Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Occupy the Woodland!

I quipped in a comment on a New York Times article about the Occupy Wall Street eviction that the movement should take its encampment to the Midwood in Prospect Park. I have never seen as many cleaners in New York City as were photographed in Zucotti Park. It was surreal. If the pretext for evicting protesters is health and hygiene, then the woods are going to be cleaner than they have ever been, after the woodland encampment is broken up.

So, Occupy the Woodland, I say.

Health and hygiene, huh?

Different parts of Prospect Park enjoy different priority levels. If a condom is found by a park inspector in a children's playground the place goes on lockdown and virtual red flags are raised until it has been cleaned. But if 100's of condoms are found on the forest floor, if soiled tissues make up the bulk of one volunteer's bag, if human excrement is stepped in, the woods stay open as usual.

I wear gloves but I get scratched occasionally and now I have had a series of three Hepatitis A and B vaccinations with the last due in one year. There's no vaccine for C. I don't dwell on HIV - the chances of being stuck by a needle are thankfully minimal. We see very few.

Clearly I know about all this, so I'm not saying I should not be working here, oh woe is me. I chose it. It's just that the irony is thundering.

Priorities are revealing. Kids who are marched through here on the mulched paths during their summer camps are marching through a minefield. Yet this woodland presents a far better and more beautiful teaching opportunity than a large rubber mat beneath some climbing frames. The classroom of the great outdoors.  I would love to see a wildflower trail here. I'd like to hear a teacher explain why leaves fall as the leaves are falling. Never seen a real oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus) before? This is where to see them. I'd like to see an App that tells a father and daughter, Find your blue wood aster (Symphyotrichum cordifolium) at these coordinates, instead of the other App that tells you behind which tulip tree to find hot sex (it's called Grindr).

I understand the motivation behind the Occupy movement and so I support it. But I do not have time to occupy anything. Working in the woods every two weeks is what I can do, although it's not close to enough.

I'd like to see the woods enjoy as much protection as a playground in the same park would. I would like the last forest in Brooklyn to be deemed worth inspection and worthy of advertisement.  It's been allowed to be invisible for too long.


Mimi said...

Beautiful photo, thanks...

webb said...

A great - if somewhat tongue in cheek - idea. Get the Occupiers to, well, occupy, and the usual denizens of the woods would move elsewhere for a while. If you had had the past two months, things might be very different in Prospect Park. Kudos to you and the crew.

Shervin Hess et al said...