Pave Belleau Woods, put up parking lot?
Something is seriously wrong with the thinking of St. Francis School President Tom Bednar and State Rep. Jeanne Ives, as reported by Robert Sanchez. DuPage is still attempting to recover from another serious flood, and they think that "It's a very small sacrifice to give up two acres of forest preserve land" in Belleau Woods. They propose to change the state law that protects our forest preserves from this kind of encroachment — a parking lot!
I have lived in DuPage County for less than five years, and I've now experienced three major floods. Even when we are not experiencing these extreme events, the climate of this region brings powerful summer storms with heavy rainfall. I've learned that before the land was drained for farming, the many small streams as well as the creeks and rivers would overflow and the water would be absorbed by the deeply rooted native plants and grasses. Belleau Woods is one of our few remaining pristine areas where this natural system is relatively undisturbed — that's why it "harbors a number of rare plants and wildlife," as the forest preserve commissioners explained.
As a Christian myself, I am disturbed by the apparent inability of this religious school's administration to both understand the responsibility of human stewardship of our God-given planet and teach it to their students. The school's proximity to Belleau Woods should offer an opportunity for students to learn about the ecology in which they live. Those who own property downstream from the school on Winfield Creek should pay attention to how the forest preserve helps to protect them, and take an interest in the school's plans.
Edna E. Heatherington
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