I found heaven a few months ago at Phinizy Swamp Nature Park. I looked over the site while waiting for a plane to arrive at the airport during the Latin American-Caribbean Conference.
Office buddies tease me about being a tree-hugger, but the park's 1,100 acres of trees, swamp and constructed wetlands are truly beautiful. My love of wetlands began in Lawrence, Kan., during a monarch butterfly-tagging event to assist the local university's entomology department.
On the day of the event, rain trickled incessantly - just like here in Georgia. But the people kept coming, determined to cross through the rough bushes and tall plants to reach the back edges of the wetlands where the monarchs were sleeping and feeding.
The Army Corps of Engineers chaired a public meeting later on, to determine if those wetlands would be preserved. The Sierra Club and Haskell Indian Nations University battled the developers through that meeting, but the court battle continues.
Augustans are luckier. Phinizy is here to stay. A huge number of corporate and individual benefactors ensure its existence will be forever. I am sure the two land turtles that I scooped up the other day near a development site on Stevens Creek Road did not know that. But the thought definitely went through my mind as I released them at Phinizy.
Forever is a long time, thank goodness.
Tina Schreiner, Augusta