Our Parks, Our Treasures
Back in the 1950’s in Temple, Texas, my friends and I spent a lot of time playing outside in our neighborhood, which luckily included a large park two doors down the street from my house. We would go there whenever we had a chance, to play flag football or wander the creek which wound through the park under beautiful stonework bridges which I later learned were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Depression. The park was filled with picnic tables, tall trees, a large sand box and even a tennis court.
In Ellis County, we are very lucky to have many parks, including Chapman Park near my home in Waxahachie. Each of these parks was at one time only an idea in someone’s head, and we are indebted to those forward-thinking individuals for setting aside the acres so that future generations would be able to enjoy the beauty of nature. Our parks provide the opportunity to enjoy fresh air and a wide-open view of the sky we may not have at home. Many have designated trails that encourage walking, and benches for a brief rest. The most obvious details in some of our parks are the playgrounds that encourage physical activity for children and interaction with parents. In recent years, city planners have begun to insist that new developments include a certain number of acres of parkland for every development.
The benefits of parkland are not only to enhance the human experience, but also provide the wildlife with some necessary space, water, shelter and food that they need to sustain life. For every block of houses built, some creatures’ homes are destroyed in the process. Man has long held the view that our needs superceed those of the animals and plants that were here before us. Parks can give back a little that they need, and help us get back to nature.
Indian Trail Master Naturalists have recently been working with the city of Midlothian to help them develop their Mockingbird Nature Park. A butterfly garden is taking shape near the entrance, while bluebird houses are seeing their first occupants. If you have a chance, visit a park near your home or one across town. Pack a picnic or drive to your local take-out destination, load up your children in the van and visit your local park. Pick a spot, sit down and just enjoy nature.