Finding a cool spot to relax and commune with nature can take a little searching in urban landscapes. Many parks in Eugene have small patches of native woodlands, ponds and riverside corridors. Natural areas like these are not simply places where nothing needs to be done to sustain them. Maintenance of these oases require regular attention to keeping the trails clear and free of trash. Controlling invasive species like blackberries and English ivy is essential.
The Delta Ponds now provide a wonderful series of ponds and woodlands. Originally nothing more than flooded gravel pits left after highway building, they have become an outstanding example of habitat restoration. The abundance of geese, ducks, osprey and song birds provides wildlife entertainment for many people every day. Lucky walkers may see turtles, otters or bald eagles.
The Eugene Parks and Open Spaces crews deserve a major shout out for their work in sustaining these natural treasures. Their work is what keeps the wild spots welcoming to families with children, bird watchers and walkers. The native wildlife benefits from their attention. A good way to show appreciation for their work is to always carry a bag for picking up stray bits of trash.
This unprecedented heat wave is a grim reminder that climate change is here to stay. Predictions and warnings are behind us. Our way of life must change as a result. Wildlife suffers from excessive heat as much as humans. Birds need us to remember to keep water sources filled every day.
David Wagner is a botanist who has worked in Eugene for more than 40 years. He teaches moss classes, leads nature walks and publishes the Oregon Nature Calendar. He may be contacted directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.