I do most of my writing in the pre-dawn hours of the morning and this blog was no exception. However as I ensconced myself in my comfy chair and prepared to put finger to keyboard, my morning reverie was interrupted by a cacophony of squawking and bleating from the yard. It woke my wife who charged past me through the door still in her night clothes, followed closely behind by my shepherd cross who plunged into the darkness howling like the urban predator that he aspires to one day be. A flashlight beam revealed the source of the commotion. In my small inner-city urban lot an opossum had forced its way into my chicken and goat shed looking for a meal. He probably would have settled for an egg but the chickens and goats were not taking any chances and they would wake the rising sun, not to mention the entire neighborhood, to plead their case. I carefully prodded him out of the shed with a shovel. He didn't play dead. He growled and he hissed and as he waddled off into the darkness, he gave me one last look back as if to say "to hell with you and your urban poultry."
It is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot these days and is one that we explore in Wild in the City: Exploring The Intertwine. As a conservationist it is easy to focus in on the imperative to preserve imperiled species--but it is also a topic with profound spiritual, economic, intellectual, and environmental justice dimensions.
|Peregrine Falcon on Portland's Interstate Bridge|
Oregon Visitor Association promotion
featuring Portland's commitment to
"helping humans and wildlife live together."
Strategy for Migratory Bird Management and Conservation---a program that one manager noted began with the effort to protect falcons.
|Peregrine Falcon interpretive sign under Portland's Marquam Bridge.|
© Tammi Miller
How do we take our river confluence, an area that once provided a wide swath of braided channels so shallow that you could walk from one site to the other in places, but which today has been channelized, deepened, hardened, and polluted, and turn it back into something ecologically functional? Peregrines were easy compared to the ecological and economic challenges of recovering our river, but programs such as the City of Portland Endangered Species Program and Watershed Health Management Plan are setting a course toward river health.
Restoration concept drawing for South Waterfront, a 140-acre brownfield site
that is being turned into Oregon's highest density development including more than
5,000 residents and 10,000 jobs but which also includes in water, riparian and upland
habitat restoration along the river, more than four acres of ecoroofs and
state-of-the-art sustainable stormwater strategies.
© City of Portland
Painting: Robert W. Hines
Just a Coyote Strolling through the Neighborhood
KGW-Audubon Raptor Cam Red-tail cares for recently hatched chick.
It leaves me wondering, in the end does it inspire people to go outside and look up? To naturescape their yards? To support the next bond measure?