Hello Friends and Fellow Clean Water Raingers,
My favorite Clean Water Raingers song is “Habitat”. As Captain Marshall performs the “Habitat” song at a Clean Water Raingers program the kids love to watch all of the wildlife photos in the slideshow. Seeing the kids respond always makes me smile and confirms my belief that all young humans are connected to nature and wildlife. I also believe that some people lose that connection as they grow up.
Clean Water Raingers Song “Habitat”
I walked at Lake Fayetteville Park yesterday, which is in the Illinois River Watershed. It occurred to me that I was “Walking” the chorus of the Habitat song. I walked through the forested area, enjoying the Oak, Sassafras, Dogwood, Redbud, Sycamore, and Cedar trees. Then I crossed over the small stream and noticed a tiny school of minnows in the clear, trickling water. Walking a little further, I came to Callie’s Prairie, which is an area being restored to the natural prairie habitat that it once was.
Callie’s Prairie, Lake Fayetteville Trail
I understand the concept of removing invasive plants to allow the native grasses and flowers to recover. I know that prescribed burns are necessary to accomplish this task. But it always makes me feel sad to see the ugly burned, barren areas, and all of the cedar trees that are sacrificed because they will try to make it a forest instead of a prairie. It has been about two weeks since the prescribed burn, and today I feel a little happier because I see that the area is already healing itself, coming alive with flowers and grasses.
Prescribed burns allow the native grasses and flowers to recover.
Humans and wildlife must share these areas and there are many folks working hard to make that successful. However, there will always be “cause and effect” when we make changes. The areas immediately adjacent to the trail were cleared to improve the line of sight for walkers and bicyclists, which will help prevent accidents. It looks more controlled and is safer for humans; animals lost some of their habitat; some shade-loving types of plants that once grew close to the trail will not be there anymore because they lost their tree cover; sun-loving plants will flourish. Habitat has been changed.
Lake Fayetteville Trail is now a part of the wonderful Razorback Greenway. Thank you to the Walton Family Foundation, Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Council, and all the cities that helped make the Razorback Greenway a reality. Below is a photo of a new Razorback Greenway trail marker.
Razorback Greenway trail marker
How lucky we are to have these areas and should thank all of the people that had the vision to preserve green spaces. We can also get involved in taking care of them by participating in a local stream or lake cleanup!
Don’t forget that May, June and July are months that turtles migrate. Watch out for them on the roads. I am sad to say that yesterday I found two young red slider hatchlings that were run over on the park road. Since healthy female red slider turtles lay around 20 eggs, I can only hope that their brothers and sisters made it safely to the lake.
And as the song goes …. “Let’s help preserve their habitat, everywhere around our town.”
Celebrate National Turtle Day on May 23rd!
This Lake Fayetteville trail map can be found electronically on the City of Fayetteville’s website, www.accessfayetteville.org.