Bemoaning the loss of trees

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

One of my favorite activities during the autumn months is going on a brisk walk through one of the local conservation areas and trudging through fallen leaves. I love the sound of leaves rustling under my feet. Even though they are decaying and falling from the trees, the leaves don't disappear with a whimper. They go out in a blaze of glory, turning into bright hues that we cannot possibly fail to notice as we rush to work on bright autumn days.

Putting aside some time to enjoy the blazing reds, oranges and yellows of the trees as we scurry about our daily activities is akin to heeding that time-honoured advice of "taking time to smell the roses." Despite the recent natural calamities in Pakistan and New Orleans which many blame on the elements and Mother Nature, there are many blessings which nature provides in our everyday lives. The trees in their autumn colors are just one example.

It's hard to imagine a world without trees and yet there are subdivisions all over southern Ontario that can give us a sneak preview of what it would be like.

I remember walking to the Fairview Mall in Kitchener from a nearby residential area back in the early 1970s. It was a hot summer day and I usually enjoyed the 20-minute walk to the mall. But on this day, as I walked along the sidewalk, I began to notice something I had overlooked before. There were no trees along the residential street, no shade from the hot, sweltering sun.

We've all seen the small saplings that are planted in new subdivisions to take the place of the large full-grown trees that are downed to make way for new homes. I saw a few of those on my trek to the mall, but they offered no cooling shade. It was then that it struck me how foolish it is to down every tree in sight when new houses are built. That realization seems to have escaped the majority of developers who are blinded by the sight of dollar signs and not overly concerned about the environmental legacy left for future generations.

Trees offer us shade from the sun and shelter from the wind and rain. They filter the air we breathe. They prevent erosion and provide a habitat for birds and other wildlife. They're beautiful in autumn and again in the spring when they regain their leaves. In short, they serve many important functions. And yet they are bulldozed down indiscriminately if they get in the way of new housing.

We don't have to look far for local examples. The rows of townhouses that have sprung up across from the Bohemian Banquet Centre meant the loss of another woodlot in Waterdown. There's a stand of stately evergreens between the new, high-density abodes; they survived the onslaught. But they are the exceptions. In many cases, developers find it easier to raze every tree so the construction of new homes can go unimpeded.

A few years ago, Flamborough's animal control officer Scott Banks called the Flamborough Review office suggesting we take our camera and head out to the woodlot across from the Bohemian for an unusual picture. A family of deer was in the woods and although I tried without success to get close enough for a photo, I still remember the antenna-like ears of the deer as they curiously looked around the trees in my direction before bolting away.

I wonder where those deer graze now. I wonder if we'll ever learn the folly of high-density housing.

I also wonder if we can expect more of the same when the new residential development for north and south Waterdown comes on stream.

Bemoaning the loss of trees

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

One of my favorite activities during the autumn months is going on a brisk walk through one of the local conservation areas and trudging through fallen leaves. I love the sound of leaves rustling under my feet. Even though they are decaying and falling from the trees, the leaves don't disappear with a whimper. They go out in a blaze of glory, turning into bright hues that we cannot possibly fail to notice as we rush to work on bright autumn days.

Putting aside some time to enjoy the blazing reds, oranges and yellows of the trees as we scurry about our daily activities is akin to heeding that time-honoured advice of "taking time to smell the roses." Despite the recent natural calamities in Pakistan and New Orleans which many blame on the elements and Mother Nature, there are many blessings which nature provides in our everyday lives. The trees in their autumn colors are just one example.

It's hard to imagine a world without trees and yet there are subdivisions all over southern Ontario that can give us a sneak preview of what it would be like.

I remember walking to the Fairview Mall in Kitchener from a nearby residential area back in the early 1970s. It was a hot summer day and I usually enjoyed the 20-minute walk to the mall. But on this day, as I walked along the sidewalk, I began to notice something I had overlooked before. There were no trees along the residential street, no shade from the hot, sweltering sun.

