Have you had your Vitamin N today?
Is it just me, or does it seem like nature is getting farther and farther away? The city is more crowded, traffic in neighborhoods moves at freeway speeds, while freeways have become giant parking lots. Daytime gets gloomier as sunlight is blocked by taller buildings, while at night, the city is lit up like a prison yard with blindingly bright LEDs.
Wouldn’t it be nice if there were more natural areas woven into the fabric of cityscapes—nearby places where you could retreat into nature, if only for a few moments?
In Renton, the city that sits at the south end of Lake Washington, there is a pocket of wildishness—a few acres of woodsy riparian area, called May Creek. It’s surrounded by freeways, condo developments and commercial areas, but when you’re there, all that seems to melt away. The stream is rich with wildlife—when I visited, I saw a deer, woodpeckers and songbirds, bear scat, salmon spawning areas, and places where river otters like to play. The City of Renton and its partners* are doing habitat improvement work there, including trail access and interpretive signs (written, designed and illustrated by me). It’s going to be a wonderful asset for people living nearby.
Urban spaces are going to get more crowded and hectic, and we need to get better at making them livable, healthy and pleasant. People, especially children, need nature in their everyday lives. A daily dose of nature, your Vitamin N, can be small, simple and easy. It doesn’t require expeditions into the pristine wilderness—a bit of wildishness will do. The urban wildish should be a priority.
There’s more to the May Creek story. The site has some fascinating and unique history. I’ll tell you more about that in the next post.
Renton Parks Info: http://rentonwa.gov/living/default.aspx?id=65
Read more about how people need nature, called “Vitamin N” by Richard Louv, author of “Last Child in the Woods” and “The Nature Principle” http://richardlouv.com/blog/Ten-Reasons-Why-Children-and-Adults-Need-Vitamin-N/