September 13, 2013
I do not live on campus and therefore decided to take advantage of this assignment to focus on St. Edward’s University’s natural surroundings. I make my way west from the parking garage to the trees beyond it–heading toward IH-35. As I walk, I can feel the grass crunching beneath me, proof that the area desperately needs some rain. It is a sunny Friday afternoon and the temperature is 93 degrees according to the app in my phone, but standing at the edge of the trees without any cover from their leaves makes the temperature feel much hotter. I find a trail to lead me into the woods and quickly I begin to feel cooler as I walk where more trees are above me. Along the trail, I can see the trash discards of inconsiderate hikers past. Besides the fact that it is an eye sore in the middle of nature, I wonder what effects it has on the environment. I stop to listen. Aware of where I am I can hear the distant humming of the cars on the highway, an interesting contrast to this tiny oasis in the middle of the city.
September 18, 2013
It’s another sunny afternoon in Austin. According to my phone, the temperature is 89 degrees, although I am sure it is much hotter. I find my familiar trail from last time to lead me into the woods. This time, I am determined to focus more on the trees themselves. Instantly I notice the contrast between the green leaves on the trees and several gray, dead-looking leaves on the forest floor. Taking a closer look I notice that many of the leaves have a yellowish hue, a possible indication of the continuing lack of water. I notice that individual leaves have what look like possible bite marks. What kind of forest inhabitant has made these? I inspect several individual leaves but cannot find the culprit. On my way out I pass several other dead forest remains, as well as a discarded bag of cheetos. I pick it up and take it with me to properly discard it by throwing it in one of the recycling bins in the parking garage.
September 28, 2013
It has actually rained recently! Already I can feel the difference that water has made on the ground as I walk to my trail. Instead of the usual crunch from the grass there’s more of a squish due to the soggy ground. It’s about 92 degrees and extra humid due to the recent rain. I keep walking and I notice the cracked forest ground that comprises some of my trail. I guess a bit of water does not instantly remedy the effects of months and months under the Texas summer sun. I walk in a different direction and spot several tree trunks. It seems like the trees may have naturally fallen. Nearby however, are several other trees marked with green spray paint. I look beyond them and see the trunks of trees that were undoubtedly cut down. Will the marked trees also be cut down? If so, why?