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Letter to the Editor | Bishop Woods destruction hits too close to home

There has been major effort towards building on campus and I understand why this is necessary and desirable. I do not understand why some university officials decided to destroy Bishop Woods. Bishop Woods has been around since the start of the university in 1809 and contributes to Miami's unique charm. There used to be signs throughout the wildlife area saying, "Please … Help us maintain this area in a natural state by staying on the paths. Thank you!" We cannot keep the woods in its natural state if a lot of it is destroyed and the university kills many of its trees. As I was sitting in class in Upham Hall, I heard the piercing sound of numerous trees going through the wood chipper. All I could think in my head was, "Why?"

One of my peers commented that people around the university had told her that they are simply clearing out invasive species. Clearing out invasive species might be the political response some university officials are saying. I believe the reason why they are changing Bishop Woods is because they want to improve the appearance of the university by making a large concrete path, and planting grass throughout the woods. However, if the goal was to remove invasive species could they do so without those other detrimental changes? Another reason given for the destruction of Bishop Woods is a concern regarding safety. Yet that same sign throughout the woods says, "This area closed at dark." Shouldn't Miami students have the capability to make smart choices of where to go, and where not to go at night?

This topic hits very close to home for me personally. Both of my parents worked at Miami University for 19 years as members of the Botany Department. I grew up and was raised around the philosophy that people and nature should live in harmony. I have very fond memories of my father, other Botany professors and I traveling through Bishop woods during the summer to go eat lunch at Shriver. There are numerous natural areas around the periphery of campus. What made Bishop Woods so unique was that it was the only natural area in the heart of campus. Bishop Woods was an outside classroom the Biology Department frequently used, and now no longer exists.

The destruction of Bishop Woods is taking place right now and will continue to take place over the coming weeks. Although university officials are slightly altering their plans with Bishop Woods, there has been no agreement or significant compromise with saving the nature preserve. If enough people in the university community speak up there is still a chance that officials will alter their plans to commit detrimental changes to the wooded area.

"I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees for the trees have no tongues." - Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

Steven Kiss

kisssv@miamioh.edu

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