We've all seen the small saplings that are planted in new subdivisions to take the place of the large full-grown trees that are downed to make way for new homes. I saw a few of those on my trek to the mall, but they offered no cooling shade. It was then that it struck me how foolish it is to down every tree in sight when new houses are built. That realization seems to have escaped the majority of developers who are blinded by the sight of dollar signs and not overly concerned about the environmental legacy left for future generations.

Trees offer us shade from the sun and shelter from the wind and rain. They filter the air we breathe. They prevent erosion and provide a habitat for birds and other wildlife. They're beautiful in autumn and again in the spring when they regain their leaves. In short, they serve many important functions. And yet they are bulldozed down indiscriminately if they get in the way of new housing.

We don't have to look far for local examples. The rows of townhouses that have sprung up across from the Bohemian Banquet Centre meant the loss of another woodlot in Waterdown. There's a stand of stately evergreens between the new, high-density abodes; they survived the onslaught. But they are the exceptions. In many cases, developers find it easier to raze every tree so the construction of new homes can go unimpeded.

A few years ago, Flamborough's animal control officer Scott Banks called the Flamborough Review office suggesting we take our camera and head out to the woodlot across from the Bohemian for an unusual picture. A family of deer was in the woods and although I tried without success to get close enough for a photo, I still remember the antenna-like ears of the deer as they curiously looked around the trees in my direction before bolting away.

I wonder where those deer graze now. I wonder if we'll ever learn the folly of high-density housing.

I also wonder if we can expect more of the same when the new residential development for north and south Waterdown comes on stream.

Bemoaning the loss of trees

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

One of my favorite activities during the autumn months is going on a brisk walk through one of the local conservation areas and trudging through fallen leaves. I love the sound of leaves rustling under my feet. Even though they are decaying and falling from the trees, the leaves don't disappear with a whimper. They go out in a blaze of glory, turning into bright hues that we cannot possibly fail to notice as we rush to work on bright autumn days.

Putting aside some time to enjoy the blazing reds, oranges and yellows of the trees as we scurry about our daily activities is akin to heeding that time-honoured advice of "taking time to smell the roses." Despite the recent natural calamities in Pakistan and New Orleans which many blame on the elements and Mother Nature, there are many blessings which nature provides in our everyday lives. The trees in their autumn colors are just one example.

It's hard to imagine a world without trees and yet there are subdivisions all over southern Ontario that can give us a sneak preview of what it would be like.

I remember walking to the Fairview Mall in Kitchener from a nearby residential area back in the early 1970s. It was a hot summer day and I usually enjoyed the 20-minute walk to the mall. But on this day, as I walked along the sidewalk, I began to notice something I had overlooked before. There were no trees along the residential street, no shade from the hot, sweltering sun.

We've all seen the small saplings that are planted in new subdivisions to take the place of the large full-grown trees that are downed to make way for new homes. I saw a few of those on my trek to the mall, but they offered no cooling shade. It was then that it struck me how foolish it is to down every tree in sight when new houses are built. That realization seems to have escaped the majority of developers who are blinded by the sight of dollar signs and not overly concerned about the environmental legacy left for future generations.

Trees offer us shade from the sun and shelter from the wind and rain. They filter the air we breathe. They prevent erosion and provide a habitat for birds and other wildlife. They're beautiful in autumn and again in the spring when they regain their leaves. In short, they serve many important functions. And yet they are bulldozed down indiscriminately if they get in the way of new housing.

We don't have to look far for local examples. The rows of townhouses that have sprung up across from the Bohemian Banquet Centre meant the loss of another woodlot in Waterdown. There's a stand of stately evergreens between the new, high-density abodes; they survived the onslaught. But they are the exceptions. In many cases, developers find it easier to raze every tree so the construction of new homes can go unimpeded.

A few years ago, Flamborough's animal control officer Scott Banks called the Flamborough Review office suggesting we take our camera and head out to the woodlot across from the Bohemian for an unusual picture. A family of deer was in the woods and although I tried without success to get close enough for a photo, I still remember the antenna-like ears of the deer as they curiously looked around the trees in my direction before bolting away.

I wonder where those deer graze now. I wonder if we'll ever learn the folly of high-density housing.

I also wonder if we can expect more of the same when the new residential development for north and south Waterdown comes on stream.