We know that nature helps us heal. And that in times of stress, people need a healthy outlet to decompress and a place to find solace and a new perspective to keep moving forward. A walk outside can remind us that nothing is static, like the hillsides that turn an emerald green each year with the winter rains, bringing us a sense of hope that things do change. The most difficult times of our lives will come and go and be replaced with some of the best times.
Midpen’s ability to provide a bit of welcome relief for residents who are sheltering at home and sacrificing for the greater good weighed heavy in our decision to try and keep public open space preserves open as long as possible. Many in our communities lack access to a backyard or struggle to find options to be outdoors in a green space that connects them to the sun’s warm rays, the sound of birds chirping, the sight of leaves moving with a breeze and the sweet smells of new blooms. For families with children, finding a place to roam outdoors is even more pressing. In this time of great public need we’re doing our best to be here to answer the call.
Residents have overwhelmingly responded with gratitude and appreciation. Most visitors follow new rules for social distancing, parking restrictions and one-way trails. A silver lining has been that as other avenues for spending free time shut down more people are discovering the wonders of exploring our public backyard oasis, many for the first time.
Our rangers and maintenance staff did a remarkable job keeping up with changing circumstances, implementing new measures to further promote social distancing and educating our visitors. Administrative staff maintained strong collaborations working remotely using multiple telecommuting and virtual meeting tools to continue Midpen’s work, including holding public meetings, finalizing the budget, moving projects forward and issuing this summer newsletter.
Although it is difficult to predict all the ways this unprecedented disruption will change our lives, something that we all have the opportunity to do is reflect on the interdependence that this crisis has highlighted; an interdependence to each other as members of a worldwide community and an interdependence to the land that we protect and which in turn sustains our mental, emotional, and physical health.
Ana María Ruiz,