Interconnectedness and Sustainability at Commons Park

imageAfter this visit to Commons Park, I left with a somewhat good feeling in my stomach. Instead of approaching the park with an unsettling feeling, it felt different this time. The fall season has done wonders to the park. The leaves and plants look pretty with the change of color and surprisingly the park was decently clean. I slightly bashed the park for its dirtiness in my previous posts, but maybe I was giving it a slightly bad rep. Who knows, I could’ve been going at the wrong time all along or I came at just the right time this past visit. This concludes, however, that their are sustainability efforts to protect this park from our pollution spreading species.

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Furthermore on sustainability, the park’s flora and funa are very well sustained for the most part. The trees and plants around the parks exterior flow rustle and look magnificent in the Colorado air, indicating they seem to be healthy. Around the park, also, they’re are some younger trees beginning to grow showing that their are current efforts to grow more trees. This could possibly improve the air quality at the park due to the surrounding urban area. When I headed down to the South Platte River at the west end of the park, the scene was not as pretty. There still remains trash caught in the tall grass by the rivers banks. A lot of the wildlife is trampled down and looks less nourished than the wildlife in the main park. I have noticed this before, but there is also a drain connected to the river. This drain pumps some kind of liquid into the river. Hopefully, this drain is rain water but the water that surrounded the drain was semi bubbly and looked very suspicious. Overall, one could notice efforts are in place to keep this area clean, but the efforts are not enough.

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One must work to sustain this park because everything in the park is interconnected. Without some luscious green grass, there would be few plants and trees, a dust bowl and little to no wildlife in the area. Without the plants and flowers there would be no bees buzzing around. Without the trees there would be no nuts for the squirrels to eat. Without the river, there would be no water for the ducks to swim in. Everything in the park must be connected for the park to function as a park. If one thing is off in the park, for example if there were few trees, then there would be no park. The trees are very essential to the area, just as every other aspect is just as important for there to be a functioning park. Overall, without one aspect of this park and without sustainability efforts, there would be no Commons Park.

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1. What is the strongest entry in the site journal? Why?
2. What did you enjoy about this assignment? Why?
3. What was difficult or challenging about the assignment? What could be improved in your site journal, or what do you wish you had done differently?
4. How did you synthesize your entries as you completed the final version of the site journal?
5. What risks – in the writing, images, ideas – did you take in the site journal?
6. What did you learn about your site and about nature writing by completing the site journal?

1. The strongest entry in this site journal is my is my third post “Careless Commons”. This entry was supposed to connect our readings and what we have learned in class to our site  I thought I had very good examples of how the park relates to the course material for example, I described a scene where cops were just watching illegal activity take place like how they did in “Uncle Tom’s Children”.

2. My favorite part about this assignment was the fact this is an assignment. The assignment in general is very hands on and different than any kind of assignment I had before. I enjoyed being able to venture downtown and sit in the park. I enjoyed the fact that I was doing work while relaxing in the sun

3. The challenging part of this assignment is making time to get to my site because it is a light rail ride away. Additionally, I am on the DU baseball team and we play all of our games on weekends, so it makes it tough to make it out to the site. I wish I would’ve choose a different and closer spot and I wish I wrote more of my material at the actual park because it’s easy to reference the park when you are actually there.

4. I have not yet synthesized my site journals but I plan on adding to each paragraph to extend my word count. I a, also going to add more personal stories at the park than just describing the park itself. I feel stories will also keep the reader much more engaged. Also, need to work on more casual language in my entries.

5. I took the risk of bashing Commons Park in most of my entires.  I seemed to mostly focus on what’s wrong with the park instead of what’s right or beautiful about the park. I also took the risk of not taking nearly enough photos.

6. I learned that cit parks are pretty gross and not a good representation of the way nature should be. However, it is a good representation on how poorly we treat the nature around us and the environment. I also learned nature writing is a lot more difficult to put your thoughts together than nature poetry.

