recreational parks. I think Lehigh Parkway is a perfect example of how the two can coexist, and I think down the line, Cedar Creek Parkway will be another great example of both coexisting. If the riparian buffer is allowed to grow and thrive, the no-mow zones expanded, Lake Muhlenberg restored to a wetland, and the recreational facilities and paths built, this park will be able to serve many purposes.

December 13, 2009 at 8:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Lehigh Parkway does not,thank God,have paved playgrounds. It does have some scattered exercise equpt., that is used by almost nobody, and freezbe golf which seems to fit in without harming the traditional more passive use. Lets pray it stays this way. If you want playgrounds or sports equpt. there are plenty of other places to go. Please leave the Parkway alone.

December 30, 2009 at 11:48 AM  

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