Ok, there’s too much going on to each get their own post, so here it goes!
First, GOOD news! The Bell Bowl prairie in Rockford, IL has been saved… temporarily. (I posted about it here). To me, the lesson here is that yes, legal protections & organization are good and necessary. But also, culture matters. If we can’t build a widespread and consistent ecological ethic, so serious of laws or guidelines will save us, however well-crafted.
Second, Moontree Studios has a new electric vehicle charger! This runs on wind and solar (and when those aren’t enough, grid power). We now have 4 plug at 3 locations on campus
Third, we were blessed to host Turkey Tracks, a non-profit that relies on the help of volunteer guides and the tireless efforts of founders Carol and Doug Corey to carry out their mission of “Helping young adults with mobility challenges to experience the joy of hunting.” We were honored to partner with Turkey Tracks recently by hosting one of their hunts on the property.
For many years, the Poor Handmaids have used deer hunting as a stewardship tool for maintaining the ecological health of the land. Indiana ecologists have found that in the absence of natural predators or hunting, unchecked deer population growth can harm natural ecosystems through excessive browsing of native plants, in addition to impacts like crop damage, car accidents, and transmission of tick-borne illnesses. We are grateful to those with Turkey Tracks who were able to assist us with this sustainable harvest so that the needs of the land community can remain balanced into the future.
Fourth, I had the privilege of sharing about our vehicle electrification efforts at the Sustainable Solutions conference in South Bend this week. Here’s TV coverage from WNDU. Highlights for me was hearing from the City of Goshen on all of their incredible work around climate resiliency and sustainability, including increasing tree canopy, rooftop solar, bike trails, electric vehicles, and now electric bicycles. Also, (of course) someone brought a Tesla. Tesla just received an order of 100,000 cars (not a typo) from Hertz, which will bring a solid electric driving experience to many more rental car drivers.
Fifth, the worst news for last. I found out together that we had another pedestrian fatality in Plymouth, the second one this month. (Here I wrote about the other fatal car crash, and the efforts of our Complete Streets committee to improve cyclist and pedestrian infrastructure in the city).
This week I also twice observed red lights being run at Webster Elementary school during school drop off times with a crossing guard present. I also watched a man in a company vehicle text and drive while he was navigating the same intersection (yes, I contacted the company & I ask that you do the same when you see this). There was also someone driving drunk through the school drop off line.
The U.S. Dept of Transportation also released numbers showing an 18% increase in fatalities caused by motor vehicles for the first half of 2021, the worst in 15 years.
Locally and nationally, we are facing a crisis.
Sixth, a beautiful mushroom I found recently. Because, well, we need some beauty right now.
I was one of the skeptics when seeing the road narrowing project on East Jefferson. However, shortly after it was installed I was riding my bike on that route. It is usually a challenge to get across, but I was stopped at the pedestrian crossing and TRAFFIC STOPPED to let me cross. It was amazing. I fully support this endeavor. Keep shining the light on ways to make our community more walkable and bikable. Thank you!
Thanks for your feedback Debbie. Our objective isn’t to pretend like we are going to get everything right the first time. That’s precisely why we are doing it in a low/no-cost, temporary manner. Get feedback, then make improvements.
Imagine what it’d be like to be pushing a stroller plus a walking child with you. Or walking with a cane or in a wheelchair. Very fraught. And as we’ve documented, people are getting injured or killed.
Thanks for all your info Adam