Thursday, December 4, 2014

Lubbock: We want a playa-lake island for Christmas!

An open letter to Santa or our wealthy Dickensian benefactor:

One of my foibles as I get a little older is a deeper and deeper appreciation for birds, pretty much all birds. From house finches to great blue herons, I am a fan.

I used to work across the street from this playa-lake park:

And every day my office mate and I would take a walk around the park. It became our park. Some days we would carry bags to pick up trash. Some days we would fish during our lunch hour. Some days we would take cameras and binoculars to check out the new ducks and shorebirds that had stopped over.

The frustrating part with the shorebirds was in knowing how much it disturbed them when we walked around the pond. There was nowhere for them to escape people (and dogs and cats) and still be at the pond.

So we speculated a plan. We needed an island where our visitors could hang out in relative peace. A few parks in town do have islands, and the birdlife thrives in those parks.

We actually came up with two plans - the public plan and the stealth plan. The public plan involved the city council and an indiegogo campaign. The stealth plan involved my old canoe and some construction site castoffs. Neither plan actually got off the ground, snagit!

I recently found an article on Grist about a Scottish company, Biomatrix Water, that thinks like we do - that adding islands to existing bodies of water can be very beneficial, but they are looking on a broader scope. Their islands benefit birdlife, but they also improve water quality, reduce pollution, support fish and plant life, and reduce algae blooms. Lots of benefits from a very simple structure.

So, that is what JG and I want for Christmas - a couple of Biomatrix Water islands. She wants hers in Jan Jennings Park, I want mine in the un-named park at 78th and Orlando or Remington Park, or both :-).

May our migratory friends find a light on at the inn.