Friday, September 29, 2017

Hot Button: Litter

Trail in Maine--do you see any trash?
I know I haven't been posting much--most of my posts have been to the Facebook page because it is faster/easier when there is only something short. But I am on my soapbox today.

I just came back from a wonderful trip to Maine and Canada with my son and daughter-in-law. Other than the beautiful scenery and new birds, do you know what I noticed most? The lack of litter. The most litter was on the beaches where it washed up out of the ocean, but even there it looked like people either picked it up and took it home or piled the big stuff in one area for easy hauling.

One morning I was out walking with our hosts. We passed a beer can, and one of them picked it up. That was the only piece of trash I saw on that 4-mile walk. One of the other people walking is apparently part of a citizen's volunteer group that monitors the trails around the town and one of the things they do is pick up litter when they find it. Since there are a lot of tourists around, I am sure they have some. But people have pride in their community and pick up.

I am not saying there was no trash. I did see a little bit, but not near what I see in Wichita Falls daily. On the Rants and Raves Wichita Falls page on Facebook this morning a woman actually bragged about throwing trash on one of our streets because she was angry a restaurant got her order wrong. I went back to take a screenshot to make the woman famous on this blog, but she apparently pulled the post--someone did point out she broke the law, so I suppose she didn't want the bald admission there for the police to use as evidence.

I am not overly concerned with littering being against the law. It is disrepectful of our neighbors and makes our community look horrible. I have to do a litter pickup around my house at least once or twice a week--more often during high school football season. I am not picking up my trash--I am picking up after people with no consideration for others.

I often tell the story of when my son and I first arrived in Wichita Falls 20 years ago. We came in on Hwy 287. We no sooner got into the city limits when he said, "I don't think I'm going to like it here." That comment was based upon the trash all along the highway. It was a poor first impression.

We could do with a little respect and community pride. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Circle Trail Tour on Saturday

The Circle Trail tour is this Saturday, April 29 from 10 AM - 2 PM. I think it was the first weekend in May previously. I have manned the Lake Wichita stop the last two years, but will be teaching Saturday, so I cannot this year. I am giving the final exam, so if I am lucky, the class will zip through it, and I may have a chance to walk a part of the trail. But we'll see.

This is a great opportunity to get out at enjoy the 14 miles of continuous trail that is completed. You can start anywhere. Pick up a passport at any of the cheer stops and get it stamped at each of the stops for a chance at prizes. For more information check out the Circle Tour Facebook page. There is no charge for this event. Why not bring out the family and walk or bike the trail?

Friday, April 14, 2017

Earth Day 2017

The Earth from space. NASA photo.
I have been very lazy about writing in this blog, as you can tell by the date of the last post. I have been trying to keep up with the Facebook page--as a consequence, this blog as fallen to the wayside. Earth Day is a good time to get back in the saddle. There are plenty of things that need more room than a Facebook post, and there are plenty of people who are not on Facebook. So I am going to make an effort to be a little more regular about updating this. I will then post a link to the FB page for those who are members of that page.

I am old enough I can remember the first Earth Day in 1970. Since then, we have gradually lost interest and allowed Earth Day to pass by largely without notice. This year looks like it may resurge a little bit, at least in part because of the March for Science takes place the same day. That is no coincidence, as the issue that started the entire march is Climate Change. I haven't heard of a march in the Falls, but if I do, I will pass on the details.

There aren't a lot of activities surrounding Earth Day here in the Falls, which is unfortunate. As always, the city has more activities happening than any person could take advantage of, it's just most are not related to nature or the environment. With a little effort, we could have a great themed series of activities around Earth Day (in Penny's head--just say, "No!")

River Bend has some of their usual Saturday activities going on: Science Saturday and Nature Tots Story Time. The Wichita Falls Public Library has a plastic bottle crafts and upcycling programs happening. That appears to be pretty much it, unless there are things I haven't heard about. If you know of an event, email me at and I will try to get it here and on the FB page.

So, what to do? I am planning to have my own little Earth Day celebration. Birding in the morning. Gardening in the afternoon. The Audubon Society is asking people to plant a native plant to support the birds. I have quite a few in my yard now, but I will be stopping by Wichita Valley Nursery for another to add. I just have to decide what I want to plant. I also have the makings for an insect hotel standing by--if I don't get it done before, Earth Day would be a good time. It won't be as pretty as the ones you can find on Pinterest, but it will still be home for the bugs. If you want to see some of the photos I've collected on Pinterest, here's a link to by board. Feel free to browse.

How do you plan to celebrate Earth Day?