About 15 people gathered at the Barber St. site on the evening of Thursday, April 22 to mark Earth Day by learning a little about what kind of trees, plants and animals inhabit the site and by reading a little poetry in praise of the Earth and nature.
Matt Elliott (left) talked about how aggressive invasive plants like privet and bush honeysuckle are competing in the site with less aggressive non-native plants like Pecan trees and native trees and plants like the loblolly pine and muscadine vine. Matt holds a jar with a crayfish and another container with a salamander–both caught in the stream that runs just East of the site. Matt is chair of the Boulevard Neighborhood Association and–in his day job–is Program Manager for the Georgia Natural Heritage Program. He is also co-author of Amphibians and Reptiles of Georgia.
Lindsey Hutchison and Allison Dublinski (right) explained how they have mapped and identified 52 trees with diameters of 15 inches or more in the cleared areas of the site. Lindsey and Allison answered questions about particular trees and how to care for them. The two are students in UGA’s Masters of Landscape Architecture program and are conducting a tree inventory and health assessment of the trees on the site as a project for a Urban Tree Management course through the Forestry School.
Some of the Earth Day celebration participants waiting for the poetry reading to begin in a natural theater.
Todd Hutchison reading Advice from a Tree by Ilan Shamir.
Advice from a Tree
by Ilan Shamir
Stand Tall and Proud
Sink your roots deeply into the Earth
Reflect the light of a greater source
Think long term
Go out on a limb
Remember your place among all living beings
Embrace with joy the changing seasons
For each yields its own abundance
The Energy and Birth of Spring
The Growth and Contentment of Summer
The Wisdom to let go of leaves in the Fall
The Rest and Quiet of Renewal in the Winter
Feel the wind and the sun
And delight in their presence
Look up at the moon that shines down upon you
And the mystery of the stars at night
Seek nourishment from the good things in life
Earth, fresh air, light
Be content with your natural beauty
Drink plenty of water
Let your limbs sway and dance in the breezes
Remember your roots
Enjoy the view!
Dan Lorentz read Listening by William Stafford and–thankfully–didn’t have his picture taken.
by William Stafford
My father could hear a little animal step,
or a moth in the dark against the screen,
and every far sound called the listening out
into places where the rest of us had never been.
More spoke to him from the soft wild night
than came to our porch for us on the wind;
we would watch him look up and his face go keen
till the walls of the world flared, widened.
My father heard so much that we still stand
inviting the quiet by turning the face,
waiting for a time when something in the night
will touch us too from that other place.
Marci White reading The Wild by Wendell Berry, with two especially attentive audience members in the foreground.
by Wendell Berry
In the empty lot – a place
not natural, but wild – among
the trash of human absence,
the slough and shamble
of the city’s seasons, a few
old locusts bloom.
A few woods birds
fly and sing
in the new foliage
– warblers and tanagers, birds
wild as leaves; in a million
each one would be rare,
new to the eyes. A man
couldn’t make such a habit
of such color,
such flight and singing.
But they’re the habit of this
wasted place, In them
the ground is wise. They are
its remembrance of what it is.
Heidi Lynn Staples, one of the evening’s organizers, reading For the Children by Gary Synder. Staples is a published poet.
For The Children
by Gary Synder
The rising hills, the slopes,
lie before us.
The steep climb
of everything, going up
up, as we all
In the next century
or the one beyond that,
are valleys, pastures,
we can meet there in peace
if we make it.
To climb these coming crests
one word to you, to
you and your children:
learn the flowers