I took a little walk over to Herbert Run this lovely afternoon to pick up a Geocache that is located in about the center of our forestry plots. I noticed that some of our tree tags had been removed and soon found a group of college students playing guitar and picking at another tag on a tree.
I approached them and asked if they would not remove the tags, explaining that we use them for a long term mapping and inventory project. I assured them that we were not planning on cutting down the trees, but was still confronted with the declaration that I had disrupted the beauty of the forest, to the tune of Grateful Dead chords strummed out on their acoustic guitar.
What could I say to that? In some ways I agreed with the temporally displaced hippy children, but at the same time couldn't help to note the very non-natural settings within and around which this small patch of forests survives. The ever-replenished pile of chip bags, beer bottles and cigarette packs as well as the cement-channeled Herbert Run creek nearby are a constant reminder to me of where I was within the urban matrix. But at the same time those woods, barely 200 m wide, offer a small sanctuary from the hum of computers, deadlines, and busy life.
The research must go on, but how can we work with the community? Perhaps put up a small sign at the local rope swing, which by the way isn't natural either and leads to a good bit of erosion...
Ah, the joys of working where people are!
Image source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Treehugger.jpg