Well, the first week of Ecological Restoration just ended! We have two professors, Marion Hourdequin, a philosophy professor from Colorado College, and David Havlick, her husband, a geography professor from University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. We’ve already read a lot of material, from ecological articles trying to pin down a technical definition of “ecological restoration” to layman interpretations of how we ought to regard the environment in terms of our humanity. Since I’m a biology major concentrating in ecology, I began this class with preconceptions, but we’ve already read several articles that have made me question science’s hegemony in the field of ecological restoration. While ecologists are often the ones who lay down the laws, ecologists aren’t the ones who are doing all the ground work. Ecological restoration only works with community involvement, and while science may have all sorts of highfalutin’ hypotheses, these community members often have their own ideas. Some sort of compromise will always be necessary.
The class only has eight students, which is a great size for discussions. The class mainly consists of discussions about the readings, but we also have presentations by various people involved with ecological restoration. On Thursday, Gary Rapp, a retired Colorado Springs city planner, came and talked to us about his work regarding Shook’s Run- a creek that runs through Colorado Springs very close to Colorado College. He has put an incredible amount of time and personal money into restoring Shook’s Run. I particularly appreciate all the work he’s done, because I bike alongside Shook’s Run to get to school every day. On Friday, we spent the morning helping Gary remove invasive species like Siberian Elm and Black Locust from Shook’s Run. We also watered the many native plants that he has planted in the area, from Golden Currants to Plains Cottonwoods and Box Elders.
On Sunday, we leave for Baca, a secluded place for classes to go in Crestone, Colorado, right by the Sangre De Cristos mountain range. There we’ll hear from a variety of speakers.
Here are some pictures!
Shook’s Run (the park)
And the actual creek
Ellen (a student) and Dave Havlick (one of our professors) weeding
Watering one of the planted trees (the black circle is a pipe that takes the water and feeds the roots of the tree).
And Gary Rapp standing next to one of his Plains Cottonwoods
Take a look at Stuart Allison’s Ecological Restoration and Environmental Change: Renewing Damaged Ecosystems. He has among best understanding of emerging ideas on ER. Also, try to attend Society of Ecological Restoration (SER) conference in Madison WI this October. Keep up the great work. AH
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