Thursday, August 4, 2011

Litter Mob 7, August 2nd

Our little band met on Tuesday at 9am. And it is still a very little band. Five plus our Natural Resources staff members and Natalie O'Neil, a reporter from The Brooklyn Paper. She took some pictures, too, and I live in dread of being the condom cover girl. I hope Gersh goes easy on his angle...

The woods. There has been some progress, especially in the area where we first used rakes to sweep condoms and litter into heaps at the base of ancient tulip trees, in the early days of May, when we formed. This is thanks in large part to the efforts of the Natural Resources crew (employees of the Prospect Park Alliance) who have steadily added brush to the informal maze of paths that have destroyed the woodland floor, here.

I love the brush (which is the side product of alien vegetation removal - an ongoing challenge in the woods, and overshadowed here by the  litter). The criss-crossing sticks and branches keep people out, except where they have doggedly pushed them aside to reach a favourite horizontal log where we found as much litter as usual, nice and fresh.

The brush is also good for critters and habitat. I must emphasize that these paths and meeting areas are not on public paths in the forest. It's like offroad vehicles bulldozing into protected habitat and has the same effect.  The prevalence of this haphazard and well-worn path system means that the woodland here cannot be what it should be - multi-storied and layered. It is pretty much cut off at the knees with no ground cover or perennial growth possible in the pummeled, flattened earth.

Above, a major entrance to this chief maze was also fenced off in our absence, with a  heap of old logs for extra effect in front of it. Doubtless, new accessways will be forged, but it is this type of steady restoration that will make a difference. I know the fence is very ugly, but it serves an important, and in the long run, temporary, purpose. Weirdly, I see a parallel to the slow process of reclaiming and restoring the forest to rehabilitation from drug addiction. It is painful and unsightly, prone to relapse, and the success of it depends on concerted will power and a great deal of unflagging support. And of course, one needs to admit that there is a problem.

Clethra alnifolia, native the Eastern United States. Fargrant flowers, likes slightly acidic, moist soil.

I was interested to note that the woods do not fall under the care of one person, as they might in Central Park, where that park is divvied up into zones in the care of a zone gardener, or de facto curator. I imagine in my innocence that if each part of Prospect Park had its own keeper, more focused attention could be paid to that area, instead of spreading the available resources very thinly over the entire area. It is focus that achieves the desired end.

Thanks to Frank, Inge, Paulette and Fred, John, Martin, Jessica and David...

Next litter mob: August 16th, 9am

[Thanks to Brownstoner for the support!]


Brenda from Flatbush said...

Very interesting, this use of brush; the comparison to ATV damage seems apt. I sure hope I will be able to join you for the next mob!

Marie said...

I hope so, too, Brenda!

Connecticut Blogger said...

I think you're doing a great thing with the clean-up work. I often pick up random litter on my walks. I'm also a fan of your foodie blog and love your photography.