As we discussed in our Wild Dallas issue, this city is unique for the way its urban environment supports a large and diverse population of wildlife. There are coyotes, and bobcats, and (for better or worse) boar. The Trinity Forest and floodway comprise a major stopover for the transcontinental bird migration — a birding superhighway the likes of which no other city can claim. Our argument: if Dallas’ donors to the Trinity River Project stopped looking over their shoulders at other cities’ acclaimed urban parks and simply figured out how to better embrace the natural amenity that is already in our backyards, we would finally realize the kind of Trinity Project that would truly be the envy of the nation.
Well, while Dallas sits on its tollroad plans and fumbles its way towards reconciling its various visions and management schemes for the Trinity, other cities are already embracing their own urban “wildness.” An article in the New York Times over the weekend highlights the work being done by the Urban Wildlife Information Network, which is studying urban wildlife in a number of cities around the country. And who are the cool, forward-thinking, trailblazing cities that are embracing and attempting to understand the way way cities function as habitats for a variety of “wild” species? The initiative is led out of Chicago, and participating researchers are doing work in Denver, CO; Indianapolis, IN; Los Angeles, CA; Madison, WI:, and Fort Collins, CO.
Oh, and there is a Texas city too: Austin.