Crook April/May

Saturday, May 3rd, 2014

A Hilltop Reflection

I thought it would be fitting to conclude my nature blog outings with my final location being here on campus. There is a scenic bench nested snuggly near the theatre. There are two benches settled under a tree that overlook the city skyline. Although I’ve only been in Austin for a relatively short period of time, I find it fascinating how every time I look to the skyline, something is being built. I wonder if perhaps by my final year here at St. Edward’s if the skyline will be significantly different than it is now.

Seeing as with the summer approaching, temperatures are rising, I decided it would be best to venture out a little later in the day, before the sun sets. Being out at this time gave me the pleasure of enjoying the warm weather without being discomforted. Escaping my dorm/the library felt much needed, with finals approaching I’ve spent far too much time cooped up indoors. It was actually painful being inside all day knowing how absolutely beautiful it was outside so I was very glad that I was able to find the time to seek some sanctuary outdoors.

As Aldo Leopold said, “There are some who can live without wild things and some who cannot.” As I learned doing my research project this semester on the biophilia hypothesis, nature impacts our overall well-being in countless ways, ones we often overlook. I am one of those people who cannot live without wild things, and I think I’ve always known that but taking the time to reflect upon my connection and love for nature has really solidified my understanding to the extent at which that fact is true.

  • Location: St. Edward’s University, 3001 S. Congress Ave, Austin, Texas, 78704
  • Start Time:  6:30 p.m.
  • End Time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Forecast: Sunny skies
  • Temperature: 87 degrees Fahrenheit
My observation spot

My observation spot

City life meets wildlife

City life meets wildlife

St. Ed's squirrel

St. Ed’s squirrel

Fortunately, I spotted an infamous St. Ed’s squirrel on my walk back. Although the little guy wasn’t exactly where I was planted for an hour, I figured I would add him to this post to be fair, and also because seeing him made me smile. He so quickly scurried up the tree he is photographed in and he just stood there for quite some time, he even locked eyes with me for quite a while (which I was very excited about).

I’ve really come to realize how being away at college has impacted my desire to interact with nature. I think because so many of us are, in a sense, trapped on campus, we rely on and get excited when we have interactions with the birds, squirrels, and cats on campus. I’ve always been one to be very happy and excited when I see any sort of critter, but perhaps because we don’t really see many dogs or other pets around frequently our desire is growing.

With finals week here and stress levels at an all time high for all students, I still believe that the school should adopt a small amount of dogs from Austin Pets Alive and have them here on campus. We could make a facility for them, hire students to look after and maintain their facilities, students to walk them, and volunteers to come and play with them. I think that not only the pups would benefit, but the students as well. Even though I’m terribly allergic to pets, I love them with all of my heart and I would gladly take the time to go play with and love and hang with some sweet pups. Not to mention, they’d have a safe home!

Regardless of whether or not some sort of organization comes into play to execute said rough plan of mine, I think I speak on behalf of all students when I say that we are ready for finals to be over so we can properly enjoy our summers outside, hiking, biking, swimming, etc. I think that through this course, especially through my research project, I’ve come to grasp a much greater appreciation and understanding for our environment. I think I’ve always known how important nature was to mankind, but I think I have such a greater understanding of the extent of it.

We have to not only enjoy and benefit off of what the environment offers us, but we must reciprocate that mutual benefit to ensure the protection and health of the environment. I know how easy it can be to focus solely on oneself, but I think that I as well as others should begin to more actively give back to our Earth. I’ve always been very conscious of environmental efforts, but I think that now more than ever I will work that much harder to protect our Earth.

I hope through the rest of my undergraduate and graduate career, and even my life, that I continue to find the time to take a break from reality and step outside. To put down my paperwork or textbook and relax and soak in the wonders that the Earth offers us. As I’ve learned, doing so is amazingly beneficial towards mankind’s health. But more importantly, I think that personally doing so would help me maintain and strengthen my connection with the environment. I hope I never lose said connection and passion for it because I know how easy it is for us to lose sight of things that are important to us as we age and grow.

-Emily Crook

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *