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Show respect for the environment

     There was a little article last week about how important it is to eradicate poison hemlock because it takes over as an aggressive weed, forcing out other more beneficial plants and leaving less foraging for wild animals. It is taking over some parts along the nature trail and spreading rapidly.

     One way to control it is to cut it down before the seeds are developed. It grows in large patches that could be mowed, if someone would be willing and able to do it. Just cutting down a few plants here and there, which I do, isn't going to control it.

     A month or so ago, I saw a boy about nine years old walking the trail with his mother. He was blowing on the stem of a poison hemlock because the stem is hollow and makes a perfect pea shooter. I remember doing that as a kid too, but it wasn't poison hemlock! It has been known to kill kids by doing exactly that.

     When I told them what it was, they were rightfully alarmed. Parents, please make sure your kids know what they are putting in their mouths! This child was old enough to be more careful, but what can you say about his mother?

     A request to fishermen at the boat dock:  The boat dock is very accessible for young children to go wading, and the currents are safe there, one of the few local places that a family can enjoy the river easily and safely. But fishermen are ruining it by cleaning their fish and leaving the guts and waste there or leaving them so they will wash up where the kids want to play. On these hot days, this can be really nasty! Please show some courtesy to others who would like to enjoy their day by the river too.

     Besides the usual litter, there has also been some vandalism along the nature trail and park.  Breaking the rails off the foot bridges, tearing off tree limbs, painting trees with red paint, carving the trees, and "girdling" the trees (removing bark all around the tree) so they will die. I saw one pre-teen girl removing bark from a tree in the park while the parents were doing something else apparently. I told her that could kill the tree. Why did a stranger have to tell her that?

     Respect for nature and respect for others go hand in hand...it's just a whole attitude toward life that some are sadly missing.

     Thank you Valley Cats for cutting the weeds down again this spring!  You guys are awesome!

Lana Hiemstra



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