|A pair of cranes wander across a denuded landscape|
The subdivision, across from Grassy Lakes Elementary School in Minneola, is still in the beginning stages. No homes have been built yet, but the trees have all been cut down, the ground re-contoured and cleared of anything green. Loads of red clay have been trucked in and piled in tall mounds. Equipment is parked on brown ground where cattle once grazed upon lush wildflower-dotted fields.
|On Jan.1, 2015 when I took the image on the right, land-clearing had just begun. Today, almost three months later, not only has the land been further reshaped, but all the trees - including the one pictured - have been cut down.|
It is across this now barren landscape that the sandhill cranes wandered. As I pulled over to watch, one of the large insect-and-grain-eating birds walked by front end loaders and naked soil. I couldn't help wonder what it was thinking?
To the landowner, developer, construction workers and home builders, this development is a positive thing. It will provide jobs and money and places to live for more and more people.
But it's not a good thing for the animals and birds who lived on the land or for the trees, wildflowers and plants that grew in that acreage. For them this development means more loss of habitat, less greenery and more pollution. It means less space for wildlife and more garbage and traffic by man.
|A desolate and incongruous landscape...|
South Lake County, the section of the county where I live, is in the midst of a construction boom. New residential and commercial developments are popping up all over the place. As I watch more and more green spaces - fields where cattle once grazed, orange groves, forested areas and beautiful hillsides - give way to pavement, I feel the loss of what drew so many of us to this area in the first place.
While the sandhill cranes may wonder what happened to their foraging field, I wonder what it will take to make people will realize the true value of what they're destroying.