How sprawl affects Hoo Haven—part two

Hoo Haven is working on its new raptor flight cage. The new building will be 165 feet long, making it the largest flight cage in a five-state area. You know a building of this magnitude would not be needed without habitat destruction, i.e., sprawl. In this spirit, we present the founder and director of Hoo Haven, Karen Herdklotz, to express herself via the weapon of pen.

“As I take in our sixth raptor in less than a month… [I see] hawks and owls so thin because they are unable to find enough food. Where there used to be trees, bushes and green fields, there is nothing. Ground has been leveled and stripped, large trees removed because it is easier to work around, to make room for houses that are so crowded together… How nice it would have been to leave some trees for children to play in, lie under on a hot day, and a place for animals to live. Now the only thing country about the subdivision is the name, like Squirrel Run, and a squirrel hasn’t been seen there forever.

“It is not that I am against progress, but it must be with a check and balance; it seems we have lost the balance. We think new is better, a different location will help; bigger, smaller, better—there is always a reason to throw out. We need to look inside, rethink why things do not work and make them better. New becomes old, and yet another building stands vacant, another business gone when location was not the problem. We all know places we would travel far because of service, good quality workmanship, friendly faces and fair prices. When land is gone, it is GONE FOREVER.

“In Wisconsin, they are implementing the 10 percent rule. Whenever a piece of land is taken for development, 10 percent is given back to Mother Nature. A partnership with Mother Nature can be advantageous to all. We must all try harder to realize we were not here first, nor do we truly own the Earth. We are caretakers, and we should leave something more than asphalt, cement, and deserted malls for future generations. Thinking ahead, being imaginative and ahead in our field will be a legacy for all.

“If you wish to talk finances, people will pay more for pristine trees, country and wildlife. Stores would have more business, make more money with calm country settings where individuals can take time out of a busy schedule, shop, enjoy a calming view and even relax. Think of the places you go to find this. Why can’t Rockford be the place they go? Country in the city, and be an example.

“We can have houses and shopping areas, but take some time to do it right. Leave the 100-year-old trees; allow native prairie grasses to be there. A pond here and there is good to calm the soul. Involve the Scouts and different groups in community projects. Allow the areas around highways to team with wildlife, as in Wisconsin. People want country, and they call me all the time.

“Please, before it is too late, let us look around and think what do we really want. A place to be proud of, unique with ideas and a place where people can live and shop that will bring joy. When natural resources are gone, they are gone. Let us learn from places such as California and Florida, where growth has been too quick, eaten up, and now they have hindsight. Need ideas—call me.

“We at Hoo Haven would like to thank Stephen Drog and his fellow Scouts in Scout Troop 619 for all their donated work at Hoo Haven.”

Rod Myers is a local resident with an interest in the environment and disability issues.

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