 

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Fracking: Writing Exercise

In the United States, oil and natural gases are some of the industries most prized resources for its consumers. The new most common way of attaining this energy is through the practice of fracking. Fracking is morally and environmentally wrong. We are destroying our physical earth and the people of earth through this practice. Personally, I have a big problem with fracking, espically with the way they handle their business. They invade the land and people’s living spaces using it like it was put here just for them. I don’t necessarily have a huge problem with this fact alone, but when the consequences of fracking appear, they handle it so poorly and unethically. In gas land I saw the water people are supposed to drink catch on fire! Instead of fixing the problem and being nice realizing they are ruining another families living space, they hide the problem and lose their feelings for human compassion and decency. The coorperations avoid at all costs to compensate for the families loses and lie to people’s faces and tell them that water is safe when they refuse to drink it themselves. Fracking also contaminates underground water because of the chemicals they almost blindly pump into the ground. This also wastes an extreme amount of water because all the chemicals being used are mixed with millions of gallons of water. Then all those millions of gallons that could have been used for greater things, like consumption, sit in tubes as chemical waste and can never have any beneficial use again. Furthermore, they could seem to care less about how they treat the land and the people on the land, all they want is personal wealth. Personally, this is my number one problem with fracking; the lack of human dignity displayed by the factory owners. They care about their money more than the lives of thousands of people. Somehow that one life is more important than thousands because he has more zeros in his bank account. How can you define a person and treat them based off their possessions?

Orr and Fracking

Fracking is a complicated human contrivance caused by money, greed, efficiency, a lack of democracy, people with low moral values, nuclear explosives, disregard for human well-being, ignorance, materialism and the wealthy that is in no way helping our earth because we simply do not know how we are affecting the earth when we toss bombs and chemicals into the ground.

In Class Writing

When I read these two quotes from Houston and Kerouac, the whiteness and smoke the two speak of makes me think of the dullness that is present human society. Considering these two authors write about natures beauty, I have a feeling they both are nature lovers. The whiteness shows the side of us that’s depressed with our jobs. It’s the search for something more in ones life but the whiteness makes him realize there is nothing more. For me, the whiteness is how I feel alienated from society. I search for more meaning in my life but always come to the same conclusion, there is no more meaning. We live, we work, we die. The ideas smoking like factories are ideas that I don’t ever want to be apart of those factories. Humans get caught up in the whiteness and the smoke because we always naturally yearn for something more. We feel like we need to know every answer and every solution. The more we worry, the more pain we experience.

Teachers put students in small groups for discussion so they can share their ideas with one another. This is helpful because maybe one group member thought of something the other group member didn’t. They can collaborate their minds and work together to get a better solution or answer than they would have had thinking by themselves. Students gain a variety of insight than just their own answers and opinions. Helps the student grow in knowledge and expand his thought process. Teachers gain more detailed and in depth discussion because of everyone’s ideas put together. Problems can arise when someone from the group is not attributing, putting all the pressure on the one group member to do double the work.

Careless Commons

imageAfter my third visit to Commons Park, the park finally feels familiar to me. I recognized and could point out where all the peaceful and pretty spots were in the park and I have begun to appreciate the park a little more than I have in previous posts. imageWhile I sat on a large rock, shoes covered in dust, facing the banks of the South Platte River, I thought about how I could connect this place to our course material. While watching the soft waves of the river I thought of Mann rowing his stolen white boat through the flood in “Down by the Riverside”. I also imagined the man from “Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” floating down the river with his head barley above the waves gazing at the wildlife. While pondering connections to make to the course, I began to have random flash backs triggered by objects or wildlife that caught my eye. For example, while climbing up from the river bed I saw what appeared to be many living spaces for humans. imageThey were mostly small tents or blankets with a few scattered objects around the site. This made me think of Alexander Supertramp from “Into the Wild”. I’m not sure if these people strive to be one with nature but these people, like Supertramp, are living in the wild world. Furthermore, while leaving departing the park, I saw the most striking scene that I’ve witnessed at Commons Park.

 

These cops just sat in their cars talking from a distance. If you walk 50 feet forward one could see people smoking marijuana, drinking alcohol, and skateboarding down a dangerous hill heading right for trees. This reminds me of “Big Boy goes Home” because of the oppression African Americans faced in the south. Cops rarely, if ever, tried to stop whites from hurting a black man and in most cases the officers would assist in the oppression. I was confused that the cops were not trying to stop anything on that hill in the center of the park. It seems impossible for someone to climb up that hill in safety and enjoy its beauty.

