Recently, I had a profound experience with a mallard. I was walking to school when it stopped doing its duck thing and looked me straight in the face. As I met its gaze, I remembered the reasons why I cared about natural spaces.
Natural areas are as close as your backyard, neighborhood park, or your neighbor’s flowerbeds. Often, they are overlooked. People care a lot more for wilderness areas and national parks than about their urban natural spaces, like gardens, parks and lawns. There is an over-romanticized view of wilderness that creates this discrepancy. Natural spaces in a city give urban dwellers a taste of raw natural experiences. In fact, all natural spaces give individuals the opportunity to connect with a part of the human experience unavailable through other avenues. Wilderness is a wonderful place to spend time, but, by definition in the 1964 Wilderness Act, an individual “is a visitor who does not remain.”
Wouldn’t it be nice to maintain a connection in a place where your presence is readily welcomed? Instead of caring solely for sweeping Utah vistas, primitive rock formations and forests, share the love of natural spaces and perhaps spend more time visiting your neighbor’s ducks.
Salt Lake City
Last Saturday of every month, 12-2 p.m. Continues through Dec. 27 / Free with museum admission