Ecology comes from Greek roots and means roughly "the study of the household." Ecology strives to see the whole web of nature as one functioning organism, and to trace the relationships between the different parts. Another definition given is "the interrelationships of plants, animals and the physical environment."
Lochwood Park is a complex ecosystem, made up of all the living things in the park, and the land of the park itself. The very ground and stream that runs through the park are stage, and the plants and animals the players. As Shakespeare says of man:
"All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts."
And so too, the plants and animals have many relationships to each other, and that is what ecology focuses on. The grasshopper eats the plant, and then is eaten by the kestral. The grass grows on the soil, but when it dies, enriches that same soil. Life is the ultimate recycling program, where everything gets reused if the system is allowed to operate without interference.
My hope in these pages is to flesh out the meaning of the words on the title page:
". . .a park as a microcosm of life."
Simply put, studying a small place like Lochwood Park can open up a new view of the whole world. "Life" seems too overwhelming a topic to study, but within one small city park, you can begin to limn the details of what makes life so interesting, complex, and inextricably interwoven and interconnected.
While I develop these ideas for this page, a great place to see this done for another park in the Dallas area is The Preservation Society for Spring Creek Forest. My friend Derek Hill's site was one of the two main inspirations for this site, and many features of his site are echoed in this site. In particular, look at the Ecosystem Map and Profile pages. These pages wonderfully illustrate some of the complexity and beauty of this land we live on.
All contents copyright © 2003 by Rich Milne