I climbed the hill, but had to wait for a strategic time I could get around everything. The cops should be paid to enhance the parks safety and not sip on their coffee talking about donuts. Everytime I visit this park I think of how humans are destroying the beauty of nature with their carelessness and ignorance. We should strive to take care of earth and should become aware of ecocritism because it will help future generations to come survive on OUR earth.image

Flora, Fauna and Wildlife

 

After my second visit to Commons Park, I am not as interested in the wildlife or plant life as I was because it’s much easier to noticed the trash and presumably homeless people. The trash is begining to pill up more than the last time I had been there. The trash is ruining the natural qualities of this park. It’s leaving dead spots of grass in the wide lawns of the park.image Additionally, this park is home to human beings. They make the average park visitor nervous because of their sketchy sections of the park they call home and the parks unfortunate nickname “stoner hill”. I spotted many people smoking marijuana around the park and it takes away many positive qualities this park could have. Although the park is very dirty, there are still wildlife and plant life that manages to call Commons Park home. First, there are very few actual wild animals at this park. I noticed a few gray squirrels and a few tapoles in the South Platte River but that was about it.image I spotted many common bugs, crickets, grasshoppers, water spiders, the American Salmonfly, bees and many light blue colored dragon flies called the Blue-Eyed Darner. The Blue-Eyed Darners all hung out in the tall grass along the river bed. imageThey buzzed around me almost laying in my hand. As for the trees that hug the paths of the wide park, I saw sagebrush, pine trees and many oak trees. imageAlong with these trees, there are many many plants including a wide variety of sunflower plants and lots of tall grass espically along the muddy river bed. imageAdditionally, the park has many concrete statues that do provide beauty to the park. It’s man made, but distracts one from the parks bad qualities. Unfortunately, the average park visitor might be distracted from noticing the nature in the park because all I could notcie was the amount of trash and human inhabitants of the park. They make visitors of the park very uncomfortable. I would suggest to the park district of Denver to solve this problem of rampant trash and homeless people before winter comes. If the trash is not dealt with, it will get buried underneath the snow and possibly ruin the already slightly ruined grass. As for the human inhabitants, the city should find shelter for these people so they don’t have to live outside.

Commons Park 1

 

Commoms Park is a strip of green space bordered by trees and a river just a few blocks from the Union Station light rail stop. Considering this parks location in an urban atmosphere, one can expect there to be trash, pollution and other harmful materials. First impression the park looked looked average, lots of unoccupied green space with a good amount of Denver apartments and buildings in the background. As I began to walk around I noticed patches of dead grass, people covered in blankets lying under trees, the smell of smoke and the river was a brownish color with trash surrounding its borders. Some sketchy looking pipes were also spouting out some sort of liquid into the river, which many account for its odd color. It was not all that bad, however, I felt like an environmentalist during this expedition so I noticed all the things wrong with it first. This park is most likely improving the overall air quality of downtown Denver because of its vast trees. Many tree species thrived in the park including spruce, maple, birch, cottonwood, sycamore and various pine trees. There was little to no wild life, in the park area the most I saw were a few dirty squirrels. In the river I spotted a few small fish and many tadpoles. As for bugs, there were many blue dragon flies, crickets and I even saw one praying mantis. The park is a long strip with a width of about one or two blocks and a length of about ten to fifteen blocks. As you walk down the strip, you pass a patch of grass fenced off as a dog park (monitored by Denver PD), a few sculptures/art and some windy running paths with a very odd bridge/walkway- I don’t understand modern art. This park is greatly affected by human activity, probably more than almost all parks in the State of Colorado. It is one of the biggest parks in Denver and maybe the biggest in the downtown area. I don’t want to speculate when I’m not sure, but I would bet a good amount of the people lying under many blankets in isolated spots of the park are living there as well. As I was traveling down a path through the long grass and trees to check out the river bed, I was stopped by a tent and a group of people along the river bed. Overall, I can tell this park is greatly affected by careless humans and it will be interesting to see how a park taking that much pollution is different than a park enduring little human interaction.image