Self Evaluation

  1. The strongest entry is “Local Fauna and Flora”. This is because I presented a serious problem, littering, in a satirical way while still being engaging and not too formal.
  2. I enjoyed being able to write about a place as interesting as Commons Park. If it weren’t for this assignment I doubt I would have ever chosen to go there.
  3. Writing in a non-formal way was the hardest part. I wish I would’ve put more description into my experiences their instead of focusing on the larger issues of the park.
  4. I made sure to build off my lasts post and reference my experiences I wrote down in the past.
  5. One of the biggest risks I took was theorizing on why there was so much trash in the park. I had never done something like that before and I think it turned out all right.
  6. Going to Commons Park reinforced in me the value of respecting the ground we walk on and not littering. It’s amazing how trash and neglect for the land can affect the atmosphere of a place. I also learned that even though a natural environment has trash strewn everywhere, it’s still relaxing.
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Change

It’s amazing how the change in weather has affected the park. With the leaves turning yellow or falling off completely, it seems like most the problems of the park have gone as well. There’s almost no trash now and the park has warmer atmosphere, despite the colder weather. Walking through the park, my friends and I enjoyed looking at the beautiful golden leaves and going down to the bank of the South Platte river to watch the geese. It seems that every time I’m here I’m with different friends, but each time we have at least a decent time. There’s just something about walking in a park that is relaxing and serene. Even when there was trash there was still a good time to be had walking around Commons Park. As John Muir once put it, “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” By going to Commons Park regularly, I was not only enjoying what nature had to offer, but also exploring how man treats nature.

I never meant to have Commons Park as my site journal; I originally intended to go to Confluence Park but got on the wrong Train. However, I’m glad I did ended up at Commons park. Yes it has its problems, but by seeing those problem I was able to explore why they exist and what to do about them. If I had gone to Confluence Park, I doubt I would have been confronted about the homeless problem and littering. I’m going to miss this place when I go back for winter break, but I will be back next quarter. Goodbye for now Commons Park.

Fracking?

Fracking has been a great way to lower our CO2 emissions as well as ween our nation off of foreign oil. However, and there must be a however, no current energy source only contains positives. For natural gas the negatives include, the release of various VOC’s and other air pollutants, the high chance of the fracking water to contaminate surface and ground water, and the use of hundreds of diesel burning trucks in order to set up and transport one natural gas site. All of which have a tremendous negative impact to both human health and the health of the overall environment. This is visibly demonstrated and further expanded upon in the film Gasland which shows the extent of fracking in states like Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana, and the negative effects they are causing to the local citizens and the environment. While fracking does have some benefits, it is still a severely flawed way to obtain energy. Instead, the government should be more focused on incentives that encourage renewable forms of energy instead of  nonrenewable forms.

Fall?

Despite the beauty of the leaves changing color, today did not feel like a fall day. Instead, it was in the mid 60’s and felt like  a perfect spring day. This is not typical of Denver, historically the average highs and lows of this exact day is 25 degrees for the low and 57 degrees for the high. However, the actual temperature today was in the high to low 70’s and the low for today is suppose to be in the mid 30’s. While not concrete proof of global climate change, it does at least show that this year has been warmer the normal. Maybe it was this surprisingly warm weather that made the park seem especially pleasant today. As my friends and I entered the park  we where content with enjoying what the park had to offer us. We slowly made our way to the South Platte river bank enjoying the changing leave colors of the Aspen and oak trees and the ramp to nowhere. Along the riverside we were fascinated with these geese that were intent on eating the grass by where we were sitting. It’s moments like these that remind me of hiking in the Sierra Nevada’s and being truly connected to the environment.

There was also a surprisingly little amount of trash at the park today and almost no park police there. Commons Park finally felt relaxed. Instead of focusing on all the human elements of the park, it felt like the attention was now on all the beautiful natural elements of the area. It was truly relaxing and a nice change from what is normally expected from Commons park.

Fracking’s Contrivance’s

Fracking is a complicated human contrivance that starts with locating a well, sending a fleet of trucks and teams of men to build and operate a drilling rig, removing said drilling rig using more men and trucks, sending explosive charges down the hole, pumping a toxic water and sand mixture down the hole, recovering said mixture, capturing the gas, purifying it, and using that gas to create energy.

Eco-Feminism

The United States has always valued culture over nature. This can be seen throughout time from the start of the industrial revolution in the U.S, to the mass urban sprawl that t00k shape in the 50’s, and the extraction of valuable resources, in order to feed our culture. All of these activities served to benefit humans while at the same time degrade the countries natural capital. This was justified by our belief that we have the right to subjugate nature and master it, rather than living with the environment. This is seen most clearly with Manifest Destiny, which was a popular theory in the 1800’s that advocated for conquering America from coast to coast.

