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Explore, Enjoy and Protect

Houston Regional Group - News
Service is the Name of the Game
Brandt Mannchen

I cannot tell you how important environmental service work is to me. When I give back to the environment that sustains me and everyone else on the planet I receive a rich reward that cannot be measured in greenbacks. I can see the fruits of my labor immediately. I feel incredibly empowered and happy. I am outdoors where the humility of my existence is readily apparent and welcomed. I feel a part of something much larger than myself. At the end of the day I feel tired, I am sweaty, and I feel at peace. Something that I find is rare for today's hurry-burry existence but it is something that I crave.

Recently, a friend of mine and I repaid a visit to Heron Park in Shoreacres. This gem of a park is only about 2 acres but provides wildlife habitat way beyond its small size. Heron Park protects coastal prairie, wildflowers, salt marsh, Taylor Bayou, and fringing tree and shrub habitats. It never ceases to amaze me how this small sanctuary has such diversity.

Heron Park took a heavy hit from Hurricane Ike and still is fighting to come back. That is why I was at Heron Park with my buddy cutting, clearing, and piling shrubs from coastal prairie and wetland habitats along Taylor Bayou to assist in the recovery and restoration process. We cut shrubs that had re-sprouted from our last visit in the fall of 2010. The idea is not to use pesticides but to setback the growth of shrubs to give the native prairie grasses, wildflowers, Smooth Cord Grass, and other wetland plants a chance to compete again.

The plan works. Since we cut large shrubs the Smooth Cord Grass has gotten thicker and has advanced about 2-3 feet inland. In addition, prairie plants have advanced toward the water. During our service work the beautiful pink Salt Marsh-mallows were blooming which provided a scenic backdrop while American Crows cawed in the distance.

I like my peace and service work in Heron Park, Sam Houston National Forest, Big Thicket National Preserve, and on Katy Prairie Conservancy lands. Won't you join the Houston Sierra Club in the restoration and recovery of our natural heritage? Peace is a mighty fine reward.

August 2011

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Last updated:  07/24/2011.   Content 1999-2011 by the Sierra Club.