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Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013
Nature Calls 911Posted Thursday, April 26, 2012, at 10:17 AM
Attention Thieves: This is not your personal nursery, it's a public park. For photo prints, go to www.stevenfoster.com/prints.html
When most people visit parks they take only photos. We've all read signs when visiting federal lands warning us not to pick plants, take rocks, animals or otherwise mess with our collective heritage.
Parks by their very nature imply protection. Socially we have developed a collective consciousness of protecting what is in a park. In the majority of instances, the motivating factor for removal of park assets is simple greed, such as stealing ginseng and other medicinal roots in eastern parks, or thousands of barrel cactus and endangered saguaro cactus from western desert parkland.
The other motivating factor for messing with park assets is banal stupidity.
In light of this experience it is more disappointing than surprising that vandalism and theft of plants at spring reserves in Eureka Springs is a common and increasing threat.
I suspect most residents picture Park's gardener, DonE Allen, creating beautiful gardens at the springs reserves. They don't picture him going home at night writing up incidence reports of vandalism and theft. Did you think that DonE did rotating Christmas displays in the urns at Planer Hill last year? No, the decorations changed three times only because the first two displays were destroyed.
Some idiot believes that Magnetic Spring is their personal nursery where they dig-up expensive plants within days of their planting, or steal mature plants.
Last week new plantings of roses, Shasta daisies, and Solomon's Seal were stolen from Magnetic Spring while Asian lilies and hostas disappeared at Harding Spring.
Must Parks spend more on security cameras than plants? Shall we do what the National Park Service did and spend money to discretely embed microchips into plants so they can be definitively tracked once they are stolen?
There is only one person authorized to pick flowers, dig-up and remove plants, trim shrubs or otherwise disturb plants at our springs, and that is DonE. If you see someone else doing it, please turn them into Parks or the Police Department for prosecution. We all need to be vigilant to protect our collective heritage.
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Steven Foster is a world renowned botanical photographer. He has published many books, including 2 for National Geographic
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