Date: 5/10/18 6:03 am
From: Gmail <butchchq8...>
Subject: Subirdia
At the recommendation of Joe Neal, I finally pulled my copy of Subirdia off the shelf and read it through. Wonderful book. Thanks Joe!

I will endorse this as a good read for anyone who has taken Tallamy to heart. This is essentially a similar type of book, but for animals. He talks a lot about various actions that can be taken to invite our critters into our spaces to complete the cycle of environmental benefits. One of the things that I am personally intrigued with is how easy it is to make that invitation for a variety of species.

Marzluff makes an excellent case that our urban and suburban spaces are an important ecologically as well as socially to help people make that connection with nature on a broader scale.

In short, nature doesn’t have to be somewhere out there in remote areas, but can (and should) be a part of our local communities at both a personal level as well as a civic planning level.

The book hit home with me on a very personal level as I have had the honor of speaking over one thousand of unique visitors to our new backyard bird store in Bella Vista, AR about their community and the plethora of bird species that inhabit it. It is driven in large part by the amount of undeveloped land that is either still owned by the developer or by the property owners association and will never be developed, because it is unbuildable. This land is essentially not maintained at all and it on its own ecological trajectory. This provides a quasi nature preserve that most of the homes back up to. Because they were selective in the tree cutting when developing the community, and because they leave the snags up in the undeveloped land, wood peckers abound. Combine this with bird feeders and bird boxes, and a healthy respect for nature, Bella Vista is, in my opinion a model community demonstrating that Marzluff’s notion of Subirdia can exist and thrive at a community scale. Even though the developer may not have consciously intended to create such a nature oriented community, it evolved into one by virtue of the preserved land.

Though Marzluff talks about the sacrifices that we should make to help Subirdia thrive, in this case no sacrifice was made. It was a purely economic decision to leave the land untouched. Granted it is a very unique situation, but it shows that it is possible to create such an environmentally friendly community and have it driven by a profit motive. All the same, I am hopeful that some brilliant person well versed in economics will eventually come up with a way to combat the tragedy of the commons. Bella Vista may be the start of that inspiration.

Subirdia: an excellent read.

Thanks again, Joe.

Butch Tetzlaff
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