I am writing this letter in response to the debate about the proposed construction projects for the Oz Natural Area.
I am a preschool teacher and have worked at a center within walking distance from the Oz Natural Area for over 10 years and I have taken many children on nature hikes there. The children enjoyed these walks and so have I. However, I have always wished for the trail to include a wetland walkway so that the children could have the chance to observe the wetland habitat and the wildlife more closely.
As a teacher, my first responsibility is to ensure the safety of the children in my care, so allowing the children to leave the path to observe the wetland was not an option. We have to stay on the path, which does not offer a good view of the habitat. I have also envisioned the walkway connecting the trail around the wetland completing a circle, so that we did not have to double back to return to our center.
For many years, the area did not have a bathroom available for public use, which limited the amount of time we could spend exploring the wetland and forest. In recent years, some improvements have been made, and a port-a-potty and two picnic tables were added near the parking lot. I appreciated these improvements, because we could now spend more time exploring the area and even stop to read a story and enjoy a snack.
When I learned about the proposed construction projects for the Oz Natural Area, I was very excited. My dreams were going to come true. I started looking forward to planning future family events to be held at the education center. These events would help educate both the children and their parents about the wetlands habitat, alternative energy systems and other environmental issues.
I believe that by holding events at the proposed education center, we can help the families enrolled in our program learn to appreciate the Oz Natural Area for its diversity and beauty. As stated in other letters to the editor, many people in our community do not even know that this hidden jewel exists. The education center, wetland walkway and other proposed projects will help promote this wonderful nature area to all citizens of our community.