Friday, July 8, 2011

Up to our necks in leaf litter

I noticed a few weeks ago that the regular email that is sent by the Prospect Park Alliance to all volunteers and interested parties, listing upcoming volunteer opportunities, made no mention of our Tuesday Litter Mobs in the Midwood. That made me grumpy. I queried the ommission, and it was listed in the next mailing.

What was not made clear in that mailing was the nature of the litter we pick up. We pick up hundreds of C-ondoms. Every time. I think it is only fair to make that clear in an undramatic way. But that part is left to me. Consequently, I received responses from a dozen people demanding information about our group. I felt duty-bound to inform them about the condoms, the soiled paper.

As a result, one person showed up.

Of course she was the best one, but that is not the point. So I asked the Alliance's volunteer coordinator whether she could perhaps describe the litter next time as being 'of an adult nature'. I was promptly referred to the press office.


Are our heads still so deep in the sand we can't say the c-word? Has everyone lost their collective backbone?

I am not amused. I am expected to spend my own time, on my own dime, fielding this correspondence, picking up the damn trash, hammering in rebar for fences and the least the Alliance could do is state calmly the nature of the litter in the Midwood, saving time all round.

The press office.

'Marmie, Marmie,  I saw a bear!

Tell the press office, son. They'll take care of it,

But Marmie eekeaaarchompchomp gulp...lipsmack



This is how the mailing describes the woods (the same woods that saw no attention w h a t s o e v e r until this spring).

"As part of our effort [really?]to focus attention on caring for the woodlands in
the park, this new volunteer group meets twice a month to clean up the
Midwood, the oldest remaining forest in Brooklyn and home to the tallest
trees in Prospect Park. The Midwood is one of the largest stands of intact
forest habitat in the park: a place of mossy logs and towering trees, some
of which may be older than the park, and could even have stood here during
the opening salvos of the Revolutionary War. Volunteers pick up [insert x-rated] trash,
rehabilitate informal paths and add native plants to the area."

Sounds idyllic - and frankly, this is the way we would like it to be. I can see Bambi peeping from the leaves. But spend 3 hours there with us and see how it is.

The woods are beautiful, there is moss. But...

Isn't it the first step towards recovery admitting that there is a problem?

I think we are still in denial.


frank@nycg said...

Yep. See you next time.

SandyFish said...

So sad really that this happens anywhere, but so close to the zoo/children. Have we no shame? I'm not a NY'er, just a garden surfer. It happens everywhere, the parks departments are going broke, short staffed and seemingly don't care. Each time I pick up a piece of trash, I wonder, what was that person thinking? They simply have no respect. You are the solution! Keep shouting! Soon more will join you. The woods ARE beautiful!

Marie said...

Thanks, Sandy - getting a bit hoarse.

See ya, Frank :-)