In Class Questions

What Houston and Kerouac are getting at is that humans muddle the truth with their own thoughts and have difficulty with identifying what is actually true and what they think is true. We get caught up in this due to our ability to reason things out and our need to rationalize every action we take. While this has lead to a great many insights it has also caused us to lose sight of the true reality of the world and chase false truths. This is evident in my own life as I often find ways to justify my bad habits, like smoking cigarettes, and lose sight of the fact that these habits are extremely harmful to my health and overall well being.

 

Teaches/Professors do this in order for the students to reason out the answer with their peers and hopefully generating a better answer than if the student was on his or her own or if the Teacher/Professor just lectured. Students also gain multiple perspectives when working in small groups allowing them to reach to conclusions they normally wouldn’t have thought of. However, small groups can also lead to one student in the group doing all the work thus cancelling out the benefits these groups would normally have.

This place, again

Their’s too much trash and human caused problems at this park. It makes it impossible to just enjoy the great outdoors and ruins the whole experience. After all, that’s all anyone wants to do at a park. No one wants their experience to be ruined be an infestation of trash and cops constantly patrolling. Most people just wants to enjoy nature in peace, without all the contrivances of modern life. It pains me to say but, even without the trash and homeless problem, this isn’t truly possible for Common Park. Commons Park is just a facade of a natural environment.

It is easy to look through this facade if one pays attention to the types of animals that inhabit the park. The primary of which being squirrels, ducks, and a variety of insects. These are the park animals one expects to see. However, missing from this is species diversity which is the backbone of a truly natural place. Therefore Commons Park cannot truly be considered a natural place as it lacks the main component of one.

Because Commons Park lacks this quality, mans role plays a larger part in the area and is more visible and noticeable than the natural elements of the park. This is seen by the police presence in the park. Wherever there is a large group of “suspicious” people there is usually one or two police cars watching them. This is not a situation that would take place in a truly natural and wild environment but is instead a uniquely human caused problem. Because of this, it is impossible to enjoy what little nature the park does have to offer.

Overall, the park lacks the features of a real natural or wild place. Instead, it is merely a collection of what should be in a natural environment. Because of this, it is easy to forget about the natural elements of the park that make the place pleasant and relaxing.

Local Fauna and Wildlife

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Garbagus Plasticbottlecus

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Garbagus Shirtcus and Garbagus Plasticbagus

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Garbagus Mattrucus and Garbagus plasticbagus

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Garbagus Plasticbagus



The main local fauna of Commons Park is trash, trash literally everywhere. This trash ranges from your common variety Garbagus Plasticbagus and Garbagus Plasticbottlecus to the more rare varieties of Garbargus Shirtacus and Garbagus Matrracus. The trash is so pervasive at this point Commons Park might as well be called Commons dump. It’s real shame too, because besides the trash problem the park is genuinely beautiful and is a great place to unwind. Besides trash, the rest of the local wildlife at the park consists of oak, pine, and aspen trees, all sorts of grasses and squirrels. Again, all of which would make for the perfect park if there wasn’t such a serious trash infestation.

The main cause of this trash infestation is not what it appears to be at first look. While at first it appears to be caused by the large amount of homeless people who inhabit the park, it is highly unlikely. The reason behind this is because there is a large number of trash cans in the park for people to throw away their stuff and their is a significant presence of park ranges patrolling the area. However, the park rangers do not seemed concerned in keeping up the cleanliness of the park and instead are just interested in driving around and “patrolling” the area. This means that the main cause for this terrible infestation is the lack of enforcement. Because of this laziness the overall beauty and enjoy-ability of the area suffers. Despite this, I still adore the park and what it provides. It’s just disappointing to see a place that I adore be tarnished by something that can be easily fixed.

 

First Impressions

 


There are rare moments in life when one finds themselves at a new place that they instantly fall in love with it. For me it was moving to the base of the Sierra Nevada’s when I was 8. I was hoping to have that same feeling when I stumbled upon Common Park near downtown Denver. Fortunately, I did while the park itself is not perfect, it is welcoming to see trees and grass after spending a day downtown.

The park runs adjacent to the South Platte River and contains many paths for biking, running, and walking. It is also surrounded by gorgeous trees, interesting statues, such as the hawk man statue pictured above, and architectural elements that makes the area feel fairly unique compared to your standard park. As well as this the park also contains a grass hill near the center which serves as a meeting place for all types of people. Furthermore, the park itself is filled with a variety of people representing all types of cultures and subcultures in the Denver area.

While all these aspects make the park a pleasant and relaxing place to be, there is an unsavory side to this seemingly fine park. For one, while walking around you get the sense that the park is a popular spot for drug users, especially if you wonder a bit off the main paths like I did. Furthermore, while talking to my sister about the park I was informed that she saw a man get stabbed at Commons Park. So it’s safe to say that the park is not perfect. However, despite these flaws the area is still pleasant if you stay on the main areas and is a perfect way to relax after spending the day downtown.