, 2022-10-18 22:29:11,
Michael Riley has a special reason for voluntarily attending Texas Master Naturalists classes Saturdays at settings all over Northeast Texas.
True, he wants to learn all he can about nature. But a further reason is that he has a park — a city park — that he can develop into a work of art. He’s supervisor of Linden city parks.
Riley also has just been appointed by the Linden City Council as the town’s Public Tree Department head. This is an office required for Linden to become a Tree City USA community.
Still, it’s Linden City Park with Riley as supervisor that is creating a remarkable opportunity for him to pursue park plans with excitement.
“He’s excited, and we’re excited for him and the town,” said Linden City Manager Lee Elliott.
Michael’s way of explaining his duties and goals for park improvement are a little breathless.
“We get a lot of people walking in the park,” he begins. “The disc golf course is great. Right now we are cleaning out the underbrush. I’m hearing a bunch of blue jays at this moment. Animals are here in the morning, especially when I’m running in the park around 5 a.m.”
“We don’t want to see an entire tree engulfed with poison ivy and creepers. We’ll clean out around the bottom of our trees. Last year, you couldn’t see the bottom of the floor, so we’ve done a lot really. Getting the pond done, getting the amphitheater done.”
He wants native plants and grasses to help with migratory birds and butterflies and also receive less attention from city workmen with their lawnmowers.
“Birds and animals alway choose the native plant over the invasive plant. And we’ll definitely plant wildflower seeds here,” he said. “Maybe they can run some of the wildflower trails through here. “
All this will take some time, he admits.
“It takes awhile if we stay at it a couple days a week. I give it a year to two,” Riley said.
“Right now we’re going to add more picnic tables. Try to get four more and then frame up some concrete pads for others.
“We’ve recently stocked the pond with some 100 catfish and next time we’ll do 150 bait fish and then on to bass. Maybe we can have a fishing day. We now need to clear trails to the side of the pond. Then, seniors can come outside from their building and walk a trail around the pond. We can make it like a little sanctuary, not a plain Jane lake. We can have a community garden here,” he said.
“I’ve just become a full blown nerd on what we can do with this park,” he said.
Of his Texas Master…
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