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
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
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.