I would like to propose a use for the land that has previously been used as a sports field at the old middle school and now community center. This plot of land has recently been proposed to be a dog park. While so many of us love dogs, myself included, I believe we can do something more worthwhile and healing for the land and our community.
I propose a learning lab for carbon sequestering by way of regenerative agriculture. This learning lab would serve as a learning center for those of all ages of the community to participate.
Ongoing gardening sessions and group learning for the children in particular would support children actively working together and learning from each other. Practicing listening to each other as ideas are shared and implemented, as well as taking steps towards creating the change we seek, are skills we need to develop and implement as soon as possible.
The focus would be on climate cooling, topsoil health, carbon sequestration and the web of interactions between plants and microbial communities, etc., endlessly fascinating materials to explore while feeding the community healthy, nourishing food.
Living in the time of the pandemic, climate change, political and racial divisiveness, what could be more important than the children and adults being in control of actively coming up with climate solutions, interacting in their community safely? In a time of isolation and unknowns, taking action gives people purpose and meaning. I feel our youngsters need this especially.
South Whidbey already has two fantastic dog parks, and adding another one is not without risk. Dog park can have detrimental effects on local wildlife, which is abundant at the proposed location.
Dog waste can contaminate local water sources, and Langley’s water supply protection area is also adjacent to the proposed location, and I would hope a full environmental impact assessment would be done before even considering adding a dog park here.
According to a Feb. 6 article in the New York Times, “The Dog Park is Bad, Actually,” it’s not clear that dog parks are even beneficial for dogs, especially small parks as this one would certainly be.
Furthermore, in a time of rising temperatures and eroding topsoil, a choice to further damage the environment or create a community learning project which helps to restore it seems like a simple